The Gospel of Jesus Christ. From the book of Luke (KJV)

You may read and discover Chuck’s entire biblical commentary here.

The truth according to The Word of God! The Book of Luke in the Holy Bible. Don’t be deceived by another Gospel!

Luke, the author of this third gospel, was called by Paul the apostle “the beloved physician.” There is some speculation that his patron was a man by the name of Theophilus. In those days physicians were often slaves. And there are some who theorize that Luke was Theophilus’ personal physician and servant. Whether or not that be so is only a matter of speculation, and thus, worthless to delve into.

Luke was a Greek. And he is the only Gentile to have the privilege of placing scripture in that holy canon of scripture, which we recognize as inspired of God. And there are two New Testament books that are ascribed to Luke. Of course, the gospel according to Luke and then the Acts of the apostles, which he begins again addressing himself to Theophilus saying, “The former treatise have I made onto thee, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1).

There are some who say that the word Theophilus is not actually a person at all, but just the word in Greek, Theophilao is “lover of God”. And so that Luke is actually addressing his letter to the lovers of God. However, the people were usually named after hopes or aspirations or whatever of their parents, and there is no real reason to believe that Theophilus was not an actual person. In fact, being addressed as the most excellent Theophilus indicates that he was actually a ruler in the Roman Empire, as that is a title that is given to men who had a ruling position within the Roman Empire.

Luke introduces the gospel to Theophilus in the first four verses of chapter one.

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in an orderly fashion those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them onto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had a complete understanding of all of these things from the very first, to write unto thee an orderly progression, most excellent Theophilus. That you may know the certainty of those things, wherein you have been instructed (Luk 1:1-4).

So Luke here declares that he has heard the message from those persons who were actually the eyewitnesses to these things. Now Luke, no doubt, interviewed personally Mary, in order that he might get a complete understanding concerning the circumstances that were surrounding the birth of Jesus. Luke, being a doctor, would be interested in various aspects that bordered on the medical profession. And it is obvious that he received the information of chapters one and two directly from Mary. And so from his interview with Mary and his questioning of Mary, he got the information for chapters one and two. And the information in these two chapters is not found in detail like this in the other gospels. He had heard Peter and John and those who had been with Jesus, those who were eyewitnesses, he heard their stories, as they told of their relationship with Jesus and of the work and the ministry that Jesus preformed. And then he, no doubt, questioned them more thoroughly to get a more complete understanding. And having what he feels to be a complete understanding of the story, he then proceeds to write to this man Theophilus, in order that he might realize the certainty of those things that he had heard.

Now Luke begins then the actual story of the gospel of Jesus by dealing with the birth, first of all, of John the Baptist, who was to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ.

And so there was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth (Luk 1:5).

So immediately we are introduced to the persons that will be involved in the first part of his narrative here.

Zacharias of the tribe of Levi, making him then one of the priests. He was of the family of Abirim. His wife was also of the tribe of Levi. She was a descendent from the family of Aaron. Now at this particular time in Israel, there were around 20,000 descendents from Levi, male descendents, involved in the priesthood. And in as much as it was, of course, impossible for all 20,000 to serve continually in the temple, each family had their turn to serve, and they served twice during the year for one-week periods. And when it was the turn of your family to serve, they would cast lots to determine what particular aspect of the service you would be engaged in. And maybe once in a lifetime the priest would have his lot to fall upon the offering of the incense before the altar of incense before the Lord. This was usually just a once in a lifetime; one day in your life you get this glorious privilege of going in with the incense before the altar of incense to offer it before the Lord for the people. And so this was surely a significant and a special day for Zacharias, who during the time that he was serving there, the lot fell on him for this particular task.

Now we are told concerning Zacharias and Elisabeth that:

They were both righteous before God, [they] walked in all of the commandments and the ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luk 1:6).

Two beautiful, righteous people who are quite insignificant as far as the world is concerned. People who loved the Lord, people who walked with the Lord, people you would have never heard about, unless they had been so involved in the story of Jesus Christ. The people, because of their involvement, we are told of them.

Now we are also told that:

They had no child, because Elisabeth was barren; and they were both now well stricken in years (Luk 1:7).

That is, the years had taken their toll; they were bent over. They had become feeble. And the idea of well stricken in years is that of feebleness as the result of age.

In that culture it was considered a curse for a woman not to bear a child. And it was legal grounds for divorce. Had Zacharias desire to put away Elisabeth because of her inability to bear children, no one would have questioned him. It would have been accepted by everybody. But, no doubt, there was a tremendous love that they shared together, and they shared this grief and this sorrow together that they were unable to have children.

Now it came to pass, that, while he was fulfilling the priest office before God in the order of his course (Luk 1:8),

They had the priestly orders, and this was one of the weeks that he had to come in for his particular duty of service.

According as was the custom of the priest office, his lot fell that he might burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord (Luk 1:9).

And you can imagine the excitement of this old man, probably the only day in his life. And he probably had given up by now ever having the opportunity of burning incense. When the lots were drawn, his was that lot to burn the incense before the Lord that day.

And the whole multitude of people were praying outside at the time of incense (Luk 1:10).

Now they would go in before the altar of incense, and they would take this little golden bowl that had burning coals that had been taken from the altar where they had offered the sacrifice. The lamb was offered in the morning and in the evening. And they would take the coals from the altar, put it in this little golden bowl, and then they would put the incense on top. And they would go in swinging this little incense burner before the altar incense, and the smoke, the sweet smelling smoke, would ascend up, and it was a beautiful symbolism of how God receives the prayers of His people. Our prayers that we offer to God arise before God as a sweet smelling odor, pleasant, beautiful.

In the book of Revelation, chapter 5, when the lamb takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who is sitting upon the throne, John said, “And the twenty-four elders came forth with their little golden bowls, full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints, and they offered them before the throne of God” (Revelation 5:8).

Now you remember that when God gave to Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle, and all of these furnishings, and the methods of worship were established, the Lord told Moses over, and over, “Now be careful that you make it exactly according to plan.” And the reason why he was to make it exactly according to the plan that was given to him was because this whole thing was a model of what is in heaven. If you want to know what the heavenly scene, the throne of God and all looks like, you can study the tabernacle. And it was a model of heavenly things. So, as the priest on earth would take this little golden bowls and fill them with incense and the incense would arise as the prayer, a sweet smelling savor before God, so in heaven. Chapter 5 of Revelation, we see it fulfilled in the heavenly scene, as the twenty-four elders offer their little golden bowls full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints.

So a beautiful symbolism there. And so in offering the incense before the altar of incense, which was in the inner court of the temple, in the holy place, not the holy of holies–only the high priest went in there once a year, but the holy place which was just outside of the holy of holies.

And while he was there, the multitude of people were waiting outside. Because it was then customary when he came out to place the blessing of God upon the people. It was a special occasion, and the people would wait for the priest to come out and give them this blessing.

And there appeared onto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said onto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard (Luk 1:11-13);

What prayer? For years he had been praying, “Lord, please give me a son.” It really gives to us encouragement for persistence in prayer. He didn’t give up. Even though he was now old. Well stricken with years. He was still praying, “Oh, Lord, I’d love to have a son.”

thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name, Johanam (Luk 1:13).

Which means the Lord is gracious. It is shortened to John, but the full name is actually Johanam.

And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the side of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine, nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him [that is the Messiah] in the spirit and in the power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luk 1:14-17).

Now the last word of God to man prior to this was in Malachi, the fourth chapter. And the last word of God to man was in Malachi 4:5, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

That was the last word of God to man in the old covenant period, prior to the angel meeting Zacharias there at the altar of the Lord. And it is interesting though the Lord has been silent for four hundred years, that very promise, which was the last promise of the old testament, is the first word of the Lord in the new testament, which is the fulfillment of that prophesy, which is about to take place, as this child that will be born, will go forth in the spirit and in the power of Elijah.

Now there is a lot of confusion as regards to John the Baptist, and the prophesy of the coming of Elijah. In John’s gospel we are told that as John was baptizing at the Jordan River, the Pharisees came out and they demanded of him his authority, and who gave him the authority to do these things. They said, “Are you the Messiah?” He said, “No.” They said, “Are you Elijah?” He said, “No.” “Then who are you?” He said, “I am just the voice of one crying in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight His path” (John 1:20-23).

And yet, here the angel of the Lord tells his father that he will be going forth in the Spirit and in the power of Elijah.

Now the confusion exists in the fact that there were two comings of the Messiah. The first coming that we find recorded here in the gospel. The second coming for which we presently wait. And even as Elijah will appear before Jesus comes again. So John the Baptist came in the Spirit and in the power of Elijah. And if a person is able to accept it, he was the fulfillment of that promise of Elijah coming before the Lord, to cause the hearts of the children to turn to their fathers, and their fathers to their children.

So the confusion lies in the fact that there are two comings of the Messiah, as well as the two comings of Elijah, both of them to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.

He shall be great in the sight of the Lord. He was to be as a Nazarene. Not drinking wine or strong drink, but filled with the Holy Spirit, from his mother’s womb.

In a little bit we will be studying where Mary, when she received word that she was to be the instrument through which the Messiah was to be born, went to this little village of Juda, the home of Elisabeth, who at that point was six months pregnant. And when Mary walked in and greeted Elisabeth, Elisabeth felt the baby leap in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

So at that time, no doubt, John was also filled with the Holy Spirit, a prenatal experience, which is quite interesting indeed. Even from his mother’s womb.

Now though Zacharias had been praying that he might have a son, the prayers had not really been prayers of faith anymore, just of a hardly even a glimmering hope. Because when this angel told him that he was to have a son, he didn’t believe it. And he challenged the angel.

Zacharias said onto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife is well stricken in years. And the angel answering said onto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and I’ve been sent to speak to thee, and to show thee this glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season (Luk 1:18-20).

It is interesting to me that we so often put such great emphasis upon our faith that God will do a certain thing. As though God is almost impotent apart from man’s faith, to operate, or to work. But here with Zacharias, the angel said, “Alright, you want a sign? You’re not going to be able to speak until the day the child is born, because you didn’t believe.”

The things that God is going to perform, whether you believe it or not, God is going to do it. Your unbelief will not stop the work of God. It will not hinder the purposes of God. And so many times they put heavy trips on us. You know, as though God’s work is totally responsible upon my hanging in there and believing, and I feel so guilty because maybe I failed God, and thus, people are lost, or whatever, because I failed God. No, God’s purposes shall stand, whether I believe it or not. You see, your believing or not believing doesn’t really hinder the work of God. He is going to do what He is going to do, in spite of us. And that’s sort of comforting, because I’d hate to think that God’s work depended on me and my faithfulness.

You remember when the children of Israel were threatened with extinction because of Haman’s getting the king to sign the degree that all the Jews were to be put to death on a certain day. And Mordecai sent a message to Esther that she should go in before the king and plead the cause of her people. And she responded, “You just don’t do that, that’s not the protocol of the court. Even as his wife I can’t go in there anytime I want to see him. I can’t go in there unless he calls me in. And if anyone would there to go in before the king, not being called, you’re putting your own life in jeopardy. Because if he doesn’t raise the scepter, they’ll put you to death immediately. And so Mordecai sent an answer back, “Do you think that if this degree goes through that you’re going to escape? How do you know, Esther, but what God didn’t bring you to the kingdom for just this purpose?” And then he said, “If you altogether fail, then their deliverance will arise from another corner.” God is going to deliver His people. His purposes are going to stand. God is going to deliver His people. But you will lose out completely.

Now God’s work is going to be done. You may lose out on those rewards and blessings that you could have experienced, had you’ve been faithful. But your unfaithfulness is not going to stop that which God has purposed to do.

And so here is Zacharias, filled with unbelief. “How can I know this? I am old man, my wife is an old woman. What do you mean I am going to have a son?” ” I am Gabriel.”

The last appearance of Gabriel to our knowledge on the earth was about a little over five hundred years prior to this particular event, when Gabriel appeared to the prophet Daniel and gave to Daniel one of the clearest prophesies concerning the time of the coming of the Messiah. It was Gabriel who said unto Daniel that there are seventy sevens determined upon the nation of Israel, to finish the transgression, to make an end of iniquity. To bring in the everlasting righteousness. To anoint the most holy place. To complete the prophetic picture. And no one understand from the time the commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, to the coming of the Messiah, the prince, will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens. The walls should be built again in troublous times. And after the sixty-nine sevens will the Messiah be caught off, and receive nothing for Himself, and the people will be dispersed.

And so this amazing prediction of the time of the coming of the Messiah was given by none other than our friend Gabriel. Sort of a timeless fellow, because now it’s over five hundred years later, and he shows up on the scene again. Probably looking as young and fresh as ever. Announcing now to Zacharias that his wife Elisabeth was to bear the son, which was to be the forerunner of the Messiah, as he will go forth in the Spirit and in the power of Elijah to fulfill the prophesy of sending the messenger before the face of the Lord.

It would appear that as God has set in order the things of the universe, that He probably placed Gabriel as the overseer in charge of the details of getting His Son into the world. Preparing the people on the earth, preparing Mary, because it was Gabriel who appeared to Mary. Preparing here Zacharias. It would seem that he has a hard time keeping secrets. He appeared five hundred years earlier and spilled the beans to Daniel of a time that the Messiah would be coming. And so here he is again, some five hundred years later. It will be interesting to meet Gabriel, looking young and fresh as ever, as he is one of those special angels that God has committed great responsibilities to. And I for one am quite anxious to meet Gabriel. Now, I don’t expect him to sit on my bed and pet my dog. And for you who have read that book, you know what I am talking about.

Now the people waited for Zacharias, [They were waiting outside for that blessing from the priest.] and they marveled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and so they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; for he beckoned unto them, and he remained speechless. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house (Luk 1:21-23).

So, because they only served for a week at the time. In just a few days he left there, Jerusalem, and went to Judea, which is nearby Jerusalem, actually.

And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and she hid herself for five months, saying, Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach from among men (Luk 1:24-25).

Her inability to bear children caused her to be a reproach. But the Lord, she says, has taken that away.

And in the sixth month [the same fellow] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. To a virgin who was espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary (Luk 1:26-27).

Three terms we need to deal with: engaged, espoused, and married. A person could become engaged when they were two years old, because for the most part, marriage was by arrangement. So parents would get together, they would be friends. You have a pretty little girl, your friends would have a nice little boy, and we’re friends with each other, why don’t we have your son marry my daughter? And we make the arrangements. And so here these little kids, they are four years old, walking around saying, “Well, we’re engaged.” Because the arrangements had been made by their parents that they would have each other as husband and wife. They felt that decisions as important as marriage should never be left to the capriciousness of youth. They felt that young people didn’t have enough wisdom to choose their mates.

Now as they became older, and usually they were married by the age of fifteen or sixteen years old. And as they became older, one year before they had the marriage ceremony, they entered into a period known as espousal, where they were as though they were married, in that they were committed completely to each other, but there was never a consummation of the marriage during this period of time. However, once they entered into the period of espousal, they were considered married to the extent that if the fellow wanted to break it off, he had to actually get a divorce, even though the marriage at this point had never been consummated.

So Mary and Joseph were in this period of espousal. Where they were totally committed to each other and to the marriage of each other, and yet, the marriage was not to be consummated until the ceremony at a later time.

And so, “To the virgin who was espoused,” she was in this period of the one year before the actual consummation of the marriage, “to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.”

And the angel Gabriel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou art highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at what he was saying, and thought in her mind what kind of a greeting is this. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jehoshua (Luk 1:28-31).

Which in Greek is Jesus, but in Hebrew Jehoshua, which means, Jehovah is salvation.

Now you remember in Matthew’s gospel when Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, and he was really troubled by it, because they were espoused. He thought he might just give her a bill of divorcement, put her away privately, because if he would her expose her publicly she’d be stoned to death. And the angel of the Lord came to Joseph at night and said, “Fear not to take Mary as your wife. That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit, and thou shalt call His name Jehoshua” (Matthew 1:20-21). So both Mary and Joseph were instructed by the angel of the Lord in the naming of Jesus. But when he told Joseph, “Call his name Jehoshua,” he said, “For He shall save His people from their sins.”

So the name is extremely significant because it expresses the mission of Jesus, and that is bringing God’s salvation to men. Jehoshua, the Lord is become our salvation.

Then the angel Gabriel went on to say,

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of His father David (Luk 1:32):

And, of course, throughout the Old Testament prophesies, there was that promise that the Messiah would sit upon the throne of David, to order it, and to establish it in righteousness and in judgment, from henceforth, even forever.

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luk 1:33).

In the book of Revelation, again, that glorious song that Handel has put to music, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords, forever and ever, hallelujah, hallelujah.”

So the angel is telling about the eternal reign of Jesus Christ.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (Luk 1:34)

Now there is a vast difference between the question of Zacharias and the question of Mary. Zacharias was questioning the word of the Lord. Mary was only asking information on the procedures. “How is this to be, seeing I know not a man?” Hers was not the question of doubt. Hers was only an inquiring question as to the manner by which it should be fulfilled. She believed. And that is pointed out a little later as Elisabeth said, “Blessed art thou who hast believed the words that the Lord spoke to thee.”

She believed the word that the Lord spoke to her. However, she didn’t know by what process it was to be fulfilled, and that really was her question. “How is this going to be, seeing I am a virgin, I know not a man?”

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy one which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month of her pregnancy, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her (Luk 1:35-38).

There is sometimes within the Protestant circles, perhaps a backlash to that position that the Catholics have sought to place Mary in as the intercessor, and even some today, the co-redemptress, and there is that backlash among Protestants, oftentimes, to sort of put Mary down. However, as the angel said unto her that she was highly favored, that the Lord was with her and she was blessed among women. Surely when God chose an instrument by which to send His Son into the world, I am certain that He chose an instrument that He has thoroughly prepared. And I believe that Mary must have been one of the most beautiful of character of any woman who has ever lived. And I think that we can demonstrate this actually in the text. That she was a extremely unique individual.

Now remember it is possible that at this point she was only about sixteen years old. And yet, there is such a depth of character that is demonstrated in her. And it begins right here as when the angel tells her all of these remarkable, unusual things that are bound to create problems, as they did with Joseph her espoused husband, she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.” With other words, she submitted herself to the purpose of God. “Here I am, let the Lord do as He pleases in my life.” That kind of commitment. And I am just intrigued. And Mary is another one that I want to meet. What an unusually remarkable person. Surely the most blessed of any woman who has ever lived.

Now culturally it was the dream, the hope, the desire of every Jewish girl to be the instrument through which God would send the Messiah into the world. And thus, many young Jewish girls, when they had a boy born to them, would call his name Joshua. Hoping that maybe God would use that child to be the instrument of His salvation. And that was a reason, one of the reasons why being barren was considered such a curse. You have no opportunity to be the mother of the Messiah if you are barren. And that was the hope of every young Jewish girl to be the instrument that God would use, the dream, the hope. And with Elisabeth being barren, she had lost that hope. And, of course, everyone who was barren, they would lose the hope. “Oh, I can’t be the instrument.” And that was a very disappointing thing to them, to feel, “I can’t be the instrument that God uses to accomplish His purpose.”

Oh, that we would be concerned about being the instrument though which God accomplishes His purposes. Today, the Drews are very interesting people. They have an interesting religion that really they don’t even know what it is. In the Drews religion, it’s a break off from the Moslems, but only their priests know what they believe; the people don’t know what they believe. And the priest does the whole religious bit for them. They know they are Drews, and they know that this is their religion and all, but only the priests know what it’s all about. And they know what they believe, but the people don’t. And many of the men, though, are priests. And as you go through the Drews’ villages today, you will see these men wearing these pants with these large pouches in the front. For one of the things that the Drews do believe is that when the Messiah comes, He will be born of a man. And so going through their villages, and it’s fascinating to go through the Drews’ villages, and see these huge baggy pants in the front, these sacks that hang down in the front, and these man wear these in case they are the one that God chooses to send the Messiah through him.

In other words, they are they ones that get pregnant with the Messiah, and so they are prepared for it by wearing these pants with these large baggy things in the front. They are all set for their pregnancies. They already got their maternity clothes.

But such was the hope of every young girl in Israel. And the fulfillment of that hope came to one, a young girl from Nazareth. A beautiful young girl in character and spirit named Mary.

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, to the city of Juda; and she entered into the house of Zacharias, and she greeted Elisabeth (Luk 1:39-40).

That word saluted is an old English word, and it actually means greeted. In the marriage ceremony they used to say, “You may now salute your bride.” But during World War II, too many of the guys were not really understanding the old English word salute, and so it’s now something that you say, “You may now kiss your bride.”

So she entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elisabeth.

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the [greeting] salutations of Mary, that the baby leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as I heard the voice of your greeting sounding in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believes: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord (Luk 1:41-45).

I suppose that this would be an appropriate place to talk about abortion.

There was John the Baptist six months along, and yet, there was some kind of a recognition, for when Mary spoke, he responded it to it in the womb.

We are told that as the child is in the womb, that it begins to understand and to recognize voices. That you pregnant mothers should talk to your child. For if you are talking to them while you are still pregnant, they will be comforted by your voice after they are born, because they have learned to recognize it. More and more are we discovering interesting facets of that fetal development. And here at six months with John there was that capacity to leap for joy in his mother’s womb when he heard the voice of Mary.

Now remember she is speaking by the Holy Spirit. And thus, we have the word of the Holy Spirit that the child leaped for joy, at the word of Mary.

We talked a little bit this morning about what factors are considered in determining what is right and what is wrong in our present society. And the effect that the philosophy has had upon our entire culture. The idea that the morees determine in a society what is accepted and unacceptable behavior. What is good, what is bad, what is right, and what is wrong. And in this particular philosophical determination, if enough people within a society began to practice a certain thing, it becomes then socially acceptable, or it becomes good, or becomes right, because that is determined by the mores of the society itself. Accepting that God does not exist, because it has to come from a totally humanistic base. God does not exist. And therefore, there is no godly standard for right or wrong. And in as much as there is no goodly standard for right or wrong, right or wrong is determined strictly by the practices, the mores of a particular society. And the sociologists will show that there are societies where the father has nothing to do with the children. And so in that society it is perfectly alright as the uncle takes the father role within the home. There are societies where they have a plurality of wives, or a plurality of husbands. And because it’s the accepted practice of the society, no one thinks wrong of it or thinks it’s bad or evil, and because the mores determine what is right and what is wrong. So you get enough people doing something, and suddenly it becomes right. And so we get enough abortions, killing millions of innocent babies, but it’s alright because it has become part of the mores. No one is supposed to say anything against it.

I have a hard time handling my emotions around a child. I become foolish. I try to come to their level a bit to communicate with them. I am so fascinated with children. I love children so much. I love little boys, and I love little girls. And to me there is nothing more enjoyable than communicating with children. Seeing their responses. I love to study their faces. I love to study their habits. I love to study just children. I can hold them and just look at them for hours on end, watching them, watching the changing expressions and all. I love to see them develop and grow. That is why I have such tremendous difficulty with child abuse. Where an adult would deliberately abuse a little child. Hurt it, damage it, beat it, destroy it. And unfortunately, it is a rising, increasing problem in our society.

In fact, in L. A. County this year there have been more murders of infants than any time in the history of L. A. It’s at record heights. Babies that are beaten to death, they are drowned, or suffocated, abused. It’s reached record proportions this year. And I have such difficulty with this. My body begins to recoil. I have to put it out of my mind, because I just can’t think about to long, it just affects me too deeply. But I wonder if much of this isn’t attributed to the fact that we’ve began to put a cheaper value on life by the legalizing of abortion. You see, it’s alright to abuse the child, as long as it hasn’t been born yet. But if it is alright to abuse that child because it really doesn’t understand much, it hasn’t been born yet, then I wonder if the next step, it, well, it doesn’t really understand too much of what’s going on, so what difference does it make if you abuse the child? Because it doesn’t really know or understand much yet. Whether or not that has anything to do with it, all I know is that with cheapening of the value of life, it seems to be following through all the segments of our society. And I think that we have some extremely dangerous sociological implications that will arise, from some of these humanistic, liberal legislative decisions that are being made. And I only say that to warn you. I don’t think we’re going to have to deal with it too long. I don’t think God will allow things to go on much longer; I would be very shocked if He does.

All I can say, if I was the Lord, I would have closed it down a long time ago.

Now Elisabeth said onto her,

Blessed is she that believed (Luk 1:45):

Mary believed.

for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said (Luk 1:45-46),

And here we now get an insight into the beautiful depth of this young girl, as she began to just worship the Lord.

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. For his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. For he hath shown strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud and the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He’s helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; And as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever [in a reference to the promise of God to Abraham, that through thy seed all nations of the earth will be blessed]. And Mary stayed with her for about three months (Luk 1:46-56),

Probably until the time that John was born.

and then she returned to her own house (Luk 1:56).

Probably stayed to help during this period of pregnancy.

Now she speaks here, beginning with verse 51, of the revolution that God creates. First of all, “He has scattered the proud and the imagination of their hearts.” And so the first revolution is really an individual revolution of God scattering the proud. The second, “He put down the might from their thrones, and exalted them of low degree.” And then thirdly, “Filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty,” an economic revolution.

Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had shown great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eight day they came to circumcise the child; they called him Zacharias, after his father. But his mother answered and said, Not so; he shall be called Johanan [God is gracious]. And they said unto her, There is none of your family that is called by that name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him to be named. He asked for a writing tablet, and he wrote, saying, His name is John [or Johanan]. And all of them marveled (Luk 1:57-63).

Now when a woman was in labor, the neighbors would begin to gather, they would bring their musical instruments, and they would bring food and they prepare for a great party when the child was born. And when the child was born, and they would say, “It’s a boy,” the musicians would start playing, and they all dance, and they would have a big party. If when the child was born, and they said, “It’s a girl,” they take their musical instruments, fold them up, and go home.

In those days it was considered a great blessing to have a boy born in the home. But girls were sort of disregarded. It took really the teachings of Jesus Christ to elevate women to their proper level. Placing upon them that glory, honor that they deserve.

You women should be extremely thankful for Jesus Christ. All you have to do is go into a culture where the gospel of Christ has not had a strong influence, and look at the role of the woman, and you will appreciate more and more what Jesus Christ has done for you.

Look at the Bedouin society, look at the Indian culture, look at the culture of those people in New Guinea. Read the book, Lords of the Earth, it’s a tremendous sociological insight into the culture of the New Guineans before the coming of Christianity. You’ll really appreciate what Jesus Christ has done, in His elevation of womanhood, to its beautiful, proper place.

Now as soon as he had written on the tablet, his name is John,

His mouth was opened, and his tongue was loosed, and he spoke, and praised God. And fear came on all those that dwelled about them: and all of these sayings were noised abroad throughout all of the hill country of Judea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What kind of a kid is this going to be? For the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luk 1:64-67),

Now Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary greeted her. Now Zacharias is filled with the Holy Spirit,

and he prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people (Luk 1:67-68),

Blessing God for, first of all, the fact that God has visited His people. Jesus Christ is God, manifested in the flesh. And through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as he is prophesying, the first declaration is that God, the Lord God of Israel, has visited His people. “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God. The same was in the beginning with God, and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-2, 14).

He visited His people. But the purpose of His visit was redemption. He was visited and redeemed His people. Jesus, in announcing His purpose, declared, “For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Redemption, the purpose of the coming of Christ. The Lord has raised up a power of salvation. The horn was always symbolic of power. And so He’s raised up the power to salvation in the house of His servant David.

Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ: it is the power of God unto salvation to those that believe” (Romans 1:16).

The preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto us who are saved, thereby it is the power of God.

Oh, blessed be God. He has visited His people. God has come to bring redemption, to give power for salvation through the house of His servant David.

As he spoke by the mouth of the holy prophets, which have been since the world began (Luk 1:70):

Recognizing that the prophesies concerning the Savior, concerning the Messiah, have been in existence from the beginning of men’s existence from the beginning of the fall, actually from the time of the fall, when God said to the woman, “Cursed be the serpent. Crawl upon the earth.” But then He said that the seed of the woman will bruise his head. That sin would be destroyed by the seed of the woman. Blessed be God, He has brought now the power of salvation. He has redeemed through the seed of the woman, through the virgin-born child.

For God is performing the mercies that he has promised to our fathers, and he is remembering his holy covenant; the oath which he swore to our father Abraham (Luk 1:72-73),

“Through thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

That he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear (Luk 1:74),

Salvation is more than being saved from. Yes, God has delivered us from the hand of our enemy, but He has saved us for the purpose that we might serve Him, without fear.

In holiness and in righteousness (Luk 1:75)

Now both holiness and righteousness have as their root idea that of being right. But holiness is a rightness of character, whereas righteousness is a rightness in conduct. But the one springs out of the other. Holiness is the root. Righteousness is the fruit that springs forth from the root. The difficulty that so many people have today is their endeavor to be right without holiness. But ultimately, any endeavor to be right will break down, for there is no motive strong enough to maintain righteousness, other than holiness. You’ve got to be pure at the core. You’ve got to have the holiness, the right attitude, if you are to have the right actions or activities.

And so it is God’s purpose, first of all, that we walk before Him, or serve Him in holiness. That God does that work within our heart, changing our character, our life, in order that we might also serve Him in righteousness.

The Pharisees had a system of righteousness apart from holiness, and it was total failure. And Jesus remarked on the failure. He said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you’re not going to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). So to the disciples that must have been one of the most shocking statements that Jesus had ever made. Because who was more right, who did the things more right than did the Pharisees? And yet, unless your righteousness exceeds those, you’re not going to make it, Jesus said. Why? Because theirs was a righteousness without holiness. It wasn’t from the heart. Their attitudes were stinking according to Jesus.

“The outside you’re like a whitened sepulchre, but inside dead man’s smelly bones. The outside of the platter is all clean, but the inside of the cup is filled with vermon. You may clean the outside, but the inside you have a righteousness without holiness, totally unaccepted. And unless your righteousness exceeds the scribes and the Pharisees, you are not going to make into the kingdom of heaven.” Because you have to have a righteousness that springs from holiness. The holiness of character. And God’s purpose that we serve Him in holiness and in righteousness,

all the days of our life (Luk 1:75).

And now addressing the child. This is a prophecy concerning the one that the child is to go before, but concerning the child himself, little John lying there.

And thou, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest (Luk 1:76):

Jesus said, of all the prophets born of woman, there hasn’t been a greater one than arise than John. “Thou shalt be called the prophet of the Highest.”

for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation onto his people, by the remission of their sins. Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the sunrising from on high hath visited us [Or the dayspring, or the sunrising, or the rising of the sun], to give light to those that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace [again referring to Christ] (Luk 1:76-79).

God, by His tender mercy, has sent the sunrise from on high to visit us, that He might give us light, for those who are sitting in darkness, and in the shadows. That He might guide our feet in the way of peace. Peace with God.

And so the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his showing onto Israel (Luk 1:80).

Chapter 2

Now it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And the taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syra.) And all went to be taxed, every one to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, and unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and the lineage of David,) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, who at this point was great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should deliver her child. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (Luk 2:1-7).

“And it came to pass in those days…” Those were the days when the Roman Empire was being formed. Originally the Roman Empire was ruled by several generals, but gradually the power began more and more to be invested into one man, until finally Gaius Octavius gained control. He took the name Caesar from his uncle by adoption. And the name Augustus was given to him by the Roman senate when he gained power. When finally he was able to gain control and one man began to rule over Rome, the senate determined to give him some title, and they first suggested that they call him the king of Rome. And he rejected that title. Then they said, “We’ll call you the dictator of Rome.” And he didn’t like that. And so finally they came up this title Augustus, which has as its background, though, of the god’s. He said, “I like that.” And so he was called Caesar Augustus. This man was the most powerful man on the face of the earth.

“It came to pass in those days, that there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed, and every man went to be taxed.” Think of the power. Here is a guy sitting in Rome. Gradually he has gained this position of power, until he is able to issue a decree, and immediately the whole world must bow. There is no one to appeal to. One man makes a decree; the whole world must bow to that decree. For Rome had bludgeoned the world into submission.

It came to pass in those days that the temple of Janice was closed. Janice was the god of war. And whenever the Roman troops were out in the fields to battle, the temple gates would be open that the people might come in and pray for victory for their troops. But the gates were closed, for there was peace. For sixteen years the gates had been closed.

You say, “Oh what a beautiful time for the Prince of peace to be born.” But think again. There was peace only because Rome was such a powerful ruling force that no man dared to say that his life was his own. Every man was a slave to Rome. World ruled by one man. This is what Caesar had sought to obtain. And he gave a decree.

It is interesting that in Egypt we have actually found records of these censuses that were made by the Roman government. They were made every fourteen years. And we have found the records of those censuses that were taken in Egypt every fourteen years.

In a little province of Rome, far off from Rome and the Roman capital, in a little city called Nazareth, of which hardly anybody had heard of it, there was a young couple, they were both of the house of David. And when the decree came from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed–enrolled in the census, actually for taxation–they, too, had to submit to this Augustus Caesar, and in order for them to enroll in the census, they had to go back to their family home, city of Bethlehem. And interestingly enough, in Egypt there are records that they have discovered where it said that the people had to return to their family homes for the census to be taken, completely confirming this account in the scriptures.

And so it was necessary that at this point of pregnancy, which becomes quite miserable, as in the final days of waiting the birth of the child, so many things are happening within as far as the hormones are concerned, and there are so many physical responses and reactions, and yet, because this fellow in Rome has given a decree, Mary and Joseph, not withstanding her pregnancy, have to make this long journey. Long in those days, because of the mode of transportation. Something like seventy miles or so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, just to fulfill the commandment, just in obedience to the commandment of this fellow in Rome.

“And so it came to pass, that Joseph went up out of the city of Nazareth, there in Galilee, clear on down to Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled, or taxed with Mary his espoused wife being great with child. And while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, laid Him in a manger. There was no room in the inn.”

Interesting…if you were God, where would you have your Son to be born? Interesting that when God came to visit the earth, there was no room for Him in the inn. Sort of a precursor of His entire life, I guess. For even today there are people who refuse to make room for Him. They have room and time for just about everything but Him. It seems that He is still consigned to a position outside of the general society. But there is something more to this, that’s looking at it from a human standpoint. Let’s go up a bit and look down. Interesting what you can see when you draw back a bit, and get a little broader prospective.

Seven hundred years before this event took place, before this young couple made their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, at this critical point of pregnancy. Seven hundred years earlier a prophet had said, “And thou Bethlehem, though you are little among the provinces in Judea, yet out of thee shall come He whose goings forth has been from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). The prophet had predicted that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah.

So when I read in the text, “It came to pass in those days that Caesar Augustus gave a decree that all the world shall be taxed,” and Joseph had to journey to Bethlehem in order to be taxed, I realize that because the Word of God had said that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem, that it isn’t really that little man sitting on the throne in Rome that is really in control of things, he is only a puppet. He has not gained what he desired–world rulership–but that child that is being born in Bethlehem is the one who will ultimately experience true hegemony.

You see, God had a problem. Mary and Joseph were clear up in Nazareth, and yet, the prophecy said the child had to be born in Bethlehem. Now no couple in their right mind are going to make that journey all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem at this point of pregnancy. So God has to somehow get them down to Bethlehem. How are we going to work out this problem? God begins to pull the strings, and Caesar Augustus says, “Let’s enroll all the world for taxing, let it be done.” The decree of Caesar. “Yes, sir.” Here he thinks he is in control, but in reality he is only responding in order that God’s purposes, which had been declared seven hundred years earlier, might be fulfilled. That Mary and Joseph might get to Bethlehem before the birth of that child.

There is a lot of aloneness expressed in this. She brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger. Evidently she had no help at the birth of the child. Usually there was a midwife to take the child and to wrap it in its swaddling clothes and to take care of it. But no help. And so she herself–you remember now, sixteen and a half, seventeen years old, giving birth to a child in a manger, a stable. The place where they kept the animals. But that child is the fulfillment of God’s promise. For He is God, who has come to visit men, to redeem him.

Oh, what a story.

Now there were in the same country shepherds who were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night (Luk 2:8).

Just a point–this means that He couldn’t have been born on the twenty-fifth of December, because it gets too cold for the shepherds to stay out in the field in the winter month. And so the twenty-fifth of December was borrowed from the pagan holiday of Saturnalia, and more and more it is becoming a pagan holiday, which it originated as. I wonder how long we as Christians can continue to even observe the sham of December 25th.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid (Luk 2:9).

It is thought that the shepherds were perhaps the temple shepherds, because they offered a lamb every morning and every evening, and had to be without spot and blemish. And so, in order that they would have enough lambs for the sacrifices, they had their own temple shepherds who kept the lambs for the temple sacrifices. And it is thought by many that these shepherds were those who were watching those lambs that were to be used for sacrifices in the temple. And if so, of course significant, because they were the first ones to see the Lamb of God who was to take away the sins of the world.

And so they were out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. When the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were so afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people (Luk 2:10).

Good tidings, great joy, all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour [the Messiah], the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And so it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into the heavens, the shepherds said one to another, Let’s go now even to Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us (Luk 2:11-15).

The angel of the Lord appeared to these shepherds. I think the angel was Gabriel. I don’t have any proof for that, just a strong hunch. Because we already know he can’t keep a secret, and we already know that he had quite a bit to do with making the arrangements for the birth of the child. And now that his job is pretty much complete, the child is there, it’s safely born, wrapped in swaddling clothes, his job is over. The child had his first cry and gone asleep there in the manger, and I finished my task. It’s over. The most exciting event in the history of the world has just taken place. God has taken on a human form that He might visit men to redeem him.

Oh, what news everybody ought to know. But nobody is awake. All the lights are out; the candles are all blown out all over Bethlehem. And so as Gabriel is observing the whole scene, he sees a flicker of a fire out towards Jerusalem. All right. And he goes over and finally got someone awake. “Hey, guys, great news! Today in the city of David, He is there, the Savior, Christ the Lord, the Messiah, you’ll find Him. He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, and He is lying in an manger.”

And then, of course, there were other angels that suddenly appear, as they were praising God saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth…now the possibility of peace, and good will toward men.”

Exciting scenes. I never tire of them.

And so they came with haste, and they found Mary and Joseph, and the babe. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when the eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus (Luk 2:16-21),

They usually named the boy on the day of the circumcision, which was always eight days after his birth, and it was such an important right, that even if it came on the Sabbath, they would go ahead and circumcise the child on the eighth day. It was one of the rare things that they would be allowed to do on even the Sabbath day.

The called His name Jehoshua,

which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished (Luk 2:21-22),

She had a son; she had to go through forty days of purification. If she had a daughter, she would have gone through eighty days of purification. Sort of a punishment for having a girl. Forty days of purification were accomplished.

then they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord (Luk 2:22);

Now after the forty days, then they were to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. A lamb and a dove. Or if they were poor, instead of the lamb, they could offer two turtledoves.

(For it was written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb should be called holy onto the Lord;) (Luk 2:23)

Actually, the Lord claimed the firstborn. But it came to the place were the people could redeem the firstborn, and God finally chose the Levi’s. And they would then pay the Levi’s for the firstborn, redeeming their firstborn for being committed for serving the Lord. But they brought the firstborn, holy to the Lord.

And that to offer the sacrifice according to the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves (Luk 2:24),

That was for the poor people, and so it would indicate that Mary and Joseph were poor. Which to me is interesting, because Jesus perhaps grew up in a home filled with poverty. And he knows what it was to have those kind of struggles that we have, as we think about the payment of the bills, and where we’re going to get this and that and the other, and thus, He can identify with us in our concerns for our needs.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and he was a just and a devout man, who was waiting for the consolation of Israel [the peace]: and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not die, until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah (Luk 2:25-26).

Now here is a man who walked with God. An godly older man, and God said, “Look, you’re not going to die until you have had the opportunity to see the Messiah.”

And so he was lead by the Spirit at that time into the temple: and when the parents of Jesus brought him in, in order that they might fulfill the customs of the law, he took him up in his arms, and he blessed God, and he said, Oh Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word: for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten [who?] the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel (Luk 2:27-32).

So here in the prophecy it was to be a light, not just to Israel alone, but to the world, to the gentiles.

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of the child. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall in the rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also;) that the thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed (Luk 2:33-35).

And so he is telling Mary, “Look, this child is set for great blessings to the people, but it’s going to pierce as a sword through your own soul.” Preparing her for the agony and the pain that she would experience, as she would watch one day this child, hanging on the cross.

Now there was a lady by the name of Anna, who was a prophetess, she was the daughter Phanuel, she was of the tribe of Asher: she was of great age, [actually she was eighty-four years old] and she lived with the same husband from the seven years after her period (Luk 2:36);

When a girl began her menstrual period, seven years after she had began her menstrual period, she was married, and she lived with that same man all this time, that’s what it is saying. The way it is written it’s a little hard to understand. She had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity. And so that is from the time that she had began her menstrual period, seven years from that time, she got married and lived with this man the whole while. She was now eighty-four years old.

and she departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings, and prayers night and day (Luk 2:37).

One of those beautiful, godly saints.

And she coming in that instant, gave thanks likewise to the Lord, and spoke of him to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Now when they had performed all of the things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom to the feast (Luk 2:38-42).

Probably the first time He was able to go to the feast, because He was now twelve and getting time for His bar mitzvah.

And so when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning (Luk 2:43),

That is, the days of the feast of the Passover, they went every year; they were a devout couple as they had fulfilled the days, they returned.

and the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother did not know of it (Luk 2:43).

Now hundreds of people would travel together. And usually the women would take of first because they traveled slower. And the men would take off later, and would always catch up with them by night; they make camp for the evening. And so they took of for Nazareth with all of their friends and the families, and all. And when they started making camp at night, and Joseph probably caught up with them, he said, “Where is Jesus?” And she said, “Well, isn’t He with you?” “No, I thought He was with you.” And so they looked around. They inquired from all of the relatives, “No, we haven’t seen Him.” And so they each thought that He was probably in the company of people.

and when they sought for him among the kinsfolk and their acquaintances, no one had seen Him. So when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for Him (Luk 2:44-45).

Now here is a little twelve-year-old fellow. He thinks, “Oh, my, my parents are gone,” and he be all concerned and worried.

And it came to pass, after three days they found him (Luk 2:46),

They didn’t find Him when they first got back. And when they found Him, he was in the temple.

sitting in the midst of the doctors, as he was listening to them and asking them questions. And all of those that heard him were astonished at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why have you dealt with us like this? behold, your father and I have sought you sorrowing (Luk 2:46-48).

Notice, “your father and I,” referring to Joseph. He is quick to correct her.

And he said unto them, How is it that you were looking for me? did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luk 2:49)

He didn’t recognize Joseph as His father at this point. “I must be about my Father’s business.”

Now these are the first recorded words of Jesus. They are important, because they express the purpose of His existence. What is it? “I must be about my Father’s business.”

Now I hear a lot of people say, “Oh, I know I ought to be doing that.” That doesn’t carry much force. Because we ought to be doing a lot of things we don’t do. “Oh, I know I should, I really should.” That doesn’t carry much force.

But when a person says, “I must.” Listen, because now you are getting close to the real heart of the life. “I must be about my Father’s business.” That was the burden of the life of Jesus, to do the Father’s will. “I must be about my Father’s business.”

And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. But he went down with them, and they came to Nazareth, and he was subject unto them: but his mother kept all of these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, [grew up strong, big fellow] and in favor with God and man (Luk 2:50-52).

So in the first two chapters get the background now, and in chapter 3 we begin with the ministry of John the Baptist, and that of Jesus.

May the Lord bless and increase your knowledge and understanding of His truth, as we have this opportunity of sharing together in God’s Word, growing, and learning. And may we also be increased in wisdom and in favor with God, and with man.

Chapters 3-4

Shall we turn to Luke’s gospel chapter 3.

As Luke begins the third chapter, he is giving you the date of the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist, and he uses no less than six historic references points to tell you when John began his ministry.

It was in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea, and Herod was the tetrarch (Luk 3:1)

And the word “tetrarch” means a ruler of a fourth part. And when Herod the Great died, he left the ruling of that area, they divided it into four, and three of his sons ruled over a part of the area. So a tetrarch was a ruler of a fourth part, and Philip the tetrarch of Iturea, Herod the tetrarch of Galilee,

and his brother Philip the tetrarch of Iturea in the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests (Luk 3:1-2),

And so these were the historic dating reference points.

Now we know that Tiberius Ceasar began his reign in the years 13-14. So that in the fifteenth year would make it about the year 29 A.D. that John the Baptist began his ministry.

It is interesting that he lists for us here two high priests, Annas and Caiaphas. The Jews only had one high priest at the time. However, Annas was the high priest for a period of time, around 13-14, but he was replaced by the Roman government. And there followed him three different high priests before the Roman government appointed Caiaphas as the high priest. So that Caiaphas was an appointment of Rome, whereas Annas was recognized by the people as the high priest. And he was the religious leader, where Caiaphas was as was the high priest in those days, a political leader under the appointment of Rome. So there was this period when, oddly enough, there were two high priests. One recognized by the Jews as the legitimate, the other recognized by the Roman government as the political appointee, Caiaphas.

Now when they arrested Jesus, they brought Him to Annas first, because He was still the power. He was the recognized power. And Caiaphas was more less a figurehead, but the recognized power was in Annas the older, the high priest. Caiaphas was actually one of his sons.

Herod being the tetrarch of Galilee, this was Herod Antipas, and we’ll come across him in just a few moments again. And so in this time,

the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness (Luk 3:2).

Now we were introduced to John last Sunday night, and to his miraculous kind of birth, as his mother and father were both of them well stricken in years. And up to this point, Elisabeth his mother had been barren. And the announcement of the angel concerning the birth of the child, who was to be the forerunner of the Messiah.

So now in the year 29, the word of the Lord came unto John.

And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sin; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight (Luk 3:3-4).

Now in those days when the king was to visit a certain area, there would always be couriers that would go out in advance of the king, and the couriers would tell the people, “The king is going to be visiting on such and such a day, clean up your yards, get the trash and all, all taken care of, repair the roads, and all, for the king’s coming.” So that when the king comes, he will see everything in a nice condition, the yard is clean, the trash is all out, and all of the roads repaired, no chuckholes or whatever, so that the king sees that everything’s is going well. And so John is as a courier, telling the people, “Make your path straight, the King is coming.”

Every valley shall be filled, every mountain and hills shall be brought low; the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth (Luk 3:5);

Preparing the way for the King.

And all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luk 3:6).

This was the promise that John was giving to the people. As they were to prepare themselves, they would see God’s salvation. And, of course, that was fulfilled through Jesus Christ.

Then he said to the multitude that came forth to be baptized, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Luk 3:7)

Imagine telling that your congregation, people are coming to be converted. And you say, “Oh, you generation of vipers.” Sounds like Romaine almost, doesn’t it? “You sinners, you know.” Romaine is our John.

“Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”

Bring forth therefore fruits that are worthy of repentance (Luk 3:8),

Or that demonstrate repentance, let us see your true repentance. Not in the fact that you just being baptized, let’s see it in your actions, let’s see it in your changed lives.

There are many people who, upon the excitement of an emotional moment, will renounce their life of sin, will renounce their past. And will make their vows of, “I am going to be different, I am going to do better. I promise; I swear before God, I am going to be a different man.” Words are cheap. John said, “Let’s see the fruit of it. Let’s see the changes in your life.” And calling for more than just a verbal-type of a commitment, but let’s see the fruit of it in the changed lives.

and don’t say within yourselves, [he said] That we have Abraham as our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (Luk 3:8).

Now this is the claim of the Jews: “We have Abraham as our father. God gave the covenant to Abraham and to his seed forever. So we are the beneficiaries of God’s grace and covenant to Abraham. We have Abraham; we are the covenant people.” And they rested on that relationship to Abraham. And that was an extremely important thing. In fact, to Jesus, when Jesus was challenging their lifestyles, they said, “We have Abraham as our father.” It was a common saying among the Jews. As they were resting upon the covenant that God had made with Abraham and to his seed forever, and thus, recognizing that covenant they would say, “Well, we have Abraham as our father.” And that was sort of to excuse any kind of a lifestyle I want to live. “Well, I have Abraham as my father, I am under the covenant, and I can live however I please.” And he said, “Hey, don’t try and pass off that we have Abraham as our father bit, because God is able to raise up from stones children for Abraham.” And so he is calling for a true repentance, a changed life, changed actions.

And now also the ax will be laid unto the root of the trees: and every tree which does not bring forth good fruit will be caught down (Luk 3:9),

So he is calling for fruit that show repentance. Let’s see the fruit of it, because every tree that doesn’t bring forth good fruit will be cut down.

and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? (Luk 3:9-10)

And as we find his responses to the questions, we find that John was preaching a social gospel.

He answered and said unto them, If you have two coats, give one of those to someone who doesn’t have any; and if you have extra meat, do the same thing [share your abundance with the needy]. And then the tax collectors came to be baptized, and they said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you (Luk 3:11-13).

Now the tax collectors were appointees of the Roman government, and their pay was actually the excess taxes that they could collect. The Roman government had the certain standard that they had to collect. I mean that was just the tax due to Rome. But the tax collector would collect his own salary by adding to that tax. And that is why they were extremely hated by the people. They haven’t found much more favor even today. Taxes are always a galling thing. But John is telling them, “Look, don’t collect the extra dividends, just that which is appointed you.”

And the soldiers likewise demanded, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. And as all the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he was the Messiah, or not; John answered them, saying unto them, I indeed baptize you with water; but one who is mightier than I is coming, the latched of whose shoes I am not worthy to untie: and he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable (Luk 3:14-17).

So as they are wondering, “Can this be the Messiah?” John declares unto them that he is really not the Messiah. That there is one that is coming after him who is mightier than he is. John is unworthy to untie His shoes. And though John is baptizing with water, He will baptize them with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

That baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire has been misunderstood, and as a result, we see a lot of fanaticism that is classified the baptism of fire. If a person, if a preacher in his preaching is very demonstrative, if he is shouting out his message from the top of his lungs, speaking rapidly, and sucking for air, and going on with a lot of movement and a lot of hand waving and a lot of pointing with the fingers and everything else, people say, “Man, he is really got the fire.” That isn’t the fire of the Holy Spirit; that can be fire of human energy, but not the fire of the Holy Spirit. So many times we see untoward type of demonstrations, usually in a violent kind of an emotional way, and people say, “Oh, oh, boy, they really got the fire.” Not of the Holy Spirit.

The fire of the Holy Spirit is always a purging fire, a cleansing fire. You may want to scream, but not in excitement, but in pain, as the fire of the Holy Spirit begins to burn in your heart, because the purpose of that fire is the purging of the dross. It always has as its net result purifying. And in the context here as he speaks of Him baptizing with fire, he declares, “Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor.” Now this is the threshing floor.

The fan was the large wide wooden shovel that they would take and take the wheat with the shovel, and they would throw the wheat in the air. And the wind would carry of the chaff, and the wheat would fall back down on the floor. And this was their way of threshing the wheat. Just wait for a windy day, and you go down to your threshing floor. You take what they call the fan, the big wide wooden shovel, and you just take the wheat in the wind, throw it up in the air, and the chaff would blow off, and the wheat would fall down. And you continue this process until you’d separated that little rough bran from the kernel of wheat itself.

And then he declared He will thoroughly cleanse, or purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His silo, in to His garner, but He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.

He, no doubt, is eluding to the first chapter of Psalms, where David talks about the blessed man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law does he meditate day and night. Who will be like a tree, planted by the river of water, bringing forth fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not withering, and whatsoever he does shall prosper. The wicked though, he said, are not so, but are like the chaff, which the wind driveth away.

So it is again a figure of purging, of cleansing, separating the chaff from the wheat. Separating the dross, the fire from the pure gold. So it is only proper that in context it is explained what is meant by the baptism of the Holy Spirit with fire.

And many other things in his exhortation he preached unto the people. But Herod the tetrarch [Herod Antipas], being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all of the evils which Herod had done, added yet this above everything else, in that he imprisoned John (Luk 3:18-20).

Herod Antipas, one of the sons of Herod the Great, his brother Philip ruled in the northern part of the province. He had another brother who lived in Rome. Now Herod the Great had many wives, many children. And one of his sons had a daughter named Herodias. Now the Herod who lived in Rome married his half niece Herodias, but when Herod Antipas, the character that we are dealing with in our text, went to Rome, he seduced her into marrying him, leaving his brother, marrying him, and returning with him to reign in Galilee. Which she did. So Herodias left her husband, who was also her step uncle, and she was actually a step sister-in-law to Herod Antipas, and also his step niece, but she became his wife. So it was quite an entangled situation. So your wife is also your niece and your sister-in-law. So John the Baptist dared to speak up against him. Now just didn’t speak up against the rulers. But John being the type that he was, spoke out against this relationship, said, “You have no right having Herodias as your wife, that’s wrong. What you did was wrong.” And so as the result, Herod imprisoned John.

Now when all of the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened (Luk 3:21),

Now Luke’s gospel shows to us more than any of the other gospels the human side of Jesus. John shows us more than any of the other gospels the divine side of Jesus. But Luke points out His humanity. And because Luke is careful to point out the humanity of Jesus, he is also very careful to point out the references where Jesus was praying. And in so many cases we find Luke making mention of the fact that Jesus was praying when certain things transpired. Or before certain decisions were made. And Luke gives us a keener insight into the prayer life of Jesus than any of the other gospels. And rightly so, because of his emphasis upon the human side of the nature of Jesus. And so it is only Luke’s gospel that points out the fact that Jesus was praying when He was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. That as He was baptized, He was praying, and the heavens were opened.

And the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased (Luk 3:22).

And so again, we find the tri-unity of God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Jesus, the Son of God, being baptized; the Holy Spirit descending upon Him; and the voice of the Father declaring, “Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.”

Now there are those people who are known as “Jesus Only.” You don’t run across many of them here in California, they are often called “The United Pentecostals.” There is an awful lot of them back in the southern states, and quite a group of them in Arizona, “The United Pentecostal Church,” or they take some even longer titles, “The United Pentecostal Church in Jesus’ Name,” and different titles. But their chief doctrinal difference is their belief that Jesus is the Father, He is the Holy Spirit, He is the Son, there is only one, and that is Jesus, it’s Jesus only. It’s interesting to bring up this particular verse to them, to hear double talk.

When Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, where did the voice come from? When the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” was Jesus practicing ventriloquism? And they really can dig a hole for themselves on this particular verse. And it’s fun; I do it to tease them every once in a while, watch them dig their hole.

Now Jesus at this point was about thirty years old. How long John was baptizing before Jesus came, we are not informed.

But Jesus at this point being about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the [and this should read,] son-in-law of Heli (Luk 3:23),

For here we obviously have the genealogy of Mary and not of Joseph. In Matthew’s gospel we have the genealogy of Joseph. And in Matthew’s gospel the genealogy begins not with Adam, but with Abraham coming down through David, and from David through Solomon, coming to Jesus Christ. Now here we start with Jesus, and we go back to Adam, not to Abraham. But we go all the way back to Adam. Now you’ll find that the genealogy between Abraham and David is the same. However, in the genealogy here in Luke, rather than coming through Solomon, it comes through Nathan, Solomon’s older brother. And we come to Mary, the mother of Jesus, Joseph, the son-in-law of Heli.

Now why would we have two genealogies for Jesus differing? And if Joseph isn’t the father of Jesus, then what is the value of putting Joseph’s genealogy in the record? If He was born of the virgin Mary, I can understand Mary’s genealogy. Let it be said that the person’s genealogy was an important document in that person’s life among the Jews. God had a special purpose for the Jewish nation. That special purpose was that they were to bring the Messiah into the world. And thus, as God established His covenant with them, and His law, He incorporated within that law and within that covenant a very close guarding of the race itself. And the prohibitions against inner racial marriages, because God was seeking to keep a line from Abraham and David to the Messiah. For anyone to declare themselves to be the Messiah they must prove that they are descendents of Abraham, and descendents of David, because God promised to both Abraham, and to David that from their seed the nations of the world would be blessed.

God said to David, “I will build thee a house, and there will always be one sitting upon the throne.” And He was referring to the Messiah. So that the Messiah has to be able to prove.

Now there in the time of the return from the captivity in Babylon, Ezra and Nehemiah, there were certain men who said, “Well, we’re of the house of Levi, we want to exercise the office of the priesthood.” And so they said, “Alright, show us your genealogy.” And these fellows were unable to produce their genealogies. They had been lost in Babylon. And because they could not produce their genealogies proving that they were of the tribe of Levi, they were not allowed into the priesthood. Only those that could bring out their genealogy, and prove that they were from the tribe of Levi. And so it was an extremely important thing to those people to maintain the records, the family records of their genealogies, in order that they might prove what family, what line they came from. It was especially important for the Messiah.

Now it would immediately put a disclaimer upon anyone today claiming to be the Messiah, because no one today has their records that can take them back to Abraham and David. So anyone who would come along saying, “I am the Messiah” would have no ability to prove that claim, inasmuch, there are no more records that would trace them back through Abraham and David.

