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A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

Excursus: Lukes Travel Narrative
A major point of emphasis for Luke is Jesus journey to his death and resurrection in Jerusalem. While all
the gospels record this journey, only Luke elevates it to a position of prominence by structuring almost
half of his gospel around this theme. Along the way to Jerusalem, Jesus catechizes the disciples, the
crowds, and the religious establishment concerning his person and work. Jesus invites them to journey
with him so they too may participate in the events of his death and resurrection. New resurrection life is
Gods ultimate plan for the world through Jesus.
The Christian participates in Jesus death and resurrection through Baptism (Ro 6:1-4; Col 2:11-13) and in
the Lords Supper, celebrated in remembrance of Jesus death and in anticipation of his return (Lk 22:1420; 1 Cor 11:26). Already now and today, those who journey with Jesus also participate in his destiny
through Baptism and the Lords Supper. The church catechizes Christians throughout their journey until
they reach their journeys end. The journey narrative instructs Christians how already now and today they
too participate in Jesus kingdom through ears that hear and bodies that are washed with water and fed
with bread and wine in remembrance of his passion and in anticipation of his kingdom fully come.
Jesus journey not only has theological significance, but also structural significance for Lukes gospel.
Luke shapes his travel narrative with four travel notices (9:51; 13:22; 17:11; 19:28) to accent this sense of
movement toward Jesus destiny in Jerusalem. Also much of the material in Lukes travel narrative (9:5119:28) is unique to Luke. The four travel notices help to accent not only the journey theme, but also the
rejection Jesus faces as he travels to the city of his destiny.


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

Lesson 47 The Turning Point of Jesus Ministry The First Travel
Notice (9:51)
From 4:14-9:50, Jesus ministry has been primarily in Galilee. But now Jesus will turn to Jerusalem, the
place of his destiny, the place where Gods plan will be accomplished. So with this verse, the whole
gospel takes a sharp turn.
No structure.
1. So why would this verse be considered a turning point in Luke? First of all, what has recently been
explicitly said (9:22, 31)?

Jesus plainly told his disciples that he would suffer, be rejected, die, and after three days be
raised to life. Also, Jesus talked to Moses and Elijah about his coming exodus, which is another
way of saying his death, resurrection, and ascension.

At this point, where was it that Jesus set out to go to (9:51)?

In this verse, it says Jesus set out to go to Jerusalem.

As one who knows the rest of the story already, what is it that is so significant about going to this

Jerusalem is of great significance because it is here that Jesus will die for the sins of the world.

Until now, the first phase of Lukes prophet Christology (teaching and miracles) has garnered most of
the attention. But now the second phase will take center stage. Soon the other half of the Christs
portrait will be painted and a clear picture will emerge.
2. The CC begins this verse with, And it came to pass. This is Lukes way of alerting the reader that
something important is about to happen. Look at the way this verse begins in your Bible. In the NIV it
begins with, As the time approached. This conveys the passing of time. Its as if the narrator is
watching the clock or marking days off of a calendar. There is a specific day and time when Jesus will
be taken up into heaven and Jesus, being aware of it, sets out resolutely to keep his appointment, to
accomplish Gods plan.
3. The CC has a more literal translation as it says, he himself set his face in order to journey to
Jerusalem. What does it mean when someone sets his face toward something?

When one sets his face, one has made up his mind about doing something and no one and
nothing can change it. He has a strong resolve.


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

Take a look at a couple of OT precedents that illustrate setting ones face and give a brief
description of why resolve was needed.

Eze 3:7-9
This is part of Ezekiels call. Ezekiel is to speak Gods word to Israel, but Israel
will not listen. But even in the face of Israels stubborn rebellion, Ezekiel is to speak Gods word.
God will make him as hard and as unyielding as Israel so that he can stand up to them.

Is 50:5-7
This is part of one of the suffering servant songs. In it the Servant will obediently
go the way of the Lord, even though it means great suffering and disgrace. Yet he will set his face
like flint and proceed.

Jesus is the Suffering Servant. Why is he willing to do this (Eze 50:8-9 and Ro 8:31-34)?

Jesus knows that in the end he will be vindicated. It is his substitutionary act that justifies
humankind before God. After he does what is necessary, he will be raised in glory.

Why would it take resolve to go to Jerusalem? What awaited him?

Jesus needed resolve because he would be tempted not to go to Jerusalem and he would be
tempted to bypass the cross. Jesus needed resolve because opposition awaited him. Jesus knew
what was ahead of him; he knew he would soon face hatred, rejection, suffering, and death.

4. In the journey narrative (9:50-19:28) Luke is careful to note the audience in each pericope. Jesus
has different words for each kind of audience he addresses. To the crowd, he issues warnings
and calls to conversion. To those who convert and become disciples, he gives positive
instructions on discipleship. To those who resist his prophetic call, he tells them parables of
rejection. Throughout the journey Luke alternates audiences. Every motion Jesus takes towards
his goal, Jesus gives revelatory instruction to those who are making the pilgrimage from rebirth in
Baptism to resurrection and eternal life in the new Jerusalem.


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

Lesson 48 - Jesus is rejected in Samaria (9:52-56)
The first part of Jesus journey sets the stage for the entire travel narrative. It is divided into three
passages: 9:52-56-Jesus is rejected in Samaria; 9:57-62-Conditions on a pilgrimage; and 10:1-24-Jesus
sends the seventy. Within these three passages are many OT allusions that continue to associate Jesus
with Moses and Elijah.
Luke provides a simple frame by referencing Jesus journey (went to, NIV) in 9:52 and 9:56. Within this
frame comes the rejection of the Samaritans, the response of the disciples and Jesus rebuke.
1. At the time of Jesus there was hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans. The most natural and
quickest way to get from Galilee to Jerusalem would be to go directly through Samaria. But many
travelers would by pass Samaria and instead go south on the eastern shore of the Jordan River.
Instead, Jesus chose to go through Samaria.
2. Who did Jesus send ahead of him and for what purpose?

Jesus sent messengers ahead of him to prepare for him or get things ready for him.

It does not say how they did this, but lets compare these verses to 9:1-6, where Jesus sends out the
Twelve. Note the similarities:

9:2a; 9:52a

Jesus sent them out. This is the language of commissioning.

9:6; 9:52b

The disciples were sent to villages.

9:5a; 9:53

They were not welcomed hospitably; they were rejected.

9:5b; 9:56

So they left the place where they were not wanted and went to
(journeyed to) another village.

Given these similarities, how might they have prepared for Jesus coming?

It seems as if they might have prepared for Jesus by preaching the kingdom of God as they did
earlier when Jesus sent them out.

So this short passage includes the language of commissioning (sent; 9:52), hospitality or rejection
(they did not receive; 9:53), and journey (journeyed; 9:56).
3. At this time there was a natural enmity between the Samaritans and the Jews and that would explain
the Samaritans rejection of Jesus. The Samaritans believed that Mt Gerizim was the proper place to
worship. But since Jesus was going to Jerusalem (the Jewish place of worship), the Samaritans
rejected him. But since Jesus was headed for his passion, their rejection of him anticipated his
coming rejection and passion.
How do the disciples believe the Samaritans should be treated for their rejection of Jesus?


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

James and John believe that they should call down fire from heaven to destroy them.

The disciples have not understood that the fire of Gods wrath will be redirected away from sinners to
Jesus (12:49-50). Jesus will take the wrath of God on himself in order that he might instead show
mercy and compassion. Punishment for those who reject the Gospel will come in the eschaton.
How did Jesus react to the disciples desire to destroy them (9:55)?

Jesus responded by rebuking the disciples.

What did Jesus do in each of the following verses?

4:35; 9:42

Jesus rebuked demons.


Jesus rebuked fever.


Jesus rebuked his disciples to not tell anyone that he must suffer and die.

Why does Jesus do this in all these situations? Or what do all these things hinder?

Jesus rebukes anything that hinders the coming of Gods kingdom, which comes through his
death and resurrection in Jerusalem.

4. Look at Acts 1:8 and glance at Acts 8. With this passage in the back of your mind, what was promised
and then came to reality?

Jesus promised that the disciples would be witnesses of the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea,
Samaria, and the ends of the earth. In Acts 8 this came true as Philip told the Samaritans the
Good News and they accepted it.

The Samaritans were spared the fire from heaven so that they might later repent and believe the
Good News of Jesus. This then is the mission of the church, to preach the Gospel in hopes that
unbelievers will repent and be saved.


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

Lesson 49 Conditions on a Pilgrimage (9:57-62)
Jesus has begun his journey to Jerusalem. He has been rejected at one town in Samaria. As he journeys
on, three would-be disciples are confronted with the cost of following Jesus. The closing image of the
passage also connects us back to the previous passage, as Jesus describes what it means to set ones
face (9:51).
The structure is a dialog between Jesus and three would-be disciples. The three words of Jesus stand
1. According to 9:57, where do these conversations take place? What is Jesus doing?

These conversations take place as they are walking on the road or journeying along the way.
Jesus has begun his journey to the place where he has set his face towards.

2. Jesus has just been rejected in a Samaritan town. What does this illustrate (see 9:58)?

His rejection illustrates that Jesus indeed has no home, no place to lay his head. So Jesus
homelessness is another way of speaking of his rejection. Eventually all will reject him, even his
own disciples.

3. Using hyperbole, Jesus word about letting the dead bury their own dead makes a strong statement
about the demands of discipleship. What is Jesus saying about discipleship? (consider who died)

Jesus is saying that to be a part of Gods kingdom, that is a disciple of Jesus, one must
subordinate all family ties and worldly cares and focus on the task that lies ahead.

How will the world look at such priorities?

The world will be at odds with and reject such priorities. The disciples will be different from the

The third person (9:61) says he will follow Jesus. He just wants to tell his family what he is doing. This
seems like a considerate thing to do. What does Jesus reply (9:62) have to do with this? What is
Jesus saying?

When one is plowing, one must look forward at a fixed point in order to plow a straight furrow. If
one looks back, the furrow will be crooked. Followers of Jesus must look forward, focusing on
Gods kingdom, focusing on their new family. Gods family takes precedence over our earthly


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

4. Lk 9:57-62, along with 9:23-24 and 14:25-35, give a rather stark picture of the radical nature of the
call to discipleship. To take up the cross daily (9:23-24) is to proclaim the kingdom of God (9:60
action/function) and to be fit for the kingdom of God (9:62 status/being), both of which will bring
rejection for the disciples. The way of new life is not easy or painless. It is the way that leads to death
(of the old man through daily contrition and repentance), and finally to resurrection (of the new man in
5. Luke does not record the responses of the three would-be disciples. One might wonder if they
heeded Jesus words and became disciples. But the more important question is whether you the
hearer of Lukes gospel will respond in faith and persevere on the journey with Jesus.