Now why Joseph’s genealogy? If you notice, Joseph’s genealogy comes through Solomon and the kingly line. So that it brings you down to Jesus from the line of Solomon, and the kingly line showing that Jesus as the adopted son, the eldest adopted son of Joseph, had right to the title to the king of Israel. As the oldest adopted son of Joseph. But as the son of Mary, coming through Nathan, who was the older brother of Solomon, Nathan was the legal heir of David. And so through Mary He received His legal heirship through David. But through the adopted sonship of Joseph He received the kingly right.

Now during the later part of the time of the kings in Judea, in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 22, because of the wickedness of the king Jeconiah, God placed a curse upon him, and this curse that God placed upon Jeconiah precluded any of his descendants taking the throne in Israel. The last verse of Jeremiah 22, “Thus saith the Lord, ‘Write ye (concerning Jeconiah) this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.'” From Jeconiah it was cut off. And none of his sons sat upon the throne. And from this word of the Lord, none of his descendants could sit upon the throne.

Now if you will read the genealogy of Joseph in Matthew, you will find out he was a descendant of Jeconiah. So he could not sit upon the throne. If He were from the bloodline of Jeconiah, the actual son of Joseph, but being the adopted son of Joseph, and yet, the son of Mary through Nathan and David, He had the legal claim to the house of David. Plus He could take and sit upon the throne as the eldest son of Joseph, yet not be of the seed of Jeconiah. So it’s fascinating that God would put both records in, so He can sit as the King, because He is the adopted eldest son of Joseph, but He also has the legal right, because He is the son of Mary, virgin-born.

So Luke gives us that genealogy through Mary and gives the names of all these people, and we are not going to go through them. But it is interesting that he goes all the way back to Adam, so that where Matthew relates Him only to the Jewish race, Luke relates Him to the world. Because we are all descendants of Adam. So all of us are related to Jesus, as Luke makes the relationship of Jesus to the world, and thus, we can each one identify being Jew or Gentile, because He comes basically from Adam. We all relate to Him and can relate to Him.

Chapter 4

And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan (Luk 4:1),

Now He was at Jordan where He was baptized by John, and He returned from Jordan.

and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Luk 4:1),

Now the Judean wilderness stretches from an area just fifteen miles north of Jericho, and continues on down to the Dead Sea. And it extends back to what are known as the Jerusalem Hills, and it is a very barren, desolate area known as the Judean wilderness. There is about an average of one inch of rain a year.

It was in this area that Bishop Pike died as he was searching for the historic Jesus. It is a very wild, desolate area. It oftentimes gets up to 120, 125 degrees there in that Judean wilderness.

And Jesus went into the wilderness.

Forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did not eat anything: [so forty days fasting] and when they were ended, he afterward hungered (Luk 4:2).

Now those who have fasted for prolonged periods of time will tell you that after five days that strong appetite leaves, and you really don’t get that hungry. Now I can tell you after three days you’re vanished. You start having visions of hot fudge sundaes and strawberry shortcake. But they tell me, if you can get to the fifth day that the hunger begins to leave, and that you will not get hungry again until you begin to starve to death. And they do say that a person, by taking water, can exist as much as forty days or so without eating. But once you get hungry after a prolonged period, it is important that you eat, and of course, you have to eat, breaking your fast very slowly. In other words, if you sit down to a big dinner after fasting for forty days, it will kill you. Your body wouldn’t be able to handle it. So if you’ve been fasting for say fourteen days, you should take at least fourteen days in breaking the fast. Beginning with just half glass of juice, and half water mixed together, and break it slowly, introducing foods and nutrients to your body again, because if you introduce too much, too fast, it can actually destroy you, it can kill you. Your body just can’t handle it. And a lot of people have died because they were foolish in breaking a fast. They just go out and eat a big dinner.

So Jesus had been fasting, going without food for forty days. And now He was hungry. Which means that He was beginning to starve to death.

And so the devil said to him, If thou be the Son of God (Luk 4:3),

And in the Greek, the if is in the subjunctive, rather than in the indicative case. And the if in the subjunctive is not a question, but is a declaration, “Since thou art the Son of God”. He isn’t really questioning the fact if Jesus is the Son of God or not, but he is in reality saying, “Since thou art the Son of God,”

command this stone that it be made bread (Luk 4:3).

Use your divine gifts to satisfy the needs of your own flesh. A common temptation for men who have been gifted by God or placed in positions of authority or power by God, use God’s gift to you, for your own benefit, for the benefit of your own flesh, to enrich yourself. And there are always those who, unfortunately, succumb to that temptation of the prostituting of their gifts that God has given to them, as they use them for their own benefit, rather than for the blessing of the entire body of Christ.

Satan is suggesting to Jesus that He do this, that the material is superior, the most important. But Jesus denied that suggestion with a word of God, declaring,

It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone (Luk 4:4),

The material life is not the most important.

but every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Luk 4:4).

Now all the way through Jesus emphasized and declared that the spiritual was superior to the material. This is the declaration of the New Testament, that the spiritual life is more important than, and superior to the material life. And this is the challenge that the world is giving us today in humanism, declaring that the material life is superior. And that is why the church and humanism lock horns. Because the true church of Jesus Christ must affirm the same message that Jesus declared, and that is, the spiritual is supreme. Humanism says the material is supreme. So the battle rages. But this is the declaration that Jesus made. The superiority of the spiritual over the physical realm.

Satan here was declaring the superiority of the physical over the spiritual. Take the spiritual and make something physical out of it. Take the spiritual power, and take that stone and make it bread, so you can feed yourself. You are hungry. And Jesus said, “Look, man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” The superiority of the spiritual over the material.

So the devil took him up to a high mountain, and showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time (Luk 4:5).

So before His eyes flash the kingdoms of the world. He saw Caesar sitting on the throne in Rome. He saw all of the power that world rulership brought. All of the honor, all of the glory. He saw the servants as they bowed and as they brought the delicacies. And He saw the people as he had the audience before him. Saw the power that he wielded from the throne.

And Satan said unto Jesus, All this power will I give to you, and the glory of them: for it’s been delivered unto me (Luk 4:6);

When was it delivered unto him? It was delivered unto to him in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned against the commandment of the Lord. They forfeited the earth to Satan. The Bible says, “Know ye not that whomsoever you yield yourself servants to obey, his servants you become. Whether obedience unto righteousness, or of disobedience unto sin. Yield therefore your members as instruments unto God, unto righteousness.” But in yielding to Satan’s suggestions, in obeying the suggestion of Satan, they were disobeying the command of God, and they yielded and forfeited the earth, which God had given to them, over to Satan. And Satan took control of the earth, as man yielded to his power, to his control, to his suggestion.

You see, in the beginning the world was God’s; He made it. But when God created men and placed men on the earth, God gave the earth to men. God said to Adam, “Have dominion over the earth, over the fish in the sea, the fowls in the air, over every moving and creeping thing, for I have given it unto thee” (Genesis 1:28). So God gave to men this beautiful gift of the earth. And at that time it was beautiful. And even today where you can find nature unspoiled, it’s still beautiful.

But men in his folly and in yielding to Satan forfeited over unto Satan the world. And man in turn became a slave. A slave of Satan. And so Paul the apostle said, “In times past you all walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, that even now is directing the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Satan is in control of the world. We sing, “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ear, all nature sings and… the music of the spheres.” But in reality, this is Satan’s world. He is telling that to Jesus. In fact, if you will study carefully, we will realize that the purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ was to redeem the world back to God. To bring it back into God’s sphere. Because men had forfeited to Satan, now God is seeking to bring it back into His sphere, and for this purpose He sent His Son to redeem the world.

Now as we look at the world today, we do not yet see the redemption. We still see a world that is in rebellion against God. And we see the effects of that rebellion in our society. And it is totally wrong for men to blame God for the calamities of our world, which calamities have resulted entirely from men’s rebellion against God ruling over the world. Yes, the world is in a mess. Yes, horrible things happen. Yes, there are things that we can’t explain or understand, especially in the light of God’s love. But we can understand them in the light of the world under the control of Satan, being governed and directed by Satan.

Now Jesus did not dispute Satan’s claim when Satan said, “Look, it’s mine, it’s been given to me, it’s been delivered to me, and I can give it to whomever I will.” Jesus didn’t dispute that; He recognized that fact. In fact, He knew that was true, and that’s what He had come for, is to wrest it from Satan. By redeeming the world by going to the cross, and dying to pay the price of redemption. The price of redemption was that of shedding the blood. And He was going to go to the cross to redeem the world. And that was God’s plan of the redemption of the world and man. It’s through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Now what Satan is actually suggesting here is that Jesus can escape the cross. “You don’t have to take God’s plan. You don’t have to take the path that God has prescript to redeem. I’ll make a deal with you, I’ll give it to you right now, without the cross. Only one little hitch, bow down and worship me.”

Of course, Jesus, had He bowed down to worship him, would then have been subservient also to Satan, and it would still be in his power. He would still be the one in control, because He would have bowed down to him. ” Submit to my authority, I give it all to you. You can sit on the throne, you can rule, but you be under my authority, having bowed down to me.”

And Jesus answered:

it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve (Luk 4:8).

Now, that the world is still under the control of Satan is evident by the fact that in the book of Revelation in chapter 13, when the man of sin, the beast comes on the scene, Satan will give to him his power and his throne. And we read that the antichrist will rule over the world. Satan still has the power of dispensing the world ruling powers to those whom he pleases. “I can give it to whomever I will.” God allows him, of course, but yet, Satan has still tremendous power and will turn the world over to the antichrist. But then Jesus will come with the title deed to the earth, and will declare, “The kingdoms of this world have now become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Messiah, and He shall reign for ever and ever, as king of kings, and Lord of Lords, forever and ever, and ever Hallaluja, Hallaluja, Amen” (Revelation 11:15).

That has not yet happened. I am personally convinced that it is not far off. I believe that man has sunk about as low as God will allow him to sink. I really believe that the time has come in the history of mankind that God must once again intervene. God has intervened in history before. He intervened at the tower of Babel. When the technology of men had increased to the extent that God said anything he wants to do, he is capable of doing. And we are again arriving at that type of technology. God intervened in at the time of Noah, when there was a tremendous advancement in the powers given unto men through occult forces. We are coming to that again. Time for intervention.

So Satan is laying before Jesus an extremely powerful temptation. Something extremely desirable. Something that He was willing to die for. But Satan is saying, “You don’t have to die for it. I give it to you, just bow down and worship me.”

The third temptation was at the pinnacle at the temple, where Satan suggested that He jump. And now Satan takes to quoting the scripture.

It is written, He will give his angels charge over thee (Luk 4:10),

He leaves out an important part. “To keep thee in all thy ways.” He omits that. So he is quoting only half of the scripture. Which he is a master in doing. Leaving out some of the salient points. It is written, “He will give His angels charge over thee,”

to bear thee up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone (Luk 4:11).

“If you’re the Son of God, go head and jump.” And the idea being, by jumping off of this high pinnacle of the temple and landing in that crowd of people down below, completely unharmed, soft landing. “The people by the spectacular demonstration of power will surely know that you’re the Messiah. And they will stand in awe of wonder of you.”

And Jesus said, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Luk 4:12).

Now a couple of weeks ago when we were closing out Mark’s gospel, we find that it was written there that these signs should follow them that believe. “In my name,” He said, “they will cast out devils, they will speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not harm them.” Again, this other written word of God applies, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” You are not to put yourself deliberately into jeopardy to prove anything. Jesus doesn’t need to prove that He is the Son of God by putting His life deliberately in jeopardy by jumping of the pinnacle of the temple to create a spectacular scene among the crowd below, by the angels bearing Him up, lest He dash His foot against a stone.

So it is not right to just take scriptures and say, “Well, it says if they drink any deadly thing,” so just drink cyanide and show that we are real believers. No, that’s tempting the Lord our God.

I know of missionaries who have been bitten by poisonous snakes without any harm at all. I know missionaries who have drunk poisonous swamp water, because of their intense suffering of malaria, and just so thirsty, they had to drink something, and put a straw down into that poisonous swamp water, and drink it without any harm. But for you to just go out and deliberately jeopardize yourself is manifestly wrong. Tempting the Lord our God.

So when the devil had ended all of the temptation, he departed from him for a season (Luk 4:13).

He came back, but for a while he left Him.

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit (Luk 4:14)

Now He began in chapter 4, full of the Holy Spirit, and being led by the Spirit. And now returning in the power of the Spirit. And so that work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus, leading Him, filling Him, empowering Him. And we as believers have that same privilege of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Being led by the Holy Spirit, and being empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Paul said, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be ye being filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Paul said in Romans 8, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “And you will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

So we as the believer have that same relationship with the Spirit that Jesus had, and that we can be filled with the Spirit, led by the Spirit, and empowered by the Spirit of God.

And as he was there went out a fame of him through all of the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all (Luk 4:14-15).

He was going around teaching in the synagogues in the area of the Galilee. Now at this particular time, according to Josephus, at this time was the governor in the area of Galilee, and Josephus in his writings declares that he had two hundred and four cities in his jurisdiction that had populations exceeding 10,000 people. So at the time that Jesus was ministering in the Galilee, it was a very populated area, perhaps as many as three million people. Of course, that’s the number that Josephus claims–three million people living in the area of Galilee during the ministry of Jesus. Today there is just about four million people in all of the land of Israel, most of them are in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There is probably less than a half a million people in the Galilee region today. But in the time of Christ, there were three million people inhabiting. Which, of course, is an extremely beautiful area. If there were an area in the world which I would enjoy living, it would be along the Sea of Galilee. It is so beautiful there; I love it there. You got hot summers, but you got the lake right there, skiing and swimming and all, it’s just a beautiful place. In fact, they used to say in the Galilee it was easier to raise ten tons of fruit than one child. It produced so abundantly in that area.

Now, He now returned to Nazareth where He was born and where He grew up. He spent thirty years in Nazareth. Where He was known as the carpenter’s son. And He was well known by the people.

And so he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as was his custom [He was in the habit of doing it], he went into the synogogue on the sabbath day, and he stood up to read the scriptures (Luk 4:16).

Now this was something, a custom that He had developed. He would go into the synogogue on the Sabbath day, and to teach. So He stood up to read the scriptures.

And they delivered unto him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah (Luk 4:17).

And, of course, all of the scriptures were on scrolls, and they would keep these in a depository in the synogogue, and they would carry it out, and they would unroll it. And so they handed Him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. And each day they had a particular passage that they read out of the scrolls. And in the synogogue worship, even to the present day, on every day of the year on this particular day they read these particular scriptures.

And so they handed him the prophet Isaiah.

And when he had opened the scroll, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of their sight to the blind, and set at liberty those that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and gave it again to the man who was in charge (Luk 4:17-20),

It reads minister, but really he was the servant. He isn’t minister in the sense that we think of a minister today. But he was just a fellow that carried the scrolls around.

and he sat down. And all of the eyes of the people that were in the synogogue were fasten on him (Luk 4:20).

When He sat down, that was indicative of the fact that He was now going begin to teach. The rabbis always sat when they taught. And so He stood to read the scriptures. But having read them, then in sitting down, he was signifying to the people He is now going to teach us the scriptures.

He looked up this particular passage in Isaiah, which is Isaiah 61, and He read out of Isaiah 61 the prophecy concerning the Messiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of the sight to the blind, and set at liberty those that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” This was to be the ministry of the Messiah. Now if you will go back to Isaiah 61, you’ll find that He stopped right in the middle of the text of Isaiah 61. He didn’t complete the reading of the ministry of the Messiah. The reason being, there are two comings of the Messiah. The rest of Isaiah 61 pertains to those things that will transpire when He comes again. As it speaks of the judgment and all that will transpire. That will await His second coming. Those things that He read are the things that pertain to His first coming. This would be His works. This would be His activities. And thus, it was extremely significant that as He said, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,” He closed the book.

Now it’s interesting to compare the ministry of Jesus with John the Baptist. With John the Baptist there was really no gospel. Just, “Repent, you generation of vipers, bring forth something that shows you’ve repented. Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Make the path straight.” I mean, just laying on them, really no gospel. But with Jesus, we find the gospel. “I have come to mend up, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, recovering of the sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are bruised, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” And so the glorious gospel that was brought to us by Jesus Christ.

Now later on when John the Baptist began to have questions concerning Jesus after he had been in prison for awhile, and Jesus had not kicked Herod out from the throne and taken over, John sent his disciples to Jesus with the question, “Are you the Messiah, or shall we look for another?” In other words, “What’s the big delay? I am tired of this prison.”

And in that same hour many came to Jesus who were blind and lame, the poor. And He healed them. He restored their sight. And He said to those disciples of John, “Go back and tell John what you’ve seen. How the blind receive their sight, the lame are walking, and to the meek the gospel is being preached.” And Jesus, rather than answering directly, “Go back and tell John, ‘Yes, I am the one you’re looking for.'” Rather than His own testimony, in essence He was saying, “My works testify of who I am.” These were to be the works of the Messiah.

Now later on Jesus said, “Believeth thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works sake.” “Don’t believe it because I say it unto you, but I have demonstrated the works of the Messiah. I have done those things that the scriptures said the Messiah would do, in giving sight to the blind, the lame are walking, the gospel if being preached to the poor.” And these works are a witness, and they attest to the fact that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

And so He closed the book, gave it to the minister, He sat down. Everybody was looking at Him.

And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears (Luk 4:21).

That must have been an electric, dynamic moment. As He closed the book, having read these prophesies of the Messiah, which they all knew and recognized to be prophesies of the Messiah. And He said, “Today the scripture has been fulfilled.”

When He was talking to the woman at the well, the Samaritan woman, she said to Him, “We know that when the Messiah is come, He is going to tell us everything.” And Jesus said, “Woman, I’ve got news for you, the one who is speaking to you, is He.” Imagine the dynamic of that moment, to realize, “Hey, this is it, He is the one.” He is declaring this to the people here at the beginning of His ministry.

And all bore witness, and they wondered at his gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? (Luk 4:22)

They were stumbled, because they knew Him.

And he said unto them, You surely will say this proverb unto me, Physician, heal thyself: for whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do it also here in this country (Luk 4:23).

Now we’ve heard that you have done some exciting things down in Capernaum, do something here.

And he said, I tell you the truth, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut for three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout the land; But unto none of them was Elijah sent, but to Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow (Luk 4:24-26).

Now Jesus is saying some things that are going to really upset them, because one thing a Jew was, and that was, he was a complete national. In fact, in their writings of this time, the Jews taught that the Gentiles were only created for fuel for hell. And they did not believe that a Gentile could be saved. “We are the sons of Abraham.” And they had this strong nationalistic feeling, feeling that salvation was only for the Jews, everyone else was excluded. So that when Jesus begins to point out a few things in their history, it upsets them.

Now in the time of Elijah when there was this famine as a result of the drought for three and a half years, there was a widow who was sustained during in the famine by Elijah. The Lord sent Elijah to her. But she wasn’t a Jewess. She was in the city of Sarepta. And there were many lepers in Israel, though there were many widows in Israel, none of the widows were visited by Elias, just this one outside.

And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of Elijah the prophet; but none of them were cleansed, except Naaman the Syrian (Luk 4:27).

Oh, man, that’s enough to make any Jew’s blood boil. “We are the people. God only cares for us, and no one else.”

And all of those that were in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled [with anger] with wrath. And they rose up, and threw him out of the city, and they led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him head first over (Luk 4:28-29).

They were going to take Him up and toss Him over the cliff.

But he, passing through the midst of them on his way (Luk 4:30),

So He just disappeared actually from their sight.

And went on down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and he taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with authority (Luk 4:31-32).

Now no one spoke with authority in those days. When anyone would preach they would say, “Now Rabbi Hallel declares… ” They were like government employees, no one wanted to take any word of authority; they always pass you off to someone else. No one wants to take responsibility for anything. That’s why it is so hard to get a permit anywhere. No one wants to accept any responsibility. If it comes back it’s my neck, and it’s awfully hard to deal with government agencies. Well, in those days when everyone spoke, they would always speak with the quoting of someone else. “He said this,” or, “He declared that.” But Jesus wasn’t quoting the rabbis, He just said, “I say unto you, now you’ve heard that it has been said, you’ve heard that this is what was said, but I say unto you,” and He spoke with authority. And they weren’t used to that, they were amazed at the fact that He spoke with such authority. Astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with authority.

And in the synogogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know who you are; the Holy one of God (Luk 4:33-34).

The demons recognized Him. And here in the synogogue in Capernaum the demon possessed man cries out.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and did not hurt him. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What kind of word is this! for with authority and power he commands the unclean spirit, and they come out (Luk 4:35-36).

Now in those days they had rights of exorcism. I mean, they would go through a ceremony that you wouldn’t believe. Gaze over that person with that unclean, and they would use sometimes a gold ring, and go through this whole long routine and rigmarole to exorcise the unclean spirits. And it was really a heavy-duty thing. And here Jesus is just speaking to them, and commanding them, and they are coming out. And they are saying, “Hey, wait a minute. What is going on here? What kind of word of authority is this that He can just speak to them and they are obedient to Him?”

And his fame went out in to every place of the country around that area. And he arose out of the synagogue, and he entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with great fever; and they besought him for her (Luk 4:37-38).

Now Simon was married, his wife’s mother. It is interesting that nothing at all is mentioned concerning the wives of the apostles. Now because nothing is mentioned from them we should not infer anything concerning them. The scripture is silent. We should be silent. There is no inferences at all that we can draw from the silence of the scripture concerning the wives of the apostles. No inferences can be made. Inferences if they were second-rate citizens, or anything of this nature are absolutely wrong. Because the scripture is silent concerning them. But the main thing when the scriptures are silent, how many times men love to speak, and the books that are written about the silence of the scriptures. You know, the inferences and the conclusions that a person draws because the scripture is silent in a certain area, and that is all speculative, and there is to be no inferences drawn from it whatsoever.

Now we would not even know that Peter was married for sure, except that his wife’s mother was sick and was taken with a great fever. Now this is in the Greek medical terms. Luke was a doctor, and thus, he diagnoses her condition with medical terms in the Greek language here.

And they came to Jesus that He might help her.

And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she rose and [fixed dinner for them] ministered unto them (Luk 4:39).

Which means fix something to eat, and prepare something for them, as mothers are so prone to do. You know, just that typical neat mom that goes out and fix something for them.

And when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with diverse kind of diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Messiah, the Son of God. And he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak: for they knew that he was the Messiah. And when it was day, he departed and went into a deserted area: and the people were looking for him, and they came unto him, and they begged him that he would not depart from them. But he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee (Luk 4:40-44).

Now if there were two hundred and four cities, the population of 10,000 plus, it would take a good while to get around to all of these fairly good sized little communities, two hundred and four of them, to preach in the synagogues throughout the area of Galilee.

So next week we’ll enter into chapter 5 and chapter 6.

May the Lord be with you and bless you and give you a beautiful week and fill your life with praises and thanksgiving unto God for all His goodness. And we are entering into that difficult time of year known as Christmas, when there are so many extra pressures, so much pushing and shoving and crowded parking lots and people go insane. May the Lord keep you cool and may the true spirit of Christmas just fill your heart. God protect and keep you from getting caught up in the spirit of the age and may you rather be controlled with the Spirit of Christ walking with Him, walking in His love, as a light shining in a dark place. In Jesus’ name.

Chapter 5 & 6

Shall we turn now in our Bibles to Luke’s gospel chapter 5.

The popularity of the ministry of Jesus is growing. Word is being spread around of the miracles that are being wrought by Him, and now wherever He goes people are beginning to jostle and shove in order that they might get close to Him. It made it difficult for Jesus to travel to get around because of the multitudes that, according to Mark’s gospel, at this point were thronging Him wherever He went.

And so here in Luke’s gospel,

It came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God (Luk 5:1),

And that to me is always an exciting situation, when people are pressing to hear the word of God. When this becomes such a priority in the life of people, to just hear the word of God, they pressed to hear it. But,

he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret (Luk 5:1),

Also known as the Sea of Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee. Whenever you are talking about a sea, somehow in my mind you get a vision of a sort of a salt body of water, but the lake of Gennesaret, or it’s to me more of a lake than it is the sea. It’s not salty water, but is fresh water, drinkable. So yet, it is known as the Sea of Galilee.

There were two ships that were standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and he prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship (Luk 5:2-3).

So in order to escape a little from the crowd that was thronging Him, He commandeered Simon’s ship. He got in it, and He said, “Pull on out a little ways,” in order that He might be able to teach the people without them pressing so close that He loses the sight of those that were behind. Now here in the area by Capernaum there is sort of a good slope where the Sea of Galilee comes down, where the banks come down into the Sea of Galilee there, so that just pulling out just a little ways from shore, you’re sort of an amphitheater type of a situation, which made it very conducive to teach the multitude of people who were thronging to hear the word of God.

Now when he was finished speaking to them, he then said to Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught (Luk 5:4).

For a load, you’re going to be pulling in a large catch.

And so Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net (Luk 5:5).

Simon is objecting to the command in a polite sort of a way. “Lord, I am the fisherman, I know how to fish, and I know the time to fish, and I know that the time isn’t now.” As the day gets warmer the fish go to the deeper areas of the lake. And these nets were not really deep-water nets, they were sort of surface nets. They had the floats on the top, and they just cast them out as they are rolling around in a circle in the boat. And then as they complete the circle with the boat having cast the nets around in a circle, then they pull the nets on into the boat, and they are not deep-water type nets. They would catch the fish in the shallower areas in the cooler part of the day. Or in the evening which was usually the best time for fishing. So they’ve been fishing all night, caught nothing, so you assume that this just isn’t the time. “Yet, nevertheless at thy word, I will let down the net.”

Now this to me is interesting, because here we find men laboring all night with no results. Now suddenly Jesus directs them to labor in the same area, and they have phenomenal results. And to me this marks the contrast that usually exists in those efforts that are on our own, and those efforts that are directed by the Lord. I think of all of the time and energy and money that is wasted by man-inspired efforts. We see a task that needs to be done. We sit down and figure out what would be the best way to accomplish this task. We develop our programs, and then we develop the financing in order that we might fund the programs that we have devised. And then we set up the committees, then we set up the ways by which we might implement that program. And certainly in the church of Jesus Christ we have seen some remarkably phenomenal programs established by man.

We have some friends who were pastoring a church in the same denomination that we served for so many years, where we got packaged programs from the denomination. Quick, convenient, you didn’t even have to think of one, they thought of them for you. All you had to do is get your committees and inaugurate them. And, of course, every year you get two of them. You get your spring enlargement program, and that you get the one to beat the summer slump program. And so this church was going to go all out. I mean they had everything all lined out. You take a telephone book, and you go up the pages and each person takes a page of the telephone book, and they call all the people on that page, and invite them to the church. And then, of course, you have a person over that, that calls everybody whose supposed to be calling all the people to make sure they call the people they were supposed to call. And then they filled helium balloons with numbers, and you turn them lose upwind from the city, so that the balloons sort of drop down, and so the numbers are then put in a barrel, and the person that draws the number. And if you bring the number out of your helium, there is a little note telling you there is going to be a drawing, special prize if you there and get the number. So you get the people coming with their numbers so that they might get into the drawing, and perhaps win this special prize that will be given away when the number is drawn out of the barrel. And then, of course, you organize your transportation committees. If a person needs transportation, they’ll drive out, and pick them up, and bring them to church. And I mean it goes on, and on, and on. I mean so many gimmicks, you can’t believe.

And so this particular church thought, “Well, we’re going to really go into this big program, we’re going to go full into it.” And so I was talking to the pastors some six months after the program, and I said, “Well, now it’s been six months since the program was concluded, as you evaluate the results of the program, how many of you have been able to add permanently to your church?” And they said, “Well, there is an eighty-five year old man that we have to drive twenty-five miles to pick up, and he really can’t hear, but he doesn’t get to see people very much, so he just loves to sit around where people are, and he is the only one we were able to add to the membership.”

You know, after spending thousands of dollars on all of these programs to add to the church. There is man’s way of doing it, and then there is the Lord’s way. None directed service can be very unfruitful. But directed service can be exciting.

Now Jesus is directing Peter. Just launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draft. And Peter semi-arguing says, “Lord, we’ve been fishing all night and we’ve caught nothing, nevertheless, at thy word. (If you insist on it, we’ll do it),” not really expecting anything.

How many times I’ve met people who are discouraged because of bad experiences. How many times when we’ve suggested a solution to a person’s problem, they’ll immediately respond, “Oh, I’ve tried that.” But did you try it at the Lord’s direction, or did you try it on your own initiative? It makes a difference when the Lord directs you to do a thing. You can be sure when the Lord is directing your service, that your service for the Lord will not be in vain.

So when they had done this, they enclosed a great multitude of fish: and their net began to brake. So they signaled to their partners, [which were James and John] who were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and they filled both of the ships, so that they began to sink (Luk 5:6-7).

Success beyond their wildest dreams by simple obedience to the command of Jesus. Now the result of the success to me is significant. When we have devised programs, and we put in all of the human energy, and the human effort, and we begin by the human effort to gain a response. You’ve got something that is working, you’ve got something that is attracting people. What do you do with it? You franchise it. You carry it out other places. You develop your success seminars. And you invite others to come and learn how to bait your hook, to make your lure more attractive. So you can gather more fish. But when it is the Lord doing the work, rather than developing your success seminars, and being all puffed up over what’s been accomplished, like Peter you just sort of fall at the feet of Jesus and say, “Lord, I am not worthy, depart from me Lord, I am a sinful man.”

Suddenly you’re aware of God’s work. You’re aware of God’s power. You’re aware of the presence of God, and that is always a humbling experience. No man who has stood in the presence of God can be proud. Standing in the presence of the Lord, conscious presence of the Lord, is always a very humbling experience.

Depart from me, Lord, [Peter said,] I am a sinful man. And he was astonished, and all of those that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so also was James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; for from now on you’re going to catch men. So when they brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him (Luk 5:8-11).

The Lord brought them to the peak, to the ultimate of success in their chosen profession, and then called them to leave it, to follow Him. Their little ships rowing to shore, weighted down in the water by the load of fish. The dream of every Galilean fishermen, and from that point of success the Lord said, “From now on you’re going to catch men.” And they left all to follow Jesus.

Now in the other gospels they do not give us the background to the call of Peter and John. And it would appear from the other gospels that Jesus was just walking by the Sea of Galilee and He saw some fishermen mending their nets, and He said, “Come, take up your cross and follow me.” Or, “Come leave your nets and follow me.” And they dropped their nets and followed Jesus without even knowing Him or seeing Him. That is not so. These men had already experienced the Lord, they knew the Lord. Jesus wasn’t a stranger to them. They knew Him. Now He is calling them to a complete commitment in following Him.

Now it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man was full of leprosy; who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and begged him, saying, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him (Luk 5:12-13).

He is going to give us a list of some of the miracles that Jesus was accomplishing. Sort of a variety of miracles. The one directing them and catching the fish, sort of a miracle in nature. Now the miracle of the curing of an incurable disease. Leprosy was one of the most dreaded and loathed diseases in the aged world. If a person had leprosy he was to be ostracized from the community. Nobody could touch him. If they touched him, you would be unclean. Jesus touched him.

Now in another case when Jesus healed lepers, He did not touch them. Jesus did not confine Himself to a particular pattern in doing His work. And I am glad for that. Because we so often are trying to find the formula as though it existed within a formula. Jesus said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, you hear the sound thereof, but you can’t really tell from whence it is coming, or where it is going. And so is he that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

God does not confine Himself to our patterns, to our methods, to our ways. In seminary we had a class in methodology. As always, men is seeking to develop the methods or to learn the methods by which God works. But the interesting thing is that God doesn’t work by any particular method. There are diversities of gifts, and diversities of operations. Yet, it’s the same Lord. So there are different gifts, but even with the same gift, there are different ways by which that gift operates within the individual. The Holy Spirit dividing to each man severally as He wills. And so He always maintains the control of method and the work which is to be done. At best I can only be an instrument through which God does work.

So here we find Jesus touching the man. And the interesting question is, “If thou wilt Lord, if you are willing you can make me clean.” So often when we pray we say, “Now, Lord, if it is your will,” and I am not putting that down. I feel that we should, that whether I say it or not is an underlying fact in every prayer that I ever offer to God. I don’t want my will to be done above God’s. “Now, God, You set Your will aside, because this is what I want You to do.” The purpose of prayer is never the accomplishing of my will. Except as my will has been molded and shaped and conformed to His will. Always the purpose of prayer, the thrust of prayer is the will of God, the accomplishing of the will of God upon the earth. And we need to remember that. Jesus said, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but thy will be done” (Mark 14:36). And that was at the end of the prayer, after He had offered His request, then He made that statement. And that’s not a bad statement for us to make. After laying out to God the things that we desire, I think it is always wise to just say, “Lord, not what I will, but Your will be done.”

Now quite often the Lord is willing to do those things that we desire. When He said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus said, “I am willing, be thou made clean.” And He touched him, and he was cured of his leprosy immediately. Now in the case of the ten lepers that came to Jesus, He didn’t touch them, and they were healed as they went. In the case of this fellow, he was healed immediately. Again, diversities of operations. He doesn’t always work the same way.

Now the problem that would develop if He worked the same way is that, it didn’t happen to me the way it happened to you, then I think, “Oh, God is not doing it for me.” So God keeps His ways diverse, so that when I relate to you what God has done in my life, you then don’t look for my experience that I’ve got, but you look for your own personal experience. For God does not pattern Himself in His work in our lives. And He may work in you in a totally different way, and your reaction may be completely different than my reaction to the work of God.

There is a value to testimony meetings, but there is always a problem with testimony meetings. Because through testimony meetings so oftentimes we seek then to have a similar experience to someone else. And the emphasis in the testimony meetings seems always to be experiential, or this is the way I experienced it, this is how God did it for me, this is what God did for me, and then I begin to think, “Oh, God didn’t do it for me that way, there must be something wrong with me, because I didn’t feel that. I didn’t see the lights flashing. I didn’t get the tingling down my spine. I guess maybe I don’t have it, because I didn’t experience it like someone else.” So God keeps working in a variety of ways so that we don’t try to pattern God after our methods.

So he was healed immediately. Now Jesus said to him,

Don’t tell anybody: but just go, and show yourself to the priest (Luk 5:14),

A marvelous thing about the law of God, the book of Leviticus, is that God in the law provided the way by which a person of an incurable disease could be returned into society and into fellowship in the worship of God when he was cured of the incurable disease. Now that I really like that, because God left Himself space to work. And this is the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. This is the method by which he is to be restored into the full fellowship of the family. And yet, leprosy is incurable. Even to the present day leprosy is incurable, it can be arrested, and they can be brought to an arrested state now in what the call the Hanson’s disease, but it is still incurable. And it was incurable then, and yet God made provision for Him to work sovereignly, even in incurable situations. God always left Himself that space, to inapt, to put into operation His higher laws that supersede the natural laws as we know them. So Jesus said, “Follow the law, go show yourself to the priest.” And, of course, the priest would examine him, and see no white flesh, and see the area where the leprosy was all pink, and new flesh. And so he would set him in the house where he would have to be for seven days, and then he comes back and shows himself to the priest again. He examines him, doesn’t find anything, and then the fellow brings two doves. And the one dove is killed, and the blood is poured with water into a basin. And the second dove is taken and immersed in this bloody water, and set free. And the second dove flying off, the bloody water dripping off his wings, as he takes off, is a symbol of the disease being taken from the man, and his full restoration now into the community. Can you imagine the emotions that a leper must have felt when he saw that dove flying away, and suddenly he realized that he could be restored completely and fully into society? Here he was hopelessly ostracized because of this loathsome, incurable disease, and yet, he always knew, God has wrought a work.

So Jesus told him, “Do what the law tells you to do, show yourself to the priest.” But Jesus could not hide. More and more people were hearing of the miracles that were being accomplished, and the crowds were coming and thronging. And He healed them, and they came actually to be healed from their infirmities. Verse 16:

And Jesus withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed (Luk 5:16).

As we pointed out last week, as we were studying the gospel of Luke, or the week before. The humanity of Jesus is the thing that Luke points out. The Son of man, the human side. And because this is the particular emphasis of Luke’s gospel, Luke makes more mention of the prayer life of Christ than any of the other gospels. Luke gives us insight into the prayer life of Christ. So here again, he shows us, he gives us a little insight into that prayer life of Jesus our Lord. Now all I can say is that, if Jesus as the Son of God felt the necessity of prayer, who do you think you are that you can get by without prayer? If He, being the Son of God, felt it such a necessary part of His life, surely it ought to be a very necessary and considered to be a very necessary part of all of our lives.

Again, the mystery of heaven, I am certain, is that men pray so little. I am sure the angels discuss this all the time. When they watch and observe us going through all of our calamities, all of our troubles, and they are just waiting to be dispatched to help us. And they watch, and we get knocked down and bloodied, and we stand up, and get knocked over again. And I am sure the angels say, “When is that nut going to call? How long is he going to go on until he cries out for help? If he only knew what God has made available to him.” The mystery of the prayerlessness of infirmed man.

Now it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees the doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: [and I like this,] and the power of the Lord was present to heal them (Luk 5:17).

Now Jesus had began to attract the notice and the attention of a hostile crowd, the Pharisees, the doctors of the law, and they were coming all the way from Jerusalem up to the area of Galilee because they heard of Him. And their purpose of coming was really of being more critical than accepting. Here is a rising movement, a spiritual movement among the people. Now they have pretty well set themselves in a comfortable position as religious leaders. Here is a threat to them. They must come up and listen carefully, and examine Him, so that they can contradict Him, and show where He is at fault, and to dispel any idea that this man might truly be of God, and possibly the Messiah. But while they were there, the power of the Lord was present to heal.

And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with palsy: and they sought a means to bring him in, and lay him before Jesus. But when they could not find a way that they might bring him in because of the multitude, they climbed up on the roof, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus (Luk 5:18-19).

And so you can get the picture. Jesus is sitting there in the house, and the people are all gathered, the multitude is gathered around, and suddenly there is a noise upon the roof, and the tiles are being pulled back, and then the ropes, and here is this guy being let down right in front of Jesus. These guys are ingenious, I admire them, I really do. They are determined. They’ve got a friend, they want help for him, and they are determined to get help. Now I tell you, those are the kind of buddies you need. And so they come with him to the house, carrying him in his bed. They can’t get in, and so they are not to be stopped. And so they let him down right in front of Jesus.

And when he saw their faith (Luk 5:20),

Not the faith of the fellow that was let down, the faith of his friends that brought him. That’s great to be surrounded by friends who believe. And He saw their faith,

and he said to them, Man, your sins are forgiven (Luk 5:20).

Now I imagine the guys upon on the roof said, “No, no, no, Lord, that’s not what we want, we want him to walk home.”

So often in their minds, illness was related to sin. You remember when the disciples were with Jesus, and they saw the blind man, they said, “Lord, who did sin that this man was born blind?” Now they even believed in prenatal sins. While you were in the womb you could sin. I don’t know how, but they believed that you could. “So was it his parents, or was it him? Did he do some sin in the womb that he was born blind? Or was it his parents?” And Jesus said, “No, no, no, this man….” He didn’t really answer why he was born blind, He just said, “That God may be glorified, I must do the works of God while I am with you.” And He healed the man. He never told them why the man was born blind.

People misinterpret that saying, “Well, he was born blind for the glory of God to be revealed.” No, Jesus just said that He must work to glorify God, and thus, He healed the man. He never answered the question. Except that He affirmed that neither he nor his parents sinned. He affirmed that it wasn’t their sin. But they so often related illnesses to sin. Which we haven’t really divorced ourselves from that completely yet. And it’s tragic, that when we see a person who is suffering, we say, “Oh, you must have really done something wrong.”

We were pastoring a church in Tucson years ago, and one of the fellows in the church said, “Would you please pray for my wife tonight that God will help her to confess whatever sin she has been committing? She has been sick for over a month.” And so that idea that somehow illness is related to sin is not completely divorced from the minds of people. If illnesses were directly related to sin, none of us would be strong enough to be here tonight. And it is extremely wrong, and extremely cruel to say to a person, “Well, if you just had enough faith, you would be alright.”

I was talking with Joni Erickson, and she was saying one of the most difficult things about her condition is that there are so many people who feel that they have a special anointing for her healing. And these evangelists, and whatever, who come up and lay hands on her, and then say, “Now stand up.” And then sort of say, “Well, if you only had enough faith, you could get out of that wheelchair.” And that’s one of the most difficult problems that she faces with her condition. That’s cruel. It makes a hardship on her. She is already in a difficult position. But that only increases the hardship. Making a person feel guilty because they are in the condition that they are in. Because surely you must have done something wrong or you don’t have enough faith to change your condition.

Some of the greatest saints of God have had great physical maladies, and actually it was the physical malady that created that depth of character, and that depth of their walk, and relationship with the Lord.

Jesus took care of the most important thing first. You know, it’s more important that your sins are forgiven than that you be healed. It’s better to go into heaven maimed than to go into hell. So Jesus took care of the most important thing first, with the man’s sins. “Man, your sins are forgiven.” Of course He knew that the Pharisees and all were there watching and listening. He was baiting them. I mean, He was looking for a big blowup, which He got. And He was deliberately just baiting them. He knew what their response would be. He anticipated it. And He was deliberately creating it.

And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? (Luk 5:21)

Now, they were right in their assumption. Only God can forgive sins. Jesus wanted them to make that assumption. They were falling right into His trap. They were wrong in thinking that Jesus was speaking blasphemous. What Jesus was actually demonstrating to them was that He was God. So in saying, “Man, your sins are forgiven you,” He is exercising His divine prerogative of forgiving sins, knowing that only God can forgive sins. David said unto God, “Lord, against thee, and thee only have I sinned, and done this great sin in thy sight” (Psalm 51:4). Thus, if sin is against God, then only God can forgive sin. And Jesus was deliberately seeking to get this response and reaction, which He did get. And then He closed the trap.

He said unto them, What are you reasoning in your hearts? What is easier, to say, Your sins are forgiven you; or, Rise up and walk? (Luk 5:22-23)

Well, it would be easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven you.” If you say, your sins are forgiven, who can look in a guys heart and really see? Well, you can say that, but how do you know it’s really happened? How can you prove that the sins were really forgiven? How can you prove that your words really have authority? You can’t prove it. There is nothing that you can see that can prove the authority of that. However, if you say to a fellow who is lame, “Rise up and walk,” it’s very easy to quickly see how much authority you have in your words.

So Jesus said unto them,

But that you may know that the Son of man has the authority upon earth to forgive sins, (he said to the man who was sick of a palsy,) I say unto you, Arise, take up your couch, and go home. And immediately he rose up before them, he took up that whereon he was laying, and he departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen some weird things today (Luk 5:24-26).

Now Jesus was here demonstrating to them His divinity. Doing it in a very clever way, saying first to the man, “Your sins are forgiven,” creating that response, “How can you do that, only God can do that?” Only God has that authority. And thus, by showing that His word did have authority by saying, “Rise up and walk,” He is demonstrating to them that He is God.

Now after these things he went forth, and he saw a publican (Luk 5:27),

Now a publican was a tax collector. The Roman government assessed an area with an certain assessment, and then they auctioned off the job of tax collector. And the tax collector only had to pay to the Roman government that assessment. Anything he could collect above the assessment was his. So they were constantly looking for things to tax. Constantly grabbing people and taxing them for many things. Actually, you had to pay a tax just to be alive under the Roman government. They taxed 10% of the fruit of your crop, and 20% of your oil and wine. They had taxes on just about everything. And you think that our government has been shrewd. All they had to do is read what the Roman government taxed, we’d really be crying even more than we are. The people in those days classified tax collectors with murders and thieves. They probably weren’t so far off, thieves to be sure. In fact, it was extremely rare to find an honest tax collector. They were notoriously crooked. In fact, there was a monument that was raised. They’ve found records of a monument extolling a man because he was an honest tax collector. About the only one I guess in the Roman Empire. So much so, that they made a special monument. This man was an honest tax collector. But that was a rarity indeed. And so the Jews considered tax collectors, quislings, because they were really working for the Roman government. And they made a law that a tax collector could not enter the synagogue. I mean, he was a rank sinner. There was no way he could come into the synagogue. Ranking him with the murders and the thieves, they would not allow him to worship God in the synagogue.

Now here was a tax collector,

named Levi, and he was sitting at his little custom house [where he received his taxes]: and Jesus said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi had a big feast [of course he could afford it] in his own house: and there was a great number (Luk 5:27-29)

He invited all of his tax collector friends to come and listen to Jesus. All of the publicans, he invited them to gather together, and Jesus sat down with them.

It’s interesting how that when a person comes to a real relationship with Jesus Christ, the first thing they do is they grab their associates to tell them about it. The only associates he had were tax collectors. So in gathering his associates, he had to gather the tax collectors. They only had fellowship with each other, no one else would fellowship with them. And so he gathered together all of these tax collectors, and the scribes and the Pharisees murmured against it. And they came to His disciples and they said, “Why are you eating and drinking with publicans and sinners?”

You see, a Pharisee if he came near a tax collector would grab his robe and hold it tied around him, because he wouldn’t want his robe to flip out and touch a tax collector, because they were considered unclean. And if he did that he would have to go home and bathe, and change, and wash his cloak, and he couldn’t go to the synagogue for a day, because he was unclean, because his cloak touched the tax collector.

Now here is Jesus eating with them, that’s even worse in their mind, because when you’re eating with someone, you are touching the same bread. And you’re eating bread that that guy touched. “How is it you’re eating with this publicans and sinners?” Eating together was identifying with one another in a very intimate way.

They were murmuring to the disciples, [they were bringing their complaints to the disciples,] but Jesus answered them and said, They that are whole need not a physician; but those that are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luk 5:30-32).

Jesus went out where they were, meet them on their own territory. He ministered to the sick. Those who were sick spiritually. I think that oftentimes in the church we begin to make ourselves sort of sterilized hospitals. And we create almost a sterile environment, where if a sinner would come in he feels so totally uncomfortable, because we are all sitting here in our sterile robes of righteousness.

In England we have a good friend Jim, who pastors a Calvary Chapel affiliate in the area of the northern part near Manchester. And Jim’s ministry is in the pubs. He goes down to the pubs three or four nights a week. And has a tremendous ministry there in the pubs witnessing to the people who are getting drunk. And he is an outstanding witness for Christ.

Oh, he gets a lot of flak from the other ministers in town because he spends so much time in the pub. But he is following the example of the Lord, going where they are at to reach them, and to bring them out.

And so they then brought up the question, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and they make their prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but yours eat and drink? And he said unto them, Can you make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days (Luk 5:33-35).

In those days when a couple got married, it was a two week party. A week before, and a week after. The week before everybody would gather together and they have this big weeklong party, and then they would have the marriage and the consummation of the marriage. And then they would have open house for a week, where they would party for a week. And the bride and the bridegroom would be the host of a party for a week, and their special friends were invited to party with them for a whole week. Now their lives were extremely difficult in heart, and this was probably the only time in their lives where they just have a week off with doing nothing. Because they had to work so hard. And so it was that one week of their life of real partying, now that they are married, then after that it was to work and to the treachery, as life as it was in those days.

Now those special friends that they invited to celebrate that week and party with them and all were called the children of the bridechambers. And so Jesus called his disciples the children of the bridechamber. The bridegroom is with them, they are here to party. “We are here to enjoy and celebrate the fact that I am with them. Now when I am gone, then it will be time for them to fast, but as long as the bridegroom is with them, they are not going to fast, they are just going to enjoy the presence of the bridegroom.”

And then he spake a parable unto them; No man puts a piece of a new garment on an old; if otherwise, then both the new makes a tear, and the piece that was taken out of the new does not agree with the old (Luk 5:36).

They didn’t have preshrunk in those days. So if you took a new patch and sew it into an old garment, the first time you washed it, the new patch not being preshrunk would shrink. Of course, the garment had already been washed enough that all of the shrinkage was out of it. But if you put a new cloth into an old garment, the new cloth as soon as you wash it would shrink, and it just make the tear worse. So Jesus said, “You just don’t put a new patch on an old garment. It’s only going to rip it up more.”

And also he said, No man puts new wine into old bottles (Luk 5:37);

Now when they poured the new wine into the wineskins, there was a chemical reaction that created a gas. So if you would pour the new wine into old wineskins, it would cause it to immediately ferment, and this gas would be formed, and the old wineskins, of course, were stiff, because they were old. And being stiff, no give to them, the gas would develop and they just pop. And so you just didn’t put new wine into the old skins, but you put it into new skins that were still soft and pliable. The gas had developed, but they would just expand with the gas, because there was a pliability in the leather. And the wineskins were made of leather. And so Jesus said, “You don’t take the new wine and pour it into the old skins, they’re going to burst on you.”

You put the new wine into new skins; and both then are preserved. And no man having drunk the old wine immediately desires the new; for he says, The old is better (Luk 5:38-39).

Now He is talking about the old religious systems that He was coming up against. He is bringing a new breath of air into the religious scene that had become so stodgy that no one could hardly stand it. Now, rather than coming in to reform that system, putting the new cloth in the old garment, or putting the new wine in the old skins, He is developing a whole new skin for this new work of God.

Now those who are used to the old traditional ways are always upset when something new comes along. They say, “Oh, the old is better.” And we see this demonstrated so often. New ideas, new thoughts are so often immediately rejected. People get caught in their old traditional ways, and they get upset if anything should come along. Well, the old wineskins burst.

Chuck 1:1, “Blessed are the flexible, they shall not be broken.”

May God keep us flexible. As I grow older I know the tenancy is to get set in your ways. And I pray, “God don’t let me grow old in that regards, help me to always be open to what You might want to be doing.” I have observed in the history of the church how many times when God wanted to do a fresh work upon the earth, He had to go outside of the organized systems. Because the old skin couldn’t handle the new wine. And so we see this glorious fresh work of God, but he had to create a new skin in order to do it. And those who come from the old systems so often are shocked and appalled at what they see. Kids sitting on the floor. And they just can’t handle what God is doing, because it doesn’t follow our structure. It doesn’t fit into our pattern. And yet, God develops the new skins for His new wine.

Chapter 6

Now it came to pass on the second Sabbath (Luk 6:1)

Now He is going to deal with a couple of instances on the Sabbath day. We’ve been introduced now to the Pharisees; they’re beginning to really get into it and trying to find fault with Jesus and condemn Him for the things He is doing. And they condemned Him for eating with the publicans. He, of course, spoke out against their condemnation, telling them, “Hey, you guys belong in the old skins, and so I am just going not try and give you the new wine. We’re just going to create a whole new system here.” And now Luke points out a couple of Sabbath day experiences where He crossed the Pharisees.

It came to pass on the second sabbath after the first (Luk 6:1),

Now that’s an interesting way of dating it. We don’t know when the first Sabbath was, but on the second Sabbath after the first,

he was going through the corn fields (Luk 6:1);

And, of course, that was the wheat, the little thing on the top where all of the grains of wheat are called a corn, and so they were going through the wheat fields.

and the disciples began to pick these little corns of wheat, and they ate them, rubbing them in their hands (Luk 6:1).

Now around the later part of May when the wheat is turned brown and is getting dry, as you are in the area of Galilee it is a tremendous… it’s called the bread basket of Israel because they grow wheat there, and it grows so well. The winter wheat does so beautifully up there. And so you can take this wheat, and you rub it in your hands, and then you hold open your hands like this, and you blow it, blowing off the chaff, or the husk, and then you can eat the wheat. And it’s extremely healthy. As you chew, it forms a gum, and you can just chew that gum all day, or you can swallow it, but it’s just very healthy. You’re getting the raw fresh wheat. And when I am in Israel in that time of the year, I love to go through the fields and grab the wheat and do just like the disciples, rub it in my hands, and blow the chaff off and eat it. And it’s just so healthy, and so good for you.

Now this was perfectly legal under the law. If you were hungry, you could go into a field, and you could eat all that you needed to eat, you just couldn’t carry any out. You cant’ take a sickle into the field and start harvesting your neighbor’s field. But you could eat all that you needed in the field.

So it was perfectly legal for the disciples to go head and pick the wheat, and rub it in their hands, however, not on the Sabbath day. Because you weren’t to prepare food on the Sabbath day, nor were you to bear a burden. And the weight of the wheat would constitute a bearing a burden. So they began to find fault with the disciples and Jesus.

Why do you do that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath days? And Jesus answering said, Did you not read so much as this, that what David did when he was hungry, and those that were with him; how he went into the house of God, and took the showbread, and ate it, and gave also to those that were with him; which is not lawful to eat but for the priest alone? (Luk 6:2-4)

David was fleeing from Saul. He had his company of men with him, he came to the house of God. He asked the priest for something to eat. And he said, “Well, I don’t have anything.” And David said, “I’ll take the showbread here.” Now it was not lawful for any men to eat the showbread, but the priest. There were twelve loaves of bread that they sat out on the table before the Lord, represented of the twelve tribes of Israel. And God’s presence among the twelve tribes. And they would leave it out there on the table for seven days, and then the priests would eat it. Well, David came along, he was hungry, his men were hungry, and the priest said, “I don’t have anything to eat.” David said, “Alright, I’ll just take the showbread.” And so he took the showbread and he ate it, and he gave it to his men to eat. Not lawful to do. However, human need transcended the law. Human need. Now the disciples had a human need. Hungry, they were hungry going through the field. So they did what David did in essence. The human need transcended the law, and they ate.

And Jesus said, that the Son of man is Lord also [I rule over the Sabbath too, fellows]. So it came to pass on another Sabbath, [He was in Capernaum] and he entered into the synagogue and he was teaching: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luk 6:5-6).

Now Matthew and Mark both tell us about this incident, only Luke tells us it was the right hand, but remember Luke is a doctor, and so he is interested in details of the person’s problems, physically. And so he is careful to note that it was the right hand that was withered.

And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man that had a withered hand, Rise up, and stand here in the middle. And so the man stood up. And Jesus said unto them, I am going to ask you one thing, is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save a life or to destroy it? (Luk 6:7-9)

Now if you were asked that question, how would you answer it? On the Sabbath day is it lawful to do good, or to do evil? When is it ever lawful to do evil? When is it ever lawful to destroy a life? So really they couldn’t answer Jesus.

And looking around upon them all, he said to the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness [not gladness] (Luk 6:10-11);

They were insane with their anger,.

And they began to commune with one another what they might be able to do with Jesus (Luk 6:11).

He is really beginning to irritate them now.

We see suddenly how ludicrous their position is becoming. And when your position becomes untenable, because it is so ludicrous, then the only thing you can do is revered to violence. You know, you’re whipped, you better fight. You don’t have any reason, you’ve been wiped out, so what do you do? you fight. Because there is no reason to your position any longer.

So it should be noted that when Jesus said, “Stretch forth your hand,” He was making of that man an impossible demand. The man could have argued. He could have said, “Lord, I can’t stretch forth my hand, it’s withered, can’t you see? I’ve never been able to use this hand. You think if I could stretch forth my hand, I would just have it hanging here by my side all the time?” And he could very easily have argued with Jesus, and said,” well, I just can’t do it Sir, I wish I could, but I just cant’ do it. Because Jesus was making an impossible demand on him, when He said, stretch forth your hand. However, rather than arguing with Jesus, he tried to obey Him. When Jesus said, “Stretch forth your hand,” he tried to obey Him. Hey, all of a sudden he found out he could obey. But that’s impossible, I can’t do that, but there it is. Jesus made an impossible demand of him, he chose to obey, and in the very choosing to obey, the Lord immediately gave him all that was necessary to obey.

Now your problem is you’re standing and arguing. Jesus is making impossible demands on you. He is saying, “Be perfect, even as my Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). “Lord, there is no way I can be perfect, You know my flesh.” And you’re arguing, aren’t you? Jesus is saying, “Be strong.” “Well, Lord, You think if I could be strong I’d be wallowing in this weakness that I have, and going through all of this misery?” Jesus is saying, “Have victory.” “Lord, You think… how I want victory.” And you are arguing rather than obeying. The moment you will to obey the command of Jesus Christ, as impossible as it may seem, in that very moment He will give to you all that is necessary for you to fulfill that command. He does not command you to do anything, but what He will not empower you and enable you to do it, if you will only will to obey. I love it.

Now it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray (Luk 6:12),

Again, Luke is giving us the insight to the prayer life of Jesus.

and he continued all night in prayer (Luk 6:12).

You men that spend the all night vigils here in the prayer room, you know who is there with you every night? The Lord. He said, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there” (Matthew 18:20). He was used to praying all night. You’re in good company. He spent the night in prayer, why? Because the next day He was going to be making some very important decisions. From those disciples that were following Him, He was going to choose twelve to be called apostles. Jesus prayed before important decisions were to be made. I think that that is a tremendous example for us, and we would be very wise to follow it. When we have important decisions to make to spend some time in prayer, seeking God’s guidance in those decisions.

So when the day came, he called unto him his disciples: and from them he chose twelve, whom he also named apostles (Luk 6:13);

And He gives us the name of the twelve.

Simon, (who he also named Peter,) Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon called the Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who also was the traitor. And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases (Luk 6:14-17);

So now He is drawing people, not only from the south, the area of Judea, and Jerusalem, but they are coming from the coastal northern areas of Tyre and Sidon to hear Him and to be healed.

And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitudes sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and he healed them all (Luk 6:18-19).

It is interesting that this declaration, and, of course, here a doctor is talking to you again, the physician Luke, talking about virtue going out of Jesus. But it is interesting to me that this follows His night in prayer, that this power now, this dimension, virtue begins to go out of Him, and people were coming up and touching Him in order to be healed.

And he lifted up his eyes (Luk 6:20)

And now, from here to the end of the chapter, we have an abbreviated version of the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5, 6, and 7, we have a longer version. There are some differences, enough, that some teachers do not believe that this is actually the Sermon on the Mount, but just another Sermon in which Jesus touched many of the points that He touched in the Sermon on the Mount. There is enough difference that does support that particular theory.

So he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and he said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God (Luk 6:20).

You may be poor on this earth, and on this earth’s standards, but hey, you’re blessed because the kingdom of God belongs to you.

Blessed are you that hunger now: you will be filled. Blessed are you that weep now: you shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, when they will separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake [for my sake. Jesus said,] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy (Luk 6:21-23):

Now I haven’t seen any of you leaping for joy because someone was speaking against you at your job and got you in trouble, and they only did because you were a Christian. I have counseled a lot of people with long faces. They come in just discouraged, defeated, ready to quit, because of the trails they were going through at their job because they were Christians. “Oh, I can’t believe the hassle I’ve got this week,” or, “My foreman is really upset.” But the Lord said, “When that happens leap for joy, rejoice.” Why? Because your reward in heaven is great.

for in the same manner did they treat the prophets. But woe unto you who are rich! for you have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! you will be hungry. Woe unto you that laugh now! you’re going to mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you! because this is how they treated the false prophets. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, bless those that curse you, pray for those that despitefully use you (Luk 6:23-28).

Now suddenly Jesus is giving us a bunch of impossible commands. I am ready to argue. “Lord, how can I love my enemies? No way I can love my enemies. And I don’t want to do good to those that hate me. And I don’t want to bless those that curse me.”

You see, these are unnatural commands. They irritate me. I find myself arguing with them. I really do. I find myself arguing with this commands. Now as long as I am argue with them, I am always going to have a withered hand. I am never going to change. I’ll always be trying to get even. I’ll always be after the eye for an eye, and the tooth for a tooth. And seeking revenge, and being eaten up by ulcers. But if I just will to obey, “God I am willing to love, but you’re going to have to do it, I can’t do it.” Well, if I am willing, I will find that He will all for me that is necessary for me to obey that command. My part is to be willing to obey. Not to argue with Him, but just be willing to obey, and in that willingness you’ll discover the secret of victory. And the Lord will give to you the capacity and the power to obey the commands that He has given.

Now he that will smite you on the one cheek offer him the other; and if he takes away your cloak, don’t forbid him to take your coat also. To every man that ask of thee [give], and to him who takes away your goods don’t ask for them again. And as you would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise (Luk 6:29-31).

Now so many of the teachers that put this in the negative. “Don’t do to anybody what you don’t want done to you.” That’s a very common thing.

Hallal, Confucius, and all of them said something similar to this, but it was always negative. Whatever is distasteful to you, and you don’t want that done to you, you just don’t do that to some one else, a good rule to follow.

Jesus put it in a positive sense. Hey, not just the negative, not just not hitting him because you don’t want him to hit you, but He put it in a positive sense. Whatever you would like people to do you, do that to them. How would you like them to treat you when you’ve made a mistake? You want them to be kind and understanding and sympathetic. Alright, that’s the way you should be to them when they’ve made a mistake; kind, sympathetic, and understanding. How you would like people to treat you? That’s the way you are to treat them, Jesus said. And so, He turns it from a negative to a positive. And so it leads us into actual positive actions rather than just refraining from negative things.

For if you love those which love you, so what? sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those which do good to you, so what? sinners do the same thing. If you lend to those of whom you’re hoping to receive a return, so what? sinners also lend, in order that they might get as much again. But love your enemies, do good, lend, hoping for nothing again; that your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to everyone, the unthankful, the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luk 6:32-36).

Now again we find ourselves arguing, don’t we? But these are commands of the Lord. Rather than argue, let’s choose and will to obey.

Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you will be forgiven: give (Luk 6:37-38),

And here the law of giving. Give: it’s a principle; it’s a spiritual law. We’ve learned to observe natural laws and live by them and profit from them, but we ought also to learn the spiritual laws, and this is a spiritual law; it works. You say, “I don’t know how it can work.” I don’t either, but I know it does.

Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete it out it will be measured to you again (Luk 6:38).

Paul said if you sow sparingly, you’re going to reap sparingly. You sow bountifully, you’re going to reap bountifully. Whatever measure you mete, it shall be measured to you. So in the giving, the Lord will give back to you on whatever measure you give. However, He will give back more. Because He will give out, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.

So he spoke a parable; Can the blind lead the blind? will they not both fall in the ditch? And the disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why do you behold the mote [the sliver] that is in your brother’s eye, and you don’t perceive the beam [the four by six] that is in your own eye? (Luk 6:39-41)

And I am sure Jesus said this with a smile. Because it gives you a good picture. Some guy with a four by six in his eye, trying to pull a sliver out of his neighbor’s eye. And so I am sure this was said with a smile and all. But oh, how typical it is of us. Those who are so critical, ready to find fault with the next person, ready to point out their flaws and their weaknesses, but oh, God help us. There is so much bad in the best of us. And so much good in the worst of us that it ill behooves any of us to speak of the rest of us. The Lord is saying, “Clean up your own act.”

Who can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take this sliver out of your eye, when you can’t behold the four by six that is in your eye? You hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you’ll be able to see clearly to pull the sliver that is in your brother’s eye. For a good tree does not bring forth corrupt fruit; neither does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. And every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs (Luk 6:42-44),

You don’t go out and gather figs off a cactus.

nor from a bramble bush [from a tumbling weed] you don’t gather grapes (Luk 6:44).

Everything brings forth after its kind.

And thus a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bring forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luk 6:45).

And all you have to do is stand around and listen to a person’s conversation, and it doesn’t take long to reveal where their heart is. Out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks. It comes out. And you know, standing around listening to some people, is like standing near an open cesspool. You know what’s in their heart; it stinks.

And then Jesus asked a very interesting question. One that we should all be asking ourselves tonight.

Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and you do not the things which I say? (Luk 6:46)

You see, the title Lord implies mastery. It implies servant. I am the servant, He is the Lord. In our culture we don’t understand what it was to be a slave. To not be able to own anything. To be the total property of another person. To be required to obey implicitly without question anything that was demanded of you. We independent Americans can’t even conceive of this. And so we find it easy to say, “Oh, Lord, oh Lord.”

And yet, how inconsistent it is if you call Jesus, Lord, and yet you don’t obey. Now He is just giving you a lot of things here to consider as far as obedience is concerned. Now James says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). As we read what Jesus ideally requiring of us, and commanding us to do and to be. And then we say, “Oh, Lord, I don’t think I can do that. Oh, Lord, there is no way I can do that.” And then His response is, “Why do you call me, Lord, unless you’re going to do the things I command you to do? You see, if you’re not obeying what I am commanding then I am really not your Lord.” That’s exactly what He is saying to you.

And so this really does create a cause for great self-examination. Paul the apostle tells us when we come to the Lord’s table, let a man examine himself, for if we’ll judge ourselves, we will not be judged of God. And I think that so often we are just prone to slough off some of the commands of Christ that we don’t quite agree with, or we don’t want to go along with. Then we pick and choose. “Oh, I like this one. Oh, this is my favorite, oh yea. Well, I don’t know about that one, I sort of think people interpret things different way, and I have a different interpretation.” But if I am going to use the title of Lord, then I need to take a look at His commands, and at least will to obey them. Not argue with them, but choose to obey them.

Now whosoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I’ll show you what he is like: He is like a man which build a house, and he dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, and the stream vehemently upon the house, it could not shake it; because it was founded on a rock (Luk 6:47-48).

The importance of digging deep and laying a good foundation for your faith in Jesus Christ and the word of God. Too many shallow foundations. Too many people just building a superstructure without a foundation. Building on emotions, building on experiences, building on exciting times, building on the glory, glory, hallelujahs. But when the storm comes, if you haven’t laid a good foundation on the rock, the house just isn’t going to stand.

He that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately fell; and the ruin of that house was great (Luk 6:49).

Now both cases were subjected to the test of the storm. The Lord does not promise you immunity from problems, from trials, from hardship. It’s going to come to every man alike. Through life there are going to be difficult things that we are going to have to face that we cannot understand, or rationalize, as we try to think of a good, loving, just God, and try to rationalize our current situation on the basis of a loving, kind heavenly Father. The storm is going to come. It will beat vehemently. And if you haven’t taken the time to lay a good foundation, you’re going to find the whole system collapsing around you. And you’ll be swept away. How important, we dig deep, that we obey, that we do the things that Jesus commanded. We practice doing them, rather than just arguing with Him, telling Him why we can’t do them, and excusing our pleas. He doesn’t want you to excuse your condition, He wants you to change from your condition. You say, “I can’t do that.” That’s exactly right. He knows that. But do it anyhow. For when you will to obey, all that you need to obey will be given to you in that moment. God make us willing.

Shall we pray.

Father, we thank You again for the study of Your Word and, Lord, we do want to be doers of Your Word. As we go back and we again use on the commandments, and we find those that do irritate us, those that grate on us, O God, may we truly bow our hearts in submission and say, “Lord, I can’t, and I’m willing.” And may we, Lord, receive that ability and capacity from You to be and to do all that You want us to be and to do. Help us, Lord! We need Your help. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

May the Lord bless you, keep you, fill you with His love, His Spirit, His strength, His power. May the Lord enable you to go forth to do His will, obeying His commandments. In Jesus’ name.

Chapters 7 & 8

Let’s turn now in our Bibles to Luke’s gospel, chapter 7. At this point in Luke’s gospel he is going to give us series of events, miracles that transpired in the life of Jesus.

When he ended these sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loves our nation, and he has build us a synagogue (Luk 7:1-5).

The Roman centurions were special men. They are mentioned several times in the scriptures, and always in a favorable light. They were always, it seems, outstanding men. We remember the Roman centurion Cornelius in Caesarea. It was while he was in prayer that the Lord spoke to him, and commanded that he should send his servants to Joppa in order to get Peter to come down and teach them the way of the Lord more completely. And so it was in the Roman centurion’s house in Caesarea that the gospel was first preached to the Gentiles, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon his house, and those that were with him. As God began His work among the Gentiles, actually in the house of a Roman centurion. So they are mentioned several times in the scriptures, always in a kind and favorable light.

This centurion in Capernaum was declared to be a worthy person by the Jewish leaders, who came to Jesus on his behalf. They said that he was worthy for whom He should do this. This is interesting to me, because the Jewish people, even to the present day, and I am certain that it doesn’t have it’s roots in the New Testament, but to the present day they have awards that they give to worthy people. And it is a phrase that they yet use today. In fact, I’ve been awarded a worthy person by the Jewish community, whatever that might mean. And I haven’t found out yet, but I don’t know that I fully want to. But I think it’s good, because they were smiling when they awarded me. But it’s a title that they still give today for a person who has, and I suppose it is a person outside of the Jewish faith, who has shown kindness and consideration to the Jews would be my estimation of this title. And such was the case with the Roman centurion. He has build a synagogue for them, and he loved their nation. And so having this as his credential, the Jewish leaders came and besought Jesus to do the favor for him by healing his servant.

It was unusual for a master to have a close relationship with his servant. The servants in the Roman Empire really had no rights whatsoever. And there was a Roman writer who said that every year a man should take stock of his possessions, and should hold on to that which is still producing and beneficial, and should get rid of that which was no longer productive. And included in that getting rid of that which was no longer productive was a slave who was no longer capable of putting out a day’s work. And so when he got to that place, he would just be put out, and left to die. For he had no other recourse. The slave was so much a part of, just a possession of his master, that in the Roman Empire a master could put his slave to death and not face any charges for it. After all, you’re just destroying your own property. So for him to have this attitude towards a slave was unusual in itself. And it does show that he is one of those men above the ordinary. He loved this slave very much, and was concerned because he was almost dead.

Then Jesus went with them. And when he was not far from the house, then centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, do not trouble yourself; for I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed (Luk 7:6-7).

Now the commendation that the Jewish leaders had given to Jesus is, this man is worthy. As he answers or responds when he finds out that Jesus is getting close to his house, sending other friends, he said, “I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.” He used a different word for worthy. But then he did say, using the same word for worthy, “neither did I think myself worthy to come to Thee.”

In that culture it was unlawful for a Jew to enter the home of a Gentile. He knew for Jesus to come into his house would be putting a strain upon Jesus. When Peter entered the house of Cornelius, he apologized for doing so. He had taken some Jewish friends with him from Joppa. And he apologized for doing so. He said, “You know it isn’t lawful for me to assemble with you fellows, to come to this house, but the Lord told me not to ask any questions, so I am here, what do you want?” But he was apologizing for entering into the house of a Gentile, because that was forbidden to the Jew.

So he is saying to Jesus, “I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. I didn’t even feel I was worthy to come to You.”

It is interesting when we remember when the woman from the area of Sidon came to Jesus concerning her daughter, who she said was vexed with a devil, and Jesus didn’t answer. The disciples said, “Lord, do something for her, she is bugging us; she is driving us crazy.” And Jesus said, “It isn’t right to give the children’s bread to the dogs.” Now, Jesus was declaring that these benefits that He was bringing were for the Jews. This centurion did not feel worthy to come to Jesus and ask that Jesus would even come. And was sort of embarrassed that Jesus was coming. But then he made a remarkable statement. He said, “Just say the word. You don’t have to come; I am not worthy that you should come. Just say the word and my servant will be healed. For I understand authority.”

For I also [recognizing that Jesus had authority, I also] am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers (Luk 7:8),

“I am a man who is under authority, and I have under me soldiers. I understand what authority is about. I submit to an authority, but I also have authority. And I understand how authority works. I also,” recognizing now that Jesus had this authority, “I also am a man under authority, having under me men, or men set under authority, having under me men.”

And I can say unto one, Go, and he goes; and to another I say, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he will do it. When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and he turned about to the people that were following him, and he said unto them, I say unto you, I have not found so great a faith, no, not in Israel (Luk 7:8-9).

Among the Jews, to whom He came, He did not see as much faith as this centurion.

So they that were sent, when they got home, found the servant that had been so sick, [nearly dead] was alive and well. So it came to pass the day after (Luk 7:10-11),

Now this is at Capernaum.

he went into a city called Nain (Luk 7:11);

Nain is about twenty-five miles from Capernaum.

and many of his disciples went with him, and a lot of people. Now when he came near to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man being carried out, and he was the only son of a mother, who was a widow: and many people of the city were with her. And when the [Jesus or the] Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not (Luk 7:11-13).

The picture could not be more pathetic. A woman who was a widow, following the procession, as her only son is being carried out for burial.

Now, in those days they did not have caskets. They usually carried them in baskets and put them in a sarcophagus. The word sarcophagus from the Latin means flesh eater. They have these lime stone sarcophaguses there in Israel. In fact, you can see them just in excavations where they dug for a highway. They uncover them, and they just leave them set there on the sides, and you can find them all over. There is something about the limestone that eats away the flesh very rapidly. In fact, within a month or so, and thus, the name sarcophagus, the flesh eater. And so they would usually place them in the sarcophagus until the flesh was eaten away, and then they would later bury the bones.

And so he was being carried, probably in a basket, to the place of burial, either a cave, or sarcophagus. And the mother with the crowd, the sad pathetic scene. And they didn’t just weep, they wailed. And Jesus had compassion on her. In the Greek there is no word that is more expressive of feeling sympathy than the word used here, translated compassion. And it is used many times of Jesus. It’s the strongest Greek word that expresses the deepest kind of feeling towards a person. Jesus had compassion on her, and said unto her, “Weep not.”

And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And Jesus delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear upon all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God has visited his people (Luk 7:14-16).

This term, “God has visited His people,” if you go back to the first chapter at the birth of John the Baptist when God opened the mouth of Zacharias, his father, he began to prophesy, and some of the first words of that prophesy back there in chapter 1, where, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited His people.” And so here the people are declaring, “God has visited His people.” The fulfillment of this prophesy of Zacharias.

And this story of him went forth throughout all of Judea (Luk 7:17),

Now Judea is unto the south sixty-seventy miles. So this story really spread concerning this young man who was dead, brought back to life by Jesus.

and throughout all of the regions there around about the Galilee region. And the disciples of John were telling John about all of these things. And John called him two of his disciples and he sent them to Jesus, saying, Are you the one that is to come? or should we look for another? And when the men were come unto him, they said, John the Baptist has sent us unto thee, saying, Are thou he that should come? or should we look for another? (Luk 7:17-20)

Now in John’s gospel, he tells us that when John saw the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus, that he knew that He was the Messiah. For the Lord told him that upon whomever you see the Spirit descend, He is the one. And so John, in referring to Jesus, said to his own disciples, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” And he pointed men to Jesus Christ.

Now John has been in the dungeon for a while, Herod’s prisoner. He does not like confined quarters, for he is a man of the outdoors. He grew up in the wilderness. He was a man of the woods, sort of speak. And this confinement, no doubt, was very irritating to him. And would imagine that John, like the other disciples of Jesus, was anticipating the immediate establishing of the kingdom of God. And he was probably wondering, “How long am I going to sit in this prison?” And the question, “Are you the Messiah?” was not so much a question, as was sort of an urging, “Let’s get things going; let’s get moving.” It could be that the fact that Jesus did not immediately establish the kingdom, overthrow Herod, and the Romans, that John did have second thoughts. Whatever be the case, the response of Jesus is quite interesting.

In that very same hour he cured many of their infirmities and of their plagues, and of the evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. And Jesus answering said unto him, Go your way, and tell John the things which you have seen and heard; how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me (Luk 7:21-23).

Now Jesus said to His disciples, “Believe Me, or else believe Me for My works’ sake.” Again He said, “The works that I do, they do testify of Me.” Jesus pointed to His works as a testimony to His identity who He was. “My works bear witness, they do testify of Me. And if you don’t believe Me,” He said, “believe Me for My works’ sake.” So He called upon His works as the witness as to His authority and to His identity. And they form a very strong witness as to His identity and His authority. Because no man can do these things, except the Lord be with him.

The works that He was doing were the works that were prophesied of the kingdom age. And, of course, that’s what John was concerned about, the kingdom. “Are you the One? Why haven’t You set up the kingdom? Are You the One, or shall we look for another?” And the works that He was doing were works that were the fulfillment of the kingdom age. Where the lame would leap as the deer, the blind would behold the glory of the Lord, and the dumb would sing praises unto Him. And unto the poor the gospel would be preached.

He just said, “Go back and tell John.” He knew that John knew the scriptures. He knew the scriptures well enough that when they come back and tell John the things that they saw, the things that they heard, that John would know the scriptures well enough to know, that, yes, He was indeed the promised one.

So when the messengers from John departed, Jesus began to speak to the people concerning John, and he said, What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaking in the wind? (Luk 7:24)

Now the area where John was baptizing, the Jordan River, was surrounded by these reeds. They were a very, very common sight. And obviously they didn’t go down to the Jordan River just to see reeds blowing in the wind. “What did you go out to see, reeds blowing in the wind?” No!

What did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? (Luk 7:25)

That is, a man who was robed in beautiful robes. And then in a bit of satire, Jesus said:

Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts (Luk 7:25).

They’re not in the kings’ dungeons.

But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say unto you, much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist (Luk 7:26-28):

And so Jesus puts John at the top of the list of those prophets that had been sent by God to the Jewish people. Of all of the men born of women, not a greater than John the Baptist. But then an extremely remarkable statement.

but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he (Luk 7:28).

The privileges that you have as a child of God living in this age are superior to the highest position under the old dispensation, where God related to man in a legal way, through the law. Now those who related to God from that legalistic background, the greatest of all was John the Baptist. And yet, he who is least in the kingdom of God has greater privileges, a deeper relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, than the highest of that prior dispensation. For we have not a legal, but a loving relationship with God.

And all the people that heard Him, and the publicans [that is, the tax collectors], justified God (Luk 7:29),

They declared, “Yes, that ‘s right.”

because they had been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, because they were not baptized by him (Luk 7:29-30).

Jesus used this later on when they were asking Him a bunch of questions that He didn’t want to answer at that moment. He said, “I’ll ask you a question. If you answer My question, I’ll answer yours. John’s baptism, was it of God, or was it of man?” And they knew that if they said it was of man, then all the people would turn against them, because they all believed John was a prophet. But if they said it’s of God, then Jesus say, “Then why weren’t you baptized by John?” So they said, “Well, we can’t answer You that question.” Jesus said, “Well, I don’t answer you yours either.”

But He used this. Here was the division, it was marked, the opinions concerning John. He was officially rejected by the religious leaders, but widely accepted by the people.

And so the Lord said, What shall I liken this generation to? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace, and calling to each other, they say, We’ve played our pipes, and you have not danced; and we’ve mourned with you, but you’ve not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say, He has a devil. But the Son of man is come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of the tax collectors and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all of her children (Luk 7:31-35).

In other words, “What do you want? You are in a position that nothing satisfies you. John came living in a sedic life, and you say he has a devil. I came mixing with people, eating with the publicans and all, and you say, ‘Hey, He is a winebibber; He is a gluttonous man.’ What do you want?”

One of the Pharisees desired that he would eat with him. And Jesus went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat [that is to eat dinner]. And, behold, there was a woman in the city, which was a sinner, and when she knew that Jesus was sitting in the Pharisee’s house for dinner, she brought an alabaster box of ointment, and she stood at his feet behind him weeping, and she began to wash his feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and she kissed his feet, and anointed them with ointment. Now when the Pharisees which had bidden him saw it, within himself he thought, If this man were a prophet, and if he had known what kind of a woman this is that is touching him: [He wouldn’t allow her to do that] because she is a terrible sinner. And Jesus said unto him, Simon, I have something to ask you. He said, Go head and ask it, Lord. And Jesus said, There was a certain creditor who had two debtors: the one owed him five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he completely forgave both their debts. Tell me therefore, which of them loves him the more? And Simon answered and said, Oh, I suppose that he, whom he forgave the most. And Jesus said unto him, That’s right. And He turned to the woman, and he said unto Simon, You see this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You did not give me a kiss: but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil you did not anoint: but this woman has anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little (Luk 7:36-47).

Simon was a rude host. And in that culture hospitality was something that was treasured highly. When you invited guests to your home, they would leave their sandals at the door, but immediately there would be a servant there with a towel and with a basin of water, and the host would provide that servant to wash your feet in order that you might come into the house to dine. Of course, they wore open sandals; they had dirt pathways that they walked on, and it was just a common, accepted courtesy that the guests that were invited would have their feet washed by the servant when they entered the door of the house. And then it was customary to greet your friends with a kiss. Usually it was a kiss on each cheek. This was just common. And, in fact, in some of those areas it is still practiced today. Italy, the men in the church when they come up and greet you, kiss you on both cheeks. And it’s a sort of a beautiful, loving thing. But it was common in that culture. And then also it was common to anoint with oil. To pour oil on the head of the guest. Which was a symbol of the joy that you’d hoped to share together that evening. And they would then serve you your first cup of coffee, no sugar, strong Turkish type coffee, bitter. The idea being that you are washing away now all of the bitter experiences that you’ve had. The second cup they offer you is very sweet. Symbolic of that sweet time that we can now share together, that all of the bitterness was taken away.

Simon was a poor host. He did not show to Jesus any of these common courtesies. He did not wash Jesus’ feet. He did not anoint His head with oil. Nor did he kiss Him when He entered the house. But this woman washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, kissed His feet continually, and anointed His feet with ointment. And here is Simon the Pharisee sitting there in his pompous, self-righteous attitudes and all, and, “If He were really a prophet, He wouldn’t allow this to go on. He’d know what kind of a woman she was. And He wouldn’t allow her to touch Him.” You see, Simon wouldn’t touch that woman. Because if you touched her, you’d be considered unclean; she was a sinner. “Don’t let that woman touch me.”

I am glad that Jesus is touchable, even by sinners. I appreciate that so much. I can reach out and touch the Lord, no matter how badly I feel. He is always within reach.

And so Jesus gave to Simon this little parable about the fellow who had two debtors. One owed him five hundred pence, and the other fifty pence. He forgave both their debts. Which one loves him the more? The one forgiven the most. And so Jesus said, “Yes, that’s right. And this woman, because her sins are many and are forgiven, loves Me the most.”

And so He said to the woman, and I am sure this is just to get Simon’s goat,

He said to the woman, Your sins are forgiven (Luk 7:48).

And it had the reaction, I am sure, He was expecting.

And they that were sitting at dinner with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee (Luk 7:49-50);

Oh, oh, isn’t this interesting. Jesus is bringing to men a whole new relationship to God. A relationship that is based on faith, and salvation through faith. And here this woman’s faith puts her a step ahead, and already into that new dispensation of God’s grace.

Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace (Luk 7:50).

Always the result for having our sins forgiven.

Chapter 8

And it came to pass afterward, as he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene (Luk 8:1-2),

She was from Magdala, and because there were many Mary’s, she was identified as Mary of Magdala, or Mary Magdalen. Jesus was called Jesus of Nazareth because there were many people by that name also. And so to identify who He was, they referred to Him as Jesus of Nazareth. Common Jewish name, Joshua in Hebrew, and it was a common name for the little boys. And so to identify Him, it was Jesus of Nazareth. Here it is Mary of Magdala, and so they called her Magdalene because that was the city from which she came.

And Jesus had cast seven devils out of her, and Joanna who was the wife of Chuza who was Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance (Luk 8:2-3).

In other words, these women that were following with the company of disciples were taking care of their needs with their substance. They were the ones that were providing the food and taking care of those needs.

I am certain that in heaven these woman who sacrificed to minister to the physical needs of Jesus during His lifetime have a very special place up there. And I imagine that they are very special women. We don’t really hear much about them, not much is said concerning them. But they, no doubt, are very special women, and have a very prominent place there in the kingdom of heaven. And it will be interesting to meet them, and to get their side of the story. Because if they are anything like my wife, they can tell you so many more details of the color of their hair and eyes, and what they wore, than I can ever remember. And so the fact that we have men gospel writers, we’ve lost a lot of details that these women will, no doubt, be able to fill in for us, and it will be interesting talking to them indeed.

Now Jesus went about every city and village preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.

Paul the apostle, as he was talking to the elders of Ephesus there on the beach of Miletus, and knowing that this is the last time that he will probably see them, he said, “You know how that I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but I have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house.” He is talking about his ministry there in Ephesus, and he said, “In my ministry to you, I showed you and I taught you.”

There is much that we can learn from a lecture. But there is much that cannot be learned from a lecture, but must be learned by observation. As a person’s life demonstrates what he preaches. Many times what a person preaches is totally negated because the life that he lives is not in harmony with the message that he preaches. Jesus both preached and showed. He demonstrated the message of the kingdom that He was preaching to these people. The message of the kingdom of God was the central message that Jesus had to declare to man.

Many people are confused about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. And there are some people who have tried to make it difference, and make spiritual kind of meanings and mysteries, and, “Has God revealed to you,” brother bit. “The kingdom of heaven verses the kingdom of God.” But the terms are used synonymously. Matthew usually refers to the kingdom of heaven. And the other gospel writers to the kingdom of God. But you can cross reference the scriptures and find that they are used synonymously. The kingdom of heaven usually refers to the kingdom of God when it has come to the earth. But it is all under the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is that kingdom where God is King. So when Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is among you,” He was showing to them the kingdom.

He lived a life in complete submission to the Father. He showed them what it was like to live a life in submission to the Father. He said, “I do always those things that please the Father.” And He showed them what kind of a life it was when you lived in complete submission to the Father as King. And when you live in submission to God as the King of your life, you are living in the kingdom of God. It’s just that simple. And there is no sense in trying to make some deep spiritual mystery out of it. It’s an extremely simple thing. So simple that a child can understand it. And so simple that unless you become as a child, you can’t enter it. You’ve got to get rid of all this hocus, pocus, mysteries, spiritualizing of stuff, because Jesus said it isn’t that. It isn’t some kind of difficult mystery, only revealed to some initiates. It is something that a child can perceive and understand. And you’ve got to come as a little child to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Just as a little child says, “I love God, and I want to serve God.” Bowing before God, acknowledging God as the King of your life, you’ve become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. That’s all it takes. Obedience to God, submission to God, and you’re a part of the kingdom of God.

Jesus preached to the people of the kingdom of God. It was something that was central in their minds. They were anticipating God’s establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth at that time. Especially the disciples–they felt that when the Messiah came, He was going to immediately establish the kingdom of God upon the earth. But that was not God’s plan. But you remember that this was so important to them, that even when Jesus is saying to them, “Now I am going to go away, but I am going to pray the Father, and He is going to send you another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth, that He may abide with you forever (John 14:16). Now wait in Jerusalem until you receive this promise from the Father, which you’ve heard of Me. For John baptized you with water, but I am going to baptize you with the Holy Spirit in a few days.” And they said, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom? Is this when you’ll set up the kingdom of God?” Jesus said, “Look, it is not given to you to know the times and the seasons that are appointed unto the Father, but you’ll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

They were anxious for the kingdom of God, and rightly so. Because they were living in miserable conditions as far as the world itself was concerned. We should also be anxious for the kingdom of God. And I tell you, there are times when I groan and cry for the kingdom of God. When I read the statistics of Orange County, the abused children for the month of September, and I read of all of these things that are happening to these little children, I tell you, my heart, it yearns for the kingdom of God. It cries for the kingdom of God to be established. How long, God, how long are You going to allow men to go on in his rebellion against Your kingdom? How long, God, will You forebear? And it is my prayer that the Lord come quickly and establish His kingdom. For I don’t think that mankind can go on much longer. I don’t think mankind will survive much longer. I think that it is imperative that God establish His kingdom soon. And as I look at the world today, my heart yearns for the kingdom of God. As I look at my little grandchildren, and I think of the world that they are growing up in, I tell you, my heart cries out to God. I don’t know what I would do, should some sex pervert touch one of my grandchildren. You probably would have to bail me out. I cry, “Oh God, come quickly. Things can’t go on much longer.”

But Jesus was preaching the good tidings, the glad tidings of the kingdom. And it is glad tidings. A glorious day is coming. A day when men will live with peace with one another. A day when God will reign. A day when we will see the earth as God created it and intended it to be for all times. Where the deserts are blossoming like a rose. And there are streams in the deserts. And rivers in dry places. The parched ground has become a pool. And the blind will see, the lame will walk, and leap as the deer and all. These were the things that Jesus was showing as He was healing the sick. As He was feeding the multitudes. He was showing the things that would transpire in the kingdom age. And He proclaimed how beautiful and glorious it is when a man lives in obedience to God and in submission to God.

And so He preached and He showed to the kingdom of God. When Jesus was born and the angels announced to the shepherds, He announced it with these words, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10). The angel was proclaiming the kingdom of God. “The King is born, He has come. He is over in Bethlehem. He is lying in a manger, you’ll find Him there swaddled.” And suddenly there was with that angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). They were proclaiming the conditions of the kingdom. But the kingdom was to be brought by this child who the angel said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). And to those who have found Jesus as their Lord, they have entered into the kingdom of God. And you can begin to enjoy even now a part of the benefits of the kingdom. As God fills your heart with His love, and with His peace.

Now there were many people that were gathered together, and they came to him out of every city, and he spoke to them by a parable: [And he said] A sower went out to sow his seeds: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. Some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and it sprang up, and it bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that has an ear to hear, let him hear (Luk 8:4-8).

Jesus was always saying that. And in His messages to the seven churches He repeated it to each church. “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.”

How important that we have an ear to hear what God is seeking to say. I am constantly praying, “God, give me an ear to hear what You have to say.” And that is more than just hearing, it’s understanding what God’s message to man today would be. “God, what is Your message to me? What are You saying to me? What are You wanting to say to me? God, give me understanding, give me an ear to hear.” For I realize that unless the Spirit does teach me, I can’t learn. No matter how intelligent I might be, I cannot learn spiritual truth apart from the Spirit of God opening my heart to understand and to receive. For the natural man understandeth not the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them, they are spiritually discerned. God, give me an ear to hear.

And so the disciples asked him, saying, What does this parable mean? And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others it is spoken in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God (Luk 8:9-11).

So we realize that the Word of God falls on different types of soil, or there is a different reception in the hearts of people to the Word of God. And the Lord is sort of illustrating the four types of people upon whom the Word of God falls.

Now these are those that are by the way side, there are those that hear the word of God; and then the devil comes, and takes the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved (Luk 8:12).

Immediately there is just nothing, there is no penetration. The Word comes, but immediately Satan snatches it away, and it is as though they had never heard.

They that are on the rock are they, which, when they hear the word, they receive it with joy (Luk 8:13);

They have a great emotional experience.

but these have no root, which for a while they believe, and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell among the thorns, is those, when they have heard, go forth, and they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and they bring no fruit to perfection [or completion] (Luk 8:13-14).

There is no real fruit that comes from their life. They hear, they receive, but the fruitfulness is choked out by pleasures, riches, cares.

But that which fell on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and they bring forth fruit with patience (Luk 8:15).

Now as you look at your own life and examine yourself, on what kind of soil has the Word of God fallen in your life? In which of the four categories would you place yourself: A, B, C, or D? And it might be good to take a moment with an honest look at your own heart. Am I bring forth fruit unto completion? If not, why not? Have I allowed cares, riches, desire for pleasure, to choke out my fruitfulness? On what kind of a soil has the Word of God fallen in your own heart? God help us. That we might bring forth fruit, with patience. Be not weary in well doing, in due season we will reap, if we faint not.

Jesus said,

No man, when he has lighted a candle, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under his bed; but he sets it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how you hear [be careful how you hear the word of God]: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever has not, from him shall be taken even that which he seems to have (Luk 8:16-18).

The importance of using what God has given to me for His glory. And if I do, God will add more. The Lord said, “Thou hast been faithful in a few things, now I will make you ruler over many things.” That is always the process of God. Unless you are faithful in those little things that God has laid before you, He’ll never lead you any further. There are a lot of people who want to jump into something big, major work for God. That’s where they want to start. But they don’t want to, they don’t have time for teaching a Sunday school class. Or helping out in the nursery. “I want to do great things for God.” And God always promotes through the ranks. Those who begin, and are diligent in those small things, God gives more. If you are not faithful in the little things, then who is going to entrust you the things of the kingdom?

Then came to him his mother and his brothers, and they could not come in because of the crowd. And it was told him by certain ones which said, Your mother, and your brothers are standing outside, and they desire to see you. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brothers are these which hear the word of God, and do it (Luk 8:19-21).

Now in the previous parable there was that emphasis upon doing also. But here again, Jesus is declaring that that relationship that we have with Him who hear and do His word, is that of a brother. Close relationship.

Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And so they launched forth. And as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and they awoke him, saying, Master, Master, we’re perishing. And so he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him (Luk 8:22-25).

It is interesting that Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith, when the ship was in jeopardy of sinking. Interesting, because from all appearances they were going to go under. “Where is your faith?” They weren’t listening when Jesus said in verse 22, “Let us go over unto the other side of the lake.”

Now, when you have the Word of Jesus that you are going to go over to the other side of the lake, there is no way you can go under. “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.” But they weren’t listening carefully. And so when they were afraid that they were going to go under, He rebuked them because of their lack of faith, because He said, “Let’s go over.”

And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee (Luk 8:26).

The city of Gadara has recently been discovered in the last two years. And at the present time they are excavating the sight of the city of Gadara. Actually, they were building a new road up into the Golan Heights, and as they were building this new road, they began to come across these ruins, and so they halted their building, and called in the archaeologist, and they discovered the sight of the aged city of Gadara. And so they moved the road a few hundred yards, and are now excavating the city of Gadara. Interestingly enough, a couple of miles from the sight of the city of Gadara is the only place around the Sea of Galilee where there is a steep incline leading into the sea. So the very area where Jesus landed in His boat can be ascertained there today, and it is near the ruins of the ancient city of Gadara. So in this very area Jesus came with His disciples.

And when they came to the land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils for a long time, and he wore no clothes, nor did he live in any house, but he lived in the tombs (Luk 8:27).

The rock tombs out there.

And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice he said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded, Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For many times it caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; but he broke the bands, and was driven by the devil into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is your name? And he said, Legion: because many devils had entered into him. And they begged him that he would not command them to go out into the deep (Luk 8:28-31).

The word translated deep is the Greek word abusso, which in other places in the New Testament is translated the bottomless pit.

There are four places mentioned in the scriptures as the places of abode for the wicked dead and for the disobedient angels and spirits. There is a place known as Tartaras, where certain angels are kept bound, awaiting the day of judgment. And they are bound in chains of Tartaras, awaiting that day of judgment. In the center of the earth, there is a place in the scriptures called Hades. In the Hebrew it is called Sheol. It is oftentimes translated grave, and many times translated hell. It is in the center of the earth. Prior to the death of Christ and resurrection, it was divided into two compartments, and in a few weeks when we get to the sixteenth chapter of Luke’s gospel, we will get a description by Jesus of what this place in the center of the earth is like, known as Hades.

We know that it is in the center of the earth, because when they asked Jesus for a sign, He said, “No sign will be given to this wicked and adulterous generation, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39-40). And so when Jesus died, He descended into hell, into Hades, into this compartment in the center of the earth. And according to Peter, there He preached to those souls that were imprisoned. And according to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, when He ascended He led these captives from their captivity, fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah, the sixty-first chapter, where He would “set at liberty those who were bound, and open the prison doors to those that were captive.” And so Jesus led the captives from their captivity at the time of His resurrection. And they with Him ascended into heaven. However, Hades was divided into two compartments, of which there could be no concourse back and forth. And we’ll get that in Luke’s sixteenth chapter. And we’ll just wait till we get there, and talk a little bit more at that time.

Now, somewhere upon the earth there is a shaft that goes from the surface of the earth down into Hades. This shaft in the scripture is called the abusso. It is translated the bottomless pit. And this shaft is the abode and incarceration of evil spirits. The antichrist will ascend out of the abusso, the shaft. When Satan is bound during the thousand-year reign of Christ, he will be cast into this same abusso, out of which the antichrist came. In the book of Revelation we read where an angel is given the key to the abusso during in the time of God’s Great Tribulation and judgment upon the earth, and he opens up the abusso, and when he does, these creatures that John graphically describes in the book of Revelation come out of the abusso and began to attack men upon the earth. These hordes of demons released, and attacking men during the Great Tribulation period. I mean, those who have made these fantasy movies haven’t seen anything yet. When you read of these creatures that will come out of the abusso, these demon apparitions, actually, and demons themselves who will come and attack men. And through the ultimate result, one third of the earth’s population will be destroyed. In the beginning they have power only to hurt men for six months. And then they begin to this other horse-like creatures have power to kill, and by them a third of the earth’s population will be wiped out.

Now, when Jesus comes again and He destroys the antichrist and the false prophet, they will be cast alive into Gehenna. Gehenna is described as in outer darkness.

Now how far out does space go? They say that they have discovered galaxies that are twelve billion light years away from the earth. When you get that far I don’t know how accurate your measurements can be, but give or take a view billion years. But if you continued out beyond the farthest galaxy and continued on into space until the light of our galaxy did not shine, it could be that Gehenna is out there. Or it could be that Gehenna is a black hole. Sucking everything into it, the gravitation is so heavy, that not even light can escape. But it is called in the scripture, outer darkness. This is where the antichrist, the beast, and the false prophet will be cast when Jesus returns to the earth. A thousand years later, Satan will be released out of the abusso, this pit. Now, Satan and the demons will be put in the pit during the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ in the kingdom age, but then they will be released.

Now notice, they are begging Jesus that He would not command them at this time to go to the abusso. They know that the time is coming when they will be consigned to the abusso. They’re begging further liberties now. Which, interestingly enough to me, Jesus gave to them. He did not at that time command them. “Torment us not, don’t send us to the abusso.” And Jesus at that time did not send them to the abusso. However, they will have their time, when Satan is bound. Now, they will be released, and will create in the heart of wicked men a rebellion against God, and against the reign of Jesus Christ, and then they will be cast into Gehenna, where the beast and the false prophet are, and then the great white throne judgment of God when all men, small and great stand before God. And whosoever name was not found written in the Book of Life will also find his place in Gehenna.

Blessed is he who takes part in the first resurrection, because he’s got it made, over him the second death will have no power. But this is the second death. It is God’s final consignment of the wicked. They hate the light, they will not come to the light, and so God honors their desire for darkness, and casts them into outer darkness.

Way down in the depth of Oregon Caves they turned out the lights, and we experienced what the guide said was total darkness. And I mean, that was dark. We waved our hands in front of our faces to see if we could pick up any kind of a movement–you couldn’t. In fact, there is something that just sort of began to press in on you. I was glad when they turned the lights on. Because total darkness can freak you out in a hurry. Especially if you are a little kid and have a vivid imagination. They will be cast into outer darkness. And Jesus said of Gehenna, “Where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and the worm dieth not.” And in the book of Revelation speaking of it, it said, “And the smoke of their torment ascended from the ages throughout the ages.”

So four places, by the grace of God, we don’t have to go to any of them. Because now he that lives and believes in Jesus Christ shall never die, we will be changed. We know that when this earthly tent is dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So we who are still living in these tents, our earthly bodies groan earnestly desiring to move out. Not to be unimbodied spirits, but we might move into that new building of God, not made with hands. For we know that as long as we are living in these tents, we are absent from the Lord, but we would choose rather to be absent from these tents, than to be present with the Lord.

Some day you may read Chuck Smith died, don’t believe it, poor reporting. Chuck Smith moved out of an old worn out tent into a beautiful new mansion. A building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For Jesus said, “He who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:26).

But here they are begging not to be sent to the abusso.

So there was a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain (Luk 8:32):

Now that’s illegal. These men were trafficking in illegal trade. It’s like growing cocaine or poppies. And so these demons, legion,

besought him that he would allow them to enter them. And so he allowed them. And then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake, and they were choked (Luk 8:32-33).

Now my son would say this is the first account of deviled ham. I wouldn’t say that, but…

Now when those who were feeding the swine saw what was done, they fled into the city, and they told the people what had happened. And so the people came out to see what was done; and they came to Jesus, and they found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, and he was sitting at the feet of Jesus, he was clothed, and in his right mind (Luk 8:34-35):

Healed, no longer naked and screaming and crying, and having to be bound with chains. But he is sitting there clothed, and in his right mind.

and they were afraid. And they also which saw it told them by what means the man who was possessed of devils was healed. And then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about begged him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again (Luk 8:35-37).

Isn’t that tragic? The people were more interested in those swine than they were in this man’s deliverance. The loss of their swine was of greater concern to them than a man’s health. They begged Jesus to depart.

But the man, out of whom the devils were departed, begged him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to your own house, and just show how great things God has done to you. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city the great things that Jesus had done for him. Now it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned [that is, back over the other side of the lake, Capernaum], the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him (Luk 8:38-40).

What a contrast, on the one side they were saying, “Would you please get out of here?” And on the other side the crowd is waiting.

And, behold, there came a man name Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue; and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and he besought him that he would come into his house: For he had only one daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as he went the people were thronging him. And a woman having an issue of blood for twelve years, which had spent all of her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of His garment: and immediately her issue of blood was stopped. And Jesus said, Who touched me? And everyone denied, and Peter and those that were with Him said, Master, the multitude is thronging and pressing against you, and you say, Who touched me? Jesus said, Somebody has touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me (Luk 8:41-46).

It is interesting to me that in a multitude of people who are thronging and pressing against Jesus, there is one in the crowd who touches Him. Her touch was different from the pressing and thronging. It is interesting to me that how that the Lord can minister to people individually, even in a throng, even in a multitude. And here we are tonight a multitude of people gathered together, many pressing, many thronging. How many are touching, really receiving the touch of Jesus in your life, by faith reaching out and really touching the Lord?

Here we have two cases, contrasting cases. Twelve years earlier, before the event that we read, this woman came down with a debilitating malady. She began to hemorrhage, and it would not stop. She had gone to many doctors, they treated her until her money had run out. But her condition did not improve, it was only worse. In that society, for a woman to be bleeding meant that she was unclean from a ceremonial sense and could not enter the synagogue or the place of worship. A woman afflicted with a malady for twelve years. The loss of the relationship with her husband, according to the law he could not touch her while she was hemorrhaging. She could not worship God in the synagogue while this condition persisted. And no doubt anemic and weakened as the result. For twelve years she lived in darkness, hopelessness, and was getting worse.

On the other hand, twelve years earlier in the house of Jairus, a little girl was born, and as little girls, no doubt, brought great joy, and happiness, and light, and laughter, and beauty into the home. And for twelve years they enjoyed watching this little girl as she grew up, as her personality began to develop, and all of the cute wonderful things that she had done. In one household twelve years of darkness and despair, in the other, twelve years of laughter and beauty. And so they are approaching Jesus from different angles. In both cases, the light was going out. This woman was getting worse. She didn’t have any more money. She had only one hope. Get to Jesus, touch Him.

To this dad, the light was going out. His little girl who had brought such life, and joy, and happiness into the home, was at home, and she was dying. And he had only one hope: get to Jesus. And as Jesus was going to his house, and it was urgent, the girl was dying. As He stopped, I imagine that Jairus was a little irritated that He had stopped over a triviality over, “Who touched me?” For as He was going, the crowds were going with Him and pressing Him and pushing Him, thronging against Him. And I can imagine Jairus saying, “Lord, let’s get unto my house; my daughter is dying. You don’t understand the urgency. Why stop over a triviality of someone touching you in this crowd?” But Jesus is persisting. And even the disciples are beginning to object, they said, “Lord, with people pressing and thronging You, what do You mean, ‘Who touched Me?'” Jesus said, “Someone has touched Me; I felt the virtue go out of from Me.” And this woman stepped forth, and she knelt before Him trembling, and said, “I did it.” And she told her story. Twelve years ago, twelve years that must have flashed on Jairus. “Twelve years ago I was stricken with a malady that ostracized me from the community, from my family, but I am healed. The moment I touched, I knew I was healed. I am healed; it stopped. I felt it, I know it.” And Jesus continued on to Jairus’ house, after saying to her:

Be of good comfort, daughter: thy faith has made thee whole; go in peace (Luk 8:48).

Now as He was speaking, and Jesus no doubt knew this,

As he was speaking to the lady, one of the servants came running up, and he said, Don’t bother the Master any more, [it’s too late,] your daughter died. But Jesus turned to him, and he said, Fear not: only believe, and she shall be made whole. So when he came to the house, he did not allow any men to go in, except Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the girl. And all of those that were weeping, and wailing because of her: but he said, Don’t weep; she is not dead, she is only sleeping. And they turned from their weeping, and laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And so he put them all out, and he took her by the hand, and called saying, Maid, arise (Luk 8:49-54).

The word in the Greek is my little child. Twelve years old, beautiful little girl, no doubt. Who has never seen a twelve-year-old girl who wasn’t beautiful? And He said, “My little child,” very endearing term in the Greek, “arise.”

And her spirit came again (Luk 8:55),

You see, this indicates that at death our spirit departs from our body. Our spirit moves out of our body, and moves into that new body that God has. The real me is spirit, the real me isn’t this body. The body is only a tent in which I am dwelling for a while. It was designed by God to exist in the conditions of this planet earth. It was designed by God and purposed by God to be the medium by which I might express me. But the body isn’t me. Only the medium by which I express myself. The real me is spirit. One day my spirit will move out of this body.

Now her spirit returned to her body. It had moved out. She was dead. The spirit had moved out of the body. But her spirit returned, came again in to her body.

and she arose immediately: and he commanded that they give her something to eat. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them [or commanded them] that they should not tell any man what was done (Luk 8:55-56).

Interesting little insights into the ministry of Jesus. The miracles that He performed, given to us by Luke, who being a doctor, was quite interested in these various healings that Jesus brought to the people. And interestingly enough, he uses terms that are medical terms in the Greek language, and can be found in much of the classical Greek in the very same types of diagnosis in records and classic Greek that Luke is describing here of those being healed by Jesus.

Chapter 9 & 10

Let’s turn in our Bibles to the gospel according to Luke, chapter 9.

Luke here records the sending of the twelve to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. This is not to be confused with the time that He sent out the seventy. We will get that in the beginning of chapter 10. But here He is sending out the twelve to go throughout the area of Galilee. In fact, to go as far as they can, they are to travel light. Which means that they will be traveling fast, and they will be getting out as far as they can in this period of time.

So he called his twelve disciples together, and he gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house you enter into, there abide, and from there depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; And others said, that Elias had appeared; and still others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, John I have beheaded; but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him (Luk 9:1-9).

A desire that was not fulfilled until Jesus was standing trial on the day of His crucifixion.

Now we noticed that when Jesus sent out His disciples, He told them that they were not to take a purse, nothing for their journey, neither script, nor bread, nor money, nor two coats. Wherever they would go, they were to abide with the people there, and eat what was given to them, and receive from the people, “For the labor,” He said, “is worthy of his hire.”

Traveling light they could travel fast, and they could travel far, which they were to do. Their mission was to preach the kingdom. Incidental to preaching the kingdom was the healing of the sick and the curing of deceases. But that was only incidental to the preaching of the kingdom. That was not their mission. Their mission was not to heal the sick or cure diseases. The mission was to preach the kingdom. And the healings were incidental to the mission. And so must it always be. The church should be involved with the total person. We should be interested in the needs of society, and we cannot ignore them. But we mustn’t make the mistake of making the social work the mission of the church. It is incidental to the mission of the church of preaching the kingdom of God. That’s the mission. We’re to declare to the world of a glorious kingdom that is coming. That kingdom of God, of which a person can now become a part, by submitting himself to God as King.

Now as we proclaim the kingdom of God, we cannot ignore the hunger of people, the needs of people. And those incidental to our mission is that social work of the church in the community, but it should never become the primary mission of the church. And unfortunately today in the modern church, they have exchanged the message, really, for the social work, and the social gospel, and they are not really doing a good job with either.

Now the disciples, in a sense, were poor, in that they were to take no money, nor two coats, but yet they were very rich by what He gave them. He gave them power and authority to use that power. The word power is dunamis, the energy, the dynamic. And then that authority to use that power. Now they were evidently effective in their ministry, because word got around that what was happening; it even came to Herod. And he heard the various things that were being done, and he desired to see Jesus.

And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went a side privately into a desert place belonging unto the city of Bethsaida (Luk 9:10).

So they had come back now from their journey, they were suffering jet lag, and so He figured it’s a good time to just go over to the other side of the lake and just be alone with them for a little bit. To get their reports. And to see how things went, and to sort of put things together. And so across to the sort of deserted side of the lake, a deserted area, near the village of Bethsaida.

And the people, when they knew it, they followed him (Luk 9:11):

So that when they arrived… actually leading from Capernaum, Bethsaida is just a short little ways, maybe five miles across the northern end of the Sea of Galilee there. And visibility is good, and you can watch the ship that is going. You can tell the course that they are taking. You know exactly where they are going to land on the other side. And as soon as the people saw the ship going over that direction towards Bethsaida, they said, “That’s where He is going, come on.” And they jogged around the upper end of the Sea of Galilee. And as they were jogging through the villages, people would say, “Hey, where are you going?” “Oh, Jesus is going to be over here.” So people joined them, so that by the time that Jesus arrived there was a huge crowd.

Trying to get away alone with your disciples, have a little quite time, and He is greeted by a tremendous throng of people. Some five thousand men, besides women and children. So you can create your own estimates on the crowd, perhaps 15,000 or so.

Now at this point it would be very easy to be irritated. As you are trying to get away for some quiet time. But Jesus, it said,

received them, and he spoke unto them of the kingdom of God (Luk 9:11),

Last Sunday we dealt with the subject with the kingdom of God. If you weren’t here, I would suggest that you get the tape of last Sunday morning. This was the central message of Jesus. He was proclaiming to man that there is a kingdom where God wants men to live. A kingdom of light and life. A kingdom that is marked by righteousness, and joy, and peace, and love. And that kingdom comes to a man when he submits himself to God as the King of his life. And that’s what the kingdom of God is all about. When God reigns as King.

And so He preached to them of the kingdom of God, spoke to them of it.

and he healed those that were in need of healing. And when the day began to wear away, the twelve came to him, and said, Lord, you better send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and the country around here, and find a place to spend the night, and to get some food: for this is a deserted area (Luk 9:11-12).

There is no McDonald’s around here.

And he said unto them, Go head and feed them. And they said, We don’t have anything but five loaves and two fish; unless we would go into town and buy food for all of these people. For there were about five thousand men. And he said unto his disciples, Make them sit down in company of fifty. And so they did that, and they made them all sit down. And he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and he broke them, and he gave the disciples to set before the multitude. And they did all eat, and they were glutted: and then they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full (Luk 9:13-17).

We’ve commented on this when we were going through Matthew’s, and Mark’s gospel. And I don’t feel that it is in need of any further comments than that which has already have been made.

Now from Bethsaida, the Sea of Galilee, the northern end there, our next little scene takes place around forty miles away. Jesus has now moved with His disciples from the area near Bethsaida. We know that He returned across the lake to Capernaum. But now Luke’s next little scene that we have takes place up at Caesarea Philippi, which is the area that is today called Baneas. And it is right at the foot of the Mount Herman, where the Jordan River begins as a huge spring coming right out of the rocks. The water just begins to flow right there from the rocks. It’s an interesting thing to go to Baneas today and see the beginning of that Jordan River, right there at Baneas, right at the base of Mount Herman.

And so we are moving now from the Sea of Galilee. We are at the upper end. It’s like He is getting alone with His disciples, leaving the crowded areas around the Sea of Galilee, and coming up now to Caesarea Philippi.

And Luke again who is more careful to point out the prayer life of Jesus than the other gospels. For there are seven places in Luke’s gospel where he points out the fact that Jesus was praying when certain things took place that are not recorded in the other gospels. But Luke is careful to report them, because Luke’s emphasis is upon the humanity of Jesus. And because his emphasis is upon the humanity of Jesus, and one of the greatest needs that men has is contact with God through prayer. Something that Jesus felt important, and accentual, even in His God-man state. So Luke is careful to point out the prayer life of Jesus.

So it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him (Luk 9:18);

Now that’s an interesting statement, isn’t it? Sounds contradictory. As He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him. But such is the case when a man is in prayer.

Prayer is a very private thing. It is communion between you and the Father. And you know that communion can be a very private thing, even in the midst of a large company. And sometimes I have found it’s so strengthening and helpful in a crowd to get alone with God in prayer. Pressed by a situation, and so He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him.

and he asked them, Whom say the people that I am? (Luk 9:18)

What’s the popular opinion? What are the people saying?

And they answered and said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets is risen again (Luk 9:19).

Now these are the stories that you remember Herod had heard. Herod had heard that John the Baptist was risen again, or that it was Elijah, or that it was one of the old prophets risen again.

And so he said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answering said, The Christ of God. And he immediately charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing (Luk 9:20-21);

Now you may wonder, “Why did Jesus tell them not to tell anybody?” I believe it is because at this point they had a totally false conception of the Messiah. “You are the Messiah of God,” Peter said. Jesus said, “Don’t tell anybody.” For the disciples themselves did not understand this at this point. Because the whole Jewish concept of the Messiah was the establishing of the kingdom and the overthrow of the kingdoms of the world. And they did not understand that He was to come into the kingdom by His death. So because they did not fully understand the complete implications of Him being the Messiah of God, He said, “Don’t tell anybody, you don’t know enough about it yourself yet. Don’t tell anybody about this.” Because He knew that His mission was to be accomplished, not by establishing His throne in Jerusalem, and overthrowing the Roman powers, and bringing the world in submission, but His kingdom was to be established by Him hanging on a cross. Something the disciples did not understand, could not understand, would not understand, until He rose again from the dead. So these are things that they did not comprehend, and would not comprehend until after the resurrection. “So don’t go out and publish this, because the crucifixion would then blast the hopes of all the people.” If they went out and said, “Oh, the Messiah is here.” The crucifixion would have destroyed everybody. It was premature until the resurrection of the dead, and then they could proclaim the fact that this was the Messiah. For they could now even point out the scriptures being fulfilled in His death. But they didn’t understand it, so He said, “Don’t tell anybody, it’s premature, you don’t understand this fully yourself.”

And then he said, The Son of man must suffer many things (Luk 9:22),

Peter just said, “You’re the Messiah of God.” In their mind they thought, “Oh, oh, sitting on the throne, He is going to reign. Lord, can I sit at your right hand? I want to sit on your left hand.” And so now He is beginning to break to them the news. “You’re right, I am the Messiah of God, yet I am going to suffer many things.”

and I am going to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and I am going to be slain, but I will rise again on the third day (Luk 9:22).