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

Lesson 50 Jesus Sends the Seventy(-two) (10:1-24)
Jesus journey to Jerusalem has begun. He was almost immediately rejected in a Samaritan village,
which foreshadows the rejection the disciples too will face. Being a disciple of Jesus is costly. Being a
disciple of Jesus also means being sent out into the harvest to preach, heal and give Gods peace.
The structure is simple. Luke speaks of the sending out of the seventy and then their return.
1. What other pericope in ch. 9 is this one similar to? How are they similar?

It is similar to 9:1-6, 10, the sending of the Twelve. The two passages are similar enough that it
appears that Jesus gave them the same mission.

1) Jesus sends them out (9:2; 10:3).

2) Told to preach the kingdom of God (9:2; 10:9).

3) Told to heal the sick (9:2; 10: 9).

4) They are to take nothing with them for the journey, no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no
extra tunic (9:3; 10:4).

5) Stay at one house in a town, dont move from house to house (9:4; 10:7).

6) If the people of the town do not accept them, shake even the dust of their feet off as a
testimony against them (9:5; 10:10-12).

7) When they were done, the Twelve/seventy returned and reported to Jesus what they had done
(9:6, 10; 10:17).

While not as explicit as the sending of the Twelve, the above similarities show that the mission of the
seventy was the same as the mission of the Twelve: to preach the presence of the kingdom, to heal
and perform miracles, and to say peace to the houses where they are accepted with hospitality and
table fellowship.
2. Jesus said in 9:3 that he was sending the seventy out as lambs among wolves. In real life, if a lamb
was sent into the midst of wolves, what would you assume would happen?

One would assume that the wolves would kill the lamb.

The underlying word used here for lamb is a technical term for the sacrificial lamb of the Passover
or the burnt offering or the sacrifice of peace.


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

What kind of ministry has Jesus called them (and us) to?

The mission Jesus has called them to is one in which they will suffer and be rejected by the
world. They will be sent out knowing the enmity that the world has towards them. They will be
sacrificial lambs. They bear the image of the Passover Lamb, which was sacrificed for the people.
They will reveal that the kingdom of God has come in the person of Jesus Christ.

3. One way of describing sin is that humankind is in rebellion against God or is at war with God. Ever
since Adam and Eves original sin, this is the natural state of humankind. But what do those sent out
bring with them to give to the world (10:5-6)? How did this become possible (see 2 Cor 4:10)?

Those sent out by Jesus bring with them peace from God. This peace became possible by Jesus
perfect obedience for us and his death in our place; Jesus has brought peace from above. He
then offers that peace through us. In baptism we are united with Christ. Jesus representatives
carry in themselves the person of Christ. .

4. Look at 10:7-9. In what ways is the mission that Jesus sends the seventy on similar to his own
mission? or said another way, what similar things are they to do that Jesus has been and will continue
to do?

Jesus had table fellowship, healed, and proclaimed the nearness of the kingdom. The seventy
are to do the same.

Jesus said, Stay in that house. Eat and drink with them and do not move around from house to
house. Speculate as to why that might be. What might they be tempted to do if they moved from
house to house?

If they moved from house to house, they might be tempted to find the best house to stay at.
They might also be tempted to strive for gain instead of giving Jesus peace, healing, and
proclaiming the kingdom.

An interesting observation is that by staying at one place the entire for the entire period of time a
strong relationship and a strong base might be formed. From there then possibly other emissaries
might be sent out in the future. [This might also be the basis for the early house churches.]
5. What are the seventy to tell the people in the towns they are sent to (10:9b)? And how is it that what
they tell them is possible? (see #3 above, 2 Cor 4:10)

They are to say, The kingdom of God is near you. Gods kingdom comes in the person of Jesus
Christ. It is near when they proclaim it because they bear in themselves the person of Jesus.
They carry with them his death and his life.


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

What are the effects of this mission (10:18-19)?

The effects are astounding. Through their preaching and healing Satan and his armies are
defeated. Already in their preaching, Jesus kingdom is a present reality and Satans kingdom is
defeated. Christs kingdom will triumph.

6. After they return, what did Jesus say he had given them (10:19)?

Jesus said he had given them authority and power over the enemy.

And yet Jesus warns them not to get puffed up over their achievements. Instead, what should they
rejoice about (10:20)?

They should instead rejoice that their names are written in heaven.

A theology of success would be a tool of Satan. Instead their focus must be on the heavenly gift of
7. The hiding and revealing of the Gospel involves the doctrine of election. Review Lesson 33, #7.
What is it that the Father has hidden from the wise (10:22)?

The Father has hidden the fact that Jesus is the Son.

Who has the Father revealed this mystery to (10:21b)?

The Father has revealed his Son to little children, to infants.

Divine favor and joy are far beyond human understanding, and ultimately the doctrine of election is a
mystery. Nevertheless, the Gospel of Gods favor is revealed to the world through Jesus, the seventy
and the church, and it brings great joy to Jesus and his followers.
The secret hidden in Jesus and his infant followers is the kingdom of God. Therefore, anyone who
does not receive Jesus as the Son of God cannot receive the kingdom and will not understand the
8. Jesus closes this mission with a beatitude (10:23). The key words are eyes and see. The Twelve
and the seventy are eyewitnesses of the Fathers plan of salvation coming to fulfillment in Jesus.
What is the opposite of eyes that see?

The opposite of eyes that see are eyes that do not see, eyes that are blind.

Because of original sin, all people are born with eyes that are blind. The disciples can see only
because God has opened their blind eyes. They truly are blessed. What is the object that God has
enabled them to see and what is it that they are able to hear?

They are able to see Jesus, the Messiah. They are able to hear the Good News of salvation.


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

Lesson 51 The Story of the Good Samaritan (10:25-37)
This pericope is tied to the previous discourse by the Great Reversal theme. The lawyer is one of the
wise people of this world who does not see. The first question that the lawyer asks goes to the heart
and core of the story of the Good Samaritan.
The text is divided into two sections and each section is structured the same way. This structure shows
that they are related. There is a dialog between Jesus and the lawyer, which consists of four questions.
1. Who was it that asked Jesus a question in order to test him (10:25)? And in general, what do you
know about this kind of person?

A lawyer, who is a student of the Torah, asks Jesus a question in order to test Jesus. As a lawyer,
he was concerned about the administration and understanding of the law (cf. Mt 22:35; Lk 7:30;

The answer that the lawyer expected to the question was to follow the Torah. Torah (instruction or
Law/Gospel) commonly refers to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. How one reads and
interprets the Torah is of great importance. It is very easy to read the Torah as a book of laws, which,
when followed, earn merit with God. But in truth, the Torah must be read as a book of Gods
gracious election of his people despite their sin. If one loses sight of the primacy Gods grace
in the Torah, then the focus shifts from the inheritance God gives to the deeds people do. We
can see the difference in this very story. If one sees the Torah as a manual for doing, then one will
interpret the Good Samaritan story as an exhortation to help needy people. But such an interpretation
would turn this parable of Gospel into Law. The interpretation of the parable must be
Christological (more about this later).
St. Paul takes up this same issue (how the Torah should be interpreted ) in Ro. 10. Read Ro. 10:1-13
taking note especially of verses 5-8. Also read Deut 30:12-14, which is freely quoted in Ro 10:6-8.
St. Paul speaks of two different kinds of righteousness. What are they (10:3-6a)?

Paul speaks of the righteousness that comes from God, which is a righteousness received by
faith. And Paul speaks of a righteousness based upon mans doing, a righteous of his own, a
righteousness based on keeping the law.

In Ro 10:6-8, Paul quotes Deut 30:12-14 and uses it as an example of righteousness that is obtained
by faith. The contrast Paul is making involves a correct and incorrect interpretation of the Torah.
Either it teaches righteousness that is by faith (Ro 10:6) or it teaches righteousness that is by the
law (Ro 10:5, quoting Lev 18:5), which would require perfect obedience of all the Laws stipulations.
In Paul and Jesus view, justification by grace through faith is taught in both testaments.
The Law is the way of life for the redeemed (third use of the law); it is the response of those who have
received Gods grace. It is not a way of salvation for the lost (Ro 10:5; Gal 3:10, 12).


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

2. The second question is by Jesus and is in response to the first question by the lawyer. In his
question, where does Jesus direct the lawyer to find his answer?

Jesus directs the lawyer to the Law or Torah.

The lawyers answer is love God and love your neighbor. The heart of the Torah is Gods mercy and
love. The human response in faith is likewise a response of love and mercy, as Jesus will illustrate by
the Good Samaritan story.
3. This should end the debate. But the lawyer is not content with Gods answer and this leads to a
second round of questions. What is the reason given for the lawyers second question (10:29a)?

The lawyer wanted to justify himself.

What does the lawyers question of who is my neighbor imply?

The lawyers question implies that there are some people who are not our neighbor and therefore
do not deserve our love.

Perhaps he thought that only those who are part of the covenant community are neighbors and that
the rest should be excluded. But Jesus excludes no one from his love. As we have seen so far from
Jesus ministry, Jesus even loves the outcasts of society.
4. As in the first round of questions, Jesus will answer the lawyers question with another question but
first he will tell a story that will prepare for and clarify it. Knowing that the lawyer was a member of the
Pharisees, how would he have felt about the following people in terms of being a neighbor?

Priests The lawyer would consider the priests as worthy of being a neighbor.

Levites The lawyer would consider the Levites as worthy of being a neighbor.

Samaritans The lawyer would not consider Samaritans worthy of being a neighbor.

In terms of mercy and love, how are the priest and Levite portrayed (10:31-32)?

The priest and Levite are portrayed as indifferent, unmerciful, and loveless.

One might expect the third traveler to be a Jewish lay person. But it is a great surprise that the third
traveler is a Samaritan. And its even a bigger surprise that he is the hero of the story. The last person
the lawyer would have expected to be held up as an example of one who fulfills the Law/Torah by
loving his neighbor would be the hated Samaritan. Therefore once again this story illustrates the
Great Reversal theme that runs throughout Lukes gospel.
5. Why did the Samaritan stop and help the injured man (10:33)?

The Samaritan stopped to help the man because he had pity or compassion on the man.

How did the Samaritan show this (10:34-35)?


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

His compassion for the man is shown by his bandaging of the wounds, by his applying oil and
wine to the wounds, by his placing him on his donkey and taking him to an inn, by his giving
money to the inn keeper to take care of him, and by offering to pay for any extra expenses.