Now He is beginning to tell them, though they don’t understand, this is just going over their head. In fact, Matthew tells us that at this point Peter began to rebuke Him. Said, “Oh, Lord, be that far from thee. Don’t talk like that.” And Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” So they don’t understand. “Don’t go out and publish this yet, you’re not ready, you don’t understand.”

And he said unto them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man’s advantage, if he gained the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels (Luk 9:23-26).

Now you see He is beginning to tell them now more about the truth about the Messiah. “Thou art the Messiah of God.” “Don’t tell anybody, because I am going to be despised, I am going to be rejected, I am going to be slained, but I am going to rise again the third day. And I am going to come again in the glory of the Father. That’s when the kingdom is going to be established, when I come again with the glory of the Father, and all the holy angels.”

“Now if you want to be a part of this kingdom, if you want to come after Me, you got to deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.” These are the requirements of discipleship. “If any man will come after Me.” And they remain today for the requirements for discipleship, there is a denying of self, for the kingdom of God is not selfishness. It is not self-centeredness. The kingdom of God is not man-centered; it is God-centered. And a man whose life is centered in God cannot be centered in himself. But because it is centered in God, it will have as that proof the desire to give, and to help fellow man, because that is God’s desire. And as I submit to God, God will lead me in giving myself, and of myself to others. So you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily. The taking up of the cross involves the total submission of your will to God.

Jesus in the garden prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.” Referring to the cross. “Nevertheless,” He said, “not My will, Thy will be done.” And if I take up my cross, what I am doing is saying, “Father, not my will, Thy will be done in my life.” It is the submitting of myself totally to the will of the Father.

The third aspect is following Jesus Christ. Those are the requirements of discipleship. Now the rationale is next given by Jesus. These are the requirements, you want to be a disciple, but here is the rationale. “If you seek to save your life, you’re only going to lose it. If you try to set your own destiny, if you follow your own ambitions, if you live to fulfill your own desires, you’re just going to lose your life. If you try to save it, you’re going to lose it, but if you will lose your life for My sake, you’ll find what living is all about.” Real life is found when you lose your life for Christ’s sake. You lose your life in Him. When you submit yourself totally to Him. You really discover the real meaning and purpose of life itself. Why are you here? Why did God create you? Why did God place you here? In order that you might go out and fulfill all your desires, and follow after your ambitions? No way! In order that you might find all of the pleasure that you can, and live for pleasure? No way! If you live for pleasure, you’re dead while you still live. The man who seeks to find his own pleasure and his own way in life is only losing it. But the man who will seek to bring pleasure to God is the man who has discovered life and it’s meaning and it’s purpose. And when you start living to please God, you’ll find a very satisfying, fulfilling life.

Further rationale: what is a man’s advantage if he would gain the whole world? Now you say, “My ambition is to be wealthy; my ambition is to have goods.” Hey, wait a minute, what if you attain it, what if you achieve it, what if you gained the whole world? What advantage is it if you lose your own soul? Or you are cast out from the kingdom of God?

“Or whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angles.”

He is coming again, in His glory, the glory of the Father with the holy angels. That’s the kingdom of God.

“You say I am the Messiah of God, right, but you don’t understand it. Keep it under your hat for a while, until you come to a more complete understanding of what that means.” It doesn’t mean the immediate establishing of the kingdom and of the throne of God upon the earth. It means there is going to be some hard times. And there is going to be some suffering. There is going to be rejection. There is going to be the cross. There is going to be the resurrection. And then there is going to be the service, the work of bringing others into the kingdom, which will come to pass as men deny themselves, and take up their cross, and follow Him.

But there is a glorious reward. If you are faithful in serving Him, not ashamed of Him, then He will not be ashamed of you, but you will share in the glory, in that day when He comes in His glory, and that of the Father’s, to establish God’s kingdom.

But I tell you of a truth, there are some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God (Luk 9:27).

Now they are up in Caesarea Philippi, and He is saying to them, “There is some of you right here, you’re not going to die until you see the kingdom of God.”

And so it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, that he took Peter and John and James, and he went up into a mountain to pray (Luk 9:28).

The purpose of going up there in the mountain again, Luke points it out, was to pray. He gives us these beautiful little insights to the prayer life of Jesus.

And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering (Luk 9:29).

That word glistering is an interesting old English word, and the word in Greek, is as lightning, as lightning flashing. His raiment became like lightning flashing. The glistering is flashes of light coming off of it. And here He is in prayer, and while in prayer, this, and the Greek word is metamorphosis. There was that change, the metamorphosis, the total change of body, so that they saw Him in the glory of the kingdom.

As He said, “There is some of you that are here, that you are not going to die until you see the kingdom of God.” And there they got an insight into the kingdom of God as they saw Him in the glory.

In the seventeenth chapter of John, Jesus prayed to the Father, “Father, glorify Thy Son with the glory that I had with Thee before the world ever was.” And the Father answered and said, “I have glorified Thee, and I will glorify Thee.”

In the first chapter in the book of Revelation, John gives us a very graphic and beautiful description of Jesus in His glory. And again John speaks of that His face shining like the sun with brightness. Here His clothes like flashes of lightning, glistering.

And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elijah: who appeared in glory, and they were talking to him of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luk 9:30-31).

Or the word deceased is departure, His departure from the earth and coming back into glory that would be accomplished there in Jerusalem.

Now how did they know it was Moses and Elijah? Did Jesus say, “Peter, I want you to meet Moses. This is Peter”? People oftentimes ask me, “Will we know our friends when we get to heaven? Will we know each other there?” Oh, God help us, I pray we are not going to be more stupid there than we are here. If we know each other here, surely we will know each other there. “Oh, but I want scripture.” Alright, “When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be put away, then shall we see face to face, and then shall we know, even as we are known” (I Corinthians 13:10-12). I’ll know you, just like I know me. I am not going to need introductions to anybody in heaven. The Lord will plant DNA, or whatever into my consciousness, so that I will immediately and automatically know everybody. I say, “Oh, there is David over there, I never have seen him before.” And you’ll immediately know.

They didn’t need introductions to Moses, and Elijah. They just knew that’s who it was. You just know intuitively, you have the oedis, the intuitive knowledge. Interesting that Moses and Elijah were alive. And interesting that they were talking with Jesus, as the disciples were privileged to see, this glitch into the spiritual world.

But Peter and those that were with him were sleeping heavily: and when they woke up, they saw the glory, and the two men that stood with him (Luk 9:32).

Now Peter, it seemed, like to sleep when Jesus prayed. And he was in a heavy sleep. Can you imagine this? They are up on the mount of Herman, and it’s a steep mountain, good climb, so you are probably real tired. And Jesus is there praying, and the three disciples, Peter, John, and James, they were in a heavy sleep. And they probably heard voices, probably woke them up. “Who is He talking to?” And when they looked, they saw Jesus in the transformed glory. His clothes like lightning flashes, and there is Moses, the giver of the law, and Elijah. They are talking with Jesus. And Peter,

When it came to pass that Moses and Elias departed, Peter said to Jesus, Oh Master, it was good for us to be here (Luk 9:33):

Now you remember just a few days earlier Jesus told them that He was going to die. “I am going to go to Jerusalem; I am going to be rejected by the scribes and the Pharisees. They are going to kill Me.” Peter said, “Lord, it’s good to be here. Let’s stay right here. Let’s built three tabernacles. Let’s not leave this place. Let’s not go back to Jerusalem. Let’s stay right here, Lord. Let’s built three tabernacles. It’s good for us to be here, not to be in Jerusalem. If that’s what’s going to happen there, let’s just stay right here, Lord. It’s good to be here.”

let’s built three tabernacles and stay here; one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah: not knowing what he said (Luk 9:33).

Another gospel said, because he didn’t know what to say. If you don’t know what to say, it’s better you just shut up. You can get in a lot of trouble just saying something because if you think you ought to say something, but many times in that place it’s better to just keep silent.

I guess Peter’s idea began that, which to me has become a curse in the land of Israel, and that is building a tabernacle over the sight of some event. And to me one of the disappointing things of going to the holy land is all of the churches that have been built on supposed sights of scriptural events. And there is nothing to take away the awe, and the wonder of the birth of Christ than to go in to the church of Nativity. It will just spoil it every time. You go in and see all of the tinsel and the babels, and the priest with the hand out, and somehow it just doesn’t fit.

And Peter, I guess, was the one that started that whole custom. “Lord, let’s build a tabernacle right here to commemorate this glorious event. Three of them in fact: one for you, one for Moses, one for Elias. It’s good to be here.”

And while he was thus speaking, there came a cloud, and it overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him (Luk 9:34-35).

Now there appeared who? Moses, who was the spokesman to the nation through the law. They saw Elijah, who was the spokesman to the nation through the prophets, and represented the prophets. And the Old Testament is made up of the law and the prophets. “You’ve heard the law and the prophets, but this is My beloved Son, hear Him.” “God, who at sundry times and in diverse ways spoke to our fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His own dear Son” (Hebrews 1:1). “This is my beloved Son, hear Him.” And so the words of Christ supersede the law and the prophets, which He summed up to be: love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, strength and mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.

And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. They kept it close, and they told no man in those days of those things which they had seen (Luk 9:36).

When they came down from the mountain, they didn’t share it with the others.

And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, there where many people there to meet him [there in the area of Caesarea Philippi]. And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee [I beg you], look upon my son; he is my only child. And, lo, there is a spirit that takes him, and he suddenly cries out; and it tears him and he foams at the mouth, and it bruises him and it hardly ever leaves him. And I begged your disciples to cast them out; but they couldn’t. And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring your son to me. And as he was yet bringing his son, the devil threw him down, and tore him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again unto his father. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all these things that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears [now pay attention, and let it sink in]: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men (Luk 9:37-44).

Let it sink in now. They still could not conceive this. They were still in their mind rejecting the idea of suffering. They were rejecting the idea of the cross.

“So let this sink in. I am going to be delivered into the hands of men.”

But they did not understand this saying, as it was hid from them, and they did not perceive it: and they were afraid to ask him what it meant. And there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be the greatest (Luk 9:45-46).

You see this is again an indication that they didn’t understand. He is talking about His cross, His rejection, His suffering. And they are talking about themselves, and the greatness that they might enjoy in the kingdom.

And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and he sat him by him, and he said to them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receives me; and whosoever shall receive me, receives him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great (Luk 9:47-48).

You want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant.

And John answered saying, Master, we saw one who was casting out devils in your name; and we forbid him, because he did not follow with us (Luk 9:49).

The beginning of sectarianism, denominationalism.

And Jesus said unto him, Don’t forbid him: for he that is not against us is for us (Luk 9:50).

Ready to stop others who don’t follow along with us. The Lord says, “No, no, no, if they are not against us, they are for us.”

So it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luk 9:51),

So He has come back now from Caesarea Philippi, and He is back in the area of Capernaum, but now He is getting ready to go to Jerusalem for the last time. And they are in their journey southward. And they are coming now towards Jerusalem through Samaria.

Now Jesus often took the typical Jewish route, through the Jordan valley, so you wouldn’t have to go through the area of the Samaritans, but this time He is coming through the area of Samaria.

The time that He should be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.

And he sent messengers before him: and they entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him (Luk 9:52).

Actually, they find a place for Him to lodge. There was a good company of people that traveled with Jesus, maybe forty or fifty people in their company that were traveling with them. And so it took preparations, it took arrangements. People had to go ahead, buy the food, get places for them to stay, and all, as Jesus would move with His company.

And so they went into this village of the Samaritans to make preparations. But they did not receive Him, because it was obvious that He was heading towards Jerusalem. And because the time of the feast of the Passover was approaching, they no doubt figured He was going to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Passover. Which the Samaritans felt should be celebrated on Mount Gerizim, there in Samaria.

And to the present day the Samaritans still celebrate the Passover on Mount Gerizim by offering a sacrificial lamb, even to the present day. There are only about two hundred Samaritans left in the world. Most of them have sort of traces of idiocy, because of the close inner marriages now that are taking place between the Samaritans. They are almost extinct. There is only about two hundred left today. But on the Passover they still offer a sacrificial lamb on the Mount Gerizim.

And so they felt that was the place where God was worshipped. That was where Abraham build his altar to sacrifice Isaac. And they held that as the sacred place to worship God. And so because of this animosity, antagonism, that existed between the Jew and the Samaritan, for they had no dealings with each other. When it appeared that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, they just wouldn’t allow Him in the village. They wouldn’t give them any hospitality at all.

And so when the disciples James and John (Luk 9:54)

And now we know why Jesus called them the sons of thunder,

when they saw this, they said, Lord, would you have as to command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, as Elijah did? (Luk 9:54)

Of course these guy’s had just been up on the mountain, they saw Elias, and so probably got inspired again by what this prophet did. And so, “Why don’t we wipe them out, Lord? Show them a thing or two. You teach them a lesson for snubbing You.”

But Jesus turned, and he rebuked them, and he said, You don’t know the manner of spirit that you are of. [You don’t know, because I didn’t come to destroy]. The Son of man has not come to destroy, but to save (Luk 9:55-56).

And here again, Jesus annunciates Himself the purpose of His coming. And that is something that should concern us at the Christmas season. Why Jesus came, what is the purpose of His coming? Jesus in many places has declared the purpose of His coming. One of the purposes of His coming is that He might seek and save those that are lost. He didn’t come to condemn the… He didn’t come to destroy, He did come to save. But He came for other reasons too. And He tells us the reasons why He came. And for special credit, look them up and find out the purposes for His coming at this Christmas season.

So they went to another village. Now it came to pass as they went in the way, a certain man said to him, Lord, I will follow you wherever you’ll go (Luk 9:56-57).

And Jesus basically says to him, “Fellow, count the cost.” There are a lot of people that are touched by emotion when they come to Jesus. “Oh Lord, I do anything for You.” Jesus said, “Wait a minute, count the cost.” “Lord, I go with You, wherever You go.” The Lord says, “Count the cost.”

Foxes have holes, the birds of the air of nests; but the Son of man doesn’t have anywhere to lay his head (Luk 9:58).

“You say you’re going to follow Me wherever I go, hey, it’s going to cost you, man. Are you willing to pay that cost? Are you willing to pay the price?” And that’s what Jesus is just saying, “Weigh the price and determine, don’t just take off without first considering, weighing the price.”

Now there is another, and Jesus said unto him, Follow me (Luk 9:59).

The first one volunteered, Jesus discouraged him. Or at least encouraged him to count the cost before he did. But to another He said, “Follow Me.”

And he said, Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father (Luk 9:59).

Now right here in the words me first, you see the reason why he couldn’t follow Jesus. No man can follow Jesus who is a me first man. You see, to follow Jesus you’ve got to deny yourself. And the minute you say, “Me first,” you’re disqualifying yourself from following Jesus. And so he said, “Allow me first.” No, can’t allow that. If you let, and if you acknowledge Jesus as Lord, and you’re determined to follow Him, it’s Jesus first.

“Allow me first to go and bury my father.”

And Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their dead: but you go and preach the kingdom of God (Luk 9:60).

You say, “Wow, how cold and insensitive Jesus must have been. Wouldn’t even allow this fellow to go and attend his father’s funeral. Why anybody lets you off work to attend your dad’s funeral.” But that phrase, “Allow me first to bury my father,” is an interesting phrase of procrastination. It doesn’t mean that your father is dead. It is a phrase that they still use to the present day, that says, I want to stick around home for a while. I want to wait till my father dies, and then I’ll come. And it didn’t mean that his father was dead and was ready to be buried, because they always buried people within two hours after they were dead. So when he says, “Allow me first to bury my father,” he is saying, “Maybe down the road a ways, I’ve got a few things I want to do first, and down the road a ways maybe I’ll do it. Me first.”

And another said to Jesus, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first (Luk 9:61)

Oh, come on you guys, learn your lessons. It can’t be that way. It can’t be me first when I am following Jesus.

let me first go bid those farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said to him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luk 9:61-62).

It takes a commitment, a total commitment to Jesus Christ. It may cost family relationships. You can’t go forward looking backwards.

Chapter 10

Now in chapter 10, we read of this commissioning in the sending forth of the seventy, in the contrast to the twelve of chapter 9.

After these things (Luk 10:1)

Now He is on His way towards Jerusalem.

and the Lord appointed another seventy also, and he sent them two by two before him into every city and place, where he himself would come (Luk 10:1).

So they were to go as advance teams in the villages that He would be passing through, as He is on His way to Jerusalem.

And therefore he said unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would sent forth laborers into his harvest. Now go your ways: and behold, I sent you forth as lambs among wolves. Don’t carry a purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: nor greet any man in the way. And into whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace [or shalom] be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: and if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking the things that they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. And just don’t go from house to house (Luk 10:2-7).

Remain in the house, and eat and drink what they give you. The laborer is worthy of his hire.

And whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you, eat the things that are set before you: and heal the sick that are there, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come near unto you (Luk 10:8-9).

They were advanced messengers to go before Him, to do His work. The work of the kingdom, and the healing of the sick, and the proclaiming of God’s good news to men.

And whatsoever city you enter, if they receive you not, go your way out into the streets of the same city, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaves on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding, be sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come near to you (Luk 10:10-11).

There are people who have come near to the kingdom of God and have never entered in, and that is always to be a tragic thing. That Herod Agrippa should say to Paul, “Almost thou persuadeth me to become a Christian.” He came near to the kingdom of God, but He didn’t enter.

And the Lord said, “If they don’t receive you, just go out into the street, dust off your shoes in front of them, and say, ‘We dust off the dust of the city that it might remain, but know this, the kingdom of God came near to you.'”

And I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day [that is, the day of judgement that is to come] for Sodom, than for that city (Luk 10:12).

The sin against light is the greatest sin that man can commit. God holds us responsible for the knowledge that we have. God does not hold a man responsible for knowledge that he does not have. To whom much is given, much is required. To whom little is given, little is required. God is fair in judgement.

Now for this city, it would be more tolerable than Sodom, because the kingdom of God came near. They had the exposure, but they did not enter in. And thus, for that city it would be more tolerable for Sodom than for that city, because Sodom did not have the same exposure to the truth.

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee Bethsaida! (Luk 10:13)

These are two cities around the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had ministered, where His light did come, who rejected that light. They rejected the kingdom.

for if the mighty works that had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which were done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes (Luk 10:13).

Instead of being destroyed by subsequent nations of Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great. But it will more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.

Interestingly enough, the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida are both totally obliterated. In another denunciation Jesus also said, “Woe unto thee Capernaum.” It also was obliterated. They just recently in the last view years even found the sight of Bethsaida. It was so totally obliterated. Woe unto you, and judgement surely came upon the Bethsaida, on Chorazin, upon Capernaum.

And thou, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be thrust down to hell. He that heareth you (Luk 10:15-16)

Now He is talking to His disciples, still commissioning them as they are going.

He that hears you hears me; he that despises you despises me; and he that despises me despises the one that sent me (Luk 10:16).

Now this is true for everyone that the Lord commissions to go out and do His work. If the person hates you, you should not take that personally. They only hate you because of the one that you represent. Because you are a representative of Jesus Christ, they actually hate Him, and thus, they vent their hatred of Him upon you. But if they hate Him, then they hate God. They hate the one that has sent Him.

“Now he that hears you hears me. He that despises you despises me.” We are so identified with the One who has sent us.

And the seventy returned again with joy (Luk 10:17),

He had sent them out in advance, and now they were coming back, and they said, “Lord, it was neat.”

even the devils were subject unto us through thy name (Luk 10:17).

In the name of Jesus we have authority of power over the demon spirits.

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (Luk 10:18-19):

God help us, let that sink into your heart. You as a child of the kingdom, the power that God has made available to us, over all the power of the enemy. That’s why Martin Luther wrote, “The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not at him, one little word will fell him.” That name, or that word above all words, the name, the power of the name of Jesus. And yet, we see the church so often trembling before the forces of darkness. We need not to tremble. The Lord has given us authority and power over every power over the enemy. But it’s time that we start exercising this power and using it.

and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luk 10:19).

You remember when Paul was there cast up on the shore after the shipwreck, and they were building the fire, and this poisonous viper fastened on Paul, and the natives said, “Wow, he must be a murderer, or something, because even though he escaped the storm, the god’s aren’t going to let him live.” And Paul just shook the thing off into the fire. And they kept watching him, because they knew that he should soon go into convulsions and die. And as he just kept sitting there, warming himself, talking and all, then they changed their mind, they said, “He must be a god. Nothing will hurt you.”

I think that until God is through with us, that not much can happen to us. I really feel that God has a purpose for my life, and until that purpose is complete, God is going to preserve me. Now I don’t go out and just live recklessly, and drive one hundred miles an hour down the freeway, saying, “Oh God has got a purpose, nothing can happen to me, nothing can hurt me, until God’s purposes are fulfilled.” That’s stupid. God also gave us brains and prudence. But I do feel that there is sort of a divine protection over a person who is walking according to the purposes of God, and that nothing can happen to you until your purpose is fulfilled.

In the book of Revelation it tells us about the two witnesses whom God sends to bear witness during the time of the great tribulation, and it said, “And when the days of their testimony were complete, the antichrist had power over them to slay them.” He didn’t have that power until their days were complete.

I feel that until the days of my testimony and witness are complete, that I am sort of indestructible. That God is going to keep me, God is going to preserve me until His purposes are fulfilled. And the minute the purposes of God are fulfilled, and I have finished my testimony, I believe God is going to be gracious, and good to me, and take me home immediately. The minute He is through with my witness here upon the earth. Why would He want to leave me here any longer once I have finished those purposes. So I have that confidence. My life is in God’s hands, and until His purposes are complete, I am going to be around. Not necessarily around here. I don’t know that God wants me to always be around here. It would appear that way right now, but who knows. I don’t know, I live from day to day. And you see, I am not my own to say where I am going to preach, or in what manner, or whatever. I am His servant. And as His servant I have to wait upon Him for instructions. And He is the one who guides me. And He has a plan and a purpose, and He is working in me to prepare me for those works that He wants me to do for Him. And when they are finished, I am going home.

So Jesus said that I have given you power over all the power of the enemy. Nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Oh interesting, because the twelve apostles, with the exception of John and Judas, were all martyred. Some of them in very vicious ways for their witness of Jesus Christ. But not until they finished their testimony.

Now Herod stretched forth his hand against the church, and he beheaded James, one of these that Jesus was talking to. And when Herod saw that it pleased the Jews, he had Peter thrown in prison intending to bring him forth on the next day, and no doubt to execute him. But that night an angel of the Lord came to Peter in prison, and woke him up, and said, “Peter, put your sandals on, let’s get out of here.” And Peter followed the angel as the doors automatically opened in front of them, and closed behind them. And Peter walked right out of the prison. And when he was out on the street, the angel left him. And Peter said, “I guess it isn’t a dream, it’s real, I am out, wow.” And he headed for the house of John Mark’s mother, where the church was having a prayer meeting. Praying that the Lord would help poor Peter in prison. And he knocked on the door, and the young girl came to the door and she said, “Who is it?” He said, “It’s Peter.” And she got so excited, she didn’t even unlock the door. She ran back and told those who were praying, “Oh God help poor Peter. Peter is at the door.” And they said, “Oh, you’ve seen a ghost.”

Don’t tell me it was their prayer of faith that released Peter. It was God’s sovereign work. God wasn’t through with Peter yet. Yet there came a day when God was through with Peter’s witness, and Peter, when they came to execute him, said, “Fellows, please do me one favor.” They said, “What is it?” He said, “Well, you’re going to crucify me, but don’t crucify me in an upright position. I am not worthy of that. That’s the way my Lord was crucified. Crucify me upside down.” And so Peter was crucified upside down. But not until he had finished his testimony. God will preserve you. Nothing will hurt you. He’s got a purpose and a plan for your life.

But Jesus said:

You rejoice in that the devils are subjects to you (Luk 10:20);

Don’t rejoice in this, not that the spirits are subjects unto you. Don’t rejoice in the phenomena. Don’t get all excited over the phenomena that you see.

but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven (Luk 10:20).

If you want to rejoice over something, rejoice over the fact that, hey, you’re a citizen of the kingdom. Your name is written on the rolls of the heavenly kingdom. That’s what you need to rejoice in.

And in that hour Jesus rejoiced in the spirit (Luk 10:21),

Now that’s an interesting phrase. He rejoiced in the spirit. Have you ever rejoiced in the spirit? It’s an exciting experience to rejoice in the spirit. When God’s Spirit is moving upon your heart, and just to be rejoicing in the spirit. It’s a beautiful experience.

And Jesus rejoiced in the spirit,

and said, I thank you, Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hid these things from the wise and the prudent, and you revealed them unto these babes: even so, Father; for it was good in your sight (Luk 10:21).

Jesus is looking at these simple people. He sees their excitement, as they are saying, “Oh Lord, it was glorious. O, we had such a neat time, the devils were subject to us, and we were doing this… oh, you should have seen that, and all.” And the Lord will say, “Oh, that’s good, but don’t rejoice really in these things, rejoice that your name is written in heaven. You’re part of the kingdom.” And then He just says, “Oh, it’s so beautiful, see these simple people,” they weren’t the Pharisees, they weren’t the rulers. They were just plain, simple people. And He says, “Oh Father, it’s so great that You hid these things from those self-important people. You’ve revealed them unto these babes, because it seemed good to You.”

I am glad that I am just a simple person. God is so good to make me just a simple person. I hate complexities.

I had a lady in my church one time that use to call me up and say, “Now Pastor Smith, the other day when you said, good morning, what did you really mean by that?” When I say, good morning, I mean, good morning. I don’t mean anything else. I don’t have hidden meanings. I don’t try to use subtleties, and complexities, and hide the true meaning. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. I am not smart enough to speak in these subtle kind of things, and say one thing, and really mean another. You can’t really know what I mean, until you discern it, and study it, and find the hidden meaning in what I said. I am not that way. Jesus wasn’t that way. And it’s tragic that a lot of people try to make Jesus that way in their interpreting of the scripture.

Now what did Jesus really mean by this? And then they get into the spiritualizing of the scripture, where they lose the sense of it all. Because Jesus meant what He said. And He said what He meant. And you can just believe it, and trust it.

“Father, I thank You, that You’ve hid these things from those big shots, and You’ve just revealed them to these babes, so it seemed good in Your sight.”

And then He said:

All things are delivered to me of my Father (Luk 10:22):

Quite a statement, isn’t it?

All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him (Luk 10:22).

No one really knows who God really is, except those to whom Jesus has revealed the truth of the Father to. No man can come to the Father, except he is drawn. So if you have been drawn to God through Jesus Christ, be thankful, because unless there was that work of God’s Spirit in your life, you would have never made it.

And he turned again to his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see (Luk 10:23):

How blessed it is for a person to see, to understand the things that you see. To have the same understanding. To perceive these things.

And I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things which you see, but they didn’t see them; and to hear those things which you hear, but they have not heard them (Luk 10:24).

Many important people would give everything to have what you have, in that glorious relationship with God, through Jesus Christ.

“Oh,” He said, “you’re blessed that you have seen these things.”

Now, there was a certain lawyer who stood up, tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, What is written in the law? how do you understand it? And he answered saying, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And Jesus said, That’s correct: do it, and you’ll live. [But he wasn’t satisfied.] He was wanting to justify himself in front of the others, and he said, Well, who is my neighbor? And Jesus said, There was a certain man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among thieves, which stripped him of his clothes, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise also a Levite was at that place, and he came and looked at him, and he passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and he saw him, and he had compassion on him, and he went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring oil in and wine, and he set him on his own beast, and he brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the next day, when he was leaving, he took out two pence, and he gave it to the host, and he said to him, Take care of him: and whatsoever you spend more than this, when I come again I will repay you. Now which of these three, do you think, was his neighbor to the man who fell among the thieves? And he said unto him, The one who showed mercy on him. And Jesus said unto him, Go and do likewise (Luk 10:25-37).

Who is your neighbor? Whoever is in need. Love your neighbor as yourself. Who is my neighbor? The man who is in need.

Now, of course, suddenly Jesus is again making an outsider the hero of the story. You see the priest and the Levite do nothing in all of their self-righteousness, they do nothing. Who is the one that helps him? A hated Samaritan. He becomes the hero in the story. The one that they have such strong, racial prejudice against, is the one that Jesus lifts up in the hero’s role, knowing good, and well that it would irritate them. But He didn’t care.

Now it came to pass (Luk 10:38),

That’s an interesting phrase, Luke uses it over and over again. Have you noticed that whenever he introduces a new little scene, he usually introduces it with the phrase, “and it came to pass”? One of Luke’s special little phrases.

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman name Martha received him in to her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to his words (Luk 10:38-39).

Now we know from other gospels that this is Mary and Martha, who lived in Bethany with their brother Lazarus. So Luke doesn’t identify this village, nor does he identify the sisters anymore than Mary and Martha, but we know from other accounts that it is Mary and Martha from the city of Bethany, the sisters of Lazarus.

And Martha was cumbered about with much serving. Now the big crowd came in. Jesus you remember traveled with a lot of people. And here were at least seventy traveling with Him, because He sent them out two by two, to go into the villages ahead of Him. So imagine this crowd coming in for lunch.

And Martha was cumbered with much serving [and frantic], she came to him, and said, Lord, don’t you care that my sister is left me to serve alone? order her to help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Oh Martha, Martha, you are so full of care and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her (Luk 10:40-42).

What was it? Sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning. You know, so often we get so concerned about our serving God. And we get so busy in activities. And we get so worried, and encumbered in our service for God, that we forget the better part of just sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning. God help us, that we don’t fall into that trap of over-involvement in service, to the extent where we don’t have time to just sit and worship at His feet as we learn of Him.

Next week we’ll go on to chapters 11 and 12.

May the Lord be with you. May the Lord bless you. May the good hand of our Lord be upon your life. May you experience that power in your life. And may you experience the rejoicing in the Spirit, and above all, may you have that joy of just sitting at His feet to learning to worship rather than being encumbered about, and full of care and troubled about what I’m going to get Aunt Jane and Uncle Charlie. It’s an easy time of the year to be a Martha. You better take time to be a Mary, because you never can be a good Martha until you learn to be a good Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. May that be your joy, your strength, yo ur delight this week. In Jesus’ name.

Chapter 11

Again, as Luke is pointing out the human side of Jesus, though He was God, He became man. He is the God-man. He is divine, and yet, He is human. The perfect balance. And whereas John points out the divinity of Christ in his gospel, which we will be entering into next, Luke points out the humanity of Jesus. And because this is the special emphasis of Luke, he does record more than any of the other gospel writers concerning the prayer life of Jesus Christ. And so Luke mentions many cases where Jesus was praying. And again, beginning the eleventh chapter, Luke tells us:

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples (Luk 11:1).

Prayer is something that can be learned, but learned best through practice. I have observed that those men who are engaged in the all-night ministry of prayer here at Calvary Chapel, have really learned to pray. As I am in a group of men, and we are praying, as one of them leads out in prayer, I can always tell the men who are engaged in that all-night ministry of prayer, it shows in their prayers. It is reflected. They’ve really learned how to pray. Of course, if you spend a few nights in prayer, and you really learn, you’ve got a lot of chance to practice. But it really shows; it’s really a skill that can be developed through practice.

And the disciples, one of them said, “Lord, just teach us to pray.” And that’s something that we all need to learn. We need to learn how to pray more effectively. And there is much to be learned on the subject of prayer.

Now Jesus taught by an example, giving to them a model prayer. Not one that was to be memorized and recited verbatim. But in the model there is the basic structure for all prayer.

So Jesus said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name (Luk 11:2).

Prayer always begins with relationship. If there is not an established relationship, there is no basis for prayer. The Father’s ear is always open to the children’s cry. And if you have that relationship with God where you can say, “Father,” then you’ve established that relationship that opens prayer for you, effective prayer for you. But if you do not have that relationship, then prayer is meaningless. There is only one prayer that God wants to hear from you if you are not His child, and that’s the prayer, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” And that establishes then relationship, and opens this glorious opportunity of prayer for each one of you. But prayer begins with relationship.

“Our Father, which art in heaven,” and that reverence of God. “Hallowed be thy name,” or reverend by thy name.

The name of God is a name that in the Hebrew was an active verb, which meant, the becoming one. How it was pronounced is something that we are not certain of. There are those who say, “Jehovah.” There are those who say, “Yahweh.” All we have are the consonants, Y h v h. The left out the vowels, so that we do not know what was the actual pronunciation, but most scholars conclude that it was Yahweh. But it is the Hebrew word the becoming one.

The name of God is significant, because in it God expresses what He wants to be to you. He wants to become to you whatever your need may be. So the Jehovah, or Yahweh, was used in compound forms. You had Yahweh Tesitkonu, the Lord has become our righteousness. Yahweh Raffa, the Lord our healer. Yahweh Jira, the Lord our provider. And all of these compound forms of the name of Yahweh by which God expresses His nature, and that which He wants to be to you. In prayer it is helpful if you understand that God desires to become to you whatever your particular need might be. If you are praying for healing, then He becomes the Yahweh Raffa, the Lord our healer. He becomes what you need. And whatever might be the need that will be expressed in the prayer, is exactly what God wants to become to you. The One who will provide that need in your life.

“Hallowed be thy name.” And let me say that as far as I am concerned, the only name that is reverend is the name of the Lord, Yahweh. I do not like the title of Reverend Charles Smith. Whenever I get mail to Rev. Charles Smith, I know that they don’t know me. Because I don’t think there is anything reverend about the name Charles at all. And some write, the Reverend Charles Smith, which is suppose to be a little more impressive, and I like it that much less. And then there are those who go all out, and write the Most Reverend Charles Smith. Just call me Chuck, please. “Hallowed be thy name.” The reverence due to the name of God.

Now the purpose of prayer is not to get your will done. The purpose of prayer is to accomplish God’s will. So prayer moves in a cycle. It begins with God. His purposes, His desires, which He makes known to our hearts, which we utter as our prayer back to God. Which then God fulfills. And so prayer moves in a cycle, but the cycle begins with God, and the purposes of God. It is tragic that there are many people today who look upon prayer as an instrument for the accomplishing of their will upon the earth. “Now, God, this is what I want. And I demand, God, that You do this.” And they hold the scripture up to God, and make their demands.

Prayer is never intended, was never intended to be an instrument by which men’s will could be accomplished upon the earth. And the primary thrust of prayer is always the will and the purpose of God. And so it is significant that the first petition in the prayer is, “Thy kingdom come.” God’s will, God’s purposes. That’s what prayer is about.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth (Luk 11:2).

And so the purpose of our prayer should be to see the will of God being done here upon the earth. You say, “But didn’t Jesus give us some pretty broad promises in prayer? Didn’t Jesus say, ‘And whatsoever things you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them’? Didn’t Jesus say, ‘And if ye shall ask the Father anything in My name, I will do it, that the Father might be glorified in the Son’? Didn’t He say, ‘Ask, and you shall receive’?” Yes, He did. But in each one of these cases, who was He talking to? Was He talking to the multitudes? Or was He talking to His disciples? And if you will read the scriptures carefully, you’ll find that in each of these cases He was addressing His disciples. And what constitutes discipleship?

“If any man will come after Me,” Jesus said, “let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” So whatsoever thing you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them. Who is He talking to? The disciples, who have denied themselves, and have taken up their cross to follow Him. Therefore, their prayers will be reflective of the life of self-denial, and the purposes of God being wrought. It would be the thrust of the prayer of that person who has denied himself, and has taken up his cross to follow Jesus.

Prayer was never intended to be an instrument for the accomplishing of man’s will upon the earth, but the instrument for the accomplishing of God’s will upon the earth. For you see, the earth is in rebellion against God. The earth is under the power of Satan. His will is being done upon the earth. Satan is sitting upon the throne, ruling over the earth, the world’s system.

Now it is God’s desire to bring the earth back under His government, under His kingdom, and His reign. And so God gets men upon the earth who align with Him, and He establishes through them a beachhead here on the planet earth. And then He uses them as instruments to enlarge that beachhead, to take back the world for God. We’re in a battle. And the purpose of the battle is the control of the earth. And we who have come in submission unto God, then exercise prayer, that power that God has given to us, in order that we might expand the beachhead that God has upon this planet. And bring His love and grace, and His power, and His kingdom into other lives of those around us. And that’s why God has you here. And if you are using your time for any other purposes, you’re just wasting your time as far as God is concerned. He has a purpose and a plan for you being here, and that is the expanding of His kingdom upon the earth.

But there are many evangelists today that want to change this prayer to, “My kingdom come, my will be done on this earth, even as it is in heaven.” But that’s not what Jesus prayed. And that’s not what we’re to pray. There is so much selfishness in our prayers. So many prayers for personal gain and personal possessions, and those very things that could be extremely detrimental to our walk with the Lord.

Having established first things first, then He moves on the personal petitions. And there is nothing wrong with personal petitions, as long as they are in the proper place.

Give us day by day our daily bread (Luk 11:3).

Interesting, isn’t it? “Lord, give me enough bread for the 1983 that is coming up.” No, God gives us day by day our daily bread. That we might live a life of constant trust in Him. As thy day is, so shall thy strength be. So often God does not give us more than just enough for today. And you shouldn’t be concerned or worried if you don’t have enough for tomorrow. For the Lord said you shouldn’t really be worrying about tomorrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. “Give us day by day our daily bread.” God took care of us today, and the Father will take care of us tomorrow, and the next day, and each day that comes. And we don’t have to worry.

Forgive us our sins (Luk 11:4);

Oh, what an important prayer.

for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us (Luk 11:4).

Forgive us, Lord. And Jesus teaches that we will be forgiven as we forgive others.

There is much to be said by Jesus on the subject of forgiveness. Sufficed tonight that we just say it is one of the signs of true conversion, and it is one of the most important things for your mental health that you have a forgiving spirit. There are a lot of people today who are in institutions, who don’t have to be there. But there is a bitterness, an unforgiving spirit that has tormented them, and has driven them to that point of being beside themselves. It is so important that you forgive. Now, we have asked God to forgive us, it’s important that we be forgiven, but it is equally important that we forgive.

Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from the evil one (Luk 11:4).

And so the model that He established for prayer: relationship; that purpose of prayer, the accomplishing of God’s kingdom and His will upon the earth; and then our own personal needs.

Now continuing on the subject of prayer:

Jesus said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, loan me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine is on his journey and he has come to my house, and I don’t have anything to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Don’t trouble me: the door is shut, and my children are with me in bed; I can not rise and give to you (Luk 11:5-7).

Now, it is helpful to understand a little bit about the culture of the Middle East, where hospitality is considered one of the highest virtues, and an essential. Whenever you have guests come, you are obligated as the host to set out food before them. And, however, they all lived in one little room, the whole family. And when they would go to bed at night, they would actually, just mats that they would roll out on the floor, and the whole family would sleep close together for warmth. There be a little fire in one portion of the room, and often the animals would in the room too. The chickens, and the lambs, or whatever, they would be in the one little room sleeping with them at night. And here you be all huddled together with your family, and someone is knocking on the door. Now, once the door is closed, it was really considered impolite to knock on a closed door. When you closed the door that meant, “don’t disturb.” When you woke up in the morning, you’d open the door, and you leave the door open all day long. And the people just come and go all day long, get coffee, or tea, or whatever. But when at night closed the door, that was a signal, don’t disturb. And so you get ready to go to bed, you close the door, and that was it. You huddle close with your family.

Now, if you get up in that kind of circumstance, the whole family wakes up. Everybody is disturbed. The animals start squawking, and it’s just a real mess inside. So Jesus paints a scene, midnight, the family is all asleep. The animals are all asleep. Here is some guy knocking on the door. Your neighbor, your friend says, “I need to borrow some bread, three loaves of bread. I have some company coming, I don’t have anything to give to them.” And, of course, he was in a bad way, because if you have company coming, and you don’t have anything to lay before them, that was disgraceful too. So the guy inside the house says, “Go away, don’t trouble me.”

Now He said:

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend (Luk 11:8),

Even though you’re my friend, hey, that’s no friend now, go away, friend.

but because of his importunity (Luk 11:8)

Now that word in the Greek is because of his continued, shameless knocking. Hey, he is not going to go away until he gets the bread, waking everybody up. You know that you’ve had it, he is not going to go away, he continues his shameless knocking at the door. So because of his continued, shameless knocking, you get up, and you go to get him his bread. Something you wouldn’t do just because he was a friend, but something you do because the guy just won’t go away. His continued, shameless knocking. He will arise and give him as many as he needs. “Get out of here, take it.”

Now Jesus is giving us an illustration of prayer. But it is important to note that Jesus often illustrated with contrast. So that the man knocking at the door is a type of a man praying. Asking for a need of a friend. And this man is persistent. He continues to knock on the door until he gets his desired response. Now, does that mean that we have to continue to pray until we break God down, until He gets so sick of hearing us that He finally gives in and gives us what we want? No, again we have a contrast. If a man, a friend, will do something because of persistency, how much more will your Father? In other words, he is using a bad illustration as far as the prayer was concerned. Here is a man who is being moved because of importunity, the persistency of the one knocking, but with God you don’t have to be persistent. Your Father knows.

We get another contrast down here. Again,

If a son asked bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he asked for a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he asked for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? And if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your Father? (Luk 11:-13)

You see, it’s contrasting. If you earthly fathers know how to give good gifts, how much more? So the contrast is intended, not a parallel with God in the illustration.

And so Jesus said:

I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened (Luk 11:9-10).

Now again on the subject of prayer, Jesus is saying: ask, seek, knock.

James tells us that we have not, because we ask not. And that is so often true. People come and they pour out their tale of woe. “I don’t know what I am going to do. Oh, I just don’t know what I am going to do.” “Well, have you prayed?” “No.” “Well, you have not, because you ask not.”

Now it is also possible according to James, to ask, but ask amiss because my desire is to fulfill my will. It’s prayer according to my will. I am trying to do something to fulfill my own desires. You ask amiss that you might consume it upon your own desires. So prayer is asking, it is seeking, it is knocking, and the promise is, that if you ask, you will receive.

Now you may not always receive what you asked for. Sometimes God has something better. And so there are many times that I have asked God for something, and He didn’t give me what I asked for, but He gave me something so much better. And many times His answers of no were much better than His answers of yes would have been, as I learned later. And though I moaned and complained because of the no answer, there always came that day when I said, “Oh, thank you, God, you’re so smart, and I am so glad that You didn’t answer that prayer that I asked You for awhile back. Oh, thank you, Father.” I realize the mess that I could have gotten into had God answered that prayer. Well, He did answer it, but He answered it, “No.”

If you ask you will receive; if you seek you will find; if you knock it shall be opened (Luk 11:10).

And then again, another illustration. Earthly fathers, your son is coming to you, and he is asking, “Dad, can I have some bread?” And the dad hands him a stone, and says, “Chew on that, son.” “Daddy, I’d like a tuna sandwich.” And he gives him snake. “Daddy, can I have an egg?” And you offer him a scorpion. Jesus said, “No, you don’t do that. You earthly fathers, you wouldn’t want to do that to your own children.”

Now if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luk 11:13)

I am sick and tired of the Boogieman stories concerning God. Of someone who was seeking that God might fill them with the Holy Spirit, and then became possessed by some demon. What is that declaring? Exactly the opposite of what Jesus said was the case. It’s saying that our heavenly Father is evil. If someone was asking for bread, and He gave them a stone. They were asking for fish, and He gave them a serpent. Not so, that is a blasphemous concept of God. The Bible says that God delights to give good gifts to His children.

I’ve heard people say, “Oh, you better be careful how you open yourself to God. You just be careful now, you never know what’s going to happen.” Again, Boogieman stories. And they are blasphemous, because they condemn the very nature of our righteous, holy Father.

Let me say this: I am not afraid one iota of anything that God has for me, or God wants for me. I want to always be totally be open to God. And my only fear is that I might not be open to something that God is wanting to do in my life. I am not the least bit afraid of anything that God may have for me, or want for me. I am not concerned that God is going to make some kind of fool out of me. I am perfectly capable of doing that for myself. What I am fearful is that I might have a closed door somewhere to God, and that He cannot do for me what He is wanting to do for me, because of my limited faith, or my preset positional ideas that have limited that work that God is desiring to accomplish in my life. I want to be totally open; I want everything that God has for me. I need everything that God has for me. And I don’t want to have any closed doors when I come to God. Because I know that my Father loves me so much, and His desire for me is for the very best for me, because that’s the way He loves me. And thus, I am not afraid at all of any work that God is seeking to accomplish in my life.

Now as Jesus was casting out a demon (Luk 11:14),

The demon had taken over the motor functions of this particular person’s speaking apparatus, and caused the person to be dumb.

I am in total disagreement with people who see demons in every malfunction of the human body. There are people that have gone overboard on this demon bit. And it’s dangerous. There are demons, I recognize that. They are powerful, I recognize that. They are able to possess a human body and to distort the motor functions, I recognize that. But every malfunctioning motor function of the body does not indicate demon possession. And that is a very sad and tragic concept that has hurt a lot of wonderful people. In this particular case, the person’s speaking ability was hampered by the demon.

And so it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, that the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He cast out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. And others, tempting him, sought from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them (Luk 11:14-17),

Knowing that they were suspecting that maybe He was doing this by the power of the devil, He showed the inconsistence of the idea. He said,

Every kingdom that’s divided against itself is brought to desolation; a house divided against itself falls. And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges (Luk 11:17-19).

Now, they did have exorcism rights, according to Josephus, that were handed down from Solomon. They say that Solomon in all of his wisdom did devise certain drugs and all and incantations for the exercising of demons. And there were those in those days according to Josephus who, using these ancient rights of Solomon, were able to exercise demons. And Jesus was probably referring to these widely practiced and totally accepted exorcism rights of which Josephus spake.

And He said, “If I am casting out demons by Beelzebub, then who are your sons casting them out by? They’ll be your judges.”

But if I with the finger of God am casting out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God has come to you (Luk 11:20).

He is just asking them to use their reasoning powers. Jesus is reasonable, and He asks you to be reasonable. They are making a ridiculous accusation: He is casting out devils by the power of the devil. Jesus said, “Hey, that’s ridiculous. If that’s going on, then Satan’s kingdom is divided against itself. It’s going to fall. You better be rejoicing in what I am doing. But that’s not the case. If I am casting out devils, I am doing it by the power of God, then you better realize that the kingdom of God has come among you.”

And when a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger then he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he takes from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divides his spoils (Luk 11:22).

Now, here we have a very important lesson concerning prayer. The strong man in this case is Satan. He is armed, he is keeping his palace, his domain. But thank God we can come against the domain of Satan in the name of One who is stronger than Satan. In the name of Jesus Christ. And we, through the power and the authority of the name of Jesus Christ, can spoil the stronghold that Satan has in people’s lives.

I am amazed at the control that Satan is able to exercise over people. I have seen people’s lives who are so bound by the power of Satan, that they do not possess good common sense. They’re irrational in regards to spiritual things. And there are those that when you listen to them talk, you observe their habits, you see the power of Satan manifested in such a strong way, we oftentimes just sort of back away, and say, “Man, there is no help for that person; they are really gone.”

But that is because we are so overawed at the power of Satan to take hold of a person’s life, that we fail to realize that there is One that is stronger than Satan. The Bible says, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). And God has left us here in order that we might exercise that authority and power of the name of Jesus, by destroying the work of Satan in the lives of those people around us. By binding Satan’s power in the authority in the name of Jesus, setting them free from that terrible hold that Satan has upon them. And giving them the opportunity, without that cohesive force and power of Satan, perverting their reasoning processes, let them make a reasoning decision concerning their relationship to Jesus Christ.

“And so when one that is stronger comes, he overcomes him, and takes from him his armor.” Satan’s armor has been stripped. We have authority and power over him, in the name of Jesus Christ. And we need to exercise that authority and power.

Then Jesus said,

He that is not with me is against me (Luk 11:23);

There is no neutral ground. “What do you think of Christ?” “Well, I don’t know, I think He is a good man. He was a pretty good philosopher.” “Are you for Him?” “No, I am neutral.” “No, you’re not.” Jesus said, “If you’re not with Me, you’re against Me. If you’re not gathering, you’re scattering.”

Two types of people: the builders, and the destroyers. Those who gather, those who scatter. If you’re not gathering, you’re scattering. You can’t be neutral concerning Jesus Christ. He was a radical, you can’t be neutral concerning a radical. You’ve got to have an opinion. You’ve got to form a decision. And not to be for Him is to be against Him.

Now, Jesus having cast out this demon, teaches a little bit concerning demons. And He said,

When an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest (Luk 11:24);

So there is the intimation that demons, when they are not inhabiting a body, are restless. They seek to find a body to inhabit. And so when an unclean spirit is driven out of a body, through the authority in the power of the name of Jesus Christ, they wander through the wilderness areas restless, seeking rest, seeking a body to inhabit.

and finding none, he said, I will return to the house from whence I came out (Luk 11:24).

Now, evidently there are certain conditions which open the doors for demons to enter in to a person’s body. There are other conditions which prohibit a demon from entering into a person’s body. Jesus teaches that they looked for a body to inhabit. Evidently there are things that can restrict their entrance into a body. And I believe that that which can restrict, and does restrict, is the will of man. I do not believe that a demon can enter into a person against that person’s will. Whether the person be born again or not. I do not believe that they can violate the free will of man, as far as taking possession of a body. But people are often getting involved in the occult, into those areas of spiritism, where they are opening themselves to the entrance of demon entities. And by dabbling in the occult, by playing around with Ouija boards, or any of these things that have an occultish aspect to them, you are opening the doors for these demons, as you are seeking them to somehow mystically guide your destiny with the movement of the marker or with some other type of manifestation. And I believe that when you start getting into these areas, that you are beginning to open the door for demons to come, and begin to advise you, begin to direct you, they can inspire people in writing interesting detective stories. They can bring you fame, and the spirit writing, and all of these things are doors by which you can open yourself to being possessed by a demon entity. And so, I cannot warn you too much against the dangers of dabbling with those areas of spiritism, contacts with spirits and all, because it is in those areas where you can open the door that demons can come in. But I do not believe that they can come into a person against that person’s will.

As God honors the free will of man, I think He forces Satan to honor the free will of man. So Satan comes in by guise. He leads you into the areas of dabbling into the occult, where gradually become open to these things.

Several years ago in the little chapel, we had a young man come into the office, and he sat down, and he was obviously troubled. And he introduced himself to me. And he said, “My name is Dave Hunt.” And he gave me a Time Magazine that I had read, a Time Magazine that dealt with organized crime and dealt with Lucky Luciano. And in this particular Time Magazine, it had one of these little insert articles and the picture of this young man Dave Hunt, and said, “The mystery man, the Associate of Lucky Luciano.” And this young man told me his story of how when he was growing up, he had an intense fascination for power. And when he was nineteen years old, he determined that he was going to possess power at any cost. And he said as he looked at society, he realized that one of the strongest powers in society was the Mafia. Stronger than our judicial system, because it had bought off the judicial system. It had bought off the government leaders. And so, he theorized that Lucky Luciano at that time was the most powerful man in the world. And because his ambition was for power, he decided that he was going to get next to Lucky Luciano and learn the secrets of power. Which somehow he was able to get in and become the associate, the constant companion of Lucky Luciano. And it was written up in Time Magazine. This mystery kid, young man, where he came from, nobody knew. But he was constantly with Lucky Luciano, the protégé of Lucky Luciano. And he said he enjoyed the power and all of the money, and the power that he had through these associations. The control over people, over circumstances.

But he said then he began to study the reign of Hitler. And he realized that Hitler was one of the most powerful men in the world. And he learned that Hitler was being guided by men who were involved in what was known as the White Magic Fathers. Men who were into the occult. Men who were in contact with demons. And so, he decided to go down to Peru where at the fall of the Fifth Reich many of these men, the masters of the white magic who were guiding Hitler fled to Peru at the end of the war. And he decided to go down and to look them up, and to learn from them the secrets of power. And so he went to Peru, and he got hold of these white masters. And he began to sit at their feet and learn the white magic. Began to dabble into this area of spiritism. And he said he was in his hotel room, and he was going through these incantations and all, when suddenly this presence came into the room. He said he was very aware of it, this spirit. And he said this spirit began to enter into his body, and he said, “Somehow I realized that if this thing enters into me, I no longer have power, I’ll become its slave, I’ll be under its power, and control.” And he said, “I became extremely frightened.” And he said, “Though I had only been to Sunday school a few times when I was a kid, I began to cry out, ‘Jesus, Jesus help me, Jesus.'” Because he said, “I knew that if this thing took over I’d be lost.” And he said, “I immediately packed my bags, I got a cab to the airport,” and he said, “I waited at the airport for the next plane out of Peru.” And he said, “I checked in, got back to Texas, I checked into a motel.” And he said, “I was so shook, I didn’t call anybody. I didn’t let anybody know where I was.” He said, “I was just so shook over this experience.” And he said, “As I was sitting there in the motel, just thoroughly confused,” he said, “the phone rang.” And the fellow on the phone called him by his name, and gave him a cryptic message. And he recognized that these white masters spoke in these cryptic messages, and so he was figuring out the message. And he just about had the message all figured out, but there was one part that the fellow gave to him that he couldn’t remember, and he knew that if he could remember that, that he could put the whole message together.

And so he was just sitting there, thinking, “Oh, if I only knew that one part, if I only knew that one part of the message,” and the phone rang again. And the fellow said, “The part of the message that you can’t remember is this:” And he said, “Wait a minute, who are you?” He said, “Hey man, I don’t know what’s going on, but you guys are weird.” He said, “What do you mean, who are you?” He said, “I am a guard over here in Fort Hood,” he said, “I am on duty here, and some old man came by and gave me a hundred bucks to call you and give you this message. Gave me the number to call, told me your name, and gave me this message to give to you.” He said, “What did he look like?” And he described the white father that he was under in Peru. And he said, “He came back a few minutes ago and gave me another hundred bucks to call you back and say that this is the part of the message that you can’t remember.”

And this kid, as he sat in my office, was shaking, visibly shaking. He said, “They follow me everywhere I go; I can’t get away from them.” He said, “They wont let me go.” He said, “I became too involved.” And he said, “They are right here, they are right here right now, they know what’s going on.” And I said, “Yes, Dave, I know that,” but I said, “they’ll never follow you out of here.” And according to the scriptures, we took authority and power over those forces of darkness, these fathers of the white magic, and their spirit forces. Because a stronger than Satan dwells in us, and He has destroyed the armor wherein he trusted. And we were able to spoil these principalities and powers, and we were able to set this young man free. Not because I have any great spiritual power. I am just a child of God like you, but I know the scriptures. I know my position. I know where I stand. I know the authority that I have in the name of Jesus.

I got a letter from Dave awhile back. He is now an evangelist, preaching the gospel. And, of course, he shared that he has not been troubled since that day.

Spirit forces are real. They are not to be messed around with. It is possible for you to open the door by dabbling in the areas of the occult. And there will come a time when, like with Dave, they will seek to take over your very body.

Now Jesus said, “They wander through these dry places, looking for a place to rest, a body to inhabit. And if they find none, they say, ‘Well, I go back to the house from whence I was driven.'”

And when he comes, he finds it all swept and garnished. And then he goes out, and he takes seven other spirits that are more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and they dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first (Luk 11:25-26).

Now Jesus here is giving a very solemn warning concerning those people who have been set free from the power of Satan. You don’t let a vacuum exist. You’ve got to replace. There is more than just driving Satan out, there has to be the moving in of the Spirit of God to take residence within. And just to go around delivering people can be the most harmful thing you can do for a person. People oftentimes come to me, and say, “Oh, pray the prayer of deliverance.” And I say, “I pray the prayer of entrance. The entering of the power of Jesus Christ into your life. When He enters the darkness has to go. Light and darkness cannot coexist.”

And so, rather than just praying for deliverance for someone, that the powers of darkness be loosed and send forth, I would rather pray that the power of God come in. The other is forgone conclusion when that happens. But there is real danger for a person just coming to God just for the help that they might get. Coming just for healing, rather than the Healer. Just for deliverance, rather than the Deliverer. Because you can end up in worse shape than you ever were if you don’t substitute or replace that power within your life, that empty area.

And so it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breast which you have sucked (Luk 11:27).

Here is one of the first attempts to worship Mary. And what did Jesus do with her?

He said, Yes, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it (Luk 11:28).

Now, she is attempting to worship His mother. “Blessed is the womb that bare you, and the breast from which you nursed.” “Yes, but rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

And so when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: and they seek a sign (Luk 11:29);

You remember back in verse 16, others tempting Him sought from Him a sign from heaven.

and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall the Son of man be to this generation (Luk 11:29-30).

How was Jonah a sign to the Ninevites? He was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale when he survived. He came out alive.

So Jesus said He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. So, the same kind of a sign of Jonah will be to this generation, as Jesus rises from the dead.

Now the queen of the south shall rise up in judgement with this generation, and condemn it: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater then Jonah is here (Luk 11:31-32).

This verse totally discounts the idea of reincarnation. For the men of Nineveh will rise in the day of judgement with this generation. You see, if reincarnation was a process by which men were gradually evolving into perfection, then in the day of judgement they wouldn’t be the men of Nineveh. They would have been in their developed state along the line of reincarnation. But here, the men of Nineveh will be arising with this generation in the day of judgement, precludes the idea of reincarnation.

Well, might the men of Nineveh speak out in the day of judgement against that generation, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, who was angry, who hated them, and who had one monotonous message? No hope in the message of Jonah, no grace in the message of Jonah, no love in the message of Jonah, just a message from a hateful prophet saying, “Forty days and comes destruction.” And yet, they repented.

Now here was Jesus bringing the love of God, preaching the grace of God, extending to men the mercy of God, and they did not repent. Oh, I tell you the men of Nineveh will have a good case against this generation.

No man, when he has lighted a candle, puts it in a secret place, nor under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body is also full of light; but if thy eye is evil, then thy body is full of darkness (Luk 11:33-34).

The entrance into men, the eye gate. And again, that which you are planting into your mind through the eyes. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. If you sow to the flesh, of the flesh you’re going to reap corruption” (Galatians 6:7-8). If your eye is single towards God, then your body is full of light, but your eye is evil, looking at evil things, and your body is full of darkness.

Take heed therefore, that the light that is in thee (Luk 11:35)

The light of the body is the eye, so take heed that the light that is in thee,

be not darkness. For if thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle does give light. And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they marveled that he did not wash his hands before dinner (Luk 11:35-38).

Now this is referring to the ceremonial washing of hands, which they had an elaborate ceremonial washing of hands. Which Jesus said, “Oh, good enough.” But they had to have one log of water, and you’d hold your hands outstretched in front of you in an upright position, and they would pour the water over your hands, as you rub your fingers and your hands together. And you had to be careful that the water didn’t run down your arm, but dripped straight down, because if it runs down your arm, then your arm would be unclean, because the water that was cleansing your hands was coming down. The uncleanness from your hands was coming down your arms. So they had a way of holding your hands out here, and pouring the water. And then they would take, and you hold your hands down and pour another log of water over it, with your hands in a downward position, letting the water drop off. And they would do this several times during a meal. Jesus didn’t fuss with that kind of a nonsense. And so this Pharisee was just sort of shocked that He didn’t go through this little ceremony of washing.

And so the Lord said to him, Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and the platter clean; but the inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. You fools, did not he, who made that which is without, also make that which is within? But rather give alms of such things as you have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you (Luk 11:39-41).

One of their little customs. If you just give alms of that which you have, everything is great.

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over the more important things of judgement and the love of God (Luk 11:42):

Now, it wasn’t really required in the law that you pay tithes of your spice gardens. But these guys did. And, of course, you wanted them to know what your little spices are like. You’ve got your rosemary, and your cumin, and various spices. Well, they all had their spice gardens, and they would shake out the little seeds, poppy seeds. And nine for me, one for God; nine for me, and one for God. And they were so careful, give God the tenth of His seeds. Very meticulous, give God His due. And yet, they were omitting completely the important things of judgement, of love and all. Exacting in the small matters, which really didn’t count. And completely skipping over the important matters.

Then Jesus said, (interestingly enough, talking about tithing,) Jesus said,

this you ought to have done (Luk 11:42),

Jesus confirmed that they ought to have done that. But He said,

you shouldn’t leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! for you love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are as graves which appear not, and men walk over them and are not aware of them (Luk 11:42-44).

Now, one of the purposes of whitewashing the graves in those days was to keep people from walking over them. Because if you walked over a grave, you were considered then to be unclean, and for seven days you couldn’t go into the synagogue. You had to go through a right of cleansing, because you touched a grave.

But Jesus said, “You are like graves that don’t appear. You are defiling men, and they don’t even know it. Your influence on men is that of defiling men.” There are those people whose very influence is an defiling influence, but the bad part is that men don’t even know in their contact with them that they are being defiled by it.

Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, in saying that you’re reproaching us too. And Jesus said (Luk 11:45-46),

I haven’t started on you yet.

Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! (Luk 11:46)

Now, He was not talking about the common practice of attorneys today, but these men who were lawyers as far as the Mosaic Law, and the interpreting of the Mosaic Law to the people.

“Woe unto you also lawyers!”

for you load men down with heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and yet yourselves will not touch one of the burdens with your little fingers (Luk 11:46).

“You are laying heavy trips on men.” And boy, when you read how they interpreted the law of Moses, you read what a heavy trip they laid on men.

“Thou shalt not bear any burden on the Sabbath day.” What constitutes bearing a burden? Do you have false teeth? That’s bearing a burden. You can’t wear your false teeth on the Sabbath day. Do you have a wooden eye, glass eye? You’re bearing a burden. You’ve got to take it out on the Sabbath day. Do you have a wooden leg? Bearing a burden. Pull it off on the Sabbath day. And yet, they had silly rules. You can only walk two-thirds of a mile, 1000 yards. But if you ran a rope from your house unto the end of the block, then that extended your house to the end of the block, and you could walk 1000 yards from there. And if the day before you would set your lunch a half mile away, then that constituted the border of your house, and you could walk to where your lunch was, and then you had 1000 yards from there to go. And if you carried things under your arm, you could carry whatever you wanted. You couldn’t hold it with your hand. Or if you would carry with the upper part of your hand, loop the thing over the upper part of your hand, then you could carry it. Or you could carry it under your arm. Because that didn’t constitute barring a burden. Now you could not tie a square knot, or a sailor’s knot, but the woman could knot their girdles. So if you wanted to put a bucket of water down into the well, you couldn’t tie a square knot, or a regular type of a sailor’s knot on it, but the woman could tie their girdle to it and let the bucket down, and pull the water up.

Now God, when He said, “Thou shalt not bear any burden on the Sabbath day,” didn’t have any of this junky stuff in His mind. But just let a bunch of lawyers get hold of something, and they can make something complicated out of the most simple case.

I want to sell you my pen. I take a dollar for it. Very simple transaction, isn’t it? Take it to a lawyer. Let him draw up an agreement. You can see what a complicated issue they can make out of the pen. You know, when I sell it to you, then there is no recourse, you can’t sue me in case you should happen to fall on this pen, would jab into you and all. And you know, I’ve got to protect myself in this sale, because you never know what might happen to this pen, once it becomes in your possession. And you can always come back on me, because I sold it to you.

And these fellows were great at complicating issues. And so Jesus gets on their case, for complicating the issues. And then He said,

Woe unto you! for you build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them (Luk 11:47).

You build sepulchres for them, but your fathers killed them.

Truly you bear witness that you allow the deeds of your fathers (Luk 11:48):

You agree to the deeds of your fathers.

for they indeed killed them, and you build their sepulchres. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute (Luk 11:48-49):

In other words, if a prophet comes to you, you will kill him, but yet you build sepulchres for those prophets that your fathers killed.

That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundations of the world, may be required from this generation; from the blood of Abel [who was killed by his brother Cain] unto the blood of Zacharias (Luk 11:50-51),

Which was one of the last of the prophets to be killed in the Old Testament period.

which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation (Luk 11:51).

Why? Because they are going to kill soon the One of whom the prophets promised.

Woe unto you, lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you enter not in yourselves, and them that were entering in you’ve hindered (Luk 11:52).

I think that this is very appropriate, for many of these professors in our theological seminaries today who cast doubt on the word of God, who, as Jesus said, have taken away the key of knowledge. Claiming that they alone really understand the scriptures. Only they really know which scriptures are inspired, and those which are not inspired. And they will not enter into the kingdom themselves. But the problem is, they would hinder people who would enter the kingdom of God, and they try to stand in the way of people who would enter into the kingdom.

There are many churches that have taken an active opposition against any evangelistic efforts. Churches that are opposed and find fault with any endeavors of evangelism. They will not enter in themselves, but they would also go one step further, and hinder those who would enter in.

And as he said these things unto them, and the scribes and the Pharisees began to [really bate him,] they urged him vehemently, and they sought to provoke him to speak many things: Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him (Luk 11:53-54).

Let’s go chapter 12 and 13 next week, and maybe fourteen. Try it, read it, it won’t hurt you. And so be it.

May the Lord be with you, bless you as you fight the crowds to return the merchandise that you can’t use. You’ll find that it is more easy to buy than to return. But may the Lord strengthen you and keep His hand upon your life, fill you with His love and His Spirit, draw you into an ever-deepening relationship with Him that you might be enriched in all things in Christ Jesus walking in His love after the Spirit.

Chapter 12

Shall we turn in our Bibles to Luke’s gospel, chapter 12.

We are dealing with the final month in the ministry of Jesus. He has returned to Jerusalem. He will soon be leaving Jerusalem to go down to the area of the Jordan River beyond Jericho. Where He will sort of absent Himself from the authorities, until such a time as He comes back for the feast of the Passover, and makes His triumphant entry on the Sunday before the feast of the Passover. So just where, here in Luke’s account, does Jesus leave Jerusalem, is not declared by Luke. John tells us about this little time that He spent down at the Jordan River. It was while He was there at the Jordan River that He got the message from Mary and Martha concerning the death of Lazareth, which perpetrated His return. And then, of course, soon after that His triumphant entry, His trial, and crucifixion. Probably chapter 12, no doubt, still happened while He was in Jerusalem. And around chapter 13, as He is there in a synagogue, it could be that He has moved from the precinct of Jerusalem at that point.

So in the mean time, when they were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people (Luk 12:1),

They beginning to really press upon Him, and thronged Him. So bad were the crowds,

that they were stumping on one another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Luk 12:1).

Now leaven was that yeast, actually, that they used in the baking of their bread. And it caused the bread dough to rise by the process of fermentation. And so actually, it was a rotting of the leaven or of the yeast that causes it as it rots to release these little bubbles of air, which puff the bread up. And all you need is just a little bit of leaven within the lump of dough, and that little leaven will exercise its influence upon the whole lump of dough. The whole lump will be putrefied or fermented by just a little peace of leaven. So they had what they call their starters, like the sourdough. Where they put just a little bit of it into the new dough, and they always save a part of it to put in the batch that they would make tomorrow. And just a little leaven was all they needed to leaven the whole lump.

Paul warns about the leaven in the church. A little leaven leaventh the whole lump, therefore purge out the leaven. Jesus is here warning of the leaven of the Pharisees, which He said is hypocrisy. It’s amazing how hypocrisy can spread, just a little bit of it. It has that effect of rotting and spreading.

For there is nothing covered [Jesus said], that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which you have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon on the housetops (Luk 12:2-3).

Now I don’t know that I appreciate that. There are some things that I have said in confidence that I really don’t want published abroad. But the Lord is really just telling us basically to keep yourself open and straight, don’t be hypocritical.

Somewhere a story was spread that we had received some tape recordings of some private evangelist in Israel. We had taken a tour over there. Of course, in Israel a lot of things are bugged. Your hotel rooms are, you never know. But somehow these evangelists got word that we received from our friends over there, who are involved in the Israeli government, that we had received from them some tapes that were made of some of the stories they were telling, and things that they were saying about the people that were on their tours. And they were quite upset, because according to the story that came to them, we were going to use these tapes to expose them. Very interesting, I don’t have any tapes. I never had any tapes. I am not interested in any tapes of private conversations.

But this thing of being one thing to a person’s face, “Oh, you precious little darlings.” And then when you get alone say, “Did you see them? Can you believe that?” That ‘s what Jesus said, this business of hypocrisy. How tragic that this is one of those evils that seems to permeate the religious systems of men.

Years and years and years ago, before many of you were born, when radio was still in it’s infant stages, there was an announcer on a children’s program that use to read the comic strips to the children. And oh, he was so gushing and all in his talking to the children, and so personable on his show. Well, it so happened that he thought that they had caught off his mic and they didn’t. And he began to express his true feelings concerning kids. And that was the end of his career.

Beware of hypocrisy.

“That which is spoken in secret,” Jesus said, “will be shouted from the housetops.”

I say unto you my friends, Don’t be afraid of those who can kill your body, and after that they have no more that they can do. I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him, which after he had killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings (Luk 12:4-6),

Now two farthings equals about a penny, so sparrows aren’t worth much.

and not one of them is forgotten before God? (Luk 12:6)

Though they are so insignificant, yet your Father God is concerned. Not one of them is forgotten before God. God is very interested in you. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, none are forgotten before God.

But even [He said] the very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not therefore: for you are of more value than many sparrows (Luk 12:7).

And so He is comforting now the disciples with the fact that the Father knows our needs. The Father is concerned with us. The Father keeps interesting statistics about you. He is concerned with even insignificant things of your life.

Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denies me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemes against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven (Luk 12:8-10).

Now these are things that we have studied in other gospels of the sayings of Jesus. Luke is just sort of grouping together. And Jesus probably is just grouping together a series of thoughts and principles that He has previously amplified upon. And so on another occasion Jesus amplified this subject of the sin against the Holy Spirit and the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. And in other places He amplified on the confessing Him and denying Him.

Now when they bring you into the synagogues, and unto the magistrates, and the authorities, take no thought how or what thing you are going to answer, or what you’re going to say: for the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say (Luk 12:11-12).

And so this divine inspiration of the Spirit in the moment of peril.

One of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And Jesus said to him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? (Luk 12:13-14)

But he used the occasion to warn now against covetousness.

He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things he possesses (Luk 12:15).

This is an opposite of the popular conception of the world around you. As far as the world around you is concerned, a man’s life does consist in the abundance of things that he possesses, and thus, men are trying to amass more things to themselves. But Jesus is declaring that you’ve got to be careful of covetousness. Because a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. What then does a man’s life consist of? It consists of relationships, which are more important then possessions. For what should it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Your relationship with God is more important and more valuable than all of the possessions you could possibly amass to yourself. It is tragic that many people, in order to amass to themselves vast possessions, many men who have been caught up with this covetousness, because of their greed and covetousness, their drive to amass a fortune, they have alienated themselves from any meaningful relationships. How many families have been broken because the husband was so driven by that desire to get ahead, to amass for himself vast possessions, that he neglected his relationships at home. How many men have driven themselves until they had a heart attack. It’s a very common ailment among executives, men who drive themselves until they destroy their health. And covetousness is something that just can’t be satisfied. It will continue to drive you harder, harder, harder, until it destroys those things that are important. Those things of which life does consist, life’s consistent relationships, primarily your relationship with God, which then affects your relationship with others. And covetousness can destroy these things. So beware of covetousness.

And then to illustrate it, He gave them a parable.

He said, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room to bestow my fruits? And he said, I know what I’ll do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there I will bestow all my fruits and goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, [you’ve got it made] you’ve got a lot of goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee (Luk 12:16-20):

Interesting, the man’s opinion of himself, and God’s opinion of him. His opinion of himself was: I’ve got it made. God’s opinion of him was: thou fool. Now notice this: this man was still in the dream state, not the fulfilled state. He had not yet built the bigger barns; these were only plans. “As soon as I have the bigger barns, as soon as I fill them, then I will be able to say: alright you’ve got it made, kick back, eat, drink, and be merry. Take it easy; you’ve got it made.” He never did arrive at that point.

I would dare say that when, if he had not died that night, and he had continued to live, and he went ahead and tore down his barns and build the bigger barns and filled them, that he still would not have been satisfied. And at that point could not have said, “Well, you’ve got it made, kick back.” Very few people ever arrive at that point in life. Where they can say, “Well, I have enough.” There is a proverb about those things that are never full. And one of these is that desire, never full, never satisfied.

The question then, of course, is propounded by the Lord: “Tonight your soul is required of you, so who is going to be able to enjoy all of the goods that you have amassed?”

whose shall these things be, which you have provided? So is he [the parable now is of that man] who lays up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luk 12:20-21).

This is whom the parable is addressed to. Those people who have been so careful to lay up treasures for themselves, but are not rich towards God. Their relationship with God has suffered as a result or consequence.

And he said to his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, [don’t be covetous] Take no thought for your life, what you are going to eat; for your body, what you are going to put on (Luk 12:22).

That is, take no anxious thought, or better translated, don’t be worried about what you are going to eat, or what you’re going to wear. For life doesn’t consist in things.

Life is more than meat, the body is more the clothes. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have store houses or barns; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls? And which of you [by worrying] taking anxious thought can add to his stature one cubit? (Luk 12:23-25)

Now if you happen to have a pituitary gland that hasn’t functioned at full capacity, and you happen to be short, and you’re so concerned because you can’t reach the top shelf in the cupboard, which of you by facing this kind of a problem, sitting down and just being so worried, and so concerned, about, “I am so short, oh, wish I weren’t so short.” And which of you by giving a lot of anxious thought of this can add eighteen inches to your height? That’s what Jesus is saying. You can’t even add one inch to your height, much less eighteen.

Now if you’re not able to do the simple things, then why are you worried about the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they don’t toil, nor do they spin (Luk 12:26-27);

And, of course, the idea is the woman at the spindle, making the yarn, and making the cloth and all. Using the spindle to make the threads to make to cloth, and the whole thing.

But look at the lilies how they grow. They don’t toil, they don’t work, they fingers aren’t toiling, and working at the spindle.

yet, Solomon in all of his glory [with all of his wealth, with all of his grandeur] wasn’t dressed as beautifully as one of these. Now if God so dresses the grass, which today in the field, and tomorrow is burned; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Luk 12:27-28)

And so really in this whole area, Jesus is talking about life, and He is talking about the Father’s concern and care for His children. Sparrows are almost worthless little animals in the sight of man. You can buy five of them for a penny from the little boys in the streets. Yet, there is not a sparrow that falls to the ground, but your Father doesn’t take note of it. Your Father takes account of these little animals. Now if your Father takes account of these little animals, how much more does He take account of you? He knows the number of hairs on your head. And so you don’t have to worry. You’re going to have problems, but don’t sit down and dream up your little speeches what you are going to say. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. The Father is going to take care of you in every situation. And beware of this thing of covetousness. You don’t have to worry about the material things.

Now here is the answer to the whole thing, in verse 29, or going on from there.

And seek not what you are going to eat, or what you are going to drink, or be of a worried mind. For all of these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knows that you have need of these things (Luk 12:29-30).

I like that: your Father knows all about you. And He knows you have to eat. He knows that you got to wear clothes. He knows all about the issues in your life. Your Father knows all about these things.

So rather [than seeking these things as the primary issues of life] seek first the kingdom of God; and all of these things will be added to you. Don’t fear, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luk 12:31-32).

You don’t have to worry about these things. You just seek the kingdom of God, because it’s the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

So sell what you have, and give to the poor; and provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief can approach, neither can moth corrupt. But where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. And let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning (Luk 12:33-35);

This business of loins girded about is a phrase that was particular to their culture, for the men wore long robes. And to work in a long robe is cumbersome. To run is cumbersome. And so when a man was ready to go to work, he would pull his robe up and tie a sash around it. Making it knee length, or above the knee length, rather than down to his ankles. And this facilitated his ability to work or to run.

So Jesus is saying, “Prepare yourself for service, for work, gird up your loins. And let your lights be burning.”

And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord (Luk 12:36),

Now here Jesus is giving to us a concept of life, which should be the concept of life of every child of God. A person’s concept of life is extremely important, because it determines his attitude and his actions. People express their concepts of life with various figures of speech. Life is a journey. Life is a race. Life is a war. Life is a party. A man expresses his concept of life. Jesus said your concept of life should be, “Life is like a servant waiting for his lord.” That ‘s what your life should be. Like a servant who is waiting for his lord, for his lord may appear unannounced at any time. Therefore, you should be living your life with the anticipation of our Lord coming at any moment. And if you do live your life with this expectation, it will markedly alter your actions and your attitudes. Especially towards the worldly things, of which Jesus is just been speaking.

What is my attitude towards material things? What if the Lord comes tonight, then what value are all of these material things going to be to me? If my Master comes for me tonight, all of these things that I’ve been worried about, all of these things that I’ve been giving so much time to, what value will they be to me at that point?

Now the way to maintain my proper attitude towards the material world is to be as a servant who is waiting for his Lord. If I am living with that concept of life, then I don’t have to worry about an improper attitude towards material things. I have the proper attitude, because I am not going to be caught up in the material things. Because I realize that they are not important. My relationship with God is all important. And I am like a servant who is waiting for his Lord. And when my Lord appears, I want to be ready for Him, and able to open the door immediately.

so that when the lord knocks, they may open to him immediately (Luk 12:36).

Jesus said that’s the way you should be. Not a lot of unfinished business when the Lord comes. “Oh wait, oh I wasn’t ready, Lord. Oh, you caught me by surprise. Would you mind waiting for a few hours, while I get things cleaned up here?”

Now our Lord is coming at any moment. Every other concept of life has its goal in view. And you can pretty well ascertain when it will be achieved. Life is a race. If you are running a race, you know where the goal is. You know how many laps you have finish before you come to that finish line. Life is an education, you know how many more units you need to graduate. But I don’t know when the Lord is going to come. I don’t know what is the climax. The climax can take place at any moment. It can take place before I get home tonight. It can take place before I wake up in the morning. And when He comes there will be two sleeping in the bed. It could be that I be asleep in bed when the Lord comes knocking, and I want to be ready to just go immediately. Good thing to just clean the slate before you go to sleep at night. Take care of it. “Lord, I commit myself to you.” He may come before morning. And that’s the way the Lord wants you to live, because it creates a greater urgency to everything I do. Because this may be my last opportunity to do it. My last opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ. My last opportunity to serve the Lord. My last opportunity to lay up treasures in heaven. And so your concept of life is as a servant waiting for his Lord. It has a lot to do with my life, as far as purity is concerned.

“For we are now the sons of God, but it doesn’t yet appear what we are going to be: but we know, when He appears, [at any moment, at any time] we are going to be like Him; for we will see Him as He is” (I John 3:2).

And he who lives by this concept, he who has this hope in him, purifies himself, even as He is pure. It is a purifying influence living this concept of life. I want to make sure that I am pure. I want to make sure that I am right. I want to make sure that I am ready to meet my Lord at any moment. So that when He comes, you may open immediately.

And blessed are those servants, who when the lord comes he will find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them (Luk 12:37).

Now that’s the thing that just absolutely is hard for me to really conceive. The Lord’s reward for His faithful servants who are girded, waiting for their Lord. Ready to open, watching for Him to come. What’s He going to do? He is going to gird Himself and serve them. The glorious marriage feast of the lamb. The Lord is going to be there and say, “I am going to be here to serve you.” Oh, my.

Now if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch (Luk 12:38),

And these are watches during the night, you don’t know what watch He is going to come, the second, or the third, but the thing is, be ready. So that whatever time the Lord may come, you will be ready.

and if he finds them girded [waiting for the Lord], blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched, and he would have not allowed his house to be broken in through. So therefore be ready also: for the Son of man is coming at an hour when you think not (Luk 12:38-40).

Now how many of you believe that the Lord is coming in the next hour? Honestly, I don’t think any of us believe He is coming in the next hour; we probably wouldn’t be sitting here. There is a little bit of unfinished business I’d like to take care of, you know. A few calls I want to make. Watch out. The very fact that you don’t think He is coming in the next hour makes it a good candidate. For the Son of man is coming in an hour when you think not.

Then Peter said unto him, Lord, is this parable for us, or is it for everybody? And the Lord said, Who is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? (Luk 12:41-42)

Who is that faithful servant that the Lord is going to make a ruler in His household in the kingdom of God?

Blessed is that servant, whom the lord when he comes shall find him so doing (Luk 12:43).

So doing what? Watching for the Lord. As a servant, girded, waiting for his Lord.

Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him the ruler over all that he has (Luk 12:44).

Jesus said, “And in that day I will say unto them on the right hand, ‘Come, ye blessed of the Father, inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you from the foundations of the earth'” (Matthew 25:34).

As John is describing Jesus in the first chapter of Revelation 1, he said, “Unto Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us, who has made us on to our God a kingdom of priests, and we shall reign with Him, upon the earth.” He said, “I will make him the ruler over all that I have.”

But here is a warning:

If that servant says in his heart, [Oh,] My lord is going to delay his coming (Luk 12:45);

“The Lord isn’t going to come until after the revelation of the antichrist. He is going to delay His coming until the tribulation period, or until after the tribulation period. Or He is going to delay His coming until Russia moves, or whatever.” Hey, the Lord can come at any moment, and He wants you to be ready for Him to come at any moment.

Now there is always a danger of saying the Lord is delaying His coming. That is a dangerous and pernicious doctrine and thought. Because the effect of it is so often slothfulness. The Lord is delaying His coming; let’s have a big party.

and he begins to beat the menservants and the maidens, and he begins to drink, and be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he is not looking for him, at an hour when he is not ready, and he will cut him in two, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew the lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, will be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. [And here is the key:] For unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of them they will ask the more (Luk 12:45-48).

God holds you responsible for your knowledge. Knowledge creates responsibility before God. And having the knowledge that you have, brings you into a greater responsibility before God. God holds you responsible.

Now there are oftentimes questions asked concerning that poor man in the jungles of New Guinea who has never heard the name of Jesus Christ. And who is killed in a battle with other men, and he is eaten by them, what happens to him? Is he lost forever because he didn’t believe in Jesus Christ? How could he believe in Jesus Christ when he never had a chance to hear? Is it fair that God would punish him with eternal punishment when he had never had a chance to hear? Jesus answers that for us here. Showing that all punishment is not going to be the same. Those who have heard have a greater responsibility, and thus, a more severe degree of punishment. Whereas those who did not hear, yet did things worthy of stripes, because they did not know, a lesser degree of punishment. They will be punished for the knowledge that they have. So you better quit worrying about that poor little man in New Guinea, and start worrying about yourself. Because you have heard, you do know, you are responsible for what you know. And having received the greater knowledge, if you do not act in accordance to that knowledge, then there shall come the greater degree of punishment.

I know there is a lot of issues in this you would like me to address myself to tonight, but I am not going to.

Jesus said:

I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it already is kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I might straitened until it is accomplished! (Luk 12:49-50)

He is talking about the fire of hell that was really burning against Him in the hearts of the people. It’s already kindled this fire, the fire of judgement. And He has a baptism, that baptism of death.

When the mother of James and John said, “Lord, I’d like a favor. Let my one son sit on one side, and the other on the other side of You when You are sitting there in the glory of Your kingdom.” And Jesus said, “Are they able to be baptized of the same baptism?” “Oh, yes, Lord,” the boys said, “you bet you. We can.” Jesus said, “Well, that may be, but to grant that request is the Father’s prerogative.” Talking about His death, His baptism. “And I am straitened until it’s accomplish, I am set towards it.”

Do you suppose that I’ve come to give peace on earth? I tell you, No; a division (Luk 12:51):

The Gospel of Jesus Christ divides men. Those who are saved, and those who are lost. Those who believe, and those who do not believe. Those who have a hope in eternal life, those who have no hope of eternal life. The Gospel of Christ is a divider of men. Families are divided by it.

And so from now on there will be five in one house divided, three against two, two against three. The father divided against his son, the son against his father; the mother against the daughter, the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (Luk 12:52-53).

This division that the Gospel created, and especially so in the Jewish home, where so often to receive Jesus Christ wrought a complete ostracizing from the rest of the family. What a division their faith in Jesus Christ did create in an orthodox Jewish home. Where many times they would have a funeral for that child and considered them dead, because they dare to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the chosen one of God. The division.

Now He is talking to His disciples up to this point, now He turns to the crowd.

And he said to the people, When you see a cloud rise out of the west, immediately you say, Oh there is going to be a shower; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, Oh, it’s going to be a hot day today; and it comes to pass (Luk 12:54-55).

Over there, of course, from the west would be coming from the Mediterranean Sea. So like here, when you got the clouds coming in from the ocean, you say, “Oh, oh, we are going to have a shower.” You get the Santa Ana winds blowing, you say, “Oh, oh, it’s going to be a hot one today.” So over there, much the same.

And Jesus said,

You hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that you can’t discern this time? (Luk 12:56)

In other words, you are able to tell by the signs in the heavens what kind of a day it’s going to be, rainy, or hot. Why is it that you haven’t been able to read the signs that God has placed for the time of the coming of the Messiah?

And He rebuked them, because they had not known the time of His coming. They should have.

Now I feel that the same is true for us today. The Lord has given ample evidence by prophesy, telling in advance the things that would exist at the time of the return of Jesus Christ. Having given us the signs of these things, He said, “Now when you see these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your head, for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

And yet, there are people who are able to make predictions of the stock market, or able to make weather predictions, or they can predict and forecast many things, but they are not aware of the fact that we are in the last days. And in the end of time. And the same kind of spiritual blindness over the return of Christ. And even many ministers will sort of mock the idea of the immanency of the return of Jesus Christ. How sad that people are just as ignorant of His second coming as they were His first.

He said,

Yes, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? (Luk 12:57)

Why can’t you yourself make a good judgment?

Now He said,

When you go with your adversary to the magistrate (Luk 12:58),

You’ve got problems; you are being involved in a suit.

as you are in the way, give diligence that you may delivered from him (Luk 12:58);

Seek an out of court settlement is what the Lord is saying.

lest he hale you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, who cast you into prison. I tell you, you won’t get out, until you paid the very last mite [which is one eighth of a cent] (Luk 12:58-59).

Chapter 13

Now there were present at that season (Luk 13:1)

And, of course, now Luke may have gone on in a period of time. We don’t know how much time elapsed between verse 59 of chapter 12, and 13:1. It could be that this synagogue is somewhere down near Jericho.

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices (Luk 13:1).

Now the Galileans were often hotheaded. They were always chaffing under the Roman rule, and most of the revolts against the Roman government came in the area of Galilee. So they are relating to Jesus how that there were some Galileans who were probably involved in a ruckus against Rome, and Herod sent his soldiers, and when the soldiers came, they were in the act of offering sacrifices to God. And the soldiers killed them right there, and their blood was mingled with the blood of the sacrifices. And, of course, to the Jew that was a very heinous thing.

And so they had just informed Jesus about this.

And Jesus answering said unto them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners greater than all of the rest of the Galileans (Luk 13:2),

Do you suppose that they are the worst sinners in Galilee?

because they suffered such things? (Luk 13:2)

Do you think that this is an act of God’s judgment because they were worse sinners than all the rest?

Now it is so often that we make that mistake of when something happens to a person that is a very sad or tragic event, so many times people look on it as judgement. “Oh, ho, they are getting what they deserve, aren’t they. I wonder what they did to deserve that terrible thing.” And Jesus is putting down this concept. “Hey, do you think because this happened to them, they were worst sinners than the rest of the people in Galilee?” He said,

I tell you, No way: and, unless you repent, you are also going to perish. Now the eighteen people, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and killed them, do you think that that happened because they were sinners who were living there in Jerusalem? (Luk 13:3-4)

Now the pool of Siloam is down in a area that you have to go down many steps to get down to the pool of Siloam. And there are buildings around the pool of Siloam now, walls and all, and they were probably building a tower. And the people used to go to the pool of Siloam. It was a crowded place because that was the main water supply for Jerusalem. And the women would do their washing there in the pool. And it’s no doubt always crowded with people. And this tower that they were building there at the pool of Siloam fell, and eighteen people were crushed to death.

And so Jesus calls attentions to this tragedy. He said, “Do you think that that happened because they were the worst sinners in Jerusalem?”

No, I tell you: unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. And then He spoke a parable to them; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit from it, and he found none. And he said to the dresser of his vineyard, Three years I’ve been waiting for this tree to produce fruit, and I have found none: cut it down; [why should it take energy or nutrients out of the soil?] Why cumbereth it the ground? But the gardener answered and said, Lord, let it go for one more year, and I’ll dig about it, and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, good: and if not, after that we’ll cut it down (Luk 13:5-9).

The fig tree is used in a symbolic sense of the nation Israel. The Lord desiring to receive fruit, and not receiving it. Coming for fruit, and not finding it. And the one more opportunity that is given to them to bare fruit. If they don’t, then it will be cut down. Tragically they did not, and the nation was cut off.

And as he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. There was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could not lift herself up (Luk 13:10-11).

Now I have seen people over there in the orient, in the Middle East, who are bent over from their waist, the upper torso goes down, and they usually hold their head out, but they are bent double from their stomach. The upper torso down, and their head is sort of by their feet, looking up, just bent over. And it’s a very grotesque sight to see. Here was a woman who had this grotesque appearance, being bent double. She was in the synagogue on the Sabbath day when Jesus was there. According to the account, her condition was caused as the result of demonic activity, a spirit of infirmity.

And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and he said unto her, Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God (Luk 13:12-13).

Imagine what that must have done in the synagogue that day. With this woman, who after eighteen years in this bent over condition, was able to stand up straight, and started praising God, and glorifying God.

Now the ruler of the synagogue responded with indignation, because Jesus had healed her on the sabbath day (Luk 13:14),

And not to Jesus, he didn’t have that much courage, but to the people.

he said, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, but not on the sabbath day (Luk 13:14).

So sort of rebuking the people, saying, “Look, you’ve got six days to be healed, don’t come on the Sabbath day.”

And the Lord answered him, and said, Hypocrite, do you not on the sabbath day loose your ox or your donkey from the stall, and lead him away to watering trough? (Luk 13:15)

One thing about the Jews was they were always very humane. A high value upon life, human and animal. This humane aspect to the date is one of the great qualities of the Jewish people. Some of the greatest hospitals, open to everybody, their value that they place upon life. And so because of that, their law would allow them to untie the donkeys, or their ox, and lead it to water, even though it was the Sabbath day, and that was work. Because of the humanness of it or the kindness of it to animals, they were allowed to do that in the law. And so Jesus said, “Which of you, if you have an ox or a donkey, don’t you loose it, don’t you untie it on the Sabbath day to give it water?”

And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, who Satan has bound, for lo, these eighteen years, be loosed on the sabbath day? (Luk 13:16)

All I have done is untie a woman that Satan had bound up for eighteen years. So what if it is the Sabbath day? You loose your donkey to give him water.

And when he said these things, all of his adversaries were ashamed [rightfully so]: and all of the people rejoiced in the glorious things that were done by him. And he said, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? (Luk 13:17-18)

Now here He has just had this run-in with the religious leaders. The religious systems of man, who had taken the revelation of God, the law the ordinances, the statutes, and they had made such a system out of it that it was hard for a simple man to come to God with this complex system that men had made. And so really, as Jesus said, “You won’t enter the kingdom yourself, and you actually hinder those who would like to come into the kingdom.”

It’s tragic when religion becomes a hindrance to man’s coming to God. Rather than an assistance to man’s coming to God. But that’s the capacity of man. He is able to take a simple thing and make it extremely complex by setting up his own hierarchy in it, and his systems of authority and power.

And Jesus said just come up against the authority who would hold back the work of God on these people because of some tradition that they had developed, a concept of man that had become popular among them. And thus, they would hold back the people from God’s work in their lives.

And so Jesus said, “What shall I liken the kingdom of God to?”

what can I give to resemble it? It’s like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed into a great tree (Luk 13:18-19);

Wait a minute, something is wrong. A mustard seed is a herb. It belonged in the herb gardens. A mustard seed never became a great tree. There is something abnormal about this. There is an abnormal growth here.

and it grew, and waxed into a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it (Luk 13:19).

In college I had a professor who told us not to try to preach from the parables until we had been pastoring for at least thirty years. He said, “It will take you that long to understand the parables.”

What do college professors know? I started preaching from the parables immediately. I wish I could retract many of these sermons that I have preached from the parables. It’s amazing how they have changed in the last thirty years.

This parable, and the following parable of the leaven hid in three measures of meal until it leavens the whole lump, have had two widely divergent interpretations. There are some, mainly liberal theologians, who use these parables to show how the kingdom of God will start very small like a mustard seed, which is so very small. Yet, it grew into a great tree and the fowls of the air came and lodged in its branches. And so they teach that, though the kingdom of God will start with a very small beginning, the twelve disciples, yet it will grow, and grow, and expand, until it encumbers the whole world. And all kinds of nations and people will be able to lodge in its branches. And they say it really doesn’t matter what a person believes, they all find shelter and lodging in this great tree. It’s able to accommodate a wide variety of beliefs and systems. And again, the same idea with a little bit of leaven hid in three measures of meal, until the whole of it is leavened.

Is again a symbol of how just the Gospel will begin in just a little part of the world, but will gradually expand until the whole world has been brought to Christ.

These theologians back in 1935 and ’36 were proclaiming every day, and in every way, the world is getting better, and better, and better. That was before Hitler began his movement into Austria. After Hitler’s rise, somehow you didn’t hear that phrase anymore. Because we saw that horrible holocaust of World War II. But unfortunately, things haven’t improved much since World War II. The world is perhaps in the worst shape it has ever been in. And far from the church being a healthy influence, bringing the kingdom of God. And, of course, that’s what was going to happen according to this philosopher. The church is going to bring the kingdom of God to the world. And one of these days the church will take over the governments of the world, and we’ll have a theocratic government, and will be able to rule, and we’ll bring the glorious kingdom age. And we’ll bring peace, and the men will beat their swords in the plowshares. And the church is going to bring to pass, the glorious kingdom age.

Now there are still groups that do believe this. The Mormon church, for instance, has set itself up to take over the government as soon as it collapses. And they believe that the collapse must come, and they will then step in in the shambles. And they will establish a righteous government. And we will all become Mormons. And we will have peace upon the earth.

But unfortunately, the Jehovah witnesses are planning much the same. So it looks like when the system falls into shambles that we are going to have a first class war as to who will be setting up the theocratic government. Whether it be the Mormons or the Jehovah witnesses. I am of the opinion that it will not be the accomplishment of men or of the church, but will, and can only be, accomplished by the return of Jesus Christ Himself. And I don’t think that it is going to happen prior to His return. In fact, I think everyday, and in every way, the world is getting worse, and worse, and worse. And that’s pretty much in keeping with what Jesus said would happen. “For evil days,” He said, “shall wax worse, and worse.”

Thus, the second interpretation to these parables. Guess which one I believe? Number one, the mustard seed growing into a tree is abnormal growth. It isn’t natural growth; it’s abnormal growth. Now there is what is known as expositional constancy, and that is, you use a figure of speech in a parabolic form, and that figure of speech remains the same in all parables. So in all of your parables the fowls or the birds are never used in a good sense, but in an evil sense. When the seed fell by the wayside, the birds of the air came and devoured it, that it could not take root. And what did Jesus say the birds of the air were? Satan comes in and snatches it away. So what Jesus is saying, is that, though the church may experience an abnormal growth, it will become the lodging place of many evil systems. And as I look at church history, that is what I see is indeed the fact.

When Constantine, for political reasons, gave the edict of toleration and supposedly embraced Christianity and joined a church to the state, that was the darkest hour in the history of the church. For in joining the church to the state, he introduced into the church a multitude of pagan practices, of which the church has never been able to fully free itself.

To the church of Sardis, the protestant reformation, Jesus said, “I have somewhat against you, I have not found your works complete before God.”

The Protestant reformation came as a protest against the evil practices that had arisen within the Catholic church, especially the selling of indulgences. For the pope was desirous to build a great cathedral in Rome, St. Peters. And the money wasn’t coming in fast enough to build this glorious monument that he was desiring to put up as a symbol for Christianity. And so someone in the council came up with a bright idea. “Everybody likes to sin, why don’t we sell them forgiveness for sins.” And they can buy an indulgence before they ever indulged. So as they’re indulging, the thing is covered, because they’ve already bought their forgiveness. “So you want a little escapade on the side. You want to go out and get drunk? Fine, go down and buy your drunk indulgence. You want to have an affair? Go down and get an adultery indulgence.” And they started selling the indulgences to the people. And this so incensed Martin Luther that he took his ninety-five thesis, his objections to the practices that had developed within the church, and he tacked them on the door, and he protested. And thus, the name Protestant. Beginning of the Protestant reformation.

A dark black history, birds in the branches, fowls. Leaven, as we mentioned earlier, when Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees,” creates a fermenting process, rottenness. The three measures of meal, going back into the Old Testament when the angel of the Lord visited Abraham, he ordered Sarah to prepare something for him, and she took three measures of meal, and made some bread for them. And at that point they became symbolic of fellowship with God. So that under the law, when they had made the burned offering sacrifice, which was the sacrifice of consecration of a person’s life to God, they followed it with the meal offering, which was made of three measures of meal, three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, the three measures of meal. And they would offer this as a sacrifice, which symbolized the offering of my works to God, bringing me into fellowship with Him.

Now in the offering of the sacrifices, they were never to use any leaven. So that the leaven inserted into the three measures of meal is an evil thing. But yet, that evil will permeate until it has an effect upon the whole lump. And unfortunately, this has been again the experience of the church. And as we look at the condition of the church today, we see that it is far from what Jesus said it should be. There is leaven and it has affected the whole church, and the witness of the church is sadly hindered by the leaven within it.

Now Jesus went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying towards Jerusalem (Luk 13:22).

So He is now on His way back toward Jerusalem.

Then one said to him, Lord, are there only a few that are going to be saved? And he said unto them, Strive [the word in Greek is agoniso, strive] to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able to. When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; he will answer and say unto, I don’t not know you from whence you are: Then shall ye begin to say, Oh, but we have eaten and drunk in thy presence [we’ve taken communion], you have taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I don’t know from whence you are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. And there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, You better get out of here; because Herod is going to kill you. And Jesus said to them, You go tell that vixen, Behold, I’m casting out devils, and I’m curing today and tomorrow, and the third day I will be perfected (Luk 13:23-32).

This is the only person of which Jesus really spake in such a derogatory manner. Herod had gone over the limit. Jesus had absolutely nothing to say to him, except the message he sent, “You go tell that fox I’m going to do my work,” that vixen, female fox.

When Jesus appeared before Pilate, Pilate sent Him to Herod, and Herod was glad because he had heard about Jesus and he was curious. He wanted to see Jesus work some miracle. And when Jesus came to Herod, Herod asked him a lot of questions and Jesus didn’t say a word. He had no answers. He didn’t say a word to Herod. It is sad when a man’s condition is so bad that the Lord has no word for him at all. Jesus refused to speak to him, had no word for him, that is how far he had gone down. What a sad condition to be in. “You tell him that the third day I shall be perfected.” “Herod is going to kill.” He says, “I’m going to be there.”

Nevertheless I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following (Luk 13:33):

Now remember he was journeying towards Jerusalem. He said,

it isn’t proper that a prophet should perish out of Jerusalem (Luk 13:33).

And then He cried,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and you stoned them that were sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, You will not see me, until the time come when you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord (Luk 13:34-35).

Now they did not see Him publicly until His triumphant entry, and what were they crying at His triumphant entry? “Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” You see, He had just been warned about, “Herod is about to kill you. You better be careful. Herod is about to kill you.” “So, you go tell him I’ve got my work to do. I’ll be there. I’ve got journey today and tomorrow, third day I’ll arrive. It’s not proper that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.” But then His lament, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stoned them that have been sent to you; how often I would have gathered you together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you would not!”

Now when He made His triumphant entry, as we will get in the nineteenth chapter here of Luke’s gospel, again, as He is looking at Jerusalem, He again laments and cries over Jerusalem, “If you had only known, at least in this thy day, the things which belonged to your peace! But they are hid from your eyes” (Luke 19:42). They’re crying, “Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

So I feel that Jesus is perhaps referring to the fact that He will not be seen in Jerusalem until the day of His triumphant entry. It is possible that He is referring to His second coming. But it is true that at the triumphant entry they were crying, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” But it is also true that things are going to get so bad in Jerusalem prior to the return of Jesus Christ, when the antichrist comes to the rebuilt temple and declares that he is god and demands to be worshipped as god and begins to persecute the Jews with a greater persecution than they have ever known before, then they will be crying, “O, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” They’ll be praying for the Messiah, and Jesus will come.

So which of two, or perhaps it refers to both, but Jesus is making reference here, “And they will not see Him until they pray, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Next week, chapters 14 and 15.

Now may the Lord bless you and be with you and cause you to hide His Word away in your heart. Meditate upon it, go over and review it, and then be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Adopt that concept of life that Jesus spoke of that you might be as a servant just waiting for his Lord.

May God be with you and bless you, give you a good week, help you as you begin this new year, that you might walk with Him in an ever deepening fellowship. In Jesus’ name.

Chapters 14 & 15

Shall we turn in our Bibles now to the gospel according to Luke, chapter 14.

The fourteenth chapter involves an invitation for Jesus to come to a supper on the Sabbath day and of the things that transpired at that supper, and the subsequent exchange between Jesus and the people as Jesus talked to them concerning etiquette and concerning the demands of the kingdom.

So it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him (Luk 14:1).

It is interesting to me that Jesus accepted the invitation. He knew that they were out to get Him. It seems to me that Jesus was always open to an invitation to eat, going so far as inviting Himself to Zacchaeus’ house. “Come on down Zacchaeus. I want to come over to your house and eat.” And finally in Revelation, standing at the door and knocking, waiting for anyone to open so that He can come in and eat. “And if you will open the door I will come in and I will eat supper with you.” As we this morning were talking about the significance of eating in that culture, becoming one, how Jesus desires to be one with us.

Now the Sabbath meal was different from other meals in that all of the food had to be prepared before the Sabbath. You weren’t to kindle any fire. If you were to have anything that was hot it had to be hot before the Sabbath. And somehow there had to be ways to maintain it being hot. Now in those days they had definite rules of those things that you could not do to keep food hot and things you could do to keep food hot, but there was a kosher way of keeping your food hot even that they even had developed for the Sabbath day.

Today they plug in before the Sabbath begins. Their hotplates and their water for their coffee (they use instant coffee on the Sabbath day) all have to plug it in. They can’t fill the pot once the Sabbath is come. But once it is plugged in, you can pour it out of the pot into your cup and make your instant coffee. That doesn’t constitute work. Just don’t pour any water into the pot to heat it on the Sabbath day. You have got to have that going before the Sabbath day. And you can’t turn the switches on. You just have to have it plugged in and going before the Sabbath day comes. So they still have some interesting little rules for the Sabbath day.

If you want to go out to eat, you cannot pay with cash, but you can pay with credit cards on the Sabbath day. To pay with cash would violate the Sabbath, but to pay with a credit card, they have this unfortunate concept that so many people have about credit cards and that is you are really not paying. That is a dangerous thing.

So the Sabbath day meal was different. And they were watching Jesus. Now it seems that they were watching Him because there was a setup.

And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake the words to the lawyers (Luk 14:2-3)

Answering what? It doesn’t say they asked Him any question, but realizing, no doubt, that this whole thing was a set up. He was invited to eat on the Sabbath day to break bread with them, and here right before Him they have set this man with this disease of dropsy.

And so Jesus answering them, realizing that it was a setup,

spake to the lawyers and the Pharisees, and he said, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace (Luk 14:3-4).

They didn’t answer Him.

And so he took, and healed him, and let him go; And he answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox that has fallen into a pit, and will not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things (Luk 14:4-6).

Now, under the law they did have a provision that if your donkey or ox would fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, you could pull it out. They did have many open wells, so it was not uncommon for a donkey or an ox to fall into a pit. So Jesus brought up their own law to them, and they could not answer Him.

So then He dealt with them concerning etiquette.

And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden to the feast, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms (Luk 14:7);

Usually they had at these feasts a table with three pillows around it. They were called tricliniums. And they would usually sit the people three at a table, and the middle pillow would be the place of honor at that table. And say you were going to invite nine guests. You would have three tables set up in this triclinium, and at each of the tables you would have the center pillow for your guest of honor. And of course, they would sit and sort of recline, and that is why they are called tricliniums. They would recline on these pillows and eat in sort of a reclining position.

So, Jesus was watching how they were jockeying for the best positions, for the places of honor, for the places of note, for this business of trying to get into the place of prominence. So He said,

When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, don’t sit down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than you has been bidden to the feast; And those that bade thee and him come and say to you, Give this man your place; and you with shame will have to go to the lowest room (Luk 14:8-9).

It is an embarrassing situation. You sat at the head table, but you don’t belong there. So they come up and say they are sorry, but they don’t have any place for you at that table, so you better take a table in the back. And everybody sees you leave the head table and head for the table in the back.

But when you are bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; and when he that bade thee comes, he may say unto thee, Friend, come on up higher: then you will have honor in the presence of those that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luk 14:10-11).

I think that one of the characteristics of greatness is humility. Some of the greatest people have been very humble people. I think that one of the most humbling things is to have God use your life. For you know it is not you and you know you are not worthy. But if you seek to exalt yourself, the law of the Lord, you will be abased. But he that will humble himself, the Lord will lift him up.

Then said he also to him that invited him, When you make a dinner or a supper (Luk 14:12),

Now he is turning on the host.

When you make a dinner or a supper, don’t call your friends, and your brothers, and your family, or your rich neighbors; in order that they might bid you again, and recompense you for the invitation. But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And you will be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: but you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (Luk 14:12-14).

These are interesting rules of the kingdom.

And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God (Luk 14:15).

I think that someone at the table got the flash of light as Jesus began to talk about how in the kingdom there is going to be an equality. There won’t be the exalting of one man above another. There won’t be important people and unimportant people, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. And we will all share together in the glory and in the honor in the kingdom. And this man got a flash of light in the kingdom and he said,

Blessed is the man that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God (Luk 14:15).

And then Jesus gave a parable unto them. You see, all of these have to do with being invited to dinner, going to dinner, because they are sitting at this dinner, or at this Sabbath dinner with the Pharisee.

Then he said unto him, There was a certain man which made a great supper, and he invited many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to those that were invited, Come; for dinner is ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said, I have bought a piece of ground, and I better go see it: I pray thee you will have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: And I pray thee you’ll have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind (Luk 14:16-21).

These are the ones that Jesus told the fellow he should have invited anyhow.

And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and still we’ve got more room. And the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper (Luk 14:22-24).

In this parable I believe that the one who has made the invitation and inviting to the supper is really none other than God. And the reference is to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And these are some of the excuses that people give for not coming to Jesus Christ.

The first man’s excuse was sort of a commercial excuse: “I bought a house and I need to go take a look at it.” Pray tell, what kind of a fool buys a house without looking at it? He was busy in commerce.

The second man is busy in his labors. It takes precedence over the kingdom. “I bought five yoke and I need to prove them.” Again, what man would buy five yoke of oxen without first testing them? Which of you would buy a car without driving it around the block?

Then the third said that he had just married a wife and couldn’t come. Why didn’t he bring his wife?

You notice that they all began to make an excuse. And there is a difference between excuses and reasons. Sometimes you can make an excuse when you don’t have any real reason for it. But I would warn you as Benjamin Franklin said, “The man who is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

They began to make excuses for different reasons, so the lord said to go out into the highways and bring in the poor, the maimed and the halt. Remember to Jesus, He fulfilled the prophecy to the poor, the gospel is being preached. And still there was room, so he was to go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, and the gospel was being preached compelling men to come into the kingdom of God.

Now at this point he probably left the supper, for we read,

And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them (Luk 14:25),

Having left the house, the people were outside waiting for Him. At this point great multitudes of people were attracted to Him and were following Him and listening to Him. And He is on His way towards Jerusalem, but they think He is on His way towards Jerusalem in order to overthrow the Roman government and to establish and set up His kingdom. And that is why they are being attracted. That is why the multitude is coming. They think that the kingdom is going to come now immediately, and James and John are saying, “Lord, can I sit on the right and left hand?” and all of this jockeying for position was going on. But they don’t understand. He is not going to Jerusalem to overthrow the Roman government. He is going to Jerusalem to be put on a cross.

You cannot follow Christ just because it is a popular movement. There is a shallowness and a danger to popular spiritual movements. The Jesus Movement was sadly weakened by the endeavors to commercialize the thing and to popularize the thing. And the Jesus Movement parades and banners were fade aspects.

In following Christ, you just don’t get on the bandwagon. It is just not joining because everybody is doing it, or it is the in thing to do. This was at that time the in thing. Multitudes were following Him. And because there is a danger in this, He turns to the multitudes and He becomes extremely severe in His words. He is really more severe than I would like Him to be, for He said,

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luk 14:26).

I am not going to be popular, being acclaimed as king. I am going to be crucified. There is a real cost if you are going to come after Me. You better count the cost. You better measure it.

Now, don’t misunderstand Jesus and think that I have got to hate my father, and my mother, because that is just the opposite of what the gospel teaches. The fruit of the Spirit is love. And if say I love God and hate my brother, I am a liar and the truth is not in me. How can I love God who I haven’t seen and hate my brother who I have seen? Then what does Jesus mean, unless you hate your father, mother, brothers and so forth? That is in the language a comparative.

Your love for Jesus Christ must be supreme. It must be greater than your love for your family, your home or yourself, because it may cost you all of these things to follow Jesus Christ. And for many of those people it did cost all those things. Following Christ did cost some of them their families, their family relationships. For they were ostracized by their families when they made their commitment to Jesus Christ. And the same is true today. Many people have found it quite costly to follow Jesus Christ. It cost them their family relationships. But Jesus said if you are not willing to give up these family relationships, you can’t really be My disciple. You have got to love Me more than you love any other relationship that you have. Your love for Me must be supreme and every other love must be subservient to your love for Me.

Then He went on to say,

And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luk 14:27).

I am not going to be crowned as king of the world. I am going to bear a cross. I am going to be crucified, and if you are not willing to take up your cross you can’t really be My disciple. If you really want to follow Me and be My disciple, it can involve a cross and you better consider that.

Jesus is deliberately laying out the terms for discipleship and they are not soft, easy, comfortable terms. They are harsh. They are severe. And it is important that you count the cost, the cost of discipleship.

Then Jesus gives a couple of parables in which there is that emphasis of counting the cost.

For which of you, intends to build a tower (Luk 14:28),

This is probably one of those towers that they built out in the middle of their vineyards, which are so common even to the present day in that country.

The people generally lived in the cities, but they had their farms in the countries. During the spring, summer, and fall seasons they would move out of the cities and into these towers that were built out in the middle of their orchards, or vineyards. These towers had the living quarters in the first level, but then you can go up into the upper level, and from the tower you can look over and watch the vineyard to make sure that no one is coming in and ripping you off. They were just towers for the protection for the vineyards. So He is probably referring to one of these vineyard towers.

Which man of you, who intends to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all those that see it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and wasn’t able to finish (Luk 14:28-30).

Count the cost. It is important. Don’t just jump in. He is not really seeking to create a popular movement. He is seeking to thin the crowds of those that were following. Count the cost.

What king, going to make war against another king, doesn’t sit down first, and consult whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends an ambassadors, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple (Luk 14:31-33).

Now, you count the cost. Unless you are willing to forsake everything you can’t be My disciple. Unless you are willing to take up your cross, you can’t be My disciple. Unless you love Me supremely, you cannot be My disciple. The terms of discipleship are harsh. They are severe. And it is wrong when people tell you just accept Jesus and you are not going to have any more problems. Listen, many times when you accept Jesus your problems are just beginning. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy. The Lord doesn’t say it is going to be easy. He said it is going to be tough and you better sit down first and count the cost. You better not get started in it if you can’t finish it, or are not willing to finish it. You need to make an accounting here and determine whether or not you are really willing to pay the price to go all the way through, because unless you are willing to forsake everything, really, you can’t be My disciple. These are heavy, hard words.

Then He said,

Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its tang, who will use it for seasoning? It is neither fit for the land, nor for the dunghill; but men will cast it out. He that has ears to hear, let him hear (Luk 14:34-35).

In those days salt was used for three basic things. Salt was used, number one, as a preservative when they would butcher. They would roast the meat right away and the meat that they didn’t roast they would salt because they didn’t have refrigeration. Salt has an antiseptic type of an effect. It kills the bacteria on the surface of the meat and preserves the meat.

Salt was used as a seasoning to flavor the food, like we use salt today-add a little zing to the food, to the taste. Foods without salt are flat. Just a little salt really makes a difference. Every once in a while when we were kids, Mom would forget to put the salt in. Potatoes without salt, mashed potatoes are flat. It is amazing what a little salt will do for mashed potatoes. We are the salt. Salt is good. But if it has lost it savor it is not good.

Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount talked about salt in an earlier part of His ministry. He said, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). Again, talking about if the salt has lost it savor wherewith would it be salted, therefore it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of man. Salt is good if it is tangy. If it isn’t, it is worthless.

The third purpose for salt was to put it on the path to kill the vegetation so that they would keep the paths clear from vegetation by just putting salt on it. The salt would destroy the vegetation. It was a weed killer.

You as a child of God should have a preserving effect in the society in which you live. Our rotten society testifies against the church. It bears witness against the church. But you should have sort of a zingy effect where ever you go. You should add zest and flavor because of your walk with Jesus Christ.

Salt has another capacity of making people thirsty. And you should be creating a thirst in people.

Chapter 15

Then drew near to him all the publicans and sinners to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners, and eats with them (Luk 15:1-2).

Notice the four groups that had gathered divided into two categories. First of all, the publicans and sinners. Publicans were tax collectors, the outcast of that society, one of the most hated persons in the community. They were considered by the Jews to be traders and quislings. And they were always classified with sinners.