The actions of the Samaritan stand in contrast to the robbers who beat him and the priest and Levite
who ignored him. So when Jesus asked the lawyer who was a neighbor?, the obvious answer was
The one who had mercy on him. The lawyers answer reemphasized the point of the whole
pericope: compassion and mercy.
6. Some have noticed that the order in which the Samaritan helped the beaten man is backwards.
Normally one would use oil to clean the wound, use wine to disinfect it, and then the wound would be
bandaged. To explain this, some look for a theological answer. The remedies given are not only firstaid remedies. According to Jer 30:17 and Hos 6:1-10, who is it that binds and heals Israels wounds?

It is Yahweh (the LORD) who binds and heals Israels wounds.

Yahweh healed his people that they might respond by living lives of worship. The verb pour is from
the language of worship. The priests and Levites were worship professionals who poured out oil and
wine on the altar before God. Yet over the centuries Israels ritual became empty. According to Hos
6:6, what is it that the Lord wanted?

The Lord wanted mercy and not [empty] sacrifices (a living sacrifice).

In this story the same language of worship is used for the Samaritan as the priest and Levite failed to
make a living sacrifice. It is the hated Samaritan that pours out the sacrifice of love upon the altar of
this mans wounds. This is the kind of steadfast mercy and love that the prophets called for.
7. Jesus concluding answer is: Go and do likewise, show mercy as the Samaritan did. Jesus has led
the man back to his first answer. As one who has received Gods mercy, go and be merciful. Gods
mercy must first be received before one can show mercy. This leads to a Christological interpretation
of the story. We must see Jesus in this story. Considering that we must first receive mercy, which of
the characters would Jesus be and which character would we be and why?

Each of us is like the half-dead man and Jesus is like the Samaritan who shows mercy as a

The lawyer says that he is the neighbor who is ready to act in love. But Jesus says otherwise. Jesus
is telling him that he is half-dead and is in need of someone to show him love and mercy, to heal him,
pay for him, and give him lodging. Jesus is saying that he is the rejected one (like the Samaritan) who
fulfills and embodies the Torah by showing love and mercy (as the Samaritan did). Jesus is saying
that he is your neighbor who gives gifts of mercy, healing, and life (as the Samaritan did). Jesus is the
neighbor who shows mercy and whom we should love in return.
8. Another Christological interpretation would make beaten man the chief Christ figure. Jesus too was
stripped, beaten, and died in the company of thieves. He had oil poured on him for his burial. He was
given lodging in the tomb. And he was revived on the third day. In this case the parable would call
Christians to follow Christ into death and resurrection. Also if the victim represents Christ, the parable


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

would support the biblical theme that acts of mercy done for the least of Christs brothers and sisters
are done to Christ himself (cf. Lk 10:16; Mt 25:31-46).


A Study Of The Gospel According To Luke

(using the Concordia Commentary-Luke by Arthur A. Just Jr.)

Jesus Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:28)

Lesson 52 Mary and Martha (10:38-42)
Jesus had previously sent out the Twelve (9:1-6) and the seventy (10:1-24) to towns. While there, they
were to enter houses that would accept them. Here in this story is demonstrated hospitality toward Jesus,
the merciful one, as he is received by Mary and Martha. While at Mary and Marthas house, Jesus
discusses with Martha the best way to receive him.
The structure is a dialog between Jesus and Martha. The focus of the story moves back and forth
between Mary and Martha to show two different types of hospitality.
1. What are the two different kinds of hospitality that Martha and Mary show (10:38-40)?

Martha opened up her home to Jesus and began making preparation (probably for a meal). Mary
sat at Jesus feet and listened to Jesus.

2. Jesus is a travelling missionary. How would one show hospitality to a travelling missionary (think here
about Martha)?

One would provide him a place to stay and provide him food to eat, just as Martha was doing.

But if you are a travelling missionary, what is it that you really want people to do (think here about

A travelling missionary wants most of all for people to listen to what you have to say, as Mary

What is the one thing that is needed that Jesus refers to?

The one thing that is needed is the gift that Jesus brings, which is the Word of God.

3. The real question here is whether one is first to serve the Lord or first to be served by him.
This is really a question of proper worship. Mary sits at Jesus feet to receive divine service from him.
Hospitality to the Lord is first expressed in faiths passive acceptance of Gods Word, where the gifts
of Gods kingdom are found. Faith is the highest worship. After receiving these gifts, there will be time
to respond with hospitality. Peters mother-in-law is a good example of this (4:38-39). Tell why.

Peters mother-in-law first received the gift of healing and then served Jesus.

The lawyer of the previous pericope made a similar mistake by thinking he could serve when had not
allowed Jesus to serve him first. Said another way, Martha made the mistake of thinking she was the
host and Jesus the guest.


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Lesson 53 The Lords Prayer (11:1-13)
In the previous passage, Jesus taught Mary and Martha the proper way to worship. In this pericope,
Jesus teaches his disciples the proper way to pray. Both worship and prayer begin with the Giver and his
free gifts and then move on to the receiver of those gifts.
See the detailed structure. There are three subsections and the relationship between the three is that all
three emphasize that God is the giver of all good things.
1. This is the only occasion on which any of the disciples ask Jesus to teach them something. It was
customary for a Rabbi to teach his students how to approach God in prayer. Lukes version of the
Lords Prayer is shorter and more direct than Matthews version, which is usually followed in the
church today. Lukes version contains (1) the invocation of God as Father; (2) two petitions that refer
to God; and (3) three petitions that deal with the needs of the petitioner.
2. Jesus begins the prayer with Father. This was a normal way in which the Hebrews called on God.
Jesus is instructing his disciples to call God their Father. If God is the Father, then what does that
make the disciples? (Also think about Jesus relationship to the Father)

If they call God their Father, then that makes the disciples Gods children. Jesus says they have
the same relationship with the Father that he has as his Son. It is through the work of the Son of
God that people are made into sons (and daughters) of God.

3. With the first two petitions of this prayer, Jesus builds a foundation on which one can later build in the
prayer. What do the first two petitions say about God (11:2b)?

The first two petitions say that God, whom they call Father, is holy and that he rules a kingdom,
which is coming.

By beginning the prayer in this way, the disciple will petition God based on who he is the holy Father
and what God does reigns over his gracious kingdom. The disciple can approach this holy King
with confidence because he is gracious.
4. The petition for daily bread is the first of three in Lukes version that focuses on the needs of the
petitioners. The Greek word for bread can have four different meanings: bread essential for
existence; bread for today; bread for the following day; or bread for the (more distant) future.
These possibilities can be combined into two major meanings: (1) physical bread needed for life in
this world now and (2) eschatological bread that provides the life of the age to come as spiritual
sustenance even now. Given Lukes overall theology, it may be that he has both of these in mind.
That would follow the OT pattern of manna. Manna was an earthly food that was provided
miraculously and in abundance. But it also pointed forward to Jesus, who is the bread of life. Jesus
gives himself as the Bread of Life through the Gospel, that is, through Word and Sacrament.
Backing up this dual view of bread is Lukes gospel itself. Jesus table fellowship is the teaching and
presence of the kingdom, physical eating of bread, and the offer of forgiveness of sins. So as eating


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had implications physically in the present, it also involved the eternal kingdom and the forgiveness
necessary to enter it. In the Lords Supper, bread is eaten but also Jesus said, This is my body
(22:19). Because it is the very body of Christ, the bread brings with it forgiveness of sins. And
moreover, this bread of forgiveness leads its recipients to forgive others, as in the next petition of the
Lords Prayer.
5. How often does one need physical bread and why?

One needs physical bread every day in order to live. It is essential for life.

What is essential for our spiritual life and how often do you think we need it (11:4a)?

Forgiveness is essential for our spiritual life. Our need for it is constant and ongoing.

This is the reason why Jesus provided the Supper that regularly provides forgiveness. Only because
we are forgiven can we call on the Father and he will hear us. It is through forgiveness that Gods
kingdom comes. Just as bread brings physical and spiritual nourishment, forgiveness brings release
from both the spiritual and physical consequences of sin (as demonstrated in 5:17-26). Release from
our physical ailments may not occur until the resurrection, but that promise of release is as sure as
the forgiveness of our sins in Christ.
When Adam and Eve sinned what two relationships were affected?

Ge 3:8-10

The relationship between God and man was ruined.

Ge 3:12

The relationship between people and other human beings was ruined.

Knowing about the two dimensions of bread and knowing about the relationships affected by sin,
how is forgiveness two dimensional like the bread?

As the bread has earthly and heavenly dimensions, so forgiveness has heavenly and earthly
dimensions. Forgiveness involves peoples relationship with God (heavenly) and peoples
relationship with other people (earthly). As we have been forgiven by God, so we willingly forgive
those who have sinned against us.

6. The final petition in Luke deals with temptation. What did God allow to happen to his own Son in Lk

The Father allowed his Son to be tempted by Satan.

According to Lk 6:22, what happens to those who are associated with Jesus?

Those who are associated with Jesus are excluded, insulted, and rejected.

What would one be tempted to do because of this?

One would be tempted to deny Jesus in order to avoid the worlds rejection.


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To pray not to be led into temptation is to pray not to succumb to that temptation, to not allow anything
to interfere in our relationship with God. It is a petition to preserve us in the true faith, to keep us from
falling away from God.
In summary then, we pray in the Lords Prayer to the holy King, who is the gracious Giver of all good
gifts, that he might graciously give us bread, forgiveness, and strength to overcome temptation both
now and until life everlasting.
7. That God would give such good gifts is borne out in the next parable (11:5-8). A little background
information might be helpful here. According to the rules of hospitality in the first century, the entire
community assisted in entertaining guests, even at midnight. A guest had to be served a whole meal
no matter what time he arrived. The CC translates 11:5-7 as a question. The question being, Can
you imagine a friend not giving bread? The expectant answer is negative. The question Jesus poses
would be considered ridiculous in that time. But even if you did find someone like that and even if he
did make inane excuses, he would still get up and give him bread. Even a person like this has enough
honor about him (or can be shamed) to give what is needed. The point being, if even a person like
this will give bread, how much more will God, who is completely honorable and gracious in all
circumstances, give his good gifts.
This parable is really a commentary on prayer to the Father. With all boldness we can bother the
Father and he will give us as much as we need.
8. In 11:9-10, what do asking, seeking, and finding refer to?

Asking, seeking, and finding refer to prayer.