So the publicans and the sinners had gathered to hear Jesus. It is amazing that many of the publicans were attracted to Jesus. Matthew was a publican called to be a disciple. He left his receipt of customs and followed Jesus. Zacchaeus was a publican. And after his encounter with Jesus, he said, “Behold, I will take half of my goods (they were always wealthy people) and give it to the poor. And if I have taken fragrantly from any man, I will restore to him twofold.” Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house.” The publicans were attracted to Jesus as were the sinners, because He had a message of hope for them. They gathered to hear. But the others, the Pharisees and the scribes, they gathered to find fault. They were looking for things by which they might accuse Jesus. They were waiting for a slipup. They were waiting for some mistake so that they could pounce upon it and accuse Him. So they began to say, murmuring,

He receives sinners, and eats with them (Luk 15:2).

They thought they were saying something horrible in condemning Him, but in reality, they were proclaiming a glorious gospel. Jesus receives sinners and you can become one with Him.

John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you might have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.” He receives sinners and He eats with them. He becomes one with them. He dips in the same sop with them. He eats the same bread with them. He is identifying with them. Yes, He does. Thank God He does, and because He does there is hope for every one of us.

So, there were those that were hearing Him, desiring to hear Him. And there were those who were seeking to find fault with Him, looking for something to condemn.

Now, what should have been if they were truly righteous men, the Pharisees and the scribes? What should be their attitudes when sinners were responding to the gospel? What should be the reaction if we see sinners saved? I oftentimes hear people criticize Billy Graham and his campaigns. You see hundreds of people flowing forward to accept Jesus Christ, and they say, “Yes, but a lot of them don’t stick.” They are sour apples, rather than saying, “Bless God! Look at that. Praise the Lord,” and rejoicing that all of these people are accepting the Lord. Instead, they are looking for something to find fault in. They say, “He preaches a cheap gospel.”

When the hippies were coming to Jesus by the hundreds, as I was going across the country, I would have pastors come up to me and say, “I saw pictures of your baptisms at Corona Del Mar, but when are they going to cut their hair?” Rather than saying, “I saw the pictures, and my, a thousand young people being baptized, how glorious. Bless God; that is glorious. That’s thrilling!” They have to pick on something and they can’t really rejoice that the Lord receives sinners. But instead, they are sour apples over it. Jealous or whatever.

And so Jesus spoke this parable unto them (Luk 15:3),

Unto who? Unto the Pharisees and scribes, because of their sour apple remark.

He said,

What man of you, you have a hundred sheep, and you lose one of them, will you not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until you find it? And when you have found it, laid it upon your shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, and he says unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep that was lost (Luk 15:4-6).

So when you find the lost sheep there is the rejoicing. There is the rejoicing in the neighborhood. “Rejoice, I have found the lost sheep.”

And then Jesus said unto you,

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than ninety-nine just persons, who don’t need to repent (Luk 15:7).

So while the guys down here are saying, “When are they going to cut their hair?” The angels are up having a whoopee time rejoicing that the lost has been found. Joy in heaven.

Either what woman has ten pieces of silver, and she lose one piece, does not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she had found it, she called her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which was lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents (Luk 15:8-10).

Again, the natural response to finding that which is lost is rejoicing. The Lord said that there is joy in heaven over just one sinner who repents.

And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And so he divided unto them his living (Luk 15:11-12).

Now, under the law when there were two sons, the older son received two thirds of the inheritance and the younger son received one third of the inheritance. That was just the law. And many times if a father wanted to retire, he would divide the inheritance to the sons before his death. It would automatically belong to the son after the death of the father. But this boy had the audacity to come his dad and say, “Dad, I would like my inheritance now.” So the father divided the inheritance.

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there he wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent everything, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine (Luk 15:13-15).

This was a job forbidden to the Jew. “Cursed is the man that feeds the swine.”

And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man would give to him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have enough bread that they could spare, and yet I’m dying of hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called your son: but make me as one of your hired servants. And he arose, and he 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. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on him [the family signet ring], and put shoes on his feet (Luk 15:16-22):

Shoes on the feet were significant, because the slaves were never given shoes, only the family members, the son. Slaves were never given shoes by their masters. That is why in that old Negro spiritual that came out of the slave days, “You gotta shoes, I gotta shoes, all God’s children got shoes. When we get to heaven gonna put on our shoes.” I am not going to be a slave any more. I am a son. I am a child of God. And that hymn looked forward to that day when they would have shoes. They would be acclaimed the sons of God in that heavenly kingdom. That was just one thing about slavery, you never gave your slave a pair of shoes.

So the son said, “Hey, I am not worthy to be called your son, just a servant.” The dad didn’t even let him finish the speech. He said, “Put the shoes on him.”

And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and let’s be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard the music and saw the dancing. And he called one of the servants, and said what’s going on. And he said unto him, your brother has come home; and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore his father came out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years I have served thee, and I didn’t transgress at any time your commandment; and yet you never gave me a kid, that I might have a party with my friends: But as soon as this your son was come, which has devoured your living with prostitutes, you have killed for him the fatted calf (Luk 15:23-30).

Now, here is the, really, the real point of the parable. Though it may teach many things, the parable was intended against the Pharisees. All three actually did, but He is building up. In each of the parables, there is something lost that is found and the result of finding that which was lost was rejoicing, happiness. Jesus receives sinners. That shouldn’t be said in a derogatory sense. That should be said in a rejoicing sense. Jesus receives sinners! There is hope, friend. Rejoice! Jesus receives sinners. And yet, they were not saying it with that inflection, but they were saying it in a derogatory sense. “He receives sinners and eats with them.” So as the natural reaction to finding something that is lost should be rejoicing, the Pharisees are angry. They are condemning. They are sitting back and judging. So the story was given.

In the third story, Jesus adds the older brother and his attitude towards the rejoicing, because the father receives sinners. And here he is out there sulking, angry and upset. He is not going to join in. “You have never done anything like this for me.” And his sulking attitude, because the father received the sinner. “He went out and spent everything he had on prostitutes. He is a sinner. Yet, you have a big party because he comes home.” This was the same attitude that the Pharisees were expressing.

To me it is interesting that the father said,

Son, you are ever with me, and all that I have is yours (Luk 15:31).

You see, the younger son had taken his inheritance, so that everything that was left belonged to the older son. “All that I have is yours.”

It was necessary that we should have this party, and be glad: for this your brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found (Luk 15:32).

Because the Lord receives sinners and eats with them, the lost is found. Jesus said, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

So we so often hear marvelous sermons preached from the parable of the prodigal son, but rarely do we ever hear a message that really gives the true meaning of the parable, or the real reason for the parable. The reason wasn’t just to show the father receiving with joy a son that was lost, but the parable was used to show the Pharisees how wrong was their condemnation of Him when they said, “He receives sinners and eats with them.” They should have been rejoicing over it, rather than griping over it.

May God help us that we will not have a pharasaical attitude towards the work of God in receiving sinners, because maybe He is receiving them at some other church in the county rather than here. It doesn’t matter where He receives them. Let us rejoice that He is receiving them. Let us pray that God will send a great spiritual wakening throughout the county in every church. Let us not be so shortsighted and narrow-minded that we are only praying for God’s blessing upon Calvary Chapel, because God knows we can’t house them all. But let us begin to really pray that God will revive His church throughout this entire county and that sinners would be brought to Christ, that the Lord might receive sinners anywhere and everywhere, that there might be revival in the Baptist church and the Methodist church, the Lutheran church and the Presbyterian church. Let us just pray that God might just be able to receive sinners in all of these churches, that there would be a real move of God’s Spirit throughout the whole area.

If we hear of revival somewhere, let us not go and try to find the faults that may exist in their doctrines or positions. “Well, Lord, they didn’t follow us so we told them not to do it.” Jesus said, “You should not have done that. If they are out there doing it in My name, they can’t very well be against us. Don’t stop them.” God deliver us from narrow sectarianism, from an attitude of the Pharisee, but to the same heart of Jesus. Let us rejoice that the Lord receives sinners and eats with them.

Shall we pray.

Father, we thank You that You have received us. We’ve had that glorious joy of eating with You, sitting down, Lord, and partaking of Thee, the Bread of Life. Lord, we pray that today our hearts will be united with Yours, our visions will be united with Yours, and that we, Lord, might come to that place of rejoicing in Thy work wherever it is being done, by whomever it is being done. Lord, keep us from that narrowness that would seek to restrict Your work only in our midst, that would seek to restrict Your blessings only to our fellowship, and may we seek to pray for Your blessings upon all who call upon Your name in truth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Next week chapters 16 and 17. Next week in chapter 16, tremendously interesting discussion by Jesus on the subject of Hades. That place that is in the center of the earth. So we will be looking at the subject of Hades next Sunday evening and what Jesus has to say about it in contrast to what the Jehovah Witnesses have to say about it. Then you’ll have to determine whether you want to believe Jesus or the Jehovah Witnesses. I’ve already made my mind up.

May the Lord be with you now and go before you this week and bless you with His blessings and His love. May He keep His hand upon you and may He guide you in each of the decisions that you’ll have to make, that you might be led of the Lord in all things. May the good hand of our Lord be upon you.  In Jesus’ name.

Chapters 16 & 17

Jesus speaks on two unpleasant subjects, to a lot of people. Not unpleasant to me, but to a lot of people. Talks about hell. That’s not unpleasant to me, not worried about it at all.

Now Jesus is at a supper with the Pharisees; it’s on the Sabbath day. And this particular section that we are now in is still in that supper that Jesus was invited to, beginning the fourteenth chapter, where the Pharisees invited Him to the house, set Him up with fellow with dropsy, and so this whole interchange of thought and all is going on there. At times He is addressing the Pharisees, at times He is addressing His disciples. And at this point, beginning of the sixteenth chapter, He is now addressing His disciples.

And so 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 wasted his goods. And he called them, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? giving account of thy stewardship; for you may no longer be steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord is taking away from me the stewardship: and I cannot dig; and I ashamed to beg. I know what I’ll do, so that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they will receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much do you owe my lord? And he said, A hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, sit down quickly and write fifty. He said to another, And how much do you owe? And he said, A hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take your bill, and write eighty. Now the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world or in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends by the use of the unrighteousness of mammon; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations (Luk 16:1-9).

So Jesus here gives a parable, it’s to His disciples, and it’s a parable of stewardship.

Now, the thing to notice, first of all, about his steward was that everything he possessed belonged to his master. And in his waste he was actually wasting his master’s goods. In the application of this, of course, God has made us stewards and everything that we have really belongs to God. Bible says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” It all belongs to Him. Now God allows me that privilege and opportunity of overseeing that which belongs to Him. But God also holds me responsible as to what I do with it when it is under my care. So, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, everything we have is our Lord’s. But I am responsible to Him.

There is another parable of the steward, and in the other parable the lord went away to a far country and left his goods in the hands of his servants. And one he gave five talents, to another four, to another one. But the same ideas, the lord came and they had to give an accounting of what they had done with what was the lord’s. When you see yourself as a servant of Jesus Christ, then it naturally follows that as His bond slave everything you possess actually belongs to Him. I own nothing of my own; it all is the Lord’s. And this particular steward was accused of wasting his goods. And so he was called to give an account. The Bible tells us that one day every one of us are going to stand before the Lord to give an account of the things that we have done while we were in these bodies, whether good or evil.

II Corinthians, chapter 5, Paul said that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. We are also told that we are going to be judged according to our works and many of the works will be burned by fire, but those that remained we will be rewarded for. So we will all one day give an account to the Lord of our stewardship, how I managed the Lord’s properties. How I managed the Lord’s resources that He placed at my disposal. I have that responsibility, then, of proper management whenever God places anything in my power. And so he was called to give an account.

Now this particular steward knew that he was in trouble. When the audit was made, the accounting was to made, he knew that he was guilty of wasting his master’s goods. He knew that he was going to lose his job. And so he was concerned because he felt that he was just too frail to dig ditches and he was ashamed to beg. And then he hit upon an idea, very dishonest. In which he began to call in his master’s debtors. And he began summarily to discount their obligations to his master. Now the master, in this case, was probably a landlord. And so often the landlord in renting out his property would take instead of rent some of the produce from the land. It was very common for the people to pay their rent in wheat that had been produced on the land. Or in the oil that have been produced on the land or in some of the products of the land itself. And this was a very common thing. And so the first one, he brought him in, and he said, “How much do you have to pay?” And he says, “Well, I pay a hundred measures of oil,” and he says, “Here, take down, write fifty.” And to the one who owed… paid a hundred measures of wheat, he said, “Write eighty.”

Now, what he was seeking to do is to make these people obligated to him. So that when he was fired from his job, he would be able to come back to them and sponge off of them for a while because of the favors that he had granted to them in discounting their bills. As he was the steward managing his owner’s affairs, he was setting himself up using this position of authority. Using this opportunity that he had to set himself up for the future. Which he knew was going to be very grim once he was fired, because he wasn’t a ditch digger and he was ashamed to beg.

Up to this point, we can follow the story rather clearly. But at the next scripture, when the lord commended the unjust steward, that’s where the problem arises. Why would he commend the unjust steward? Why would the lord commend him? Now I can understand if the lord said, “Cast that unjust steward out. Put him in the debtors’ prison until his obligations have all been taken care of.” But the lord commended him. For what? Not for his actions, not for his honesty, but for his wisdom. The wisdom of using his present position to set himself up for that uncertain future that he knew was coming for him. That’s what the lord was commending.

Now as we go to the proverbs, Solomon said, “Go to the ant, thou slugger, to you lazy bum. Learn of his ways and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6). Again, he said, “There are four things upon the earth that are exceedingly small, but exceedingly wise. And among these four things the ant, is but a feeble folk. Know that was a conies is a feeble folk. The ant lays up its meat in the summer” (Proverbs 30:25-26). The wisdom of the ant laying up its food supplies during the summer. The ant somehow knows that the weather isn’t always going to be this nice. Somehow there’s recorded information in that little brain of the ant, that the winter is coming it’s gonna to get cold, it’s gonna get rainy, and he won’t be able to get out and forage for food. Therefore, it is necessary while it is still summer, while he can get out, to get out and to gather together all of the food that he’ll need to survive during the winter season. In other words, take advantage of the present situation to prepare yourself for what you know is coming in the future.

Now, this is the wisdom that was manifested by this steward. And that’s why he was commended. Because he took advantage of his present situation to help set himself up for what he knew was coming in the future. That is always very wise, but it isn’t wisdom that we always follow. We know that one day we are going to die. We know that when we die we can take nothing with us. We know that any treasure that we lay up in heaven we have to lay up now. We’ve got to take advantage of our opportunities now to lay up heavenly treasure. We know that we came into the world naked we’re going out of the world naked. We brought nothing into the world and it is certain we are going to take nothing out. So if I’m going to set my self up in the heavenly kingdom, I must do it now and I must take advantage of the opportunities that I have now in order set myself up for the heavenly kingdom. And this is exactly what Jesus is saying. Make use of the unrighteousness of mammon. Make use of this filthy luker. This money that God places at your disposal, make use of it in such a way that you will be reaping eternal benefits from it. Invest it in the things of the kingdom in such a way that when you failed, when you come to the end of the road, you might be received into the everlasting habitations.

God, I am certain, keeps a very interesting set of books. Paul the apostle, when he was writing to the Philippians, thanked them for the gift that they sent to him. He said, “Not that I particularly needed it, but I desire that fruit might abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17). Thank you for what you sent to me. I wasn’t particularly in need, but I’m grateful for it because the fruit of my labor. Those people that I won to Christ will abound to your account because of the fact that you supported my ministry there. So money is a tremendous outlet of spiritual power if we use it right. Money can be a blessing; it can be curse. It all depends on how a person uses it. It can be the closest thing to omnipotence that man possesses but so often creates impotence. Jesus is warning here against that impotence that money often creates with a person. Make use of the unrighteousness of mammon, so that when you fail they might receive you under the everlasting kingdoms.

There is, to me, one interesting aspect of arriving in heaven. Something that you don’t hear of much, but I expect to meet a lot of people that I have never seen before. Who, though I have never seen them, I am responsible for their being there in the heavenly kingdom. Maybe some native from Africa when he gets to heaven will say, “Now how is it that I heard the gospel?” and God will go through the books and say, “Well, actually, that missionary that was out there was supported by Chuck Smith. So when he arrives that’s the one you one to look for.” And so this fellow come up to me and say, “Hey, I want to thank you, brother. Oh I so appreciate what you did.” “Well, who are you?” “Oh man, I was a Ubangky. But you brought me the gospel.” “What do you mean I brought you the gospel? I’ve never been in Africa.” “Oh, well, I checked the records up here and you where the one that was supporting that missionary over there that brought me to Jesus Christ.”

How can they believe unless they hear, how they can hear except there be a preacher? How they can preach except they’d be sent? As it is written, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those that carry the gospel of peace.” But that part of being sent, and that’s where we can come in. Make use of the unrighteousness of mammon. So that when you fail they might receive you into the everlasting kingdoms.

And now the Lord goes on in verse 10 to make the application of the parable, as He relates it now to your place in the kingdom of God, when you come in to the kingdom of God.

If you have been faithful in least, [in these little things that God has placed at your disposal,] then you will also be faithful in much [in those great things of His kingdom]: but if you have been unjust in the least then you’ll be unjust in the greater things (Luk 16:10).

Man if you’re embezzling dollars now, you’ll be seeking to embezzle more later, you see. If you’re unjust in the little things, if you have a bigger opportunity you’re gonna be that much more unjust.

If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, then who is going to commit to your trust the true riches? (Luk 16:11)

Now this unrighteous mammon is not true riches. Moth and rust can corrupt it. The banks can fail. There’s just many ways that this unrighteous mammon can suddenly disappear. It’s not true riches. The true riches are the things in the kingdom of God. They’re the eternal riches. Yet, if you’ve not been faithful in this unrighteous mammon, then who is gonna commit to your trust the true riches?

If you have not been faithful in that in which is another man’s (Luk 16:12),

You see, I’m a steward; whatever I have belongs to God. It’s not mine. And if I’m not faithful in taking care of what belongs to God,

then who is going to give that which is my own? No servant can serve two masters: he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Luk 16:12-13).

You can’t serve them both. Divide in loyalty, it just won’t work. You cannot have God as your god and money as your god at the same time. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money (Luk 16:14),

They were covetous, they loved the money.

They heard all of these things that he was saying to his disciples: and they began to deride him (Luk 16:14).

And so He turned on them. Now He’s talking to the Pharisees,

And he said unto them, You are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts (Luk 16:15):

There are so many times when a person comes up and tries to justify before me something that they have done. I say, “Hey, man, it’s cool; doesn’t make any difference. I’m not the one who is going to be your judge. You don’t have to justify your case before me; I’m not your judge. God is the one. He knows your heart. He knows what the motive was.” And the Pharisees were those who love to justify themselves before men, but God knows their hearts.

for that which is highly esteemed among men (Luk 16:15),

Talking of the Pharisees who were highly esteemed by men, He says,

is an abomination in the sight of God (Luk 16:15).

Men may highly esteem you, but as far as God is concerned you’re an abomination.

The law and the prophets were until John: and since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it (Luk 16:16).

So up until the time of John you were under the law you were under the prophets. Now the kingdom of God, John came preaching what? The kingdom of God. Saying, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” And Jesus preached of the kingdom of God, and so, since the coming of John, the kingdom of God has been preached. And every man must press into it. The word press is a intense word in the Greek. It’s agonizo, must agonize into it.

And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail (Luk 16:17).

Now, He said, you know, the law was until John. Now the kingdom of God is being preached, but heaven and earth will pass but not one little part of the law is going to fail.

Now evidently there was a running battle between the Pharisees and Jesus over the issue of divorce. For there was a school of thought followed, following Rabbi Hillel, which was the popular school of thought, who interpreted the law of divorce. If a man finds an uncleanness in his wife, let him give her a writing of bill of divorcement. He interpreted that uncleanness to, if she put too much salt in his soup, grounds for divorce, salty soup again. And so they had liberalized the law of divorce. A man can put away his wife for just about any cause in which he just was displeased with her. It was almost as bad as it is today. Look how we liberalized, you know, you don’t need any excuse now, just go to court and say we’re incompatible.

So it was much that way in the day of Christ by the liberal interpreting of the law by the rabbis who followed the school of Hillel. And so Jesus, taking a more literal view of that law, and no doubt it was a running battle with Him, so He says, “Hey, not one little tittle of the law is going to fail, you know, easier for heaven and earth to pass than one of this little marks in the Hebrew to fail.” And then He sticks the knife in, this particular issue that they were asking Him about and, no doubt, arguing with Him about, He said,

Whosoever puts away his wife, and marries another, commits adultery: and whosoever marries her that is put away from her husband commits adultery (Luk 16:18).

I mean, He lays it out straight, hard, and just nails them. And then He goes right on and He said,

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar name Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores (Luk 16:19-21).

So we have a very vast contrast of lifestyles. A rich man fairing sumptuously everyday, and there at his gate a poor beggar covered with sores, begging and seeking to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table and dogs coming and licking his sores. Some have said that this is a parable. Jesus didn’t say it was a parable. I do not think it was a parable. For in all of the parables never was a person named. In this story the person is named, Lazarus, the poor man. The rich man isn’t named. Someone called him Divvies, but we don’t know that.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angel into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried (Luk 16:22);

Notice it didn’t say the poor man was buried. In those days when the poor people died, they just throw them into the Valley of Tophet, into Gehenna. Into the valley just outside of Mount Zion, Valley of Hinnom, where they put the refuse from this city. And there was constant fires burning there in the Valley of Hinnom, and they would just cremate the bodies, throw them in the fires in the trash heap. They wouldn’t bury the poor people. So the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried and in hell, Hades.

He lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeing Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. He cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his fingers in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received the good things, and likewise Lazarus the evil things: but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf that is fixed: so that they which would pass over from here to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from there. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house: for I have five brothers; that he may testify to them, less they also come to this place of torment (Luk 16:23-28).

Now Jesus is teaching here concerning Hades, which is translated for the most part in the New Testament hell. A place that is located in the center of the earth. When they asked Jesus for a sign, He said, “A wicked and an adulteress generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah, for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” So Jesus located it in the heart of the earth, because we are told that Jesus descended into hell when He died. But God had given Him the promise, “Thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you allow the Holy One to see corruption, and Peter said God fulfilled the promise and He did not leave His soul in hell, neither did He allow the Holy One to see corruption, but this same Jesus hath God raised from the dead. And Peter, in Acts chapter two, bear witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in his message to the throne.

Later, Paul the apostle tells us in Ephesians 4, “He who has ascended into heaven is the same One who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth, and when He ascended He led the captives from their captivity.” Peter tells us that He went down and preached to those souls that were in prison, who in one time were disobedient. So according to the scriptures and according to the teaching of Jesus here, prior to the death and burial of Jesus Christ and subsequent resurrection, Hades or hell, a place in the center of the earth, was divided into two compartments. In one compartment Abraham had charge of comforting those who came into that particular compartment, as the poor man was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. What a fitting person to be comforting them. The father of those who believe. What was he comforting them with? The promise of God to send the Messiah to deliver them.

In Hebrews chapter 11, as it talks about the faith of Abraham, it said these all died in faith. Abraham and Enoch and all of the rest of these all died in faith not having received the promise but seeing it afar off they embraced it, they held to it, and they claimed that they were just strangers and pilgrims here; they were looking for a city which have foundation who’s maker and builder is God.

So Abraham was saying, “Hey, look, God is true to His word. He’ll keep His promise. You’re not gonna have to stay here forever or not, just don’t worry about it. Just, you know, Lord is gonna do it. The Messiah is gonna come; He’s gonna deliver us out of this place.” And one day into hell there came a burst of glory as Jesus came in and said, “Hey, I did it. It’s finished; the price has been paid. You’ve been redeemed from your sinful state.” And He broke the bars of hell, and when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. Part of the prophecy of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 61 is He would open the prison doors and set at liberty those who are bound. That’s exactly what He did. And He led the captives from their captivity. That’s why Matthew’s gospel records that after the resurrection of the dead, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many of the bodies of the saints where seen walking around the streets of Jerusalem. “Hey, what’s Moses doing walking over there?” You know. “David, oh.” Then Jesus ascended and He led the captives from their captivity as He ascended into heaven. So that the one compartment of hell at that point was emptied.

Now the other compartment in hell will also one day be emptied. It, as is described here by Jesus and who would know better than He, was a place where the rich man was in torment. He asked that Lazarus be sent to dip his finger in water and cool his tongue. He was tormented in the flame. One day at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ, death and Hades will give up the dead which are in them, and they will stand before the Great White Throne judgment of God, Revelation chapter 20. And whosoever’s names are not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into Gehenna, this is the second death. So hell… someone says, “Well, hell isn’t eternal.” That’s true; it will disgorge itself of its inhabitants at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ. It is Gehenna, which Jesus described as being a place of outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Where there worm dieth not, neither is the fire quenched. And in Revelation concerning Gehenna it says, “And the smoke of their torment ascends from the ages throughout the ages” (Revelation 14:11). Now you interpret that however you want, but don’t ask me to modify it. Because God says if any man takes away from the words of this book, that is modifies them, his name will be taken out of the Book of Life. You do with it what you want. I’m not gonna to modify it; I’m just gonna leave it be. Let the Word of God speak and let it be. You say, “Oh, that’s horrible.” I agree. That’s why I have no intention of going there.

Common fallacy is often expressed in the question, “How can a God of love consign a man to eternal punishment, send a man to hell?” The question is a fallacy because, first of all, the God of love that we serve has never sent one man to hell nor will he ever send one man to hell. In fact, the God of love that we serve has done everything short of violating man’s free will to keep him out of hell. The God of love that we serve sent His Son to die on the cross so men wouldn’t have to go to hell. Jesus came to seek and to save those which are lost and God has done everything short of violating man’s free moral agency. So man, by his own choice, goes to hell. Never sent there by God. So rather than saying, “How can a God of love send a man to hell?” just say, “How can a man be so stupid as to chose to go to hell when God has made all of the provisions to keep him from it?” Because that’s what the truth actually is.

Now, couple of more things that we notice about Hades: there’s no transferring from one side to the other. Those that are on this side, if they want cannot come over there, Abraham said to him. Neither can those that are over there come over here. The boundaries are set; there’s no transferring back and forth. There is consciousness. There is remembrance. “Son, remember you in your lifetime lived in luxury. You had the good thing, Lazarus the evil.” Remember, he could remember, he remembered his brothers. “If he can’t come and comfort me a bit, please send him back to my house, my five brothers I don’t want them to come to this place.”

Abraham said, They have the law and the prophets; let them hear them. He said, No: they don’t listen to that but they will listen if someone comes back from the dead. Abraham said, If they won’t listen to that, they won’t listen even if someone comes back from the dead (Luk 16:29-31).

Now to me it is very interesting. Jesus is talking, remember, to the Pharisees, and there was a man named Lazarus who lived in the city of Bethany. And he was very sick. And his sisters sent an urgent message to Jesus who was at the Jordan River and it said, “Come quickly. The one you love is sick.” And Jesus remained at the Jordan River with his disciples for two days, and then He said, “Come, let us journey to visit Lazarus.” And as they were journeying they were talking about Lazarus’ illness, and Jesus said, “Well, he’s sleeping.” And the disciples said, “Oh, that’s a good sign, if he can sleep he’s probably getting better.” And Jesus said, “No, you don’t understand me, he’s dead.” And so they said, “Well, let’s go, you know, so we can die with him.”

Well, as He was coming into town, Martha heard that Jesus was finally arriving at the village. She ran out and said, “Lord, if You’d only been here my brother wouldn’t have died. Where were you? What took you so long? Why weren’t you around when we needed you?” Jesus said, “Martha, your brother is going to live again.” “Oh yes, Lord, I know the last day the great resurrection.” Jesus said, “No, Martha, I’m the resurrection and the life. And he that believeth on Me though he were dead yet shall he live and he live and believeth in Me, he will never die. Don’t you believe this Martha?” Heavy, isn’t it? Pretty radical. But you see what He did, as He always does, divides men into two categories, those who believe and those who don’t. I mean, He makes a radical claim and then He divides you. He says, “Psst… ” sets the knife right down and you’re in one side or the other; you either believe or don’t. You either have hope of eternal life or you have no hope of life. She said, “Lord, I believe that You are the promised Messiah of God.” And so then they came to the house where they were all weeping, and Mary said, “Lord, if You’d only been here my brother would have not had died.” Jesus said, “Where did you bury him?” “Come, we’ll show you the place,” and they got to the place the tomb and Jesus said, “Roll the stone back.” And they said, “Oh Lord, can’t do that; he’s smells by now. He’s been in there for four days, the body is decaying.” He said, “Roll the stone back.” And then He cried, “Lazarus, come forth.” He didn’t just say, “Come forth,” or the whole graveyard would have emptied. You’ve got to be careful when you got that kind of power. And Lazarus came hopping out. All bound in his grave clothes. And Jesus said, “Loose him and let him go.” And they went back home and they prepared a dinner and Jesus was sitting at dinner. And the Pharisees said, “We better kill him.” Maybe they were some of this rich man’s brothers.

Abraham was right. They will not believe even if they see one who has come back from the dead. Lazarus came back from the dead. It did not make believers out of the Pharisees. Oh, there were many who, when they saw him, believed. But if you are predisposed to unbelief, all of the proof in the world isn’t going to change you. You see, believing in Jesus is a matter of choice. And if you’ve chosen not to believe, I don’t care how much proof or evidence is offered to you, you’ve chosen not to believe and you won’t believe. Believing is matter of choice, I choose to believe in Jesus Christ. I choose to believe that He is the resurrection and the life, and by believing in Him I expect never to die. “Oh, oh,” you say, “I knew you were weird.” Never to die from a scriptural definition. I’m gonna to move out of this old tent into a beautiful new house that the Lord has been preparing for me. He said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. And I’m going to prepare one for you. And if I go and prepare one for you, I’m going to come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). “For we know when this earthly tent, our body, is dissolved, but we have a building of God not made with hands that is eternal in the heavens. So then we who are in these bodies do often groan, earnestly desiring to move out, not to be an unembodied spirit, but to be clothed upon with a body which is from heaven. For we know that as long as we are at home and living in these bodies we are absent from the Lord, but I would rather be absent from this body and to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:1-8). So some day if you read in the paper, “Chuck Smith died,” don’t believe it. Poor reporting. If they’re gonna to be accurate they’re gonna to have to write, “Chuck Smith moved out of an old worn-out holy tent into a beautiful new mansion. A building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

So here Jesus is telling them a little bit about what’s going on. And this is interesting to me as Abraham responds, if they will not believe, if they chose not to believe the law and the prophets, they have predisposition themselves not to believe, they won’t believe even if they see a miracle of someone coming back from the dead. They’ll say, “Oh well, he must have swoon, he really wasn’t dead, and isn’t it fortunate that he revived.”

Chapter 17

Now He turns again to His disciples.

Then said he unto his disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come (Luk 17:1):

You cannot help if you’re living in this world, you’re going to have offenses come your way. There are going to be people who will seek to put stumbling stones in your path. And that’s what the word offense here; it’s a stone of stumbling, a scandalon. It’s impossible to live your life without having these things happen. These offenses, as people challenge your faith, as people ridicule you for your walk with Jesus Christ, it’s gonna happen.

but woe unto him, through whom they come! (Luk 17:1)

You can’t live your life unscathed. You can’t live your life without having stumbling stones placed in your path, but woe to the person who put the stumbling stone there.

It was better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he was cast into the sea, than he should offend one of these little ones (Luk 17:2).

It is a very serious thing to tamper with someone’s faith in Jesus Christ. To seek to put a stumbling stone or a block in their faith of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said much the same thing at another occasion in which He took a little child and was using a child for an example. And those that would try to rob a child of that pure, simplistic faith in Jesus. Quite often these scholarly theologians accuse me of preaching a simplistic gospel. Thank God for the charge, I hope it’s true. I hope that I’ll always preach a simplistic gospel. Because to me, the problem is that man has tried to make it so complex when God has made the believing in Jesus so simple that even a child can believe and be saved. And Jesus said unless you become as a little child you won’t be able to come in to the kingdom of Heaven. That’s pretty simplistic and I hope to keep it that way.

I love the spunk that Jesus has. He’s gonna take one of these big ole millstones, and I’ve seen them the size of the pulpit here, tie it around the guy’s neck and toss him in the Sea of Galilee. Better for him if that had happened to him than he should offend one of the little ones.

So take heed to yourselves (Luk 17:3):

Be careful that you’re not a stumbling stone. Be careful that you don’t stumble your brother. Take heed to yourself if your brother trespass against thee. Rebuke him. There is a place for rebuke. Romaine has his place in the body. And for you who are listening on tape, Romaine is not my wife. We had some people come to Calvary a while back looking for my wife; they thought her name was Romaine, because of the reference that I have made to Romaine from time to time. Just keep the record clear.

If your brother trespass against you, rebuke him (Luk 17:3);

The Bible tells us that we should reprove, that we should rebuke. And if he repents forgive him. So your brother trespass against you, rebuke him, and say, “Hey, that isn’t right, you shouldn’t have done that.” “Oh, I’m sorry. Forgive me?” “Yes, I forgive you.” Should be just like that.

if he repents, forgive him (Luk 17:3).

Now it doesn’t say anything if he doesn’t repent, does it? Do you have to forgive him if he doesn’t repent? I don’t think so. You say, “Oop, oh wait a minute.” Oh, let me ask you a question. Does God forgive a man without repentance? I don’t know of a single instance where God forgave a person without repentance. In fact, Jesus said unless you repent you’re gonna perish. So repentance is necessary for forgiveness. It’s an absolute necessary qualification for forgiveness. If I’m to be forgiven, I must repent. God will not forgive you if you don’t repent, therefore, God does not require that you forgive outside of repentance. But if they do repent, then you… it’s… the ball is in your park and you’ve got to forgive.

And even if he trespasses against you seven times in the same day, and seven times in the same day he turns to you again, and says, I repent; thou shalt forgive him (Luk 17:4).

Thank you, Lord, I needed that. That’s so hard, isn’t it? You would be prone to think that the person wasn’t sincere. Just taking advantage of you. If seven times he does some rotten deed and then quickly says, “Oh, I repent, I repent,” and yet, if he repents seven times the same day, I’m to forgive him. I can’t do that unless the Lord helps me. And the apostles, no doubt, felt the same thing, because when Jesus said this, they said, “Oh,”

Lord, increase our faith (Luk 17:5).

Help me, Lord. Can’t handle that one.

And so the Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed (Luk 17:6),

Now I think that we oftentimes make a mistake in this, thinking of faith in quantity and we think oh a mustard seed is so tiny, just a little tiny tiny bit of faith. And we think of it in quantity or in size. But He didn’t say if you had as much faith as the size of a grain of mustard seed, did He? He isn’t referring to size at all, if you had faith as a grain of mustard seed. I didn’t know mustard seeds had faith. But if you had faith as a grain of mustard seed,

you might say to this sycamine tree (Luk 17:6),

Or mulberry tree, whatever it might have been.

Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it would obey you (Luk 17:6).

Now, whenever I read something like that, I wonder, “Lord, how much faith do I have?” But faith as a grain of mustard seed. Now in another place He said, “If your faith as a grain of mustard seed you can say to yon mountain be thou removed into the sea and it would happen.”

Let me suggest to you that a mustard seed is quite small. And when it is planted in the ground and covered with dirt and there germinates. As that mustard plant begins to grow from the little seed, it begins to move, in a sense, especially to its size the mountains of dirt above it that it might break forth and grow up into a mustard bush. So faith as a grain of mustard seed. There is that life principle there that can move mountains. Another place the disciples said, “Lord, increase our faith,” and perhaps He’s just showing them how little they really do have, and if this be a standard then I must take my place with them. I do wish that the Lord would increase my faith.

Now this business of faith, though, becomes a very tough issue, because so many times we find ourselves trying to generate faith. Have you ever been in the position of trying to generate faith? You know, you go trying to get the turbines turning and get things rolling. But you can’t generate faith. Now a lot of times we are made to feel very guilty…”Well, brother, if you just had enough faith. Surely you wouldn’t be in the mess that you’re in if you just had enough faith. You wouldn’t be as sick as you are if you just had enough faith.” Now, if at any time a person needs comfort and help is when they’re sick and they’re weak and they’re down. And it’s no help to tell a person, “Well, if you just had enough faith you wouldn’t be in this condition, brother.” That’s no help at all. You’re as bad as those guys who came to comfort Job. You’re kicking a guy when he’s down.

I cannot generate faith; I cannot produce faith. Faith is a gift of God. It is listed in I Corinthians chapter 12 as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Now it is glorious when God plants that faith in your heart, but if He doesn’t I don’t know what you can do about it. So I think it’s proper with the disciples just say, “Lord, increase my faith.”

Now the Lord is talking to them about what it is to be a servant. You’re the servant of the Lord. He’s called these disciples to be a servant. And He’s talking to them a little about what a servant… what it entails being a servant. Let’s leave it there.

But which of you, who has a servant plowing or feeding your cattle, will say to him by and by, when he’s come in from the field, Go and sit down and eat your dinner? But will you not rather say unto him, Prepare my supper, gird yourself, and serve me, until I have eaten and drunken; and afterward you can eat and drink? Now does he thank that servant because he did those things which were commanded him? (Luk 17:7-9)

And Jesus said, “No way.”

I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we haven’t done any more than what was our duty to do (Luk 17:9-10).

My attitude after I come in from serving the Lord, and the Lord gives me another task to do, and I’m so tired I feel oh I can’t move. But I go to the hospital, I make the call, I pray for them and encourage them. And I’m about fall asleep driving home. Catch myself a couple of times almost running off the road. And I’m trudging upstairs to bed and, “Oh, Lord, You ought to really lay a heavy one on me now. Look how good I am, look what I’ve done for You. Surely, Lord, You ought to bless me now. I’m so good.” Lord says, “No, no.” Say, I’m an unprofitable servant. I’ve only done that which was my duty to do. I’m a servant. What is my duty? To obey my master. Not to be looking for glory, not to be looking for thanks, not to be looking for pats on the back.

They tell me that I’m a difficult one to work for. Because I don’t pat people on the back. Now I know that’s difficult in marriage, and God help me, I’m trying. I know it is a failing of mine, because my wife isn’t my servant. She’s my wife. And it is a great failing of mine not to give her more recognition for those good traits, those beautiful traits that she has. I just, you know, expect it and, but I don’t give her recognition and don’t say, “Oh, sweetheart, that was the most delicious dinner. You seasoned that roast just perfectly, oh that was good.” I just don’t say those things. I wish I could, I wish I did, but I don’t. But if she burns the carrots, I say, “Oh you burned the carrots, huh?” No one makes it so stupid that we can’t learn, but yet, as a position of a servant I shouldn’t really be looking for these little perks. I’ve only done what is my duty to do.

Now it came to pass, as he was on his way to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood a far off (Luk 17:11-12):

Which, of course, was the law of the land. If you were a leper you had to cry, “Unclean,” and could not allow anyone to approach you.

And they lifted up their voices (Luk 17:13),

They cried, they yelled.

they said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said to them, Go your way and show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed (Luk 17:13-14).

Again, I like this because it shows us the variety with which Jesus worked His works among men. He was never in a pattern. He didn’t do things by set patterns because He didn’t want us to get set into rituals or into patterns. He wanted us to just be free to the working of God in different ways. In another case a leper came and said, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.” And Jesus touched him and said, “I will. Be thou clean. Go show yourself to the priest.” And immediately his leprosy left him.

Now here they stood afar off. It doesn’t say anything about Jesus touching them. They just cried out and Jesus called back and said, “Go show yourself to the priest.” Now this was the necessary thing when a… this is the law of the leper and the day of his cleansing, Leviticus 13. He is to go to the priest and he’s to show himself to the priest to examine him. If he finds no new skin blotches and so forth, he puts him in the house and he sits there for seven days. Comes back again before the priest, and he looks over him again, and there’s no new eruptions or blotches then the man is proclaimed cleaned by the priest. And he goes out and gets a couple of doves and he brings one in. The priest kills the dove, pours the blood in water basin, he takes the other dove and dips it in this bloody water and turns it free. And the bloody water dove flies away with the blood sprinkling down and the guy is cleansed of his leprosy and he’s able to go back into the community. So that was the first step back to restoration, go show yourself to the priest.

So by faith, as they started towards the priest. Now doesn’t say they were cleansed immediately, but as they went they were cleansed. They started out in faith towards the priest, and as they were going, some guy said, “Look, wow, it’s gone, unreal.”

And one of them, returned when he saw that he was healed, he turned back, and with a loud voice he glorified God. And he fell down on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan (Luk 17:15-16).

Now the Jews had no dealings with a Samaritan nor the Samaritans with the Jews. But misery had made common brothers of these men. But it’s significant that out of the ten only one gave thanks.

And Jesus said unto him, Were there not ten who were cleansed? where are the nine? (Luk 17:17)

This indicates that the Lord is looking for thanks when He has worked in a person’s life. He’s looking for that response, and He misses it when He is… when it is not there. Weren’t there ten that were cleansed? Where are the nine? And He said unto him,

There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said to him, Arise, go your way: your faith has made you whole (Luk 17:18-19).

He received more than just the healing of his leprosy. He received salvation.

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come (Luk 17:20),

He’s heading now towards Jerusalem. When’s the kingdom of God gonna come? When He gets to Jerusalem? You gonna do it?

and he answered and said unto them, The kingdom of God does not come with observation (Luk 17:20):

The word there in the Greek is a word that means with outward manifestation or an outward show. You’re not gonna see an outward display of the kingdom at this time.

Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is [entos you, among you] (Luk 17:21).

“Within you” is a poor translation here. It’s really, “the kingdom of God is among you.” It would be wrong to say that the kingdom of God was in the Pharisees. The kingdom of God is in the life of every man who has submitted to the King, or to God as King. But with Jesus, there the kingdom of God was among them. He was a demonstration of a man submitted to the authority of God.

And he said unto his disciples, The days will come, when you shall desire to see one of the days the Son of man, and you will not see it. And they shall say unto you, Look it’s here; look it’s there: now don’t go after them, or follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part of the heaven, shines to another part under the heaven; so shall the Son of man be in his day (Luk 17:22-24).

Oh, the kingdom of God is coming, it’s over here, let’s go over and see the kingdom, it came secretly. No, it’s gonna be like lightening, everybody is gonna see it when it happens.

But before He comes in this glory,

He first must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it also be in the days of the Son of man. For they were eating, they were drinking, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all (Luk 17:25-29).

What is Jesus saying? The kingdom of heaven when it comes, it’ll be as in the days of Noah. It will be in the days of Lot. People will be going on with business as usual, eating, drinking, marrying wives, buying, selling, planting, building; business as usual. Now, verse 29 I feel is significant, “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.” I do not believe that God’s judgment will come upon the earth until the church is taken out. I do not believe that the church is going to face the wrath of God, the Great Judgment period mentioned in the Bible, or the Great Tribulation period. But I believe that Lot is a classic sign of God’s ability to deliver the righteous while reserving the ungodly for the day of judgment as Peter tells us in his second epistle.

Even thus shall it be in a day that the Son of man is revealed. 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. For remember Lot’s wife (Luk 17:30-32).

Who, of course, in turning back turned to a pillar of salt. Get out of there, escape.

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there’ll be two in one bed; the one will be taken, the other will be left. Two shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, the other left. Two shall be in the field; one shall be taken, the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together (Luk 17:33-37).

Now this last portion is difficult of interpretation. And there are two basic interpretations. There are those who interpret this as the person who is taken is the one in, who is in trouble, because he is taken to the judgment. One is taken, where Lord? Wherever the body is there will the eagles be gathered together. And so they say they are taken to be put into the great battle of Armageddon where the birds are going to come and feast upon the body of the people. One interpretation. The other interpretation is that this actually is a reference to the rapture of the church. Taken up to escape the Great Tribulation period. So you can see that the two interpretations are exactly opposite. For in the second interpretation the one who is taken is blessed, because he won’t have to be in the Great Tribulation. The problem with the first interpretation is eagles are not a bird of prey, that is, upon the human bodies. They do prey upon livestock, live animals. But they are not as the vultures who eat human flesh. They do not eat the carcasses of people. So to interpret the aetos, which is eagles, as vultures is wrong, but yet, those who make the first interpretation are always translating aetos, as vultures. But that is not a true translation of the Greek aetos, which is eagles. There is another word for the vultures that feed upon the flesh of men at the great battle of Armageddon. What is being referred to wherever the body is there will the eagles be gathered together. There are those who see that as the body of Jesus Christ, wherever the body of Christ is there will the eagles, His victorious saints, be gathered together. And so you have two interpretations. You have a choice between the two. They are diametrically opposed. Both can’t be right, and when you get into a place like that I just find that it’s probably best to file it away and say, “Well, I’ll just wait for further information.”

Shall we pray. Father, we thank You for Your Word, a lamp unto our feet, a light into our path to guide us as we walk with Thee. And Lord, we pray that we might walk in the light of Thy truth, the path illumined by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Lord, for Your truth that has set us free. Bless now, Lord, and may we grow in grace and in our knowledge of You. And Lord, we would with Your disciples pray, increase our faith. Work in our lives, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

May the Lord be with you, bless you. We praise the Lord for His goodness to us. The opportunity of just growing in our walk and in our fellowship. And may you be enriched this week as the love of Christ works in your life and works through your life. And let your light so shine before men, that when they see your good works they’ll glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Chapter 18

Shall we turn tonight to Luke, chapter 18.

Luke tells us that Jesus now

spoke a parable to them to this end (Luk 18:1),

In other words, the purpose of the parable was to encourage people to pray and not to faint.

that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luk 18:1);

It is interesting to me that so often when people come, almost fainting over the dilemma that they are facing, that they are just breathless, at the end of the road. They’re desperate; they’re almost beside themselves as they begin to pour out. They’re just so full, they pour out all of the woes and the problems and the difficulties and all. And that release valve is popped, and it just comes out all over the place. And then you say to them, when they finally come to some kind of equilibrium, you say, “Well now, have you prayed about it?” “No, no, but we’ve got to do something. We can’t pray.” And yet, that’s exactly what the Lord is saying, “We ought to pray and not to faint.” You know, I have found that the Lord doesn’t give needless warnings.

Now many times when He warns I think that they are needless. I think, “Lord, You don’t need to talk to me about that. I’ve got that one wired, Lord. No problems there.” And yet, it is in that area where the Lord has given me warning that I ultimately end up in trouble. Because I didn’t listen; I didn’t think I needed the warning. As I read through the scriptures, I find that those things that the Lord warned the kings about were the very things that ultimately they got in trouble for. God knows. He knows what lies down the road. And He doesn’t warn us needlessly, nor does He exhort us needlessly. And in this parable, to the end that men ought always to pray and not to faint, that is the area where so many people have problems. They’re always fainting and not praying, just turning it around.

Now, in the parable, do not make the mistake of thinking of it in parallelisms because Jesus, first of all, speaks of a wicked judge. The Roman judges, or those that were appointed by the Roman government, were notoriously crooked. In fact, there’s a Greek phrase that means “the judge of honor.” But by just a slight change, the phrase is “the robber judge.” And so it was very common. And in the classical Greek you can read often this switching of the phrase; and rather than saying “the honorable judge,” they’d say “the robber judge.” Because they were so notoriously wicked. They said you could buy them with a pound of beef. They were just wicked men. And they used their position. And so Jesus is talking about this kind of a judge.

And He said,

There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man (Luk 18:2-4);

It shows what kind of a person he was.

Yet because this widow troubles me, will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she wears me out (Luk 18:5).

She wearies me.

And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge said (Luk 18:6).

And then He gives His lesson in prayer. Now, I said be careful that you don’t get into parallelisms with this parable and think that this unjust judge represents God. That is not the case. Jesus often taught in parallels with sharp contrasts, and this is one of the those parables not of parallelism, but of sharp contrast. For surely He would not put God in the light of an unconcerned, unjust, judge, unfeeling. That’s the exact opposite of what He teaches us of the Father, who loves, who cares, and who is concerned. So this parable is one of contrast. The contrast is this: if a wicked man, hard, who neither regards neither God nor man, if he can be persuaded just because of the persistency of this little widow, in sharp contrast,

Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry unto him day and night, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily (Luk 18:7-8).

Now Jesus isn’t really then teaching that you’ve got to persist in prayer and continue and continue and continue until you get your answer. He is saying that God will avenge speedily those who call unto Him. So, don’t in your mind draw the parallel, “This God is like this judge, and I’ve got to just keep pestering Him until I get what I want.” If your cause is right, if your cause is just, I believe that God is only waiting for you to open the door through prayer so that He can do what He’s been wanting to do the whole time. You see, I’m convinced, from the scriptures, that God knows what I really need long before I ever know it. God knows what I’m going to be needing six months from now. God knows what I’m going to be needing five years from now. Prayer is not really informing God of my needs. Jesus said, “Your Father knows what you have need of before you ever ask Him.” Yet, so often we think of prayer, we are informing God now of what my need is. “God, let me tell You what I need here. And I’m going to cue you in, Lord, so You can understand what I really need.” And I’m using prayer as a means to inform God. How ridiculous! God doesn’t need that I should inform Him of anything, for He knows everything. God loves me. He is my heavenly Father. His chief concern is my eternal good. Notice, eternal good, not my temporary good.

Now, there are some things that I may feel would be temporarily beneficial to me, but God knows that eternally they’d be damning to me. And so, I try to inform God of my temporal need, and all the while He knows my eternal need. Now, if I could by persistence, just by dogged persistence, by bugging God through prayer, break God down so He’ll say, “Oh, answer that nut! I’m getting tired of him calling!” then I could be bringing into my life all kinds of hurtful harmful things. And God loves me too much to be dissuaded from His perfect will for my life by responding to my prayers when they are not in accordance with His eternal plan.

I want to share something with you. I don’t want God to switch His plan as the result of my continued requests. I want God’s perfect will for my life, and prayer is not really intended to get my will done on earth. Prayer is intended to get God’s will done on earth, and so true prayer begins with the purpose of God, the plan of God, the will of God. And He makes that known to my heart, and I express it to Him in prayer. And by my expression in prayer, what I am actually doing is opening the door and giving God the opportunity to do what He’s been wanting to do, what He’s desiring to do, but will not do against my will. You see, God has given to you this business of free will, the power of choice. God will not violate that choice. Therefore, prayer opens the door for God to do those things that He desires to do in my life.

In the fifteenth chapter of John, that glorious chapter of the relationship between the believer and Christ, Jesus said, “You’ve not chosen Me, but I’ve chosen you and ordained that you should be My disciples. That you should bring forth fruit,” cause that’s that fruit-bearing chapter, “I’m the vine; you’re the branches;” “and that your fruit should remain. That, whatsoever you ask the Father in My name, He may,” notice, He “may,” not He “shall,” “He may give it to you.” You see, it opens the door that God may do now what He’s desiring to do. Your prayer has opened that door for God to act freely without violating your will. So, I am of the opinion that the wisest prayer any of us can ever offer to God is, “Lord, just work out Your complete perfect will in my life. Have Your way, Lord, in my life. Do for me what You want to do.”

I think that many times our prayers can be limiting God. We limit Him in our prayers. They’re putting the boundaries and the restrictions on God. Like the children of Israel who limited the Holy One of Israel, so we so often do that in our prayers. “Oh, Lord, I need a hundred dollars! I need it desperately, Lord. You know the bills are overdue, and I need a hundred dollars. God, please send a hundred dollars.” Why don’t you just say, “Lord, please send what you know I need”? Why limit Him to a hundred dollars? He may be wanting to give you a thousand. So there are sometimes when I think that being very specific is not so good. For years I prayed for a church of 250 people. I thought that was the ideal size, and oh, how I dreamed of pastoring a church of 250 people. I prayed for that number for years, limiting God. God had other things in mind. I didn’t know what He had in mind. Oh, that we would understand how much the Father loves us. Oh, that we would trust His wisdom in His dealing in our lives. Oh, that we could come to that place of total commitment of ourselves to Him, “Lord, You do what You want for Me. Lord, I rest in You.” I’m not making any demands on God. I’m not trying to command God. I’m not trying to sit on the throne and be sovereign myself. I’m not trying to get my will done on this earth. That’s not why I’m here, and that’s not the purpose of prayer. It’s to work in harmony with God, to get His program accomplished on this earth. It’s to link together with God and join with Him in His great program of reaching this world with the love of Jesus Christ. “God, Your will be done! Your purposes be accomplished. Use me as ever You see fit as Your instrument, Lord, to do Your work. Here I am, I’m available to You and whatever You want, Lord, for my life. Whatever You want to do in me, whatever You want to do through me, Lord, I’m available. Here I am. Your will be done.” Commitment!

Now, I don’t always understand the difficulties that I am going through. I don’t always understand my trials. There are times when I cry out of my distress. And yet, there is always that understood relationship that I have with God; that even though I don’t understand, Lord, Your particular working in my life at this moment, You just keep on working. Like my wife says, if I scream and yell and holler, “Don’t let me have another bite of chocolate.” And that’s pretty much, “Lord, if I scream and yell and holler, ‘Don’t do anything contrary to Your will,’ I don’t care how much I scream, how much I holler, Lord, Your will be done in my life. That’s supreme, that’s paramount.”

So, Jesus is not saying that God is like this unjust judge. He’s saying He’s totally unlike the unjust judge. But He’s illustrating by contrast. If a man who is so hardened, so callous, so crooked, that he has no regard for God or man, if he can be persuaded by the persistency of the little widow, shall not God avenge His children speedily? “Yes,” He said, “I say He will.”

But then Jesus asked an interesting question. He said,

Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luk 18:8)

We are told in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 24, one of the signs of the end of the age would be the iniquity in the earth abounding, causing the love of many to wax cold. That goes along with this question. I believe that we are living in the hardest period of history to live a consistent consecrated Christian life. I don’t believe that ever in history has there been more temptation placed so freely before men. Through the media, through the movies, through television, through magazines, we have been overexposed to sexual enticements. That area has been stimulated and aroused. And at the same time, there has been a deteriorating of the moral standards, a broad acceptance of relationships in the society in which we live. And I do not believe that ever in the history of man has there been such a broad exposure and a more difficult time to really live a truly committed life to Jesus Christ. And because the iniquity in the world is abounding, the love of many is waxing cold. And the question then that Jesus asked becomes very significant, “When I return, or when the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?” True, genuine faith and trust in His Word.

And he spake this parable unto certain of those which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and looked down on others (Luk 18:9):

These are those people, and you’ve met them, that are so critical of everyone else. They are like Job said to his comforters, “Surely you are the people and wisdom is going to die with you.” People who are self-righteous, they feel no need of any help in that area. And they are critical, condemning and look down on everybody else. It’s interesting that Luke begins to explain to us the direction that the parables are taking. So, this parable is to those who trust in themselves, that they are righteous and despised others.

And there were two men who went up into the temple to pray; the one was a Pharisee, and the other was a hated publican (Luk 18:10).

The word publican became synonymous with sinner, of the rankest sort, the tax collector, the crookedest man in town.

So the Pharisees stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as that publican over there. For I fast twice every week, I give tithes of everything that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift his eyes to heaven, but he smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. [Jesus said,] I tell you, this man, [that is, the publican,] went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luk 18:11-14).

I find it very difficult to not assume this pharisitical attitude when I look at our church. I am very prone to say, “Lord, I thank You that our church isn’t as other churches.” We don’t beg and dun the people for money. And just tell how wonderful we are. Because, really, in my heart I thank God that we’re not like a lot of other churches. I mean, that’s just plain honest. And I think we are better…. So, I have a problem with this parable. Yet, I realize my own need of God’s mercy. It’s not my righteousness, it’s not by the works of righteousness that I have done. I don’t ever come to God and say, “Now, Lord, look at what I’ve been doing for You. Look at the hours that I’ve put in this week. Look at the sacrifices that I have made.” Jesus talked to us about that last week, didn’t He? When the servant comes in, the master doesn’t say, “Sit down and eat.” He says, “Go fix me my meal, and then after I’ve eaten, you can eat. After you’ve done all these things, just say I’m an unprofitable servant.” So I never try to tell the Lord what I have done, nor come to the Lord on the basis of my commitment or what I have done, because that is a trap. It may bring me confidence at sometimes to come to God. But then most of the time, I feel no sense going to God; I haven’t done anything, or what I’ve done is negative. So I always come to God on the basis of His grace and His mercy towards me. Whenever I come to God it is always seeking His mercy. You see, justice is getting what you deserve. I never come to God and say, “Justice, God! I want justice!” I’m afraid I might get it. I come and I say, “Mercy, Lord! Mercy! God, be merciful!” For mercy is not getting what I deserve. But then I say, “Oh, God, grace!” Because that’s getting what I don’t deserve. So you see the fine difference between the three. Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what’s coming to you. And grace is getting what’s not coming to you…God just giving to you on the basis of His love and grace towards you. You don’t deserve it, but He’ll do it anyhow. “God be merciful to me a sinner!” And then, “Everyone that exalts himself shall be abased, but he that humbles himself shall be exalted.”

And so they brought unto him also infants (Luk 18:15),

We brought little Jeffrey Draper tonight.

They brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and he said, Allow the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter in (Luk 18:15-17).

I love to observe children. There is a beauty, there’s something almost sacred and divine surrounding that little child. There’s just such a purity. Sitting today at the table with some of my grandchildren, listening to them talk about the Lord, listening to them offer their prayers to God for the food and for every other item that they could think of while they’re praying for the food. In fact, one even forgot the food. But their beauty and the simplicity of their opening up their hearts to God; it’s just glorious. I love children. And there seems to be within a child a very keen sense of discernment. If I see a person that children shy away from and won’t go to, I become suspicious of that person. The same with a dog. If I see a person that a dog sort of…, I get suspicious. They seem to have a good sense of judgment. And Jesus said, “Unless you receive the kingdom as a little child, you’re not going to enter therein.” But Jesus was always interested in the children.

Mark tells us that when the disciples were keeping the people away from Him, bringing their children to Him, and when Jesus saw what they were doing, He was angry. He was upset. He rebuked His disciples; He was really upset with them. “Let those little children come to Me; don’t forbid them.” And He took them into His arms and He blessed them.

Now there was a certain ruler and they asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why do you call me good? there is none good, except one, and that is, God. You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother. And he said, All of these have I kept from my youth up. And when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet you lack one thing: sell all that you have, distribute unto the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: come and follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw how that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God (Luk 18:18-27).

Now, again, let’s not misunderstand Jesus. For when this young ruler came and kneeled at Him and said, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit this age abiding life?” He’s talking about a quality of life, not the quantity. A quality that he observed in Jesus. There’s something eternal about the way this Man lived. His life crossed the dimensions of time; they stretched into the eternal. “What must I do that I might have this age abiding, this quality of life that You possess?” And Jesus said, “Why did you call Me good? None is good, except One, and that is God.”

Now, do not jump to the conclusion that Jesus is saying, “I am not God.” For I think a careful observation and you’ll discover He’s saying just the opposite. You see, He is saying one of two things: He is saying, “I am no good,” or He is saying, “I am God.” So the question, “Why do you call Me good?” is to arouse and elevate the conscious level of this fellow’s mind. “Look, you’ve called Me good. Why did you call Me good? You’re looking for age abiding life. Now you call Me good. Why is it that you call Me good? You see, there is only One that is good and that is God. Why did you call Me good? Because what you see in Me, this quality that you are attracted to, this quality that you have discerned is that I am God.” You remember when Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah! Flesh and blood did not reveal this unto you, but My Father which is in heaven.” And as much He is saying unto this young fellow, “Look, you’ve had a divine revelation. Why did you call Me good? There’s only One good and that is God.” “That’s right! Could You…?” So, He’s trying to draw out now. “Hey, you’re coming along, getting warm, warmer, warmer…” Pulling him in, letting him really expand this awareness.

Then Jesus flashes across him the six commandments in the second table of stone. Those commandments that deal with man’s relationship with his fellow man, which constitutes righteousness. And as Jesus flashed across him the second table of the law, “Thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, bear false witness, honor thy father and mother, don’t steal,” he said, “I have kept all of these from my youth up.” Mark tells us that he asked the question, “What lack I yet?” And Jesus, when He heard these things, said unto him, “You lack one thing. Go and sell all that you have and distribute to the poor. You’ll have treasure in heaven.” Now again, don’t misread this. Is Jesus saying that his lack was poverty? No, because we could all get in easily then. Go back. “Why do you call Me good? There’s only One good, that is God.” Now Jesus said, “Go,” and let’s leave out what He said at that point, just “Go.” And then He said, “Come, follow Me.” Now the essential word of Christ to this young man is, “Come, follow Me.” You see, your problem is, God is not at the center of your life. You have another focal point upon which your life is revolving. In his case, it was money, his riches. His life was revolving around his riches. His riches were at the center of his life. And Jesus touched the thing that was at the heart of his life, and He said, “You’ve got the wrong God. Follow Me. Get rid of that false god. Follow Me. If you want to be perfect, get rid of those idols, get rid of those things that are standing in the way, those things that are keeping you from total commitment. Follow Me, put Me at the center of your life.”

And so the Word of Christ would be the same to you tonight. It would be “Go,” and then He would put His finger in your life at that which is hindering you from completely following Him. Maybe it’d be selling that little sports car. Or getting rid of this, getting rid of that. To some, it might even be dropping out of your educational pursuits. If that’s become the center of your life and the chief focal point and your life is revolving around that, that’s the thing He’s putting His finger on and saying, “Look, you’ll never find it there; you’ll only find it when you follow Me. It’s not that these others then cannot be added and become a part of your life, but they should not and cannot be the center part of your life. I’ve got to be at the center of your life. Come, follow Me.”

The young man went away sad. Now it is wrong to assume that he was lost. I don’t know if we’ll meet him in heaven or not. It may be that he was sad at the thought of what he had to do next. It could be that he went to his accountant and said, “Hey, get rid of everything, distribute it to the poor. I’ll see ya later. I’ve got to follow a Man that I met today. Nothing else counts, but following Him.” Or it could be that he went away sad, thinking, “The price is too great. Can’t do it. I wish I had it, but I can’t pay that price.” And he had reason, then, to be sad. Jesus then said, “How hard it is for those who have riches, tough to enter into the kingdom of God.” Riches can be such a powerful god in a person’s life; they can get such a strong hold upon a person. They can possess you so quickly. The people said, “Lord, who then can be saved?” Of course, He talked about the camel going through the eye of an needle. And Jesus said, “With man, it is impossible.” Luke said He said, “All things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

Now, I get upset today when we travel to Israel and the guides will tell you about the subgate that they call the “eye of the needle.” This is a concocted story as are so many of the stories that the guides tell. They’re interesting. You know, they are paid to know and so they’ll tell you something, even if they don’t know. Because they’re expected to know. And I have looked at some of the various sites and I’ve had four or five explanations given to me of what caused it and all by the four or five different guides that we’ve had over a period of time. So they’re not really that authoritative. There’s just a awful lot of guesswork still in archaeology as to periods and times and datings and so forth. There’s just an awful lot of guesswork of what that really was, and what that was intended for. And they’ll tell you, “Oh, that was to do this or that.” And you know, as I said, they’ve got to have some answer. Like the guide who was showing the minister through the cathedral in Milan, St. Ambrose Cathedral there. And he showed him this case and the skull in the case, and he was assuring the people that that was Peter’s skull, that somehow it had been rescued when he was crucified and preserved and highly revered. One of the fellows spoke up and said, “Hey, we were down in the area of Rome the other day and in another cathedral and they showed us a skull. And they said that was Peter’s skull.” He said, “It was smaller than this one,” when he says, “Oh, yes, but that was when Peter was a boy.” So, they’ll have an explanation for you.

So, they point to a small little cut in the bottom of the gate, and they’ll say, “That’s the needle’s eye.” And it is small enough, that to get through the gate, to get through this little hole, there’s like a cat, things that they have in the house where the cat can come through and all. It’s like that. You get down and you can squeeze and crawl through the thing. You’d never get a camel through one of those things. But they say, “Oh, there was a subgate. And at night when they close the main gate of the city, if a guy arrives at the city late, the only way he can get in…they won’t open the main gate at night…so the only way you can get in is to take all of the baggage off the camel and you get him down on his haunches and you push the thing through. And with a lot of effort and a lot of work and a lot of strain, you can push him through the needle gate, or the “eye of the needle” gate. Wrong!

Jesus said, “With man it’s impossible.” You know, there are a lot of people that would like to believe a lot of struggle, a lot of effort, a lot of guts and drive and determination, you can save yourself. Wrong! You can’t save yourself. I don’t care how much pushing and pulling and effort you make, you can’t save yourself. With man, it is impossible. You can’t enter into the kingdom of heaven on your own works. With man, it is impossible. But thank God, with God all things are possible.

Now Peter said, Lo, Lord, we have left all and followed thee (Luk 18:28).

We gave up our houses and homes and all.

And he said unto them, Verily, I say unto you, There is no man that has left house, or parents, or brothers, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake (Luk 18:29),

Now notice that: “for the kingdom of God’s sake,”

Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting (Luk 18:30).

The qualifying phrase is “the kingdom of God’s sake.”

Then he took unto him the twelve, and he said unto them, Behold, we’re going to Jerusalem, and all of the things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished (Luk 18:31).

Now they are on the final leg of their trip to Jerusalem. They’re down at the Jordan River and they are now going to go on up to Jerusalem to the Feast of the Passover where the scriptures are to be fulfilled. Not the scriptures of the establishing of the kingdom as the disciples thought. Not the scriptures of sitting on the throne of David, but those scriptures that related to His being

delivered to the Gentiles, to be mocked, spitefully entreated, and spit upon (Luk 18:32):

Jeremiah speaks of this mockery and the spitting, the plucking of His beard.

They shall scourge him (Luk 18:33),

Isaiah tells us that in chapter 53,

and put him to death (Luk 18:33);

Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9

and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken (Luk 18:33-34).

They were blind to it. “Okay, fellows, we’ve got to go up to Jerusalem, that all of the scriptures concerning Me might be fulfilled.” “Alright, let’s get on with the kingdom!” And He then tells them what He’s referring to. “I’ve got to be delivered to the Gentiles, I have to be mocked, spitefully entreated. I’m going to be spit upon. I’m going to be rejected, I’m going to scourged, I’m going to be slain. But the third day I’ll rise again.” “Let’s go to Jerusalem, set up the kingdom.” So anxious were they. I am somehow encouraged by this though. These men that Jesus chose to be nearest to Him, these men that Jesus chose to establish the church were not spiritual giants. They were not perfect men. They did not have keen spiritual insight. They were people just like you and me. God uses ordinary people. God uses you if you’ll just let Him. And so here they were, they really didn’t understand what He was talking about. In fact, they were just miles apart in their thinking.

And so it came to pass (Luk 18:35),

Now remember, He is on His way to Jerusalem. He’s coming first to Jericho, about eighteen to twenty miles from Jerusalem.

It came to pass, as he was come near to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging (Luk 18:35):

Now this obviously is not the one in Mark’s gospel, Bartimaeus, or the one in Matthew’s gospel, or the two. One, the account gives two blind men, one tells of Bartimaeus. And this is a different account however. For in this case, Jesus is entering Jericho and the other two blind men He met when He was leaving Jericho.

So as He was on His way to Jericho, “a certain blind man was sitting by the wayside begging.”

And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant (Luk 18:36).

“What’s going on? What’s happening?” He couldn’t see.

And they told him, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by (Luk 18:37).

Now he had heard of Jesus. I think that everyone who has some kind of a physical disability is attune to possible cures. Unfortunately, because of this deep desire to be cured, in the present day they often become victims of evil charlatans who promise them cures. And it’s amazing how a person who is desperate will hope for anything. And there are people who are willing to take advantage of that hope and give to them a false hope. But somehow he had heard of Jesus of Nazareth; the name registered.

And so he began to cry aloud, saying, Jesus (Luk 18:38),

And used the Messianic title,

thou Son of David, have mercy on me. Then those that went before [those that were around him] rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more (Luk 18:38-39),

Using now just the Messianic title,

Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, What do you want that I should do for you? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God: and all of the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God (Luk 18:39-43).

Notice that. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that when they see your good works, they will glorify your Father which is in heaven.” If people are constantly coming up and praising you for being such a wonderful person and “you’re so marvelous, and you’re so this and that…” then you better take a quick self examination and find out how you’re letting your light shine–evidently in the wrong way, because it’s attracting attention to you. It’s bringing praises to you. “Let your light so shine before men that when they see your good works, they will glorify your Father which is in heaven.” And Jesus was somehow doing it that way. So when they saw this blind man able to see, following Jesus in the path, they glorified God. They praised God. They gave praise unto God.

Chapter  19

Now Jesus has entered into Jericho (Luk 19:1).

And as He is passing through the city,

Behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans (Luk 19:2),

The city of Jericho was an oasis. It was a resort town; it was the Palm Springs, except even more lush. The winters can get quite cold in Jerusalem. They get even an occasional snow. But down in Jericho in the wintertime the weather is just really perfect. The days are usually clear. You get less than two inches of rain during the year. And yet, because it is about 1100 feet below sea level, there are all kinds of springs and little streams down there in Jericho because of your depth. And there’s just these artesian wells or springs and all of this fresh water. And with the warm temperatures which are usually in the wintertime into the eighties during the daytime, it just makes for lush growing and a year-round growing season. And there’s just great citrus and all types of fruits that are grown there in the area around Jericho. So it became a retreat for the wealthy people. They would all have their winter houses down in Jericho. And Jericho was filled with publicans, that is the tax collectors, because they were the wealthy people, and Pharisees.

And so, “Jesus was passing through Jericho. And there was a man named Zacchaeus and he was the chief of the publicans, the tax collectors,”

and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was (Luk 19:2-3);

Now, the blind man, when they said, “It’s Jesus of Nazareth,” he knew who He was. This man didn’t know who He was, but he was curious. There was a tremendous crowd of people moving along. “Who in the world are they thronging after? Who is He?”

and he could not see, because he was so small (Luk 19:3).

A short little fellow, could not see over the crowd, and he dared not to venture into the crowd because people knew who he was and they hated him. He was public enemy number one, he was the chief of the tax collectors. And to go in and try and work his way through the crowd to see Jesus, he had been beaten to death. He would have been elbowed, gouged, pinched, and they would have really gotten him if he dared get into the crowd. He knew better than getting into a crowd of people.

So he saw that Jesus was going down the street.

He ran ahead of him, climbed up into a sycamore tree; and waited for Jesus to pass under (Luk 19:4).

Just so he could see this Man. He didn’t know who He was, but he just wanted to see Him. And to his amazement,

As Jesus came to the tree, he looked up, and he saw him, and he said, Come down, Zacchaeus, hurry up; because today I must abide at your house (Luk 19:5).

It’s interesting that even though Zacchaeus did not know Jesus, Jesus knew Zacchaeus and called him by his name. John tells us that “Jesus did not need that any man should testify Him of man, because He knew man and He knew what was in man.” He knew what was in the heart of this man. Now, there are many ways that Jesus could have gone to Jerusalem without going through Jericho. I think that He went through Jericho just because He knew there was this man there whose heart was yearning for God. I think He made a detour in order that He might meet Zacchaeus.

And so Zacchaeus made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully (Luk 19:6).

Probably because he knew that it would upset the Pharisees. Now at this point the door is closed on us. We are not taken into the feast. We are not brought into the conversation. But here, Jesus abiding at the house of Zacchaeus, began to talk to him, no doubt, about the kingdom of God. No doubt about life and the real values of life, probed his heart, his soul. Outside, where we must stand with the crowd, we hear only the murmuring of the Pharisees against Jesus for going into the house of a sinner. For they

murmured against him, saying, He had gone to be the guest of a man who was a sinner (Luk 19:7).

Outside there was that mulling around of the crowd as they waited for Jesus to come back out. They probably heard an occasional roar of laughter come from within the house. You say, “Oh, you believe that Jesus laughed?” You bet I do! I think that He had a keen sense of humor. I do not picture Him as always very sober. I think it was a very tragic period of the church when somberness became equated with spirituality and it was a sign of unspirituality to smile. So the ministers took on such a…well, they wore the black suits. And they took on that quality of tone in their voice and that very somber, serious, sober, “Go-o-od mo-r-n-ing.” And you think, “Oh, what a spiritual man!” So sober, so serious. I think of Jesus as a regular fellow. I can see Him just laughing with the disciples, slapping them on the shoulder…and just a man’s man. But yet, there were those periods of silence where they didn’t hear the laughter outside, those times when Jesus was probing, talking, dealing with Zacchaeus.

Now the doors are opening again and Zacchaeus is standing there before the Lord. He was a short little fellow, probably looking up at Him.

Lord, a half of my riches I’m going to give to the poor; and if I’ve taken anything from a man falsely, I’m going to restore to him fourfold. And Jesus answering him, said, Today salvation has come to this house, inasmuch as he is become a son of Abraham (Luk 19:8-9).

Now, there are two ways to look at that. The translation in our King James is: “This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” And there could be a fine bit of satire and humor in that. Anytime you hear a Jew say, “I’m going to give away half of my riches,” you know that salvation has come to his house. You know, one of these type of Jews that Zacchaeus was. But the other is probably the correct. “…inasmuch as he has become…” And either translation can be accepted. “..a son of Abraham.” Paul tells us that it wasn’t the physical descendants of Abraham that would inherit the kingdom of heaven, but the spiritual descendants. For Abraham was not the father of the physical seed, but of the spiritual seed of those who would believe as their father Abraham; who believed God, became the father of the spiritual seed, those who would believe and trust in God. And so we are children of Abraham through faith, Paul teaches us. So Jesus could be using that spiritual application now through the faith that is in this man. He is become, indeed, a son of Abraham; that is, a spiritual descendant. There were Jews who said to Jesus, “We are of our father Abraham.” Jesus said, “If you were of your father Abraham, then you would have known Me, because Abraham testified of Me and he saw Me.” And they said, “You’re not fifty years old. When did Abraham see You?” And He said, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Then Jesus said, “But you’re of the father, the devil, not the sons of Abraham.” “We have Abraham for our father.” And He said, “Don’t say that. Don’t you realize that God can raise up rocks as children of Abraham, if He wanted?” It’s the spiritual seed, those who believe. Abraham was the father, so we have become children of Abraham through our faith, and heirs, then, of the promises of God that were given to Abraham. They are ours because we are the spiritual sons of Abraham, the man who believed God. And we are his first sons. Now, you can’t carry that too far, as some people tragically do, and say, “Well, the church is Israel.” No, the church is not Israel. And God is yet going to deal with the nation of Israel, as He has promised.

But Jesus then said to the crowd, those who were murmuring,

For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luk 19:10).

Find fault! You were murmuring because I was a guest of a sinner. But that’s who I came to seek. That’s who I came to save.

And as they heard these things, he added a parable, because they were near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear (Luk 19:11).

Now they had heard Zacchaeus saying, “All that I have, half of it I’m going to give to the poor.” Now Jesus accepted that, didn’t He? He said to the rich young ruler, “Sell everything that you have and give to the poor.” But now with Zacchaeus saying, “A half that I have I give to the poor. And I restore fourfold anything that I have taken dishonestly.” Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house.” So you see, it isn’t a demand that I have to sell everything to follow Jesus, it’s just that I can’t let that be my god. “No man can serve two masters; you cannot serve God and mammon.” Now Jesus, because they were getting near to Jerusalem, and because…notice…they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He had just told them, “I’m going to despised, I’m going to be rejected, I’m going to be slain, I’m going to be spit upon,” and the whole thing, and yet, they still thought the kingdom was going to immediately appear. And so He spoke a parable unto them to the intent that they would see that there will be a delay of time before the kingdom will be established.

And so there was a certain nobleman who went to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return (Luk 19:12).

Now, it is interesting that Jericho was the city where Archilles had built his palace. And Archilles was the Roman procurator over that area. And Archilles, prior to this, had gone to Rome in order that he might be elevated to the title of king. Because he felt that procurator just wasn’t a big enough title for him, and he was wanting the title of king. And that could only be bestowed by the Roman senate. And so Archilles had gone to Rome to receive the title of king, that he might come back and dwell in his palace and reign there in the area of Jericho. And when he went to Rome, he left his duties in the hands of some of his subordinates with whom he left the funds that they might run the affairs of state. With Archilles, however, there were other emissaries who went to Rome and spoke in the senate against him; and rather than receiving the title of king, the Roman senate took away his position even as the procurator of that area. So Archilles had sort of a bad experience, much as did Herod later, who went to Rome with the same desires and was actually banished to Spain…not Herod the Great, but one of his sons, Antipas.

So, it could be that Jesus, in giving this parable, is touching on something that historically had not happened too long ago, and something that they had all known about in Archilles’ leaving Jericho to go to Rome to get the title king.

“But there was a certain nobleman went to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.”

And he called his ten servants, and delivered to them ten pounds, and he said unto them, Occupy till I come (Luk 19:13).

Now, this is the word of Jesus to the waiting church, “Occupy till I come.” We are not to sit back and say, “Well, the Lord is coming; there’s no sense of finishing my education. Well, the Lord is coming; there’s no sense of not entering into this business venture…or, let’s just wait, because the Lord is coming.” We are not to plan our lives, “Well, let’s go out and charge everything, because the Lord’s coming, and we won’t have to pay for it.” We are not to plan our lives predicated upon the Lord’s coming in a particular span of time. But we are to occupy until He comes. Yet, anticipating Him to come at any moment, never getting so involved that I’m not ready to drop things in a moment’s notice. Because that I may have to do. I am to use the time that I have wisely in my serving the Lord. I am to occupy until He comes, but never to just sit down and say, “Okay, Lord, we’re just going to wait now here until you come. Oh, praise the Lord.” And just have a glory hallelujah meeting as we’re waiting for the Lord to just come and rapture us. Never! We’re to occupy, we’re to keep busy until He comes.

And so he delivered the ten pounds, and said, “Now occupy till I come.”

But his citizens hated him [as did those of Archilles], and they sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us (Luk 19:14).

And that’s exactly what they had sent to the Roman senate concerning Archilles, “We will not have him reign over us.”

And so it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom [which Archilles did not do], then he commanded these servants to be called to him, whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, and he said, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou has been faithful in a very little, you will now have authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, your pound has gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is your pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: for I feared thee, because I know that you’re an austere man: you take that which you did not lay down, you reap that which you did not sow. And he said unto him, Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, taking up that which I did not lay down, and reaping that which I did not sow: Therefore you should have given the money to the bank, that at my coming I might have required at least my own with interest? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, But, Lord, he has ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that which he has shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not have that I should reign over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me (Luk 19:15-27).

Those people that say, “We’ll not have Christ to rule over us,” they’ll be brought before judgment and destroyed. However, those servants to whom He has entrusted His goods will be judged according to what they did, their stewardship of those goods with which they were entrusted. Now, it is interesting here that their reward is in their place of rulership in the kingdom. When the Lord comes to establish His kingdom upon the earth, the Bible teaches that we will reign with Him over the earth. To the church of Thyatira, “to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My kingdom. And they shall rule over the earth with a rod of iron” (Revelation 2:26-27). Actually, in the book of Revelation, the first chapter, “Unto Him who loved us and gave Himself for us, who has redeemed us, and we shall reign as a kingdom of priests with Him upon the earth.” And then in Revelation, the fifth chapter, “Thou art worthy to take the scroll and unloose the seals thereof, for Thou has redeemed us by Thy blood out of every nation, kindred, tribe, tongue and people and hath made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign with Thee upon the earth.” So the church reigning with the Lord upon the earth. Now, reigning over five cities, reigning over ten cities, reigning over two cities…according to our faithfulness with what God has entrusted us now, as I am a steward of God’s things. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get Hawaii, but I’m working towards it.

Now when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem (Luk 19:28).

You see, He’s on His way, He’s moving towards Jerusalem, and this parable was on their way up. Because they felt the kingdom was going to come immediately. “No, it’s going to be like a king who went away to a far country to receive the kingdom, and then he returns later on and requires of his servants that which they did with his goods. And those who sent the message and say, ‘Hey, we don’t want him to reign over us,’ they are to be cut off.”

Now they are arriving near Jerusalem. “When He had thus spoken, He went before ascending up to Jerusalem.” From Jericho to Jerusalem you’re going from 1200 feet below sea level, you’re ascending up to about 2700 above sea level, so it’s a good climb.

And it came to pass, when he was come near to Bethpage and to Bethany (Luk 19:29),

These are the little villages that are on the wilderness side of the Mount of Olives, away from Jerusalem.

and the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go into the village opposite you, at the which when you enter you’re going to find a colt that is tied, whereon a man has never sat: loose him, and bring him. And if any man asks you, Why are you loosing him? you shall just say unto him, Because the Lord needs him. And so they that were sent went their way, and they found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners said unto them, Why are you untying the colt? And they said, The Lord needs him. And so they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come near, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives (Luk 19:29-37),

That is, He’s come over the Mount of Olives and started now to descend on the other side.

the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all of the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the king that comes in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, you better rebuke your disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. And when he was become near, he beheld the city, and he wept over it, saying, If thou hast known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes (Luk 19:37-42).

The triumphant entry of Jesus, riding on a colt, takes us back to the prophecy of Zechariah, chapter 9. “Rejoice greatly, O daughters of Jerusalem: shout for joy! For thy king cometh unto thee. But He is lowly; He is sitting on a colt, the foal of an ass.” And so, here He comes riding, the King. Notice, on a colt that had never been broken, showing again His mastery over nature. No man had ever sat on this little colt. Yet, He sat on it.

As He is riding in, the disciples began to cry out Psalm 118, which is a Messianic Psalm. If you look at the Psalm 118, you find that the prophecy concerning Jesus there in verse 22, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” When Solomon built the temple, the story is told how that all of the stones were quarried away from the temple site. Actually, on up the hill on Mount Moriah above the site of the temple you can still see the stone quarry today. In fact, you can go into what they call the Solomon’s Quarries and see where many of the stones were taken for the temple building and all out of this huge cavern that comes under Jerusalem. And, of course, the quarried area that ultimately made a canyon between the wall of Jerusalem and the top of Mount Moriah, which was later called Calvary because of the quarrying of the stone the caves left as they pulled the stones out. It left the impression of a skull in the side of the mountain. And so they named the skull Golgotha, or Calvary. And so, the story goes that as they quarried the stones, each of them were marked and sent to the temple site where they were placed in place without the use of mortar. For there was to be no sound of a trowel or a tool, but everything was just there at the site itself, no chipping of the blocks there. Everything was all cut to size according to the patterns, and numbered and labeled and then sent; and the builders just put the wall on up. And, according to the story, there came to the builders a stone which they did not recognize. They did not understand its place in the building. And so, according to the story, the stone was just set aside as a mistake at the quarry. And in the years that it took to build the temple, ultimately they came to the completion and the time for the dedication. But they were missing one stone, the chief cornerstone of the building. And so, the builders sent the message to the quarries, “We’re ready to dedicate but we’re missing the chief cornerstone. You better send it.” And they said, “We’ve already sent it.” They said, “You can’t. We don’t have it.” “Well, here’s our records. Look, it’s been sent. We’ve already sent it.” And so finally, some fellow found this stone. Now the bushes had overgrown and they pulled it out, the stone that had been set aside by the builders. And sure enough, it was the chief cornerstone. And so they put this thing in place and had their dedication. That’s the story, whether or not it is authentic I don’t know. But, here is a reference: “The stone which was set of not by the builders, the same has become the chief cornerstone.” And Jesus, or course, is that stone. The builders of that whole Judaic religious system set Him aside. But yet, as Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The chief cornerstone upon which the kingdom of God is to be built is the stone that was set aside by the religious leaders and of the Judaic religious system. So, it’s definitely a prophecy of Jesus Christ. Peter makes reference to it and the best commentary you can get on the Old Testament is the New Testament, you know that.

Now, going on. “This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). What day? The day that God establishes the King, and then the cry, “Hosanna! I beseech Thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord” (Psalm 118:25-26). This is the Psalm that the disciples were crying, “Hosanna, hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Because the Pharisees knew that that was a Messianic Psalm, they began to rebuke the disciples, or began to tell Jesus, “You better rebuke them.” And Jesus said, “Look, I’ll tell you something; if they would hold their peace, these stones would immediately begin to cry out.” “This is the day that the Lord has made.” So Jesus, as He looked at Jerusalem, He was coming down the Mount of Olives, looking to cross the Kidron Valley, straight across on the same level, Mount Moriah, the temple mount on the opposite side the city of Jerusalem; He began to weep. And He said, “If you had only known, even thou, at least in this thy day,” the day that the Lord had made, the day when they should be rejoicing and be glad in it. “At least in this thy day, if you only knew the things that belong to your peace. If you only knew that God was establishing peace with man. If you only knew what God would do for you if you’d just surrender your lives to Him…but they are hid from your eyes.” And He is weeping first at their blindness, but then at the result of that blindness, the tragedy that would befall them.

For the days shall come upon you, your enemies will cast a trench about you, they will compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side (Luk 19:43),

As Jesus is describing now the siege by the Roman legion under Titus, who in less than forty years would destroy Jerusalem and kill over one million people in the process. And so Jesus saw the devastation and the desolation, and He said,

They shall lay thee even with the ground (Luk 19:44),

This glorious beautiful temple that Herod had built is going to be leveled, not one stone will be left standing upon the other. These tremendous monuments in Jerusalem all to be leveled. And Jesus, looking at this magnificent city, weeping because it’s going to be destroyed,

and the children within thee will be destroyed; they will not leave in thee one stone upon another; because you did not know the time of your visitation (Luk 19:44).

Because you were blinded to the work of God.

This is the day that the Lord has made. This is the day that God had planned, the redemption of Israel. This is the day for the unveiling of the Messiah to the people. Prior to this day, Jesus would not allow any public acclamation of Himself as Messiah. He would reveal it to individuals on an individual basis, but often He’d say, “Don’t tell anybody. Go your way. Tell no man.” But this day He is encouraging the people’s demonstration. He’s getting that little colt in order that He might fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah. “This is the day that the Lord has made,” the day in history when the Messiah would come.

It is, to me, very significant that this day took place 173,880 days after the commandment by Artaxerxes in March 14, 445 B.C. to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Which, according to Daniel the prophet, that from the time the commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem under the coming of the Messiah, the prince will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens, or 483 years, or 173,880 days in the Babylonian calendar. And exactly to the day, April 6, 32 A.D., “this is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad.” But they didn’t rejoice. Instead, they rejected Him. And knowing that He was to be despised and rejected, knowing that He was to be crucified, He wept as He looked at the city, because of the blindness and the resulted devastation that would result from the blindness.

And then he went into the temple, and he began to cast them out that sold, and those that bought; saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer; but you’ve made it a den of thieves (Luk 19:45-46).

I believe that if Jesus came today to His church that He would be doing a lot of cleaning up. I think that He would take these fraudulent computerized letters that are being mailed out by these T.V. evangelists and healers and rip them up. It is interesting to me that in a lot of the mail that I receive, invariably those letters that come from “Faith Mission,” the “Faith Broadcast,” or the “Faith…wherever.” They put the name faith in it. They are usually appeals for money. It causes me to wonder, where is their faith? Is it in man or is it in God? And these men who are willing through their great faith to bring you God’s power and God’s working, how is it that they can’t have enough faith to maintain their fleet of jets in the Lord, but have to rely upon their mailing lists and their gimmicks?

“My house shall be called a house of prayer,” He said, “but you’ve made it a den of thieves.” I thank the Lord that I’m not as other men. You see, it’s hard to be in the right. No, it’s sad and it’s tragic, the things that have been done in the name of Jesus Christ. The things that are BEING done in the name of Jesus Christ, the whole fund-raising gimmickry within the church, the schemes and the professionalism that has been brought in, it’s tragic; it’s sad. Let’s just pray a moment.

Father, we pray that You keep us from the trap of over-extending for our own ambition’s sake and thus creating financial pressures, as we’re trying to keep alive programs that were not given by You, but were only designed to fulfill some ambition or need that we have. Father, we wish to thank You for the way that You have abundantly provided for the needs here at Calvary Chapel. Thank you, Lord, that You have given us far more, a surplus. That through this surplus we can broadcast Thy Word around the world, Lord. And yet, just depend upon You and never have to ask, Lord. How we thank You for this, Father! For we recognize it, Lord, as Your work. You’ve done it. And we thank You, Lord, that You have provided abundantly so that we’ve not been tempted to stoop to gimmicks or some other method of raising funds. God, I pray for those that have been caught in that trap. I ask, God, that You will convict them of the distortions and fraud and lies. And may they see so, God, their fraudulent ways. And may they come to a real trust in You and cut back, Lord, if necessary on those ambitious programs that cannot bring glory to You. In Jesus’ name, Father. Amen.

Jesus taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, but they could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him (Luk 19:47-48).

So Jesus was receiving the popular ear of the people at this point. They were attentive to hear Him. However, the leaders had conspired and determined at this point that He must be destroyed. And so, we see now that movement towards the plotting, the subterfuge that will lead to the betrayal and the arrest and the crucifixion. But the next couple of chapters, we get into very interesting aspects as we get this Olivet discourse, chapter 21, as Jesus deals with the signs of the end of the age and of His return in glory to establish to His kingdom. So next week, chapters 20 and 21.

You know, at the board meeting, it is great that the first thing we usually do after the minutes is we have a Bible reading and prayer and then the minutes. And then the treasurer’s report. And then we have a praise and worship time, as we just praise the Lord for the marvelous way that He has provided for the needs here at Calvary Chapel. More than what we need, so that we are able to expand the ministry and are constantly looking for just new ways to extend and to expand the ministry of the Word of God that He has given to us here. And so as the result of the prayers, the establishment of The Word For Today broadcast, and we are presently negotiating time on the radio in Monte Carlo that has a million watts of power that covers all of Europe and North Africa. We are planning to go on the Far Eastern Broadcasting Corporation that covers all of the area of the Philippines on into large areas of China and into India. And also into a radio station in South America that covers all of the South American continent. And we are just continuing to expand the ministry of the Word of God, just the teaching of the Word of God to people around the world so that that which God has used to bless us here can also become a blessing to people around the country. And it is thrilling to be able to go into these various cities and to meet thousands of people whose lives are being blessed, strengthened, and are growing through the study of the Word of God through The Word For Today radio broadcast, half hour daily, all over the United States. And now, moving out to powerful stations that will cover the world, actually. So, it’s a thrill that God has provided that we can do this. And it is all generated just right here, the surplus funds that the Lord brings in to expand His work this way. And so we have a neat praise time every month at the board meeting, as we just praise the Lord that He has so abundantly provided. Just like He said, He would do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think. And that’s exactly what He’s doing. And we just praise Him for it.

May the Lord be with you. May the Lord bless you and keep His hand upon your life this week. May your life in Christ be enriched. May you grow in your walk and fellowship with Him. May you enter into that fullness of the walk in the Spirit. In Jesus’ name.

Chapter 20

We are in the final week of the life of Jesus. He is now in Jerusalem. This is the week in which pilgrims are coming from all over the world to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. He has made His triumphant entry, that is on Sunday. He was officially rejected. He did cleanse the temple, driving out the moneychangers, taking authority in His Father’s house. And He taught daily in the temple, we read in verse 47 of chapter 19.

So it came to pass, that on one of those days (Luk 20:1),

The days that He was teaching in the temple from Sunday through Wednesday or Thursday, “…one of those days,”

as he was teaching in the temple, and preaching the gospel (Luk 20:1),

Proclaiming to man God’s good news.

the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders (Luk 20:1),

So this august body of religious authority, the chief priests who were mainly Sadducees, the scribes and the elders.

And they spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority do you do these things? and who is he that gave you this authority? (Luk 20:2)

They’re probably still a little upset over the fact that He cleansed the temple. He drove out the moneychangers. He came in and took over and said, “This is my Father’s house,” and He took over. And they were upset because the high priest was in league with the moneychangers. They made a rake off of the moneychangers and those that sold the doves and the oxen and all there in the temple grounds. And so what authority? Now they were expecting, or at least hoping…you see, they’re looking now for charges whereby they might put Him to death, and they were hoping that at this point He would say, “I am the Messiah. God is my Father. He gave Me the authority.” He referred to the temple as “My Father’s house,” and so they were hoping that He would make the claim of Messiahship in order that they might accuse Him of blasphemy and immediately try Him. But His hour was not yet come. So He did not answer them directly, but

he answered them [indirectly], saying, I will ask you one thing; and you answer me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why did you not believe him? If we say, Of men; all of the people will stone us: for they’re persuaded that John was a prophet. And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things (Luk 20:3-8).

Now, John had testified concerning Jesus Christ that, “This is He that was after me, but who was preferred before me, the latchet of whose shoes I’m unworthy to unloose” (John 1:27). John had declared concerning Jesus Christ, “Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:36). So, John, who the people had accepted as from God, they recognized that John’s authority was from the Lord. And John, being recognized by the people as the prophet of God, had declared that Jesus was indeed the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. So had they said, “Well, John was of the Lord,” then Jesus would say, “All right, that’s the authority that I have, the same authority of John’s.” And basically He was saying this, “I came with the same authority that John came.”

Now, it is interesting to me how that so often there is that challenge today concerning authority. For men have set up their systems by which they recognized authority. “If you go to our college and graduate and then attend our seminary, then we will recognize your authority to teach the Word of God, or to proclaim God’s truth,” and the authority that man bestows upon man. I would like to offer my opinion that men have ordained many men to the ministry who have never been ordained by God. They’ve been ordained to the ministry purely on the basis that they have fulfilled a certain requirement of studies. But there is absolutely no anointing of God upon their lives or upon their ministries, and they’d be better off selling shoes. Or I should say maybe repairing shoes, and that’s a better way that they could save soles.

We have made it a policy here at Calvary Chapel in the ordination board to observe a person’s ministry and to see if their ministry bears witness that God’s anointing is upon their life. For we are convinced that only God ordains a man for the work of the Lord, and the best we can do is ratify what God has done. So basically, we haven’t ordained anybody to the ministry, nor do we ordain anybody to the ministry. But we like to recognize those that God has ordained and ratify that work of God in their lives. So, recognizing that God has ordained this man, God’s anointing is upon his life, God is using him, we give to them that recognition that they need by the state. But it is interesting also how that so many of these young men who have gone out with the obvious work of God in and through their lives are challenged, “Who gave you the authority?” Greg Laurie has been challenged so many times. Raul Ries has been challenged so many times. “Where did you go to seminary? Who gave you the authority?” It’s sort of disconcerting and upsetting to these men with their doctorates in theology that some young kid can come into town and start a Bible study that grows into a church of over 5,000 members. When with all of their degrees and learning and knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew and so forth, they have a hard time, through pushing and programming and every guise and device that you can think, maintaining 400 or 500 people. “It’s just not fair! After all, I’ve been trained.” The authority!

Now, the Mormons quite often ask this question, because they believe that God has restored the authority to the church through Joseph Smith. And that the twelve apostles of the Mormon church are the only ones who can actually bestow authority upon a person to minister the gospel. And so they do not recognize the authority of anyone who has not been sanctioned by the twelve apostles of the Mormon church; for everybody knows that they are the only true church. And so they quite often challenge, “By what authority?” So, Jesus went through the same thing.

Then he began to speak to them a parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and he let it out to husbandmen, and he went into a far country for a long time (Luk 20:9).

Note: Jesus is now giving a parable that relates to His going away. Letting out: it’s a twofold interpretation, actually, because it also is a parable against these Pharisees.

At the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And he again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and they sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be that they will reverence him when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder (Luk 20:10-18).

Now, in the fifth chapter of Isaiah, the Lord speaks there a parable through Isaiah of a vineyard. And the vineyard was the nation of Israel. How that this man planted a vineyard, he put the choicest vines in it, he built a hedge around it and he put a wine press in the middle. And when the time came to gather fruit from the vineyard, there was nothing but wild grapes on the vine. And so he let the vineyard go. And the prophet was speaking about how that God had set apart the nation Israel that it might bring forth fruit unto God. But their failure to bring forth that fruit that God was desiring from them would bring actually a rejection by God, or just being let go by God, and their demise. So when Jesus began to speak the parable of the vineyard, aware of the prophecy of Isaiah, their minds flipped back and they realized that He’s talking now about the nation of Israel, God’s vineyard. The servants that were sent to the vineyard were the prophets who were rejected by the people. Some of them were stoned, others of them were killed; Isaiah was actually sawed in two. And so, these are the prophets that God sent to the nation. Finally, God sent His only begotten Son. “Surely they will reverence Him.” But the husbandmen, when they saw Him, said, “This is the heir; let’s kill Him, that the inheritance may be ours.” And so Jesus, here, is predicting His death at their hands. Now, the result of their rejection of the Son, The commandment of the Lord–destroy the husbandmen. The nation of Israel was destroyed by Titus. Josephus said that he killed 1,100,000 Jews and they carried 97,000 as slaves to Rome. When they heard this, they said, “God forbid!” For they recognized that Jesus was speaking about them. And so then He asked them, “What does this parable mean? That which is written, ‘The stone which the builders have rejected, the same is become the chief cornerstone’?” Psalm 118.

Now Peter, in the fourth chapter of Acts, when he was standing before the elders and the scribes and the high priest, this same group that was challenging Jesus here, when Peter stood before them in Acts the fourth chapter, they were asking Peter, “By what authority did you work this miracle on this lame man? By what name or by what power have you done this?” So they were giving him much the same business as they gave to Jesus. “We want to know, by what power did you do this? By what name?” And Peter said, “Ye men of Israel, if we have been examined this day because of the good deed that has been done to this lame man, you judge for yourselves on that. But be it known unto you that it is by the name of Jesus Christ that this man stands before you whole, and this is the stone which was set of naught by you builders, but He has become the chief cornerstone, and neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:8-12). So Peter was here when Jesus was challenged concerning authority. He remembered the answer of Jesus to these men. He remembered this parable that Jesus ended by saying unto them, “What does this mean, ‘The stone that was set of naught by the builders, the same has become the chief cornerstone’?” And so Peter brings it right back to them very forcibly, declaring of Jesus, “This is the stone which was set of naught by you builders, but the same is become the chief cornerstone.”

Now Jesus declaring, concerning that stone, said, “Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken, but upon whomsoever that stone shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” You have one of two relationships to Jesus Christ: either that of submitting to Him, falling upon the stone, or resisting Him, and ultimately being ground to powder. Woe unto him who strives with his maker! Many people are so foolish as to fight against Jesus Christ. Fall upon the stone, fall upon Jesus Christ! You’ll find you’ll be broken; better that you do that than in judgment have Him fall upon you and be ground to powder.

Now the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; but they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them (Luk 20:19).

They got the message. They knew that He was referring to them, and so they were actually wanting, wanting desperately to arrest Him at this point. And yet, because of the popular acclaim of the people, they did not do it.

And so they watched him, and they sent forth spies, which should feign themselves to be just men, that they might take hold of his words, in order that they might deliver him to the powers and authorities of the governor (Luk 20:20).

They’re now going to try and trap Him so that they can accuse Him of sedition or of rebellion against Rome and turn Him over to the governor.

And so they asked him, saying, Master, we know that you say and teach the truth, and you do not accept the person of any, but you teach the way of God truly (Luk 20:21):

In other words, “You’re no respecter of man’s persons. You are a straight shooter. We know this. We know that You don’t bow to man, that You tell the truth, You speak the truth. Therefore,”

Is it lawful for us to give taxes to Caesar, or not? (Luk 21:22)

If Jesus says, “No, it is not lawful for you to give taxes to Caesar,” immediately, they’ll run to the Antonio fortress, call for the Roman centurion and have him come down and arrest Jesus for advocating a tax rebellion against Caesar. If Jesus says, “Yes, it is lawful for you to pay taxes to Caesar,” these zealots who would not recognize the power of the Roman government, who hated these taxes that were levied by Rome…and there was a certain tax that was levied upon every man just for the privilege of living…this was the tax they were referring to. It wasn’t much of a tax, but it was just to show the Roman authority. And so they felt that they had Jesus cleverly trapped; either way, He’s wrong. And so He said, “Show me a coin.”

Show me a penny. Whose image, superscription does it have on it? And they answered and said, Caesar’s. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s (Luk 20:24-25).

If it’s got Caesar’s image on it, give it to Caesar. But He added, “You should be rendering unto God the things that are God’s.”

And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marveled at his answer, and they held their peace. And then there came certain unto him who were Sadducees, who deny that there’s any resurrection; and they asked him, saying, Master, Moses (Luk 20:26-28)

Now, the Sadducees were materialists. They accepted as authoritative only the five books of Moses. They rejected the prophets; they would not accept them as a part of the scriptures. Only the five books of Moses did they consider to be divinely inspired. And so if you would get into an argument with them and you would quote from the Psalms or quote from the prophets, they would reject it as not being authoritative. Only the five books of Moses. So, they said,

Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up a seed unto his brother. Now there were therefore seven brothers: and the first took a wife, and he died without children. And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. And the third, and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and they all died. Last of all, the poor woman died too. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for all seven had her as their wife (Luk 20:28-33).

The endeavor was to make the resurrection seem so ridiculous that people would say, “Well, that’s stupid, that’s foolish,” and thoroughly discount the idea of the resurrection. There have been those who have done the same thing today, only in a little different way. They hypothesize that back in the days of the wild West, when a man was shot in a gun battle and they went out and just dug a shallow grave and buried his body, that as his body decomposed… we know the body is made up of chemicals and elements… and as the body decomposed, these chemicals just actually went into the soil, became a part of the soil. And the prairie grass, its little roots, went down into the soil and the chemicals of this decomposed body were picked up in the roots of the prairie grass and, of course, came up through the root system and into the grass itself, nourishing the grass. And the cows came and ate the prairie grass that has the chemicals of the decomposed body of this man who was shot in the gun battle. And the cows gave their milk that contained part of the chemicals from the decomposed body and I drank that milk. And thus, those chemicals have become a part of my body now. So that in the resurrection, in what body are these chemicals going to go, because they’ve been a part of many bodies? And they’ve tried to make the idea of the resurrection seem ridiculous by these hypotheses that they have created. Now Jesus said, “You err because you do not know the resurrection or the power of God.” In the resurrection there will be no marrying or giving in marriage. But we will be as the angels, who neither marry, nor are given in marriage.

As I understand God’s purpose for marriage, it is to establish a beautiful healthy environment for children to be raised, to be brought into the world. The basic plan for marriage, that we might reproduce, that we might be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. Now, in heaven the angels do not reproduce. Thus, no need for marriage. We will not be reproducing, thus, no need for marriage. We will be as the angels are. A lot of questions… “Will we know each other, then, in heaven?” Of course we will; we’re not going to be more stupid there than we are here! The Bible says we will know even as we are known. “But what kind of relationships will we have?” Deeper, richer than any we could ever experience on the earth. Now just how, when all of these relationships, God has not really gone into details with us. He’s just told us that we’ll be as the angels. Now, there are some poor people that feel, “Well, if I can’t be married, I don’t want to go there.” Well, the alternative is not so pleasant. And there’s nothing that says you’re going to be married there either.

You say, “But what about that milk I’m drinking?” I’m not going to have this body in heaven. We know that when the earthly tent, this body, is dissolved, we have a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. I’m going to get a new body, a building of God not made with hands. So whatever happens to this body, I could care less. Someone said, “Well, what about cremation?” They can do what they want. You know that when this earthly tent is dissolved, and if they do it by cremation it’ll be dissolved in thirty-seven minutes. If they let the natural processes go, it’ll take a little longer. But I will have moved out and have moved into my new house, the building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I’m going to prepare a place for you.” You say, “Oh, but what about the resurrection of our bodies?” Well, what about them?

Paul the apostle said, “Some will say, ‘How are the dead raised and what kind of a body will they have?'” And he said, “Don’t you realize that God teaches resurrection in nature? For when you plant a seed into the ground the seed does not come forth into new life until it first of all dies, and then the body”…and listen carefully…”the body that comes out of the ground is not the body that you planted” (I Corinthians 15:35-37). I feel sorry for you that are so in love with your body that you want to carry it on into the new kingdom. “For the body that comes out of the ground is not the body that you planted, because all you planted was a bare grain and God gives it a body that pleases Him. And if it pleases God, you can be sure it’s going to please me. So is the resurrection from the dead,” Paul asserts, “for we are planted in corruption and we will be raised in incorruption. We are planted in weakness; we will be raised in power. We are sown in dishonor; we’ll be raised in glory. We are planted as a natural body; but we’ll be raised as a spiritual body. For there’s a natural body and there’s a spiritual body, and the glory of the terrestrial differs from the glory of the celestial. And even as we have born the image of the earthen and have been earthy, so shall we bear the image of the heavens” (I Corinthians 15:37-44).

So, the body that comes out is not the body that was planted. All we planted was a bare grain. God gives it a body that pleases Him. So I’m really quite interested in that new model and all of the gadgets, the capacities of that new model. It’s probably just fantastic. As this corruption puts on incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality. For you see, God created this body out of the earth for the earth, of the earth, earthy, designed it for the environmental conditions of the earth. The atmosphere around the earth is made up of seventy-nine parts of nitrogen, twenty parts of oxygen, and one part of neon and other gases. Now when God made my body, He designed it so that it needed this 79:20 ratio in the atmosphere. It operates well under it. If He put more oxygen in, my heart would beat faster and I would die sooner. More nitrogen, it would have the opposite effect, but I’d still die sooner. My heart would go slower. If He put equal parts of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere, we’d all go around like a bunch of laughing maniacs, because that’s nitric oxide, which is laughing gas in the dentist chair. So we’d all go around with uncontrollable laughter. So He designed the body for the conditions of the environment of the earth. But to come into the heavenly scene, I need a body that is designed for that environment. And so God has a new body prepared for me, and one day my spirit and soul are going to move out of this body into the new body that God has. And with Paul, I’ll say, “Oh, death, where is your sting? Oh, grave, where is your victory?” We have been caused to triumph over them through Jesus Christ. Thanks be unto God who gives us that continual victory through Jesus our Lord.

So, they did not understand. And so,

Jesus said, The children of this world marry (Luk 20:34),

That is, in this age, in this time, they marry.

and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain [that age,] or that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more (Luk 20:35-36):

My new body is indestructible, eternal in the heavens…the building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So, you better like your new one, because that’s where you’re going to be.

for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection (Luk 20:36).

Uh-oh, wait a minute! You said something, Jesus. These guys don’t believe in the resurrection!

That the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush (Luk 20:37),

You see, these men, only accepting the first five books of the Old Testament, held a position that there was no resurrection. And though there were many arguments prior to the time of Christ as others were seeking to prove the resurrection to them, because they only accepted Moses as authoritative, no one had ever offered them from the writings of Moses any proof of the resurrection. So Jesus goes right back to Moses. “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush,”

when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Luk 20:37).

Jacob, at the time that Moses stood before the bush, had been dead for 400 years. Isaac and Abraham even longer. And yet, God, when He spoke to Moses out of the bush, said, “I am the Lord. I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” And Jesus adds,

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Luk 20:38):

Declaring that 400 years after their recorded deaths, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still alive in another dimension, another sphere. But still alive, because God is the God of the living, not the God of the dead. And the scribes, when they heard that they said, “Hey, that’s all right.” They had never been able to argue their case with the Sadducees. But when they heard that argument, they were really pleased at that. “Hey, that’s all right! You nailed ’em, you got ’em.” And so, they answered Jesus saying,

Master, you have said well (Luk 20:39).

That’s good.

And after that they dared not to ask him any more questions. And so he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David’s Son? (Luk 20:40-41)

Now one of the titles for the Messiah was Son of David. Last week you remember when we were in Jericho, and Jesus was entering the city, there was the blind man who cried out, “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Son of David was a Messianic title, because they were looking for some descendant of David to arise in power and in authority to establish the kingdom and to overthrow the Roman rule. “Thou Son of David”: a common title of the Messiah. So He said unto them, “How is it that you say that the Messiah…” and the word Christ is the Greek for the Hebrew Messiah… “How is that you say the Messiah is David’s Son?”

David himself said in the book of the Psalms (Luk 20:42),

That is in Psalm 110

The Lord [that is Yahweh] said unto my Lord [my Adonai], Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore called him Lord, how then could he be his son? (Luk 20:42-44)

You are dealing with a culture that is a very strong patriarchal culture, the father rules. No matter how old he is, as long as he’s living he rules over the household. You can be married and have your own grandkids, but if your dad is still alive, he rules. No father would ever call his son “Lord.” That was a title for the father, for the patriarch of the family. He ruled. So no father would ever say to his son, “Lord,” using that title. So Jesus said, “Look, if he’s a son of David, how is it that David called him ‘Lord’ if he’s his son?” And, of course, they had no answer.

Then in the audience of all the people he said to his disciples (Luk 20:45),

And you know, He turns to His disciples now, all the people listening in, He said,

Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms in the feasts; which devour widows’ houses, and for a show make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation (Luk 20:46-47).

Beware of those who seek to make a public show, for a pretense make long prayers, devour widows’ houses, send out computerized letters filled with deceit and fraud to the little women on Social Security, asking, “Go down to the bank and borrow some money to send to them to help them out of this emergency;” who love the honor and the greetings and the palavering of man. Pray for them, because Jesus said they will receive the greater damnation.

Chapter 21

And he looked up, and he saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites (Luk 21:1-2).

A mite was one-sixteenth of a penny. In other words, it took sixteen mites to make a penny. Two mites would be an eighth of a penny. Now here are these rich people putting in their great gifts and this certain poor little widow goes up…and there in the temple the offering things are sort of like a horn and they would drop them in…and the poor little widow cast in her two mites.

And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow has cast in more than all of them: for all of these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all of the living that she had (Luk 21:3-4).

So, an interesting thing in God’s economy is not the amount that you give, but what it costs you to give. So, many who are giving less in God’s economy are giving more. The amount is immaterial. What’s the sacrifice? What’s it costing you to give?

When David was wanting to buy the threshing floor of Araunah, because the angel of the Lord had stopped there at the threshing floor and David had wanted to buy it and to offer a sacrifice unto the God, Araunah says, “Take it, man, it’s yours.” And David said, “No, I will not give to God that which costs me nothing.” And David insisted on buying it. He wouldn’t take it as a gift, because he wanted to give it to God. And he said, “I won’t offer to God that which costs me nothing.” What does it cost you to give? That’s what God measures the gift by.

And as some of them spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts (Luk 21:5),

In “The Wars of the Jews” by Josephus, book number 5 and chapter 5, he gives an interesting description of the temple in Jerusalem; of these great white columns of solid marble, each column a single stone of solid white marble. And how along the fascia all of these gold shields, so that if you would look at the temple, the reflection of the gold was so tremendous that it was like looking at the sun itself. And you couldn’t just look at the temple because of these gold plates when the sun was reflecting off of it. It would be hard on your eyes and like looking in a mirror. And he describes the beauty and the glory of this temple that was built by Herod, describing some of the stones as weighing as much as 180 tons. And so some of them were speaking to Jesus of the temple, how it was adorned with these goodly stones, these beautiful marble towers, and the gifts, the gold and the silver and the brass gates and all that were around it. And He said,

As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (Luk 21:6).

Today when you go to Jerusalem, as you go up the walk next to the western wall that leads on to the temple mount area, they have excavated the area to the right side of this walk. They have excavated down to the pavement that was the Roman street that went through the bottom of the Teropian Valley. And as they have excavated down to this Roman street, street level at the time of Christ, down there on the pavement which was made of great huge stones, there are these huge stones that have been pushed over the wall and that cracked the pavement down below. And you see them as they are just lying there in disarray as they fell and were pushed over the wall and crashed into the valley several hundred feet below, breaking the pavement down below. I’ve climbed down in to that area and I’ve touched these big stones and I’ve marveled at them. Because as I looked at them, I realized I was seeing the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus Christ. “Not one stone was left standing upon another.” They filled the Teropian Valley with stones that they pushed over from the temple, watching them crash below.

When we were up in the Grand Canyon, there was one area that I had a bunch of kids. And they were starting to push stones over this canyon cliff, because there was about a 3,000-foot drop before they hit. And it was terrifying to see the momentum that these stones would develop before they hit the bottom, and the crash, of course, echoing up the canyon. But here were the Roman soldiers, when they destroyed the temple, pushing the stones over. And that whole Teropian Valley was filled with the debris and the stones that they pushed over the wall at the time of the destruction of the temple. But it fulfilled literally the prophecy of Jesus, as He said, “You look at these stones, but there shall not be one left standing upon another that will not be thrown down.” Thus, as you go up on the temple mount, there is no evidence anywhere of where the temple of Solomon stood. The temple mount that he built is there. But there is no evidence at all of the place of the temple, because not one stone was left standing upon another.

And so they asked him, saying, Master, when shall these things be? (Luk 21:7)

What things? When the temple is destroyed and the stones are thrown down.

and what sign will there be when these things (Luk 21:7)

That is, the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

what will be the sign when these things come to pass? And so he said unto them, Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am; and that the time is drawing near: but go ye not therefore after them. But when you shall hear of wars and commotions, don’t be terrified: for these things must first come to pass; and the end is not yet. Then he said unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom: And there will be great earthquakes in different places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful signs and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before (Luk 21:7-12)

Now He’s going on to the times of the end with these signs of the great earthquakes in different places, the famines, the pestilences, the fearful signs in heaven, and the worldwide state of wars.

But before all of these, they shall lay their hands on you (Luk 21:12),

Coming back to the destruction of the temple.

and they will persecute you, delivering you up into the synagogues, and into the prisons, and you’ll be brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony (Luk 21:12-13).

Jesus said, “Look, you’re going to get arrested, you’re going to be hauled before the kings and all for My name’s sake, but that’s all right. It’s going to give you a chance to witness.” And I find it fascinating that every time Paul was brought before a judge or before the king, he took the opportunity to give a witness for Jesus Christ. “Oh, King Agrippa, I count it a privilege to be able to share with you what’s happened to me, because I know that you’ve studied the law of the Jews and you understand these things. And the things that Jesus did weren’t in a corner. Now, I myself was like you, I thought to be against this Man, and I was commissioned to arrest Him,” and so forth. And he went on and he gave a heavy witness to King Agrippa. “King Agrippa, do you believe? I know you believe.” He says, “Paul, wait a minute! Your much learning has made you mad.” And King Agrippa says, “Hey, wait a minute! Hold on! You think that you’re going to persuade me to be a Christian?” But Paul was trying. Jesus said, “Hey, they’re going to bring you before kings, but don’t worry. It’s going to give you a chance to witness.” And Paul used it every time he got before the king.