Who is the one we approach in prayer? (see 11:2, 7-8, 10)

We approach God the Father, the holy King, who is not hard to rouse and who is not reluctant to
give. The Father is eager to give us what we need.

How are earthly fathers described in 11:13a?

Earthly fathers are described as evil. All people are evil by virtue of the sinful condition we are
conceived in.

Again a contrast is set up. If earthly fathers (who are described so negatively in 11:13a) give good
gifts to [their] children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who
ask him! (11:13b).
When and where has the Holy Spirit been mentioned so far in Luke?

Lk 1:15
The angel promised that John the Baptist would filled with the Holy Spirit even
from his mothers womb.

Lk 1:35

Lk 1:41
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary, pregnant with the holy Child
came to visit her.

The Holy Spirit came upon Mary at the conception of Jesus.


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Lk 3:22

The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism.

Lk 4:1

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted.

Lk 4:14

Jesus returned from his temptations to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.

Lk 4:18

The Holy Spirit rested upon Jesus at his first sermon in Nazareth.

How is this promise of the Holy Spirit (11:13) different from the references above?

So far in Luke the Holy Spirit came upon specific individuals. Here the Holy Spirit is promised to
anyone who asks for him. The same Spirit who prepared the way for Jesus, who caused Jesus to
be conceived, who was poured out in power upon Jesus at his baptism is now promised to Jesus

This same Spirit was promised by Jesus after his resurrection and was given to them at Pentecost.
So in this passage we have the Trinity: through the Son we call God Father and through prayer the
Father gives the Holy Spirit.
9. Catechumens are ones who are preparing for Baptism and the Lords Supper. Catechumens have
always been instructed in the Lords Prayer. When one learns the Lords Prayer, one learns how God
has established hospitality with us in his name and in his kingdom and how we respond to this
welcoming God by petitioning him for those things that we need to keep us faithful and from falling
into unbelief. When one prays, one enters into a relationship of hospitality where God is the giver of
all things and the petitioner is the recipient of the gift of the Holy Spirit. By the Holy Spirits power the
whole Christian church on earth is kept in the one true faith. The grand promise---that the good Father
gives the Holy Spirit through Jesus---assures a gracious answer to every prayer.


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Lesson 54 Opposition to Jesus (11:14-36) (Challenge 1 11:15, 1728)
The previous section dealt with those who were for or with Jesus. Through Jesus they have a
relationship and can pray to a gracious heavenly Father who promises his Spirit. This section deals with
those who are against Jesus and challenge him, that is, Satan, his evil spirits, and those who, knowingly
or unknowingly, do Satans bidding. This section is characterized by catechetical themes against a
background of growing opposition to Jesus teaching and miracles.
See the detailed structure. The mounting opposition throws two challenges against Jesus in 11:15 and
11:16. Each challenge receives a direct response from Jesus (11:17-26 and 11:29-32) and a catechetical
conclusion (11:27-28 and 11:33-36). Jesus direct responses and catechetical comments shape the
structure of this section.
1. The audience of the last section was Jesus disciples. Now the audience switches to the crowds. The
reaction of the crowd to Jesus is mixed. What kind of reaction did the crowds have in each of the
following verses?

Lk 11:14

The crowd is amazed at Jesus exorcism.

Lk 11:15-16

Some in the crowd accuse Jesus and test him by asking for a sign.

Lk 11:27

A woman blesses Jesus.

During his journey to Jerusalem, some are openly hostile and a few give approval, but generally the
people are neutral. But based on 11:23, those who are not with Jesus are against him. They are in a
league with Beelzebul. That is why Jesus warns this evil generation.
2. Lk 11:14 tells us of Jesus exorcism of a mute man. The rest of the pericope tells about two
challenges against Jesus that arise because of the exorcism and Jesus response.
3. In the first challenge, what is Jesus accused of (11:15)?

In the first challenge, Jesus is accused of driving out demons by Beelzebul.

Logically, does this make good sense (11:17-18)? Why or why not?

No this doesnt make good sense. If Jesus were under the power of Satan, why would Satan use
him to drive out his own evil demons? It doesnt make sense. His kingdom would not stand.

What two alternatives does Jesus give concerning his work of exorcism (11:19a, 11:20a)?

Either Jesus has been sent by and uses the power of Beelzebul or God.

There are others who drive out demons as well. If they are going to accuse Jesus of working for
Satan then they should level the same charges against these others as well.


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4. If you have a cross-reference in your Bible, see at what other places finger of God is used.

The same phrase is used in Ex 8:19, where Pharaohs magicians confess that Moses and Aaron
are performing miracles by the finger of God. Also Ex 31:18 and Deut 9:10 say the two stone
tablets were written by the finger of God. Ps 8:3 describes the heavens, moon, etc. as the work
of Gods fingers.

Since most of the OT speaks of God acting by his hand or arm, perhaps finger implies the
actions are easy for God/Jesus and do not tax the limits of divine power.
From the ten plagues of Ex 7-12, what were the Egyptians to learn about Moses and God?

The Egyptians were to learn that Moses was sent by Yahweh, the God of Israel, to set Israel free
from bondage. They learned that the God of Israel was more powerful than all of their gods.

What then was Jesus claiming when he linked his work back to the miracles done by Moses?

Jesus was claiming that as God had sent Moses to free his people from bondage in Egypt by
the finger of God, so God has sent Jesus to free humankind from its bondage to sin, and he is
doing it by the finger of God. Jesus is claiming to be the new and greater prophet like Moses
(Deut 18:15-20), whose miracles were evidence and signs that Gods kingdom had come.

5. In Lk 3:16, how does John describe Jesus?

John describes Jesus as one more powerful that I.

In the story Jesus tells in 11:21-22, who is the strong man and who is the stronger man?

The strong man represents Satan and the stronger man represents Jesus. Jesus is the one more

At what other time did Jesus battle Satan? (see Lk 4:1-13) What was the outcome?

Jesus has already battled Satan in Jesus desert temptations immediately after his baptism.
Jesus defeated Satan by using Gods Word.

The word spoils connects us to Is 53:12. Read it now.

Jesus is the Suffering Servant who pours out his life unto death. And yet he was the victor.
In terms of war, what is Jesus doing when he drives out demons (11:22b)?


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Jesus is disarming the enemy and is dividing up the spoils. Jesus takes what used to belong to
Satan (the man possessed by the demon) and makes it his own. He is showing that he is the
more powerful one or he is acting in behalf of the more powerful one.

6. In the next verse (11:23), Jesus says there is no middle ground. Either you gather with him or you
scatter against him. What image do these words gather and scatter bring to mind?

For gather, see Is 40:11

Gather brings to mind the Good Shepherd who gathers in his
flock that he might hold them close to his heart.

For scatter, see Jer 23:1-2

Scatter brings to mind false shepherds who scatter the sheep
of Gods pasture by driving them away from him. They work against God instead of for him.

The OT prophets made abundant use of this shepherd imagery. True and false prophets were
compared to true and false shepherds. Here Jesus claims to be the messianic shepherd, the one who
builds and maintains Gods flock.
7. In another short story (11:24-26) in response to the accusation that Jesus casts out demons by Satan,
Jesus pictures the person exorcised of the demon as a house. A house needs to be inhabited by a
tenant. If it is left empty, an undesirable tenant will take residence. So what is the point Jesus is
making in this comparison?

Its not enough for a demon to be removed from us. The void left by him must be filled by God.
In fact, only God in the person of Jesus can fill this void. If left empty, the demon will return and
bring with him other demons, making the situation for the house even worse.

Everyone who is a Christian has been exorcised, that is, Satan has been kicked out and God has
taken Satans place in their lives. This happens in Holy Baptism. Baptism traditionally includes a
renunciation of the devil and all his works, but God must be allowed to fill that void. There is no
neutrality in this world (11:23), there are no empty houses.
These words, while spoken about individual houses, can also be applied to houses of worship.
There is no neutrality in worship: the object of true worship is God; the object of false worship is the
devil. A house of worship that claims to honor God but has no room for Christ is in fact a synagogue
of Satan (Rev 2:9; 3:9). Like every person, every house of worship has its occupant --- either Christ
or Beelzebul.
8. Jesus point is clear: the kingdom of God has arrived in him. This is shown by the exorcisms. But
even after the exorcisms some refuse to allow Jesus into their house. They shut him out and some
houses of worship refuse to honor God by accepting Jesus as the Messiah.
When the house is cleaned and swept it must be reoccupied by the one who cleaned it. This
indwelling happens through Baptism and catechesis, through hearing the Word of God and keeping it.
Christs Word, which he has already given to the Twelve and the seventy, has already been shown to
defeat and cast out Satan.


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In 11:27, a woman speaks a beatitude toward the mother of Jesus. Indeed Mary was blessed as she
bore the Christ in the flesh. Jesus does not necessarily deny this, but he does add to it. He speaks of
the real reason that Mary was blessed.
Reread Lk 1:26-38. The angel spoke the word of God to Mary. How did Mary respond?

Mary responded to Gods word by hearing it, believing it, and submitting to it in obedience. Mary
was blessed because she heard the word of God and obeyed it.

In 8:21, Jesus states who his true mother brothers are. Who are they?

Jesus true family are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.

Mary is blessed and is Jesus true mother because of her response of faith to the Word of God.
Through the Word the demons are cast out, and Christ takes up residence in the heart through faith
created by the Word. The Word (teaching) of Jesus bestows the blessings of which he speaks.

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Lesson 55 Opposition to Jesus (11:14-36) (Challenge 2 11:16, 2936)
See the context of the previous lesson. This lesson is a continuation and the second part of the previous
See the detailed structure.
1. The second challenge in opposition to Jesus is a demand for a sign (11:16). This is ironic because
Jesus had just given them a clear sign. What was it?

Jesus had just cast out a demon from a mute man.

How were these people like Satan? (see Lk 4:9-12)

These people tested Jesus as Satan did.

2. How does Jesus describe this generation (11:29)?

Jesus describes this generation as a wicked generation.

How many times is this generation mentioned in this passage?

Jesus speaks of this generation 4 times in this passage.

Jesus has spoken of this generation before. How is this generation characterized in the following

Lk 9:41

This generation is unbelieving and perverse.

Lk 7:29-34

This generation rejects John and Jesus.

This generation is not content with the signs right before their eyes: John the Baptist and Jesus. The
Word of God has come to this generation, but they would not hear it or keep it.
3. Some people asked for a sign. Jesus said the only sign they will receive is the sign of Jonah. What is
Jonah best known for? (see Jonah 1:17; 2:10)

Jonah is best known for being swallowed by a great fish, staying inside the fish for three days,
and then being spit out onto dry ground.

How is what happened to Jonah a sign for the Israel of Jesus day?

As Jonah was buried in the fish for three days and then experienced a resurrection when he
was spit out, so Jesus would be buried in the tomb for three days and then arise again. When this
happened, it would be a clear sign to Israel.


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How was Jonah a sign for the Ninevites (Jonah 3:1-5)

Jonah was a sign to Nineveh by his going to the city and warning the people of Gods judgement.

How did the Ninevites respond to Jonah (Jonah 3:5, Lk 11:32b)?

The Ninevites believed Jonah and repented.

Jesus does the same for this generation as we see here and in the next pericope and desires the
same result. Here, Jesus warns them that the people of Nineveh will condemn them at the
4. Jesus also spoke of the Queen of the South, who is the Queen of Sheba. Read about her visit with
Solomon in 1 Kings 10:1-10.
The Queen of Sheba came to hear the wisdom of Solomon. How did she respond to it (1 Kings 10:9)?

The Queen of Sheba responded with a confession of faith in Yahweh, the God of Israel.

Solomon and Jonah both spoke Gods Word to Gentiles and in each case the Gentiles believed. How
much more should Gods people repent and believe Jesus Word. Jesus is the sign to this
5. The words of 11:33 should sound familiar. Reread 8:16, which comes immediately after the parable of
the sower. Also see lesson 33 #18.
So again the Gospel is the light. The church has received the Gospel and its light shines forth from
the church. The Gospel light is used for evangelization, for bringing people out of the kingdom of
darkness and into the kingdom of light. The Gospel is also used to strengthen the faithful. As the
Word of God is read and interpreted in the church, those gathered together for worship and
catechesis are illuminated. Christians then bring the light of the Gospel into a sin darkened world.
6. Jesus then takes this light metaphor and expands upon it in 11:34-36. When light shines, it shines
whether one perceives it or not (Jn 1:5). But the light cannot illuminate a person (whole body) if the
eye, the organ for receiving light, is not clear and healthy, as when a lens is clouded with a cataract.
How would you describe what the eye of this generation is like?

This generation, which is wicked (11:29), has an unreceptive eye. Its unbelieving, critical attitude
clouds over what it sees, introduces doubt, and judges by its own darkened criteria.

Thinking of the Ninevites, how is the Gospel light rightly received?

The Ninevites saw the sign of Jonah, repented, and believed.

As Jesus was the sign for Israel, so is he the sign for us. God offers forgiveness through his Son.
Jesus is the object of preaching in the church; he is the Word made flesh. Christ is present in the
signs of the church. In Baptism we are baptized into Christ, into his death and resurrection. In the


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Lords Supper Christ is really present offering us his crucified and risen body and blood for the
forgiveness of our sins. With the eyes of faith, we see this sign, repent, and believe.
Christian doctrine and practice must be kept pure. If they are clouded or obscured, the Gospel will not
be able to illuminate the body of Christ (the church). Then those journeying toward her will not be able
to see the way. This would constitute a light that is really darkness (11:35). Lk 8:18 says something
similar, only in terms of hearing: Therefore take care how you hear. Taken together, these two
exhortations summarize the importance of faith and faithfulness in the two major aspects of Christian
incorporation: catechesis (hearing) and baptismal illumination (seeing). For he has called us out of
darkness into his wonderful light (1 Pet 2:9b).


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Lesson 56 Jesus Teaches and Eats at the Home of a Pharisee (Lk
The opening phrase connects this passage to the previous passage. Here the opposition comes to a
head. The controversy that develops has to do with purification laws and it results in a series of woes
against the Pharisees.
See the detailed structure. The structure revolves around the six woes. Preceding the woes are passages
that orient the hearer to the context and to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Following the woes, the
Pharisees look for ways of trapping Jesus in what he says.
1. Dr. Just speculates that this meal probably is a Sabbath evening Seder meal on the Friday evening
before the Sabbath. It began before sundown, but continued after sundown into the evening and into
the Sabbath. If this is the case, then Jesus was an invited rabbi. In this role, Jesus would have been
invited to eat this meal with members of the synagogue and then give a preview of his sermon the
next day. In other words, he would eat and teach.
2. How does the controversy begin (11:38)?

The controversy begins when Jesus does not wash his hands in a ceremonial washing
(purification rights), which was according to the Pharisees oral tradition.

What other controversies with the Pharisees have we seen so far?


Jesus table fellowship with sinners.


Behavior on the Sabbath.


Forgiveness of a sinful woman.

3. Only Luke uses baptize to describe the washing of the hands before the meal. To baptize simply
means to apply water. Luke may have used this word to cause the hearer to think about the baptism
to repentance of John the Baptist and Christian baptism. The Pharisees baptized their cups and
dishes to wash them, but they refused to submit to baptism to repentance, which washes both the
inside and outside in preparation for and initiation into the kingdom (cf. 3:3-17). How ironic it is then
that it is the Pharisees who do not wash and therefore are not invited to the eschatological feast with
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (13:28-30).
4. The amazement of the Pharisees leads to Jesus words. His first words (11:39-44) concern the heart
of the Pharisees problem: hypocrisy. First, Jesus used the metaphor of washing as discussed above.
They are only concerned with outward appearances, but inside they are filled with greed and
wickedness. Second, a chiasm highlights what is important: that God is the one who creates both the
inside and the outside (11:40). Lets see if we can construct this chiasm. Look for common words in
11:39 and 11:41. 11:40 will be the core of the chiasm.




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Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?




Giving to the poor is an act of mercy. It is an outward expression of what is in the heart. So the God
who created both the inside and the outside requires both to be cleansed. These verses then provide
the setting for the coming woes. The setting then is the need for repentance and cleansing. This need
is shared by all people since the fall corrupted both the inside and the outside of humankind.
5. The first three woes (11:42-44) are against the Pharisees and illustrate Jesus charge that they are
more concerned about the outside than the inside. Although leveled against the Pharisees, these
tendencies occur in all human beings. Their obsession with outward piety hides the deeper inward
problem: a neglect of justice and love of God.
In the third woe (11:44), Jesus compares the Pharisees with unmarked graves. Graves, of course, are
associated with dead people. According to Num 19:16, what happens when someone comes in
contact with a dead person or a grave?

Contact with the dead or a grave made an individual unclean for seven days. They become

If a grave is unmarked, one may come into contact with it and become defiled without even knowing
it. What then was Jesus saying about the Pharisees?

Jesus was saying that because the Pharisees were unmarked graves, people were unaware of
the death and decay inside them. And so, unknowingly, the people who have contact with the
Pharisees are made unclean and defiled because the teaching of the Pharisees was false.

Now just think, if you were a Pharisee, how you would take this. Pharisees were obsessed with
cleanness. And now Jesus not only says you are unclean, but you also defile others. Jesus is doubly
accusing them of not accepting Gods plan of salvation and of contaminating others, keeping them
from receiving the salvation Jesus has brought as well. So it is no surprise that the Pharisees view
Jesus woes to them as an insult (11:45).
6. Not long before this Jesus had spoken to a lawyer (an expert in the law). Review that encounter in
lesson 51 (Lk 10:25-36).
The office given to lawyers by God was to teach the way of eternal life according to the Torah (receive
mercy from God). But the lawyers did not teach the way of life, they taught the keeping of the law to
earn Gods favor, an impossible burden to carry (11:46). To this already heavy burden, the lawyers
add the demands of the oral law (such as washing before meals). So their approach and
interpretation of the Torah lead to death instead of to life.
7. What had been Gods primary purpose for sending the prophets?


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God had sent the prophets to point out Israels wickedness and to call them to repentance.

What happened to the prophets because of the message they proclaimed (11:47b)?

The prophets were rejected and killed by Israels forefathers.

What did the lawyers in Jesus day do for the prophets (11:47a)? What do you think their purpose was
in doing this?

In Jesus day the lawyers built tombs for the prophets. Presumably they did this to honor the

But Jesus, who is the final and eschatological prophet, says that their building of tombs really says
something different about the lawyers. According to Jesus, what is it that the building of tombs for the
prophets says about the lawyers (11:48)?

Jesus is saying that the lawyers building of tombs actually shows their approval of the killing of
the prophets. Its as if they are saying, The prophets and their message are dead. Lets make
sure we keep it that way.

The message of the prophets was one of justice and love of God (11:42) in response to Gods
grace. The message of the prophets agreed with the Torah. But the teaching of the lawyers was one
of works to earn Gods favor. So through their teachings the lawyers oppose the prophets (and the
apostles, 11:49b) and continue to do as their fathers didkill the prophets.
8. In his wisdom what did God do (11:49)? And what did he know would happen?

In his wisdom, God sent prophets and apostles to speak his Word. And in his wisdom he knew
they would be persecuted and killed.

How long had this been going on (11:50-51)?

God had sent prophets and they had been persecuted and killed throughout the entire OT period,
from Abel to Zechariah.

In the OT, divine Wisdom was personified (Prov 1:20-33; 8:4-36) and later became incarnate in Christ
(1 Cor 1:18-25). Gods Wisdom spoke through the prophets and the apostles, and supremely through
Christ. In his Wisdom, Gods spokesmen would be rejected and killed. Because of Lukes prophet
Christology, Jesus then stands at the center of this passage. For he is the promised great Prophet,
who too would be rejected and killed. The lawyers, the Pharisees, and all of those who are part of
this generation will reject Gods final prophet, Jesus.
9. The lawyers were official interpreters of the Scriptures, and therefore, possessed the key of
knowledge, but they abused their office of the keys. The Scriptures teach about Jesus (Jn 5:39), for
it is only through him that one can have eternal life. According to Is 22:22; Rev 1:18; and Rev 3:7,
what is Jesus? And what does Jesus do in this capacity?


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Jesus is the key of David. Jesus can forgive or retain sins. He can open heaven or condemn to
hell. What he opens or closes, no one can change.

This is great power. According to Mt 16:19, what does Jesus do with it?

Jesus confers the office of the keys on those who minister for him.

The lawyers had the key of knowledge, but what did they do with it (see Mt 23:13 and Lk 11:52)?

The lawyers used it to shut the kingdom of heaven in mens faces. Even they do not enter the
kingdom. Through their false teachings they keep others from entering as well.

10. What did Jesus word of woes cause the Pharisees and lawyers to do(11:53-54)?

The Pharisees and the lawyers began to oppose [Jesus] fiercely. They besieged [Jesus] with
questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.