Now, Paul was taken before Nero. There’s nothing in the biblical account that tells us what Paul said, but as we study secular history, it would seem that Nero wasn’t too bad a fellow. He was actually very anxious to leave his mark upon Rome and to build some monuments in Rome. His castle is a great monument in itself that has been uncovered recently. But Nero wasn’t really too awful a fellow until in history he met this fellow Paul the apostle. The first time that Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he had his opportunity. You remember when he was before Festus he appealed to Caesar. And so he was sent to Rome, placed there in prison where he wrote his Philippian epistle and he had his chance to go before Nero.

Now, you think that the witness he laid on Agrippa was heavy. You can be sure that Paul thought, “Man, if I can convert this pagan to Christianity, what that would do!” And I’m sure that Paul laid on Nero a witness second to none in the history of the church.

Secular history records this dramatic personality change of Nero right after the time that Paul laid the witness on him. It was at that same period of time in history that Nero went through a drastic personality change and became a beast. He burned Rome because he wanted to rebuild a new glorious Rome for his credit. And then he blamed the Christians for it. But he became almost a man possessed, insane. I feel that, personally, that he became demon possessed after Paul’s witness and his rejection of Paul’s witness. I believe that he opened his heart and life to demon possession. And I believe that the things that he did can only be ascribed to a man possessed by an evil spirit. But up until that time of Paul’s witness, he wasn’t that bad of a fellow, his story.

So, Jesus said, “Now don’t worry about it. It’s going to give you a chance to witness.” And Paul took that chance every time he got it. And He said, “Don’t make up a little speech in advance in your own heart, what you’re going to say… ‘Well, I’m going to say this and that and the other…'” But He said,

For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist (Luk 21:15).

Now don’t worry about what you’re going to say, because I’ll give you the words in that time. And you can wipe ’em out.

And you will be betrayed both by your parents, and your brothers, and your kinfolk, and your friends; and some of you they will cause you to be put to death (Luk 21:16).

Fox’s “Book of Martyrs” relates to us that sad portion of the history of the church.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not a hair of your head perish (Luk 21:17-18).

They may kill your body, but after that, they have no power.

And in your patience possess ye your souls (Luk 21:19).

What an important bit of instruction! “In patience.” God help us! We’re so impatient when it comes to the things of God. “In your patience possess ye your souls.” God, give me patience!

And when you will see Jerusalem encircled with armies (Luk 21:20),

Which happens within forty years.

then know that the desolation is near. Let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let them that are in the countries enter in there too. For these are the days of vengeance (Luk 21:20-22),

Rome is going to take out here vengeance upon the rebellion.

and all of the things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to those that are nursing, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and they will be led away captive to all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luk 21:22-24).

So, in 70 A.D., when Titus came with the Roman troops and besieged Jerusalem, killed 1,100,000 Jews, carried away the remaining 97,000 as captive, Israel ceased to be a nation. They were carried away captive into all nations and the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled. And Jerusalem from that day had been trodden down by the Gentiles until June of 1967.

Now, as I understand prophecy, in June of 1967 the time of the Gentiles came to an end. You say, “Well, what are we in now?” Just a space gap. I believe that the Lord is going to begin a very special work with the nation of Israel very soon. There is a seven-year period of prophecy that is not yet been fulfilled, Daniel’s seventieth week. And that seven-year period of God’s Spirit upon the nation of Israel and dealing with them, and their restoration must come. That period has not yet begun. But in 1967, for all practical purposes, when Jerusalem became again the territory of the nation of Israel, when they drove out the Jordanian troops and they took the city of Jerusalem, at that point, according to the words of Jesus, Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Since that time, it’s just been a short period of God’s grace giving others that opportunity to become a part of God’s kingdom before He gathers His church together unto Himself. So, we’re just living in a period of God’s extended grace to man. But even as God said in the time of Noah, “My Spirit will not always strive with man,” I believe that God’s striving with men has just about come to an end. The time of the Gentiles fulfilled.

And now Jesus goes ahead to give signs of His return. And He said,

There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity (Luk 21:25);

Signs in the heavens. We know that the comet known as Halley’s Comet will be returning into our area of the solar system in just a couple of years. And with the advent of the return of Halley’s Comet, there’s been a lot of writing in the astronomy magazines and a lot of speculation about asteroids and about comets, and the possibilities of a comet or an asteroid striking the earth. And it is interesting that a large part of the physical makeup of comets is cyanide. And it is also interesting that in the book of Revelation, “he saw a star fall from heaven and strike the earth and all of the fresh waters became bitter; they were called wormwood because they were bitter.” It sounds like it could almost be a comet striking the earth and that cyanide poisoning the fresh water systems turning them bitter. The cyanide taste, of course, is a bitter taste. You might pick up the Astronomy Magazine; I think it was December’s issue. It had an interesting issue on comets and their makeup. And, of course, because Halley’s is returning, there’s just a lot of things that you can read now in the astronomy journals and all about asteroids and comets. And there’s always that likelihood that an asteroid is going to strike the earth. In fact, our government is making contingency plans. If there seems to be some threat of a large asteroid striking the earth, of sending a rocket out with a nuclear warhead to try and explode it in space so that it won’t get to the earth. And these kind of things are things that are being thought of by the science. Signs! “…and the sun and the moon and the stars.”

“On the earth there will be distress of nations with perplexity.” That means that the distress of nations is problems that nations will be facing. The word perplexity in the Greek is “no way out.” Now the government is searching for a way out. We’re going to cut taxes and we’re going to balance the budget. Government has become burdensome. In fact, government has become so expensive, we can’t afford it anymore. And that’s the problem that we’ve hit. There’s no way that we can afford government any longer. It’s a monster that has just continued to grow, gobbling up everything, until it has grown to such an extent that there are not enough people left to support the government workers. I read a statistic someplace, and I don’t know the accuracy of it. But it said some 49% of the people are on the government payroll some way or another; either through welfare or through jobs that are related to the government. So 51% of the people are productive, and the rest are working for the government, supporting the 49. What are we going to do? What’s the answer? There is none. So, what shall we do? Have heart failure.

I thought that this was interesting that it came this week.

the sea and the waves roaring (Luk 21:25);

Any of you live at Sunset Beach? Seal Beach?

Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for the looking after of those things which are coming upon the earth: and the powers of the heaven will be shaken. And then (Luk 21:26-27),

Of course, He’s describing events of the Great Tribulation period here, “And then,” after this Great Tribulation,

shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your head; for your redemption is drawing close (Luk 21:27-28).

Now, last October in one of the shopping malls, towards the end of October, I saw them putting them up Christmas decorations. And I said, “Well, Thanksgiving must be getting close.” Why? Because I know that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas. And if they’re putting up Christmas decorations and Thanksgiving hasn’t come yet, then Thanksgiving must be getting close. Because it’s got to come before Christmas. Now Jesus is giving you signs of His return. Signs that will happen before His second coming. But if the rapture of the church is to precede the second coming by seven years, then when we will see the signs of the coming of the Lord, we have to say, “Hey, the rapture must be getting close. I see the signs of the Lord’s return.” That makes the rapture that much closer. So, when you see these things beginning to come to pass, then you look up and lift up your head, for your redemption is drawing nigh.

And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all of the trees; When they now shoot forth, and you see and you know of your own selves that summer is now near end (Luk 21:29-30).

And Jesus is basically saying the same thing. If you see the trees start to blossom out and leaf out, you say, “Oh, summer must be getting close.” Because I see the trees leaving out, I see the blossoms; summer must be getting close.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all is fulfilled. Now heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away (Luk 21:32-33).

We have the solid word of Christ. Now even as Jerusalem was destroyed and not one stone was left standing upon another, and the Jews were decimated and the remainder were made slaves throughout the earth, and Jerusalem went under the hand of the Gentiles…just as all of that was fulfilled, you can be sure that Jesus is coming again. The rest of the prophecies will be fulfilled. God didn’t bring it along this far to drop it now. We are moving towards the end. The whole system is moving towards this climax, the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory. But when we see the signs of that return, we know that our redemption is so close. And Jesus affirms it; He says, “Now look, heaven and earth will pass away, but not My words.”

Take heed to yourselves (Luk 21:34),

Now this is a message for you. “Take heed, be careful.”

lest at any time your hearts are overcharged with surfeiting, drunkenness, [partying,] the cares of this life, and that day overtake you unaware (Luk 21:34).

There is a party spirit in the world today. Be careful you’re not caught up in it, and that Day of the Lord catch you by surprise. Be careful of these things. Jesus warns you that these things are going to be like a trap for men. “…drunkenness, surfeiting, gourmet type of eating, cares of this life, so that Day come upon you unaware.

For as a snare (Luk 21:35)

It’s a trap.

shall it come upon all of them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore (Luk 21:35-36),

The Lord’s command to His church to watch.

and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things (Luk 21:36)

All what things? These things of God’s judgment that will be coming to pass upon the earth as there are the signs and the sun and the moon and the stars and the heaven shaken, and the earthquakes and the pestilences and the famines… “pray that you’ll be accounted worthy to escape all of these things.”

that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luk 21:36).

Now, in the book of Revelation, chapter 5, John saw a scroll in the right hand of Him who was sitting upon the throne, sealed with seven seals, and it had writing both within and without. “And he heard an angel proclaim with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals?'” And when no one was found worthy in heaven or earth, John began to sob convulsively until the elders said, “Don’t sob, John. Behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah hath prevailed to take the scroll and loose the seals.” “And I turned and I saw Him as a Lamb that had been slaughtered, and He took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat upon the throne. And when He did, the twenty-four elders came forth with their golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints, and they offered them before the throne of God. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy is the Lamb to take the scroll and to loose the seals, for He was slain; but He has redeemed us by His blood, out of every nation, tribe, kindred, tongue and people, and He has made us unto our God kings and priests and we shall reign with Him upon the earth.'”

Listen to the lyric of the song in heaven. “Worthy is the Lamb; He was slain, He has redeemed us by His blood… out of all of the nations, tribes, tongues and people…made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign with Him upon the earth.” These are those who are standing before the Son of man. And the Great Tribulation does not begin until the beginning of chapter 6. “And when He loosed the first seal, the angel said unto me, ‘Come. And I saw a white horse coming forth upon the earth, conquering and to conquer with his rider.” And there begins the Great Tribulation period when, after the book is open. But while the book is there in the right hand of the Father, and when Jesus steps forth to take it, that glorious song of the church, “Worthy is the Lamb,” sung by those who are standing before the Son of man, Jesus is saying, “Look, you pray always. Watch and pray always that you’ll be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that are going to be happening upon the earth, that you’ll be standing before the Son of man.” It is my prayer and anticipation that I will be accounted worthy to be standing with the company of God’s redeemed saints in heaven, singing of the worthiness of the Lamb to take the title deed to the earth, and to lay claim to it. I want to be standing before the Son of man. I surely do not want to be down here on this earth when God’s wrath is poured out, as Jesus has described a portion of it here, but you find the full description in Revelation chapter 6 through 18.

And in the daytime (Luk 21:37)

That’s the end of the message,

he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and stayed at the mount which is called the mount of Olives (Luk 21:37).

So He crossed the Kidron Valley and went up into the Mount of Olives in the evening.

And all of the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, to hear him (Luk 21:38).

So, there was a popular movement towards Jesus by the common people as the chief priest and the scribes and the elders were plotting His death. And so, we move into the final chapters as we get into chapter 22 and Judas’ betrayal, the last supper. And we’re moving into the final events of Jesus’ life, which we will complete next Sunday night, as we finish the book of Luke.

Shall we pray? Father, as we look around the world in which we live, and as we look at Your Word and as we see these things beginning to come to pass, we see the nation of Israel existing once again. We see the city of Jerusalem under the control of the nation of Israel. And we see the distress of nations and the perplexities, we see the nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, the increased earthquakes, these pestilences and famines. Oh Lord, help us that we will be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that are going to come to pass. Oh God, we want to stand in that heavenly throng around the throne of God proclaiming the worthiness of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who died for us, who redeemed us by His blood and has made us unto our God kings and priests. Thank you, Jesus, for that redemption that we have tonight. Oh Lord, may we be worthy to be in that throng. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Chapter  22

Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover (Luk 22:1).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread actually was for six days, from the fifteenth of Nizan to the twenty-first. However, the fifteenth of Nizan was the day of the Passover. And so it was drawing nigh. People were beginning to prepare for it. Two days before the feast they would go through the house with brooms and brushes and make sure that they got rid of all of the leaven out of the house, in quite a ceremony. And of course, they would always leave a little bit of leaven for one of the children to find, in order that they could find the last bit of leaven that was there. And they would purge the house of leaven in preparation for the Passover. And so this time was drawing close.

And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Jesus; but they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and the captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude (Luk 22:2-6).

So it was their desire to catch Jesus away from the multitudes. Because, as we noticed last week in our study, the crowds were coming to hear Him in the temple daily as He was teaching, and many counted Him to be a prophet. And so, though the scribes and the high priests and all were wanting to move against Jesus, they were too cowardly to move against the popular movement of the crowd that was being attracted to Jesus at this point. And so when Judas came to them, they were very happy, actually, that they might have this opportunity of catching Jesus away from the crowd, arresting Him and getting the movement going the other direction before the people would really realize what was happening.

Judas Iscariot is, of course, a very interesting character. We are not really told too much about him. As we get into John’s gospel, we’ll learn that he was actually the treasurer of the group. And according to John, had been pilfering out of the group treasury. Here we are told that Satan entered into him. He is called the Son of Perdition by Peter. And Jesus said of him, “It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” A tragic life. A man who became obsessed by the greed, the desire for power. And there are many suggestions as to the motives behind Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. There are those who suggest that he was only trying to force Jesus to establish the kingdom. And that he felt by betraying Him and turning Him over to the Jews, it would force the hand of Jesus that He would not be able to wait any longer, but would have to manifest who He was and establish the kingdom of God. And that when Jesus was not defending Himself, but was submitting to the edict of death, that his plan more or less backfired, and that’s when he came to the priests bringing the money back and throwing it at their feet. Who knows what the true motive of a man is? These are only speculations by men who have perhaps tried to somehow excuse in a way the actions of Judas Iscariot. I personally feel that his actions are inexcusable. The method by which he chose to betray the Lord with a kiss is reprehensible.

Now, verse 7: The Day, or the Preparation of the Passover, has come.

Now the day came of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed (Luk 22:7).

The Passover was a Sabbath day in which they were to do no work; it was a feast day. And this day had come in which they were to kill the lamb for the Passover dinner. All of the cooking, all of the baking, all of the preparation had to be done before sundown. It is important that we recall that the Jewish day begins at six o’clock in the evening. So all of the preparation had to be made for the Passover dinner before six o’clock in the evening. And to them, the day began, the day of Passover began at six o’clock in the evening and did not end until the following day at six o’clock in the evening. Now, by the end of the following day, Jesus had been crucified, which means that Jesus was crucified on the day of the Passover Feast, which began at six o’clock the evening before when He celebrated the feast with His disciples. But He was crucified on the day of Passover. Which, of course, is extremely significant when you remember that the Passover was a memorial feast to remind them of how God had delivered their fathers from the plague of death in Egypt when they followed the instructions of God and had slain the lamb and put the blood on the lentil in the doorpost of their house. So that when the Lord passed through Egypt that night, when He saw the blood upon the doors of their houses, He passed over those houses; hence the word Passover. He had passed over those houses and the firstborn was saved alive, because of the sacrificial lamb, the lamb for the house. That was only to look forward to the Lamb of God that would one day take away the sins of the world. Our sacrificial Lamb, who by His death, by His sacrifice, has spared us from death. And so this Passover feast that the Jews observed was looking back, but it was also looking forward. And it had its fulfillment in Jesus. Paul, in writing to the Colossian church about the Sabbath days, about the new moons, the holy days…and of course, the Passover was related to the new moon…in talking to them about these, he said, “These were all a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:17). They were all really looking forward to their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. And so the Feast of the Passover was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ on that very day, God’s Lamb slain for the sins of the world. The Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled fifty days later when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church and 3,000 people were converted, the first fruits of what we see the continuing work today. As the Feast of Pentecost was the Feast of First Fruits, the offering of the first fruits unto the Lord.

Inasmuch as these two major feasts have their fulfillment in the New Testament and in the church, we would then conclude that that third feast, which was inaugurated by God in the Old Testament, the Feast of Trumpets, must also have a fulfillment within the church…that feast that looked back to God’s delivering their fathers out of the ravages of the wilderness and bringing them into the promised land. And so its fulfillment is yet awaited by the church. “When the trumpet of God shall sound, and we who are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and ever be with our Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:17).

“And so came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.”

And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where do You want us to prepare it? And he said to them, Behold, when you enter the city, there you will find a man who will meet you, and he is bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he goes. And you shall say to the goodman of the house, The Master says to thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not eat any more thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and he gave thanks, and he said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took the bread, and he gave thanks, and he broke it, and he gave it unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. And likewise also the cup after the supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you (Luk 22:8-20).

And so Jesus, here, instituted what we call the Lord’s Supper with His disciples, as He took the traditional Jewish Passover feast and gave to the emblems of that feast their true meaning. Now, they always had these three pieces of bread that they would put in these little sacks. The middle piece was broken, sort of a matzoh loaf, and it was broken. And Jesus broke it and said, “Take, eat, this is My body, which was broken for you.” And then, after dinner they always had the final cup. And when they were having this after dinner cup, Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for the remission of sins.” To study the traditional Jewish Passover feast, even as it is observed by them today, is extremely enlightening and extremely significant to us as Christians, because you can see in its symbolism Jesus Christ so clearly. You can see the gospel so clearly. Their hearts surely should have been prepared by it for the receiving of Jesus Christ. It’s just woven into the traditions of the Passover feast. But to them, it was a memorial of God’s deliverance in Egypt. From the time the child said, “What makes this night different from all other nights?” and the father begins to explain the story of God’s delivering of their fathers out of the bondage of Egypt, with the various things around the table representing the bondage of Egypt and God’s deliverance. Now a whole new meaning is given to it by Jesus Christ, for it is now been fulfilled. And the bread now represents the broken body of Jesus, and the cup now represent His blood that was shed for our sins.

But, behold, [He said,] the hand of him that betrays me is with me on this table. And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom He is betrayed! (Luk 22:21-22)

The Bible tells us that Jesus knew who it was that was going to betray Him. Here He is just giving a solemn warning. I think that with this solemn warning, Judas still had a chance to back out if he wanted to.

And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, of which of them should be accounted the greatest (Luk 22:23-24).

It’s sort of sad, sort of pathetic…here Jesus is filled with the knowledge that He is soon going to be suffering on the cross. And He is saying, “Look, I’ve really wanted to eat this supper with you before I suffer. Now this bread is My body; it’s going to be broken for you. This cup is My blood; it’s going to be shed for the remission of sins. This is going to be God’s new covenant.” And He is really now sort of obsessed with the suffering and the cross. And the disciples are arguing among themselves as to which one is going to be the greatest when He establishes the kingdom.

And so he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles (Luk 22:25)

And the word Gentiles in the New Testament is equivalent to heathen.

they exercise lordship over their subjects; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors (Luk 22:25).

It hasn’t changed much. The government today declares that they are our benefactors. They take away a hundred and then give you back one, declaring them to be your benefactors.

But [He said,] it shall not be so among you: but he that is the greatest, let him be as the youngest; and he that is chief, as he that does serve. For whether is greater, he that sits at meat, or he that serves? Is not he that sits at meat? but I am one from among you as one who serves (Luk 22:26-27).

Jesus is teaching His disciples that the true path to greatness is the path of serving. Jesus said, “I am among you as One who serves.” He also said in another place, “The servant is not greater than his lord.” Too many ministers have the wrong concept of the ministry. They fail to see the servanthood of the ministry. They get to the place where they almost expect people to do special favors for them because they are the minister. But in reality, as a minister, it means that I am a servant, a servant to all. Now the Gentiles loved these positions of authority. They loved to rule over people. They loved dominion over people’s lives. But Jesus said, “It shall not be among you. You need to learn to be servants.”

“And then He said unto them,”

You are those who have continued with me and my temptations. And I appoint you a kingdom, as my father has appointed unto me; that you may eat and drink at my table in the kingdom, and sit on the thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luk 22:28-30).

Now this He is saying to His twelve apostles; of course, excluding Judas Iscariot. But He is telling the apostles. And I think Paul actually is the one who got appointed to take the place of Judas, though the church drew straws and picked Mathias. That was the luck of the straws, but it would appear that it was God’s choice that Paul was the twelfth. But the Lord is saying, and this to me is something that is glorious to contemplate, that “you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on the thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen your brothers (Luk 22:31-32).

There’s something special about Simon. They say that he was large of physical stature. He was impulsive, lovable, just a big, strong, lovable guy. Because of his impulsiveness, getting into trouble, he would often speak up and say the first thing that came into his mind, right or wrong. And sometimes it was right and very good, and sometimes it was very wrong. But Jesus said of him, “Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that you faith fail not.” I believe that the prayer of Jesus was answered. I don’t believe that the problem of Peter was the problem of faith. Oh, he failed as a witness. He denied his Lord, but there was never a failure of his faith. He always believed in the Lord. “…and when you are converted, when you’re turned, strengthen your brothers.”

And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death (Luk 22:33).

Yes, Peter, we know.

And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before you shall have thrice denied that you even know Me. And then he said unto them, When I sent you out (Luk 22:34-35)

Now, this is when He had sent them out into the ministry two by two.

I told you not to take a purse, not to take any script, not to take extra shoes, did you lack anything? And they said, Nothing, Lord. And he said unto them, But now, if you have a purse, take it, and likewise script: and he that has no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end (Luk 22:35-37).

Jesus is saying, “Look, I sent you out before. I provided for you. But you’re going to be going out soon again. I’m not going to be there this time. And things are going to be different; it’s going to be tough. Before you were received, you’re going to be rejected, you’re going to be imprisoned, you’re going to be hailed before the courts, you’re going to have persecution. It’s going to be hard.”

And they said, Lord, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough (Luk 22:38).

In other words, “You don’t really understand, but you will.” Jesus is not telling them to go out and make war against the world with swords, but He’s just indicating the difficulty of that ministry that they are going to face after He has been taken away from them.

Now, in verse 37 He said, “Those things must be accomplished in Me, which the scriptures declared.” Jesus had absolute confidence in the prophecies, declaring, “They must be fulfilled.” You can have that same absolute confidence in the word of prophecy. You can know that it must be fulfilled. Now, many times we make a mistake when we guess how it is going to be fulfilled. And a lot of damage has been done to the subject of prophecy by men’s guesswork. To try to guess just who the anti-christ is, is a dangerous and futile bit of speculation. We know that there shall arise an anti-christ. We don’t know who he is. We know they’re going to rebuild their temple. We don’t know when or how. We know that the scriptures must be fulfilled. They will be fulfilled. And Jesus had that confidence. And the scripture said, Isaiah 53, “He will be numbered with the transgressors.” “This,” He said, “has to be fulfilled.”

And so he came out of the upper room, and he went, as he was accustomed to going to the Mount of Olives; and his disciples followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that you enter not into temptation (Luk 22:39-40).

Good prayer! Lord, help me not to enter into temptation.

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and he kneeled down, and prayed, and he said, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and he was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said unto them, Why sleep? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation (Luk 22:41-46).

The prayer of Jesus is significant because Jesus is talking about redemption for man. “If it is possible.” If what is possible? “If salvation for man is possible by anything other than the cross, let this cup pass from Me.” That’s basically what He was praying. That is why the cross of Jesus Christ offends many people today, because they say Christianity is too narrow. “All roads lead to God. It doesn’t matter who you believe in, it’s just important that you believe and have faith.” But the cross of Jesus Christ declares that there is only one way to God and that is through the cross. If it is possible, if it were possible that man could be saved by being religious, the cross would be unnecessary. If you could be saved by keeping the law, the cross would be unnecessary. If you could be saved by being good, the cross would be unnecessary. The cross declares that there is only one way by which a man can have forgiveness of sins and approach God, and that is through the death of Jesus Christ, and it declares a narrow one-way path. And that’s why it offends a lot of people. And so the cross, the Bible says, is an offense to the Jews. To the Greeks, it’s foolishness. But unto us who have been saved thereby, it is the power of God unto salvation. So Jesus is praying about the cross, really asking the Father for a substitute way, if it is possible. And the fact that He went to the cross declares it was not possible. There’s only one way by which man could be redeemed.

And while he was yet speaking to his disciples, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and he drew near to Jesus to kiss him. And Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said to him, Lord, shall we smite with a sword? (Luk 22:47-49)

The disciples had just awakened. Now there’s a crowd there and they’re getting ready to arrest Jesus. And the disciples are confused and they asked, “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” He had just said, you know, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your garment and get one.”

And one of them (Luk 22:50)

We are told in another gospel which one it was. And, of course, we could guess, couldn’t we? Peter.

smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear (Luk 22:50).

He can be lucky Peter was sleepy. Peter would have had halved him.

And Jesus answered and said, That’s enough. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, and the captains of the temple, and the elders, which had come to him, Are you come out, as against a thief with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hand against me: but this is your hour, the power of darkness (Luk 22:51-53).

Oh, what a horrible hour in the history of mankind, when the power of darkness took over!

And they took him, and led him, and brought him to the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the hall, and they were sat down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I don’t know him. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of an hour after another one confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow was also with him; for he is a Galilean. And Peter said, Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about. And immediately, while he yet spoke, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crows, you will deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly (Luk 22:54-62).

“Lord, I’m ready to go to prison. I’m ready to die with You.” Now, do not think that Peter was insincere. I believe with all of my heart that Peter meant that exactly; that in his heart he was ready to go to prison, he was ready to die for Jesus. Even as when we make our promises to the Lord, there is great sincerity. However, so many times when the showdown comes, we find ourselves with Peter, denying even in simple things. How is it that he denied his Lord? First of all, I think that we observe that he was sleeping when he ought to be praying. I think that that’s one of the reasons behind his failure. As it is a reason behind our failure, so often we are sleeping instead of praying. Secondly, he sought to follow the Lord afar off. That again is a dangerous place to be–trying to just be a fringe Christian, follow the Lord from afar. Not to make that deep total commitment, but just, “Oh, yes, I think it’s great to go to church and that’s fine and people should, you know.” And then, he was warming himself at the enemies’ fire, another dangerous thing. The result is denial. Now, how did Jesus look at Peter? I do not think it was a… “Peter, how could you?” look. Nor do I think it was a… “I told you so!” look.

Someone came up to me this morning, and they had been in the fellowship hall where you get a close-up. And they noticed this spot on my head. And they said, “Tell your wife to be more gentle with you.” And I said, “Would you believe that I bumped it on a cupboard door in the kitchen?” I was messing around in the kitchen and I had left the upper cupboard door open slightly and, you know, wasn’t looking or paying attention and “whamo!” And here I saw that skin and flesh on the corner of the door. And my dear wife, when she saw my head, said, “I’ve told you to close those doors!” Oh, the sympathy I get.

I think that the look that Jesus gave Peter was, “Peter, I understand. I understand, Peter. I love you still, Peter.” I think it was a look of love; perhaps the deepest love that Peter had ever observed in one’s eyes. The understanding of Jesus. More or less, “That’s alright, Peter. I understand.” And that’s what broke Peter’s heart. The Bible said, “Don’t you realize that it is the goodness of God that brings man to repentance?” You know, if a person comes down really hard on you, your tendency is to defend yourself, to stiffen, to justify your actions. But when a person comes and puts their arm around you, and you say, “Ah,” they say, “I understand and I’m praying for you. And I love you brother.” Hey, that breaks you up. You know, you have no defenses against that. It melts you. And I think that’s exactly how Jesus looked at Peter. “Peter, I love you. I understand, Peter, that’s okay.”

“And Peter went out and he wept bitterly.” Failure! “God, must I always be a failure?” “No, Peter, not always. In a few days you’re going to receive power and you’re going to be the witness God wants you to be.” We’ll get to that in the twenty-fourth chapter.

And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him (Luk 22:63-64),

A very cruel thing to do! Because the body is marvelously constructed so that when we can see a blow coming, there is that natural reflex action of the body of a movement with a blow that cushions the blow. The body is marvelously coordinated and we have marvelous reflex capacities. The quarterback is injured when he’s blindsided. You see these big three hundred pound guards coming in and throwing their shoulder in and knocking him to the ground, and another guy pouncing on him. And he bounces up and gets back into the huddle. When they get hurt is when he gets blindsided. He doesn’t see it coming, he isn’t able to roll with it, he isn’t able to relax and roll with it; that’s when you get hurt. You can jump off of a table and not hurt yourself, because you’re expecting it, you’re bracing for it and you’re bending your knees and you’re giving with it when you hit. And yet, you can step off of a curb and break your leg if you don’t realize the curb is there. Just that six inches can jar you so bad it can break an ankle, break a leg if you’re not expecting it, if you’re not coordinating for it. The same with a blow. If you’re blindfolded and you can’t see the blow coming, you’re not able to move, you’re not able to faint with it or move with it. And it hits you with its full force. And that hurts. And so, blindfolding Him and then beginning to hit Him, His face began to be disfigured, as these lumps began to rise. The eyes began to blacken and these huge lumps began to form from these blows. Isaiah tells us that His face was so beaten, so marred, that when they were through, you could not recognize Him as a human being. And he said, “We hid as it were our faces from Him.” To look at Him was such a shocking thing; we couldn’t stand to look. You just sort of cringed and closed your eyes and turned away. It’s too horrible. You just can’t look; you’re shocked.

“And they mocked Him,”

saying, Prophesy, who is it that hit you? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him (Luk 22:64-65).

As He said, “This is your hour; it is the power of darkness.” And we see man at his worst.

And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and they led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? (Luk 22:66-67)

You see, it was not lawful for them to assemble until daylight. And so they held Him. And as soon as it was day, they gathered into their chambers and they said, “Art Thou the Messiah? Tell us.”

And he said unto them, If I told you, you wouldn’t believe: And if I ask you, you’ll not answer me, or let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Are you then the Son of God? And he said unto them, You said it. And they said, What need we for any further witness? we ourselves have heard it out of his own mouth (Luk 22:67-71).

Chapter 23 & 24

And the whole multitude of them arose, and they led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ [or the Messiah,] a king (Luk 23:1-2)

Now notice, their accusation against Him was blasphemy, “You’re saying You’re the Son of God.” When they brought Him to Pilate to accuse Him before Pilate, they didn’t make that charge at all before Pilate. Why? Because they knew that Pilate would throw it out. You say, “It’s just your own problem if your own religious superstitions don’t come to the Roman court with that.” So when they came to the Roman court, they came with a whole different set of charges. The charges before the Roman court was that of perverting the nation, seditious. “He is a man who said you shouldn’t pay taxes to Caesar.” That’s not true. He said, “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” And then they also accused Him of declaring Himself to be the King.

And Pilate asked him, saying, Are you the King of the Jews? And he answered and said, [You said it] Thou sayest it (Luk 23:3).

Equivalent today of saying, “Hey, you said it!”

And then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this Man. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all of Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place (Luk 23:4-5).

Now Galilee was the place where all the rebellions against Rome started. So by placing Him in Galilee, they were seeking to place Him at the heart of rebellion against Rome. “This man is stirring up people everywhere, up there in Galilee.” And it was one of those buzzwords by which they intended to get Pilate excited.

But when Pilate heard Galilee, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And as soon as he knew that [he was a Galilean,] he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself was also was at Jerusalem at this time (Luk 23:6-7).

This is Herod Antipas.

And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desiring to see him for a long time, because he had heard so many things about him; and he had hoped that he might see some kind of a miracle done by him. Then when he questioned him in many words; but Jesus answered him nothing (Luk 23:8-9).

This is the Herod, of course, who had beheaded the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist. And Jesus had nothing to say to him at all.

And so then Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: because there had been enmity between them for quite some time. And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers of the people, he said unto them, You’ve brought this man unto me, as one that is perverting the people: and, behold, I have examined him before you, and I find no fault in this man touching those things whereof you accuse him: no, nor did Herod: for I sent you to him; and lo, nothing worthy of death has been done by him. I therefore am going to chastise him, and release him (for of necessity it was a custom that he would release unto them one prisoner at the feast). And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: (who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) (Luk 23:11-19)

Now Barabbas was guilty of these very charges which they were making against Jesus. False charges against Jesus; they were true against Barabbas.

Pilate, therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil has he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I therefore will chastise him, and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified (Luk 23:20-23):

And the tragic scripture…

and the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed (Luk 23:23).

How sad when the voices of the mob prevail.

And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will. And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus (Luk 23:24-26).

Now the procession, typical Roman procession, was, they had four Roman soldiers; two going slightly ahead and two slightly behind, and the prisoner in the middle. And then, one soldier would lead the procession. And the soldier leading the procession had a sign with the accusation against the person to be crucified. In this case, the sign said, “The King of the Jews.” And when they came to the place of crucifixion, this sign was then nailed to the top of the cross so that the people would all know the reason why this man was being put to death by the Roman government. As they would go through the streets of the city, they would usually take the longest route. And, of course, there was always a lot of noise and a lot of clamor, and this was intended to draw the people out to see what was happening. And they would see this man walking in the midst of the Roman soldiers, pulling his cross along, and they knew that he was going to be crucified and the accusation against him was in front. And it was like terror in the hearts of the people against trying to rebel against Rome.

Jesus, weakened by the chastening, was probably physically unable to bear the cross any further. And so they compelled this man Simon, who was a Cyrenian, to bear the cross. What the Roman soldier did was just take his sword and lay it flat on your shoulder, and he could order you to carry his bags for a mile. And that was Roman authority; you couldn’t say no. You couldn’t say, “Well, I’m busy. I have to get this quart of milk home to my wife. She’s baking cookies and expecting me to come home with milk.” You couldn’t do that. He laid that sword flat on your shoulder and if he’d tell you to do something, no arguments. You had to do it. And so they laid the sword flat on Simon’s shoulder and said, “Carry this man’s cross,” and Simon began to carry the cross.

Now, according to Josephus, the Roman government, the Jews would not allow a census to be taken since the time of David, when the judgment of God came against Israel because David numbered the people. And so, the Roman government wanted to know approximately how many people there were. And so they counted the number of sheep that were killed for the Passover at the time of Christ. And according to Josephus, there were 26,572 sheep killed for this one Passover. And there was, according to the law, a minimum of ten people to eat the one lamb. You had to have at least ten people. So the number of people at that particular Passover was over 2,700,000. Of course, it was the longing desire of every Jew to go to Jerusalem for the Passover some time in his life. If you lived within fifteen miles of Jerusalem, an adult male, you were required to be there. Further away it was always your dream. And so, when they would partake of the Passover, they would say, “This year here; next year Jerusalem.” Even to the present day, it’s a traditional part of the Passover feast. “This year here; next year Jerusalem.” Simon had, no doubt, come from Tripoli, for that is a Cyrenian who was from Tripoli, for this Passover. It could be that he was very upset when that Roman sword was laid on his shoulder and he was compelled to bear the cross. We do not know, but we are told that this Simon was the father of Rufus and Alexandria. The fact that his sons are named, I believe it’s in Mark’s gospel, it means that his sons were well known by the Christians. So there is a very good likelihood that this Simon, as a result of his encounter with Jesus and bearing the cross of Jesus, was converted. And his sons became well known in the early church, Rufus and Alexandria. As Paul is writing to the church in Rome, he said, “And greet Rufus, who is as my brother, and his beloved mother, who is as my own mother.” It could be the very Rufus, the son of Simon who was compelled to bear the cross of Jesus.

And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also were bewailing and lamenting him. And Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they will say, Blessed are the barren (Luk 23:27-29),

To be barren was a curse. They’d always say, “Cursed are the barren.” If a woman could not bear a child, that was cause for divorce, legal cause for divorce, an acceptable cause for divorce. If you could not bear a son for your husband, that was an acceptable cause for divorce in those days. And they would say, “Oh, she’s cursed; she can’t bear children.” But Jesus said, “The day is going to come when they’re going to say, ‘Blessed are the barren.'”

and the womb which has never born, or the breasts which have never nursed. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree (Luk 23:29-31),

That is, while I am here, the light of the world…

what are they going to do in the dry? (Luk 23:31)

These days did come. In less than forty years, the Roman troops came and ravaged the land of Palestine. And the vast majority of the Jews were killed. In the final assault upon Jerusalem, according to the account of Josephus, over a million Jews were killed. And 96,000 were carried captive back to Rome to be slaves for life.

There were also two other, malefactors, who were led with him to be put to death. And they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots (Luk 23:32-34).

This statement of Jesus, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” according to Luke’s gospel here, was made as they were preparing them for the cross. That is, they would lay the cross down on the ground, which was in a shape sort of a “T.” And they would stretch out the prisoner’s hands on the crossbars and they would drive these spikes through his hands.

Last year when I was in Jerusalem, I was visiting in a house of a Theo Sidonboom, who had excavated under his house and had come back to the Roman period. And had found there this large spike, which looks like a railroad spike. And he said to me, “These are the spikes that it is believed the Romans used in crucifixion.” I said, “Theo, I’ve got to have one of the spikes. I don’t care what it costs; I want one.” I hope that he has one for me when I go back. I’m going to call and see. He said he thought he could get me one. I want to show you what the Roman spikes look like that they have uncovered there in Jerusalem. But they would drive these spikes through the hands on the crossbars. And in the case of Jesus, they drove the spikes also through his feet, as they nailed Him to the cross. And then they would implant the cross in the ground. Now, while they were nailing Him, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

Here we find that Jesus, having been brought to the place physically, where He could no longer go around touching the blind eyes, touching the deaf ears, because His hands are now held fast to that cross. Though He cannot minister in an active way, walking around their villages any more, still there’s one avenue of ministry left. And He exercises it; the ministry of prayer. And He prays for them. And the prayer of Jesus was answered. On the day of Pentecost some fifty days later, when they were again gathered in Jerusalem for that celebration, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the early church and the people gathered to observe the phenomena that accompanied the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Peter stood up and he said, “You men of Israel, harken unto me. For these men are not drunken as you suppose. It’s only nine o’clock in the morning. But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel, when he said, ‘In the last days,’ saith the Lord, ‘I’m going to pour out My Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and daughters are going to prophesy, and your young men are going to see visions and your old men will dream dreams. And upon My servants and handmaidens will I pour out of My Spirit in that day,’ saith the Lord. And there shall be blood and fire and vapor and smoke, and the moon shall be turned to blood and the sun into darkness before the great and notable day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'” And Peter said, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man who proved Himself to be of God among you by the marvelous works that He did, whom you, according to the predetermined accounts and foreknowledge of God, with your wicked hands have crucified and slain. But God raised Him from the dead because it was not possible that He could be held by death. For David, by the Holy Spirit, said, ‘Thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither will You allow the Holy One to see corruption.'” And Peter said, “This was fulfilled, for His soul was not left in hell. Neither did the Holy One see corruption, but the same Jesus hath God raised from the dead, Who ascended on high and is now given this which you see…the outpouring of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:14-33). And they were convicted in their hearts. And they said unto them, “Men and brethren, what shall we do since we’ve crucified the Lord of Glory?” And Peter said, “I realize that in ignorance you did it. But repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37-38).

Now, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” Peter said, “You did it in ignorance.” And 2,000 souls were added to the church. The prayer of Jesus was answered. Those who had ignorantly put Him on the cross had found forgiveness and were now a part of the body of Christ.

And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Messiah, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, and saying, If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS (Luk 23:35-38).

Now this was the cry, the taunt, the jeer of the people: “Save Yourself!” You know where the inspiration for that cry came? From the pit of hell. For had Jesus saved Himself, He would not be able to save you. That cry was coming from the pit of hell. It was a taunt, it was a jeer. The high priest said, “He saved others. Himself He cannot save. Let Him come down now if He is the Son of God. Let God save Him, if God will have anything to do with Him, because He said He’s the Son of God.” And this was the mockery, this was the cry. The soldiers, “Hey, if you’re the King of the Jews, save Yourself, man.” The people, they picked up this chant, this cry, “Save Yourself!” “Let Him come down now from the cross and we will believe Him,” the priests said.

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us (Luk 23:39).

So, the same taunt that was coming from the crowd, this thief picked up. During the time of great psychic experiences, emotional experiences, emotions are close to the surface and there’s this mob psychology and people begin to act like something other than people when they get into crowds many times. Even in football games. You know, people put on chicken suits and do all kinds of weird things. And everybody accepts it, everybody laughs. And you watch some of these people, you know, the weird get-ups and people do weird things in a crowd. There’s sort of an anonymity in a crowd that people like. “Nobody knows me so I can act like a freak,” and everybody laughs and has a good time. And there is that thing with the crowd of wisecracking. Have you ever been in a crowd when things were going on and people begin to make their smart remarks, and then it gets a little competition of who can make the smartest or cutest remark? And of course, you measure them on the laugh scale. You know, “You got an eight.” “Well, you got a five.” “Well, I got a ten.” And these things to play on the emotions of the people, especially if it’s a very shocking thing.

I can imagine that to watch a man dying on a cross would be an extremely shocking thing to your psyche. I would think that that would be extremely difficult to just watch a man hanging there, watching him as he is fighting for breath, watching him as his body heaves, knowing the pain and just seeing him as he is gradually being worn down by the pain and the suffering and know that he is dying. That must be a tremendously shocking thing for the psyche. And so, I imagine that because you can’t really think on that too long without really getting bugged by it, that there would be those that would make these off-handed remarks to divert the attention for awhile and to bring laughter, because just the shock of this thing settling in would be too hard to take.

And because it was the cry of the crowd and the common mockery and jeering against Christ, the thief, probably just to get a rise out of the crowd and maybe some sympathy towards himself by joining with them, reviled Jesus and said, “Hey, why don’t You save Yourself and us?” Ho-ho-ho! Funny! And there probably went the ripple of laughter through the crowd.

But the other thief turned to him, and he said, Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’re in the same condemnation? (Luk 23:40)

Hey, you’re in the same boat, man, you’re dying. Don’t you fear God? It’s the hour of death. Don’t you realize that we’re going to be facing the judgment of God soon? Don’t you fear God?

We indeed are here justly [justice is being served]; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds: but this man has done nothing amiss (Luk 23:41).

Pilate said, “I find no fault in Him.” The thief testified, “He has done nothing amiss.” Judas said, “I have betrayed innocent blood.”

And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom (Luk 23:42).

How did he know that Jesus was a King? Because above the cross there was written the word, “The King of the Jews.” But this shows us that for salvation, faith has to come from God. For somehow his faith transcended even that of the disciples. And somehow, by God, he knew that though this Man was dying, He was yet to come into His kingdom. He had a faith greater than the disciples, because at this point the disciples had been wiped out; they had forsaken Him and they had fled, they had given up hope. “We had trusted in Him for the salvation of Israel, but He now is crucified. It’s all over.” But somehow, God planted faith in the heart of this man. For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is a gift of God and not of works, lest any man should boast. God planted faith, saving faith in the heart of this man. And he somehow realized that even though he was dying, there was a message, just a short message, “This is the King of the Jews.” And he believed it. It had to be the faith of God planted in his heart. And so he said, “Lord, when You come into Your kingdom, would You remember me?” Not, “Would You honor me?” Not, “Would You exalt me?” Just, “Remember me, Lord.” The disciples were the ones that were saying, “Lord, when You come into the kingdom, exalt me. Let me sit at Your right hand, let me sit at Your left hand, let me be prime minister. Let me have Hawaii!” This man was just saying, “Lord, would You just remember me when You come into Your kingdom?” Oh, what a simple prayer! But it brought him salvation. Oh, how close each of us are to salvation! It’s just a simple prayer; “God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Lord, remember me.” We read, “Wherefore He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.” Where Jesus said, “And whosoever cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.” Even a dying thief in his last hour who says, “Lord, remember me,” can find salvation.” And Jesus said,

Today you will be with me in paradise (Luk 23:43).

This word paradise is a word that was used for the garden of the king, where he would invite his special guest to come and walk with him. Jesus said, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

It was about the sixth hour (Luk 23:44),

That is noon. It’s interesting that this all transpired before the miracles of the day. Before the earthquake, before the sun became dark, God had planted the faith in the heart of this thief to bring him salvation. “It was about the sixth hour,”

and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour (Luk 23:44).

Three o’clock in the afternoon.

And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst (Luk 23:45).

“The sun was darkened,” that is, nature refused to look at this horrible sight. Nature revolted against man. There was a great earthquake, the rocks were torn, nature revolting against man. Had God not restrained it, I’m sure that nature would have destroyed man at that point for his heinous crime.

“The veil of the temple was rent in the midst.” We are told in another gospel, “from the top to the bottom.” Oh, how significant! The veil of the temple was the testimony of how unapproachable God was to man. No man dared to enter in beyond that veil, except the high priest, and that only one day in the year. And that only after many sacrifices and washings. And that only with great reverence and fear, having these bells tied on the bottom of his coat and a rope tied around his foot, so that those outside of the veil would listen for these bells to be tinkling inside. And if they would stop, then they would pull the guy out by his foot, knowing that he went into the presence of God with some blemish and God smote him dead. And so the rope, so they could pull him out and wouldn’t even have to go in to get him. God was unapproachable by man. Man’s sin had alienated from God. God’s hand was not short, His ear was not heavy, but sins had separated people and the veil represented that separation of the unrighteous man from God. But at the death of Christ the way was made by which man might come to God, and God ripped that veil from the top to the bottom, saying, “Come, come, it’s open.” The way is now made through Jesus Christ for you, for me, to be able to come directly to God.

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice (Luk 23:46),

Luke doesn’t tell us what He said, but the other gospels do. He cried, “It is finished!”

he then said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he dismissed his spirit. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. And all of the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and they returned. And all of his acquaintances, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counselor; and he was a good man, and a just: (And the same had not consented to the counsel and the deed of them;) he was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews: and who also himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. And this man went unto Pilate, and he begged for the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never before a man was laid. That day was the preparation, and the sabbath was drawing on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after him, beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared the spices and the ointments; and they rested the sabbath day according to the commandment (Luk 23:46-56).

Chapter 24

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were very perplexed, behold, two men stood my them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And then they remembered his words, And they returned from the sepulchre, and told all of these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women that were with them, which told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed not (Luk 24:1-11).

“Oh, hysterical women. Lord, deliver us!” And they just didn’t believe.

Then rose Peter, and he ran to the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and he departed, wondering in himself what it all meant, [what’s happened]. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs [or about eight miles]. And as they talked together of all of these things which had happened, it came to pass, that, while they were communing together and reasoning, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him (Luk 24:12-16).

So God sort of put blinders on them and they didn’t recognize Him.

And he said unto them, What are you guys talking about as you’re walking along here? How is it that you look so sad? And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered and said unto him, Are you a stranger in Jerusalem, you don’t know the things which have come to pass in these days? And Jesus said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and they’ve crucified him. And we trusted (Luk 24:17-21)

It’s past tense.

we had trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and besides all this, this is the third day since these things were done (Luk 24:21).

“Hey, man, you must be a stranger; you don’t know the things that have happened around here. There was this fellow, Jesus of Nazareth, a great guy! Mighty and power in God, and He went around doing good and He brought us hope. We hoped, we had trusted that He was going to be the One to bring deliverance. But they crucified Him, and this is the third day.”

And there were certain women also of our company which made us astonished, they went early to the sepulchre; and when they did not find his body, they came, and said that they had a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it was even as the women had said: but they did not see him. Then he said unto them, O fools, slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken (Luk 24:22-25):

What’s He do? He takes them right back to the Word, right back to the prophecies.

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to have entered into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself (Luk 24:26-27).

And I’ll never forgive Cleopas for not writing them down. This is one of the messages of Jesus that I would give anything to have! How I would love to have heard Him start with Moses and go through the Old Testament and bring out all of the scriptures that related to Him, three hundred prophecies that He fulfilled by His birth, life, death, resurrection. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have this sermon recorded. Wouldn’t it be great if they had cassettes or something and we could just listen to this message? Oh my!

And they drew near to the village, where they were going: and Jesus acted like he would just keep going on further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day’s almost over. And so he went in to stay with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and he blessed it, and he broke it, and he gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight (Luk 24:28-31).

It’s interesting to me that it was when He handed them the bread that they recognized. Is it possible that they then saw the nail prints? And their eyes were opened… “Wow!” And then He vanishes out of their sight, disappears.

And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luk 24:32)

Have you ever had a burning heart as you read the Word of God? Has it ever just kindled a fire within your heart? There are a lot of people who look for excitement in their religious experiences. They look for emotional highs. They look to discover some kind of a miracle or phenomena that they can get all excited about; an angel appeared, or some other type of phenomena. These men said, “Did not our hearts burn when He talked to us and opened the scriptures to us?” I think that it is a sign of spiritual health and maturity when a person begins to get that burning heart as he searches the scriptures, as the Holy Spirit begins to open the scriptures to him. I tell you, I get so excited just reading the Word of God. I get so excited, there are times when I just really can hardly contain myself; as God’s Spirit begins to open up the scriptures to me just as I’m reading. The Spirit of God just begins to open them up, and I just get so excited. I can’t describe to you just how exciting it is to be taught of the Spirit, the truth of God’s Word, and suddenly just have the understanding given to you and the scriptures opened up to you. That’s healthy. There are some people that get excited when people speak in tongues or when people utter prophecies. I get excited over the Word of God. Some people get excited with visions or dreams. I get excited over the Word of God.

So they rose up in the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem (Luk 24:33),

I’ll bet they got back to Jerusalem a lot of faster than they got to Emmaus.

and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them, and they said to them, [Hey,] the Lord is risen indeed, he appeared to Simon (Luk 24:33-34).

Telling these two fellows that came in, “The Lord is risen! He appeared to Simon!” And they said, “Hey, we had an experience.”

And they told what things were done as they were on the path, and how he was known to them when he broke the bread. And as they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood in the midst, and he said unto them, Shalom (Luk 24:35-36).

Typical Hebrew greeting.

But they were terrified and frightened, and they thought that they were seeing a ghost. And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? why do these questions arise [in your minds and] in your hearts? Behold my hands, my feet, it is me: handle me, and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see me have (Luk 24:37-39).

Now there are some people that find difficulty here because Jesus is saying, “Handle Me. See if it isn’t Me.” When earlier in the day He said to Mary, “Touch Me not. I’m not yet ascended to my Father.” The words of Jesus to Mary, “Touch Me not,” the words “touch Me not” are a poor translation of the Greek. In the Greek, it reads, “Don’t cling to Me.” Mary was, no doubt, touching Him already. She, no doubt, had a death grip on Him. “You got away from me once, You’ll never get away from me again! All right, I’m not going to let You go.” And He said, “Don’t cling to Me, Mary. Go and tell My disciples that I’m risen.” So it wasn’t, “Don’t touch Me,” some mystic thing, but it’s just, “Don’t cling to Me, Mary. Go tell the disciples I am risen.” Here He’s saying, “Look, handle Me. See if it isn’t Me. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see Me have.”

And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy (Luk 24:40-41),

Now it was just too much. “We can’t believe it; it’s just too much.”

and they were wondering, he said unto them, Do you have any meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and some honeycomb. And he ate it before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all of the things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the psalms (Luk 24:41-44),

The Psalms are filled with prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. There are entire Psalms that are known as Messianic Psalms; Psalms 22, graphic description of the crucifixion. Psalm 110, the priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 118…and just over and over, many Psalms. And so He said, “Didn’t I tell you that these scriptures must be fulfilled, Moses and the prophets and the Psalms?”

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures (Luk 24:45).

And that’s a glorious gift, when God opens your understanding that you might understand. And that happens when you’re born again. If you try and read the scriptures without being born again, they’re a mystery to you. “For the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them, they are spiritually discerned. But he which is spiritual understands, though he is not understood by any” (I Corinthians 2:14-15).

And he said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved the Messiah to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are the witnesses of these things (Luk 24:46-48).

So, here He is commissioning them, that they should go out and preach the repentance and the remission of sins to all nations. “And behold, I sent the promise of my Father upon you…” This is the promise, no doubt, made to Joel in the second chapter of the prophecy of Joel when God said, “And in the last days, saith the Lord, when I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh.”

I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with this power from on high (Luk 24:49).

The promise of the Holy Spirit. But they were to wait in Jerusalem until the promise was fulfilled.

Now this translation, “Tarry ye in Jerusalem,” was picked up by the Pentecostal churches and they had traditional tarrying meetings where people gathered to tarry to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That’s unscriptural. Jesus said, “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem.” So to tarry in Santa Ana would not be scriptural.

Jesus was not prescribing the method by which the Holy Spirit should be poured out upon all believers during church history. There was to be that initial day in which the Spirit of God would be poured out upon the church as an abiding gift. They were to wait for that day, they were to wait in Jerusalem for that day. Once the day of Pentecost was fully come and the Holy Spirit was poured out as an abiding gift upon the church, it was never necessary for them to tarry again to receive the Holy Spirit. All that was necessary was for them to by faith receive the gift of God. You don’t have to tarry to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s gift. You receive it by just faith. “This gift is unto you and your children and to those that are far off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

And so he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and he blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven (Luk 24:50-51).

Now notice, He went as far as Bethany, lifted up His hands and blessed them. And as He was doing it, He was lifted up and went on into heaven. This was forty days after His crucifixion. He had been around among them for forty days. When you go to Jerusalem today on the Mount of Olives, I think there are three different sights where great churches have been built over the spot where Jesus ascended. The Russians have the Church of Ascension, the Lutherans have the Church of Ascension, and the Catholics have the Church of Ascension, all on the top of the Mount of Olives. And one of them, they’ll even show you the footprints that He left in the rock when He ascended. It’s interesting they’re all on the top of the Mount of Olives, when the scripture said He went as far as Bethany. I’m glad there’s no Church of the Ascension in Bethany. So you can just go to Bethany and think, “Somewhere in here Jesus ascended.” But you don’t have a spot. Nor do you have a lot of baubles and trinkets and souvenir salesmen. Where He ascended is not so important as the fact that He did ascend there from Bethany.

And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen (Luk 24:52-53).

They were continually in the temple…which means that when the Holy Spirit descended upon the church, they were probably in one of the rooms of the temple. Because it was ten days after this that the Holy Spirit did descend. And the fact that they were continuing daily in the temple praising and blessing God, means that this phenomena probably took place right there in the temple, in one of the rooms of the temple where they had gathered to worship and praise the Lord. We’ll get to that when we get to Acts, the second chapter, but we won’t get to that until we get to John, which we will start next week–the first two chapters of the gospel according to John.

Father, give us burning hearts by unfolding to us the truth of Your Word. And may we feel that excitement, that rush, that thrill of having Thy Spirit, Lord, just opening up the truths and giving us understanding and helping us to know You, Your love, Your way, Your will. Lord, as we go forth this week, guide us. May this be a week of spiritual growth. May this be a week of deepening relationship. May we draw closer to You, Lord. And may You work in our hearts and lives by Your Holy Spirit, as You would conform us into the image of Christ and make us true and faithful witnesses of our Lord. Bless us, strengthen us, help us, Father. In the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

It is the prayer of The Joseph Plan that this presentation has been a blessing to you.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be summed up with:

Believe IN Jesus Christ with all your heart! Repent of your sins and Be Saved for Eternity!!

People like yourself, sharing this knowledge with their friends and loved ones is the primary way new visitors are introduced to this ministry site. We have provided a share link below. Please don’t keep it to yourself.

My friend, Are you confident where you are going to spend eternity when this all ends? There is an end for all of us some day. Some of us maybe today.

There is only one way to know and be assured– Ask our Father in heaven in Jesus Christs’ name in prayer today!

Are You Saved from damnation, the eternal fate of so many? Are you sure? Ask Him. Find out and be assured.

Rom 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that  we are the children of God.

When we ask the Lord, in Jesus Christ’s name, He assures us with His peace and understanding. If for any reason you question your salvation, go to a quiet place, alone, and talk to Jesus. Repent of your sins and commit your life to Him. Then go to a bible believing church and get baptized.

He is faithful! He always listens and always responds!

The Salvation Prayer (click here) is in the Blog in the right column of this page. You can walk without fear. Start nurturing An Enduring Faith, today.

Always, always remember. We serve the most powerful and loving God and He will protect His children. Pray Psalm 91.

A complete Christian resource, which will show you how to live your life free of all fear.  The “Break the Bondage of Fear” ebook” by Pastor Thomas.

May God Bless You and keep you safe from the evil one!

Pastor Thomas Holm

The ministry of The Joseph Plan

Author of Break the Bondage of Fear”.

Author of the “Biblical Spiritual Warfare Manual”.

Come back often!