The controversy between Jesus and the religious establishment has now reached a new level.
11. A word of caution. While reading pericopes such as this, it is easy to denounce the Pharisees and
lawyers for their hypocrisy. But keep in mind that all people by nature are hypocrites, including you
and me. We all at times are more concerned with outward appearance and neglect the deep inner
problem that only God can fix. Therefore when Jesus indicts them, he also indicts us. We are just as
guilty. But we should also remember that Jesus himself suffered the woes of Gods wrath against all
sin, and the plotting of the scribes and Pharisees played right into Gods plan for the redemption of
the world.


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Lesson 57 Confessing Jesus (Lk 12:1-12)
Luke 12:1 begins an extended discourse of Jesus, first to his disciples (12:1-53, interrupted at 12:13-21),
and then to the crowds (12:54-13:21). In general, Jesus warns against hypocrisy and greed, encourages
faithful confession and readiness for his return, and emphasizes the importance of repentance.
In the first verse of the discourse, Jesus mentions the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. This is the reason
Jesus pronounced his woes on them. Therefore this passage must be read with Jesus woes concerning
the Pharisees persecution of the prophets and their plotting against Jesus in mind. We must also keep in
mind that these are Jesus first words to his disciples within this discourse.
See detailed structure. Lk 12:1-12 may be divided into four related sections with an introduction.
Everything that is said takes its validity from the fact that the eschatological kingdom is present in Jesus.
The truth has consequences now. The first two sections and the last one are governed by commands:
beware, 12:1b; do not fear, 12:4; and do not be anxious, 12:11. The middle two sections begin with
the introductory formula, But I say to you (12:4, 8).
1. A short introduction (12:1a) provides the setting for the discourse. Large crowds gather and in their
midst Jesus talks to his disciples.
2. The word hypocrisy is important here. A hypocrite hides what is in the inside by putting up a faade
on the outside. What does Jesus say the coming of the kingdom will do to hypocrisy (12:2-3)?

Jesus says the coming and preaching of the kingdom will reveal and make known hypocrisy. It
will shed light on it to expose it and make it known to all by proclaiming it from the roof tops.

So the disciples are to guard against and avoid such hypocrisy. In fact, they are to expose it.
3. Next Jesus speaks about what will happen when the disciples do expose hypocrisy. What will be the
result (12:4)?

Exposing hypocrisy brings with it persecution and possibly death.

The faithful prophets (11:49) experienced the same and so will the Jesus, the final eschatological
4. Two important words in this section (12:4-7) are fear and afraid. According to 12:4, who might the
disciples be afraid of?

The disciples would be tempted to be afraid of those who persecute them for exposing their

Jesus says do not fear them, but rather fear whom (12:5)? And why?

They should fear God because he has control over their eternal destiny, heaven or hell.


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While fear (the Law) may be a motivating factor, it is not the ultimate motivating factor. Instead, the
Gospel should be the motivating factor in remaining faithful to Jesus. Who should they trust and why

They should trust the One who remembers and cares for sparrows and who knows them (every
hair on their head numbered) better than they know themselves. They are to trust God because
they are valuable to Him.

Both the Law and the Gospel, both fear of God and faith in God, teach disciples not to fear
persecution, for as heralds of the Gospel they are valuable.
5. When faced with persecution or death, what might one be tempted to do (12:9)?

The temptation would be to disown Jesus, to deny who Jesus is and to deny any connection to

What will be the result of doing this (12:9)?

The result will be that God will in turn disown the one who denies Jesus. The result will be eternal
death in hell.

On the other hand, what will be the result if one stands firm in his faith (12:8)?

By not disowning Jesus, by confessing Jesus as the Savior, God will not disown him. Faithfulness
in the face of persecution results in eternal life with God in heaven.

6. The price that we pay for denying Jesus is a heavy price indeed. And yet, Jesus next words are
words of comfort and hope, even for those who deny him. What is possible for those who deny Jesus

Denying Jesus is a sin that can be forgiven.

Who comes to mind as an example of this? (See John 18:15-18, 25-27 and John 21:15-19)

No one is immune to fear of persecution. Even Peter, as certain as he was that he would stand
firm, feared persecution and denied Jesus. Yet, the Holy Spirit turned Peter to repentance. His
words against the Son of Man were forgiven and Peter was reinstated.

A word against Christ may be spoken in fear, as above, or in ignorance (Saul before the illumination
of his conversion, see 1 Tim 1:13). What comfort it is that both of them were forgiven. But this should
be of no surprise, for Jesus taught his disciples to pray forgive us our sins. The Holy Spirit works to
turn darkened or fearful hearts to repentance. And faith lives in repentance (the first of Luthers
Ninety-five Theses). Faith grasps the forgiveness Christ won for us.


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It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin, work faith, and cause us to repent. What
happens if one opposes this work of the Spirit throughout life and into death (12:10b)?

This is the sin against the Holy Spirit which will not be forgiven.

Blasphemy against the Spirit is a conscious, informed rejection and reviling of the Spirit after the Spirit
has provided ample testimony that Jesus is the Christ. As such, this sin is possible only where the
Gospel has been present and the illuminating rays of the Spirit have been shining. It is saying that the
divine Spirit, who came upon John and Jesus, is a liar, of the devil, the father of lies. That is the sin
committed in 11:14-23. They saw the power of the Spirit at work as Jesus plundered Satans house.
Yet they denied that the finger of God (11:20) was at work in Jesus, and what is more, they ascribed
Jesus saving, Spirit-supplied power to the devil.
The use of finger of God for the Holy Spirit above reminds us of the Exodus from Egypt once again.
It was clear to all that the presence and power of God was with Israel, and yet, Pharaoh hardened his
heart against God. In the wilderness wanderings Israel was guilty of the same response.
In Gods plan of salvation, the Son was sent to be an object of scorn, to take the sins of the world
upon himself. But the Spirit was not sent to suffer abuse at the hands of the world, he was sent to turn
the world away from sin and toward God. Reviling the Spirit has no place in Gods plan. Rejection of
the Spirit prevents one from being turned by the Spirit to repentance and faith; it cuts one off from the
forgiveness of sins. If one persists in this blasphemy until death, there is no opportunity to be
7. As disciples of Christ, its not a question of if they will face persecution; they will be persecuted
(12:11). Jesus tells them that when this time comes not to worry. Why shouldnt they worry? What
promise does Jesus give them (12:12)?

Jesus promises that at the time of persecution they will have to make a defense of their faith, but
not to worry because the the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.

Jesus has and is anticipating the disciples ministry in Acts. He has sent them out; he has taught them
the possible responses they might get, both positive and negative; and he continues to teach them,
even as he journeys toward his death in Jerusalem. The teaching will not end when Jesus ascends
into heaven. After that time, the Holy Spirit will become their catechist, teaching them at the critical
hour. After Pentecost, they too will begin to teach, as the Holy Spirit comes upon them and causes
the body of Christ to grow through their confession of Christ before Jews and Gentiles.


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Lesson 58 The Parable of the Rich Fool (Lk 12:13-21)
Jesus discussion about persecution is interrupted by someone when he wants Jesus to divide an
inheritance between himself and his brother. Jesus refuses to get involved with this earthly dispute and
instead uses it to teach about possessions.
See detailed structure. This passage is divided into four segments. The first segment introduces the
subject of possessions. The second and fourth segments are two principles concerning possessions.
These two segments frame the third segment, which is the parable of the rich fool.
1. It was common for Jewish people to ask a Rabbi (teacher) to interpret and apply the Torah to
specific cases: the Torah deals with inheritance matters in passages such as Num 27:1-11; 36:7-9;
Deut 21:15-17. Jesus, however, is not interested in doing this at this time. Instead, Jesus takes the
opportunity to teach about the proper attitude toward possessions. (Jesus will again teach his
disciples and the crowds about possessions in 16:1-31 and 18:18-30.)
2. In the first principle concerning possessions, Jesus uses similar language as he did earlier in this
discourse. What are each of these two similar phrases about?


Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.


Be on guard against all kinds of greed.

When a catechumen hears the similarity, he will want to know if there is a relationship between the
two. Lk 11:39-42 and 16:14 will help the hearer make a connection between the two. For the
Pharisees, how are the two related?

The Pharisees outwardly present themselves as generous givers of money. They tithe even a
tenth of their herbs. But inwardly they loved money. They were filled with greed. So they were
hypocritical in the way they handled their possessions.

But this is basic sinful, human behavior. The accumulation of possession appears to provide safety
and so we put our trust in things. Whereas, confessing Jesus and trusting in him appears to be
risky, for it brings with it persecution. In reality though, when considering eternity, the opposite is
true. Trust in Jesus brings eternal security, while trust in possessions brings a safety that is fleeting at
Greed is an obsession to hoard all things for ones self, blocking out any thought of God or ones
neighbor. The person who succumbs to the temptation of greed is trying to establish and measure his
life by what he has. Such a person does not understand who he is in relation to God and others.
Possessions are not the source of life in relation to God (12:15).
3. The first principle leads to a parable about a man who already has worldly wealth. Life itself is a gift
from God. All of our possessions are also a gift from God. In the parable, God gives a man an
abundant crop. The question is what will he do with it? Will he share it with his neighbor or will he
hoard it for himself?


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In 12:18-19, the man decides what he will do. Count how many times the man refers to himself in
these two verses (look for words like I, my, myself).

The man refers to himself about 8 times.

Read these two verses again, putting emphasis on these words.

A Middle Easterner is generally surrounded by family and friends, a community. Who does the man
consult when he makes his decision and who does he celebrate with?

The man consults no one. He relies completely on himself. And the man celebrates by himself.
His greed has sentenced him act and celebrate alone.

4. The rich man has pronounced himself secure. But before he can enjoy his self-pronounced security,
the Giver of every good and perfect gift speaks to him. What is Gods message to him (12:20)?

God tells him that his life will be demanded from him that very night. Then his possessions will be
of no value to him. Someone else will get them.

The question, Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? echoes Eccl 2:18-26. Read
these verses.
Having much wealth can lead to worry and anxiety about what to do with it, how to make it grow, and
how to keep from losing it. Considering that God has freely given such wealth, how might such worry
and anxiety be alleviated?

One solution is to freely give away what God has freely given. Not only will this alleviate anxiety
of having such wealth, but it will also remove the temptation and anxiety for the future heirs. Also
the whole community benefits from the sharing of the surplus.

The passage ends with the second principle (12:21). It summarizes the parable and suggests where
true wealth can be found. How is one rich toward God? One is rich toward God when one believes
that God is the giver of all things, including life and salvation. To show that one believes is to share
with others the gifts God gives. Behind this is the Gospel of grace: forgiveness is bestowed as Gods
free gift in Jesus Christ.
The question for each of us is, what do we do with these gifts from God? Do we receive them by faith
and then share them with others (wise) or do we abuse the gift by assuming we have earned it
through our own efforts and then hoard them for ourselves (foolish)? Are we wise or foolish? Gods
gifts, whether physical or spiritual, are never to be hoarded. They are always to be shared with others
that they may benefit also.


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Lesson 59 Do Not Be Anxious (Lk 12:22-34)
The parable of the rich fool was told to the crowds. This passage follows and is a commentary on the
parable of the rich fool for the disciples. These words are recorded by Matthew as part of the Sermon on
the Mount (Mt 6:25-34; 6:19-21). However Luke presents this passage in a different context, which serves
Lukes unique purpose. On the surface, it may seem to be nothing more than another series of Jesus
teachings about possessions, but Jesus connects the proper attitude toward possessions with the
kingdom of God. This casts his teaching in an eschatological context.
See detailed structure. This passage is divided into three groups of imperatives surrounded by an
introduction and conclusion.
1. In 12:1, Jesus was speaking to his disciples. In 12:13, someone in the crowd interrupted Jesus and
Jesus spoke to the crowd about possessions. Now in 12:22, Jesus goes back to teaching his
disciples (the Twelve, the seventy, and others). This teaching is for those who call God Father
(12:30,32) and to whom the Father has given his kingdom (12:32).
2. Much of Jesus teaching to his disciples, beginning at his journey to Jerusalem (9:51), has been to
prepare them for their future proclamation after he ascends into heaven. Here Jesus teaches using
imperatives as he did in the Sermon on the Plain and when he taught them how to pray. After his
death and resurrection, his disciples must be ready to proclaim the kingdom. Nothing must distract
them from this proclamation.
3. Look at the outline for this passage. Note below how the nature of the imperatives change.

The imperatives in 22b-28 concern: the necessities of life.

The imperatives in 29-32 concern: the necessities of life in relation to the kingdom of God.

The imperatives in 33 concern: the attitude toward possessions in light of the kingdom.

When the Father graciously makes you a part of his kingdom, your whole perspective on possessions
4. Worry and anxiety are the opposite of faith. What are two things people tend to worry about (12:2223)?

We tend to worry about food and clothes.

Jesus puts this worry in the proper perspective. What two things does he invite his disciples to


Consider the ravens and how they dont store up food and yet are fed by God daily.

12:27 Consider the lilies of the fields and how they dont worry about clothes and yet how
splendidly they are dressed by God.


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These simple observations should lead one to conclude that if God takes care of these things, he will
surely take care of me.
5. By calling his disciples you of little faith (12:28), Jesus transitions to his teaching about the kingdom.
Worry over possessions is a sign that one lacks faith. Worrying about such things is what pagans do.
By not worrying, believers show that they understand what (12:28b, 30b)?

When believers do not worry they show that they trust in God and believe that he will provide
them with all they need, clothes, food, etc.

And by not worrying, what will the believers full attention be focused on (12:31a) and what will God
provide (12:31b)?

A believers full attention will be focused on Jesus kingdom and God will provide the necessities
as well.

6. In the next imperative (12:32), Jesus urges them not to fear. What imagery does Jesus use?

Jesus uses the image of a shepherd who cares for his sheep.

The flock that Jesus speaks to (his disciples) is the beginnings of a new Israel. They will be the
foundation of Jesus kingdom and they will proclaim that kingdom. As Jesus little flock, they need
not fear, for the kingdom that the Father is pleased to give them is the kingdom that Jesus bequeaths
to them at his Last Supper. And that meal looks forward to the eternal meal where they will eat at the
banquet table of the Gods kingdom forevermore.
7. In 12:33, Jesus says to sell possessions and give to the poor. What is it that Christians know that
allows them to do this and even motivates them to do this(12:31-32)?

The Father has given us the greatest of treasures, his kingdom. This treasure is an eternal
treasure. It never wears out or is exhausted. With our focus on the kingdom, we know that God
will provide everything else that is necessary for life. We give to the poor, trusting that God will
provide all we need.

8. Lets focus more on the word treasure for a moment. In terms of eternity, who or what should we
treasure the most?

Obviously, we should treasure Christ the most because he won eternal salvation for us.

Through what means do we receive this treasure?

We receive Christ through the means of grace, through Baptism, Communion, and the Word.

These may be considered gifts from Christ, for it is through them that we are brought to and kept in
Christs kingdom. So to be rich toward God (Lk 12:21b), one receives the treasures God gives
(Christ and his gifts) and becomes a member of his kingdom. There are two alternatives: the fleeting


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treasure on earth (12:21) or the eternal treasure in heaven (12:33-34) (another passage where Jesus
teaches about these two ways is in Luke 16).
9. The two-fold Gospel message of this pericope (12:22-34) is this:
1) For those seeking the treasure of the kingdom, the Father will provide adequate earthly
treasure as well to sustain them in their journey from earth to heaven.
2) Along the way while still on earth the little flock will be graced with eternal heavenly treasures
through Christ, the Shepherd who washes his flock in Baptism, feeds his sheep with himself in
the Supper, and tends them with the guidance of his Word.


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Lesson 60 Watch for the Coming of the Son of Man (Lk 12:35-48)
Jesus discussion of the proper attitude toward possessions moves now to his call for watchfulness for
Jesus second coming (parousia). The servant in this story and the rich fool are similar it that neither are
prepared or watchful. Possessions may cause one to be unprepared, to seek other things other than the
kingdom. Jesus kingdom comes in its fullness when he returns, but so also does his judgement. One
must be watchful for the coming of the Son of Man, this is the theme of this story.
See detailed structure. Peters question breaks this passage into two main parts.
1. Read the introductory verse, 12:35.
What the NIV translates as Be dressed ready for service, the CC translates as Let your loins be
girded. To gird loins is to lift up the heavy robes from around the feet and ankles so that one is ready
to travel. Girding the loins also prepares one to work or serve. This phrase is also used in the OT.
What was the occasion it was used at in Ex 12:11?

This phrase was used at the Passover. They were to be ready to leave Egypt quickly.

So two images come to mind from this phrase. The connection to the Passover gives the image of
readiness to travel or journey. The other image associated with this phrase is brought out by the NIV
translation, the image of a servant preparing for service.
The second part of the verse (12:35b) also suggests the context of the Passover and its preparations.
Read Ex. 12:14-36 and explain why.

The Passover took place at night (Ex 12:29-31). The Jewish day began at sundown. So to
remove the yeast from a house, a lamp was needed to search their houses. They were to be
ready to leave at the moment when the word came. The word came when Pharaoh summoned
Moses and Aaron in the middle of the night.

2. The first parable mentions two different meals: the banquet (12:36) and the meal that the Lord serves
to the slaves reclined at the table (12:37). What is the focus of the first meal (12:36)?

The focus of the first meal is on the servants and if they are waiting and ready for their master

For those servants who are faithful, what surprising thing will the master do for them when he returns

When the master returns, he will gird his loins, have them recline at the table, and serve them.

What feast does this bring to mind for the Christian? (The Christian will see the Lords Supper as a
meal that anticipates this feast.)


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This brings to mind the second coming of Jesus, where the Lord returns and all believers will join
the him and celebrate at the messianic banquet feast. At this feast Christ will serve his servants.

3. The second parable (12:39-40), a thief in the night, is an example of the sudden arrival of the
eschaton. Here Jesus calls himself the Son of Man. In Eze 12:1-16, who was called the son of man?

The prophet Ezekiel was called the son of man.

What event was he to act out the sudden arrival of?

Ezekiel was to act out the sudden arrival of the exile.

In the book of Luke what event is tied to Jesus being called the Son of Man (9:22, 44; 18:31; 22:22,
48; 24:7; 9:26; 12:8)?

In Luke the name Son of Man is tied to Jesus suffering and shameful death.

The Son of Man will come unexpectedly and at an unknown hour in judgement. One must be found
waiting, watchful, and ready.
4. Only Luke records that Peter asks a question (12:41). Once again this marks Peter as a leader and
spokesman for the disciples. Peters question is whether the previous two parables were directed
toward the apostles or to all of Jesus followers. Jesus never directly answers the question. Instead he
tells a third parable. The emphatic conclusion of the parable suggests the answer is both. What is
true for every Christian (the first two parables) is of course true for the Twelve---and it is true for the
Twelve in a heightened sense since they are stewards of the Master.
5. The parable is about a slave who is also a steward, put in charge of other slaves. The steward can
act in two different ways. What are they?


The steward can be faithful to his master and act wisely.


The steward can be unfaithful to his master and act foolishly.

All disciples of Jesus are his slaves. The slaves who are appointed to serve the food to the other
slaves refer to the apostles. The meal which they are to faithfully serve their fellow servants is the
Lords Supper. Jesus has appointed the apostles to be over and to serve his community of followers.
He urges them by this parable to be faithful in administering the Lords Supper.
The second half of the parable discusses the unfaithful servant. What is the penalty he will pay for his
unfaithfulness (12:46b)?

The unfaithful servant will be cut into pieces and be assigned a place with the unbelievers.

Lets concentrate on the world cut for a moment. In what way is cut used in Ge 15:9-18?

In this passage a covenant was cut. An animal was cut into two pieces and at least one party to
the covenant walked through the pieces to seal the covenant.


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The Lord has made a covenant of grace through the sacrifice of his Son. God has appointed
stewards to administer his covenant gifts. Those who pass through accept the covenant and are
saying by their action: May I be rend in two if I do not keep this covenant. Those who are not faithful
will be treated like the covenant sacrifice, they will be cut into pieces.
6. The conclusion is a stern warning and highlights the responsibilities of the stewards (apostles and
ministers) of the heavenly covenant gifts. These ministers know and believe that Gods kingdom
comes in Jesus. They know and believe that Gods kingdom comes through the preaching of the
Word and at the Lords table, which they have been entrusted with. Those who know Gods will, but
are not faithful stewards, will be punished more severely because they held the key of knowledge
(11:52) and did not use it.
We have been privileged by God to know his will. But the privilege brings with it responsibility. Only
with Gods help can we remain faithful and use Gods gifts in the way that he intends.


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Lesson 61 The Baptism Jesus Must Undergo (Lk 12:49-53)
For several passages, Jesus has spoken of those things that might distract the disciples from the
stewardship they were called to. They can easily get off course if they follow the hypocrisy of the
Pharisees or the love of possessions. Instead they are to stay vigilant and watchful. But there are other
distractions as well, such as the division and persecution caused by Jesus ministry. Jesus brings with him
fire. Those who accept Jesus are refined by that fire. Those who do not accept him are devoured by the
fire. Jesus presence and ministry cause this division.
See detailed structure.
1. In the end times, the fire of Gods wrath is poured out on all who oppose him (3:9, 14). In reality all
people oppose God and deserve the fire of his wrath. But beginning with Jesus baptism, Jesus took
the fire of Gods wrath upon himself, as the substitute for sinful humanity. Throughout his earthly
ministry Jesus healed, forgave, and raised people, releasing them from bondage, and took their
sickness, sin, and death on himself. On the cross he endured the fullness of Gods wrath, as he was
thrown into (baptized in) the lake of fire (Rev 20:10, 14-15). (Also see Mark 10:38-39 where the cup of
Gods wrath is parallel to baptism. Cf. Mk 14:36; Lk 22:42.) Jesus yearns that his substitutionary
atonement would come soon.
Jesus ministry then is framed by baptism, a water baptism which placed him under Gods wrath, and
a bloody baptism in which he received the full extent of Gods wrath. Look up and tell what happens in
Jn 19:34.

A soldier pierced Jesus side with a spear, and when he did, water and blood flowed out.

Now look up Jn 19:35 and 1 Jn 5:6-8. What does this water and blood do?

This water and blood testified that Jesus was the Messiah.

At his baptism, the Father tells the world that Jesus is the Son of God and the Holy Spirit descends
upon him in power. At his death, Jesus dies in the place of humanity, as the Son of Man. This was
Gods plan for his Anointed One and Jesus carried it out.
2. There is a connection between the confirmation of the Sinaitic Covenant and this baptism Jesus
underwent. Briefly explain what happened in the confirmation of the Sinaitic covenant (Ex 24:5-11).

Sacrifices and offerings were made. Half of the blood was sprinkled on the altar. The covenant
was read to the people. The people agreed to obey the covenant. The other half of the blood was
sprinkled on the people. Representatives of the people of Israel went into Gods presence and ate
and drank with him.

(1) The idea behind OT sacrifices was substitutionary atonement. The animal that was sacrificed shed
its blood in place of the sinner. (2) In confirming the covenant, the shed blood of the sacrifice was


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applied to the people. (3) This appeased Gods wrath and brought forgiveness of sins. This is
apparent by the fact that Israels representatives were able to go into the presence of God and eat
with him. How is Jesus bloody baptism similar?

(1) Jesus death on the cross was a sacrifice in which he was the substitute for all of sinful
humanity; he shed his blood in our place.

(2) God made a new covenant. Each person is confirmed in it when the blood of Christ is applied
to them in Baptism (in Baptism Jesus sprinkles many nations [Is 52:15]).

(3) Jesus shed blood appeased Gods wrath and won forgiveness of sins. His blood, applied
through water and the Word by the Spirit, cleanses us, so that we are able to enter into Gods
presence and eat and drink with him. We do this regularly in the Lords Supper.

3. In speaking of the baptism he must undergo and his distress until it is complete, Jesus speaks of his
destiny in Jerusalem. His words here (12:50) hint at what will come in the garden of Gethsemane
(22:42-44), where he shows his distress over his imminent suffering in his prayer to the Father. It is
there that Jesus first sheds his blood. It is in Jerusalem that Jesus will be offered up like a whole
burnt offering for the sins of the world as the fire of the Fathers wrath is laid on him.
4. Next comes something surprising. What does Jesus say he came to bring and not bring (12:51)?

Jesus says he did not come to bring peace and that he did come to bring division.

What do the following passages from the infancy narrative say Jesus came to bring? (1:79; 2:14;


What did Jesus bring sinners throughout his ministry? (7:50; 8:48)

Jesus brought sinners peace.

When the disciples were sent out, what did they take with them and extend to people? (10:5-6)

They took with them and extended peace.

What did Jesus bring with him as he entered Jerusalem? (19:38, 42)

Jesus brought peace with him as he entered Jerusalem. The people did not understand this.

So how do we reconcile the fact that Jesus brings peace and that he brings division? (Hint, the cross)

Jesus has indeed come to bring peace between sinners and God. But only those who receive him
and what he did on the cross by faith have that peace. The scandal of the cross brings division.
Some accept Jesus work on the cross to be true and effective, while other reject it.


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Many examples were given above of Jesus bringing peace. Throughout Luke there are also many
examples of the division Jesus brings. In 2:34-35, Simeon said Jesus would cause some to fall and
some to rise. Jesus whole ministry was one of division, especially with the religious establishment
(7:29-30). The Parable of the vineyard (20:9-19) highlights this rejection. Those who follow Jesus may
have to forsake family ties (12:51-53).
5. The family division that Jesus causes (12:51-53) is reiterated by Jesus after the banquet parable
(14:26). This division of the family also comes up again in Jesus final apocalyptic discourse (21:1617). But even if forsaken by biological family members, followers of Jesus are part of the family of
God through the new kinship which comes to those who hear the Word of God and do it (8:19-21).


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Lesson 62 Two Exhortations for the Present Time (Lk 12:54-59)
This passage begins the second part of Jesus extended discourse to journeying pilgrims (12:1-13:21).
Except for 12:13-21, the first part (12:1-53) was spoken to the disciples (12:1, 4, 22, 41), with the
presence of large crowds noted (12:1). This second part (12:54-13:21) explicitly incorporates the crowds
into the addressees (12:54). This passage (12:54-59) on examining the signs of the times (and
responding) is closely connected to the next pericope, which calls for repentance (13:1-9). The evangelist
makes it clear that the present time is critical indeed (12:56; 13:1).
This passage speaks to all those who are on the way to appear before the judge. So the sayings apply to
every person who is journeying from birth toward death and judgement. They will apply all the more to
Christian disciples in the post-Pentecost church who are making their pilgrimage from rebirth in Baptism
(cf. 12:50) toward resurrection with Christ inaugurated in Baptism (Ro 6:4-5; Col 2:12). Enlightened by
catechesis, Baptism, and the outpouring of the Spirit, they especially should discern the signs of the
present age that is quickly passing away.
See detailed structure. In the center of the passage is the word critical time. The passage revolves
around it.
1. In this passage Jesus suggests to the crowds (and the disciples) that if they are able to interpret the
signs of the heavens that suggest changes in the weather, then they surely should be able to
understand Jesus ministry as a harbinger of Gods final, eschatological judgement.
2. A cloud rising in the west and a south wind were both signs that happen in the present time. When
read correctly, they tell what will happen in the near future. The people have the ability to see what is
happening, to interpret it, and to predict, based on the signs, what will happen. Jesus says they
should be able to do the same thing with him and his ministry. In fact, many times the people
demanded signs (such as 4:23). What signs did Jesus promise to give (4:18-21)?

Jesus said he would preach Good News, proclaim freedom and recovery of sight, release the
oppressed, and proclaim the year of the Lords favor.

In response to John the Baptist and his disciples, what signs did Jesus point to (7:18-23)?

Jesus pointed to the miracles he was doing. Jesus was doing what he had promised in his
sermon at Nazareth.

What response did Jesus give the crowds when they asked for a sign (11:29-30)?

He said no sign would be given, except the sign of Jonah and it was Jonah who preached

Clearly, the people of Nazareth (Luke 4), John the Baptist and his disciples (Luke 7), and the crowds
(Luke 11) have been shown that the present time of Jesus ministry, considered in light of the


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promises of the OT, is a portentous time, a sign of the imminent fulfillment of the eschatological reign
of God.
3. Discernment or judgement is strong in the context of this passage. One will successfully judge when
one does so Christologically. When one judges the present time as the time of the Christ, then one
will be able to judge what is right (or righteous). According to Lk 23:47, who is the righteous one?

Jesus is the righteous one. He is the only one who is in a right relationship with God.

When the people judge this present, critical time and the one who stands before them as the time of
the promised Christ, then they will be able to see that the future brings judgement, either a judgement
of forgiven or a judgement of guilty.
4. In 12:58-59 Jesus uses another illustration that extends the previous one (12:54-56). Discerning who
Jesus is and seeing the coming judgement, Jesus urges them to act before they reach the judge.
What are they to do and when are they to do it (12:58)?

They are to make peace with or be reconciled to their adversary. And they are to do it while they
are on the way to see the judge.

For the Christian, the words on the way bring to mind the current context of this passage, which is
Jesus journeying toward Jerusalem. As Jesus was on the way, he taught his disciples. Christians
are able to judge what is right through catechesis in the Christian faith, as they are on the way to
the Judge. Through such catechesis they are able to make peace with their adversary before they
reach Gods final court.
5. In 12:51-53 Jesus said he had come to bring division, where even within families some will be with
Jesus and some will be against him. All people are on the way to face the Judge (God). Thinking
Christologically, who is the adversary? Who is the adversary that we must be reconciled to in order to
avoid being thrown in jail by the Judge?

The adversary is Jesus and on the way through life, he confronts us by calling us to repentance.
Those who have heeded his call to repentance have made peace with their adversary.

What will happen if one is not reconciled with his enemy on the way?

He will be thrown into debtors prison until he can pay back the debt that he owes. But since there
is no way to earn money while in prison to pay back the debt, the length of the prison term will be

Because of our sin, each of us owes a great debt. Our need is to be released from that debt. Jesus
whole ministry is one of release. He releases many kinds of captives from that which imprisons them.
He releases the blind from their blindness so that they can see. He releases the sick from their
sicknesses so they are well. He releases sinners from their sins (7:40-43) out of pure grace. Jesus
does all these things as he teaches his disciples on the way. As they go, they should be able to read
the signs of his ministry just as they read the coming weather.


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6. Jesus came as the righteous one to cast the fire of Gods wrath. But he also came as humanitys
substitute. So the fire of Gods wrath is cast upon Jesus beginning at his baptism and completely at
his bloody baptism on the cross. As humanitys substitute, he assumes the worlds debts. One
continues to be his enemy if one does not allow him to assume ones debt. When the Gospel moves
the hearer to faith and when he is baptized into Jesus death and resurrection, he is transported to the
other side of the division (12:51-53); he is set on the side of Jesus and his relatives according to the
new kinship (8:19-21). Christ is no longer his adversary but is now his advocate.

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Lesson 63 Repentance and the Parable of the Fig Tree (Lk 13:1-9)
This passage begins the second part of Jesus response to the crowds that began in 12:54-59. This
second part (13:1-21) encompasses a call to repentance (13:1-9), Jesus second Sabbath controversy
(13:10-17), and two parables of the kingdom (13:18-21), all of which give examples of how the people
must be discerning in their interpretation of this critical time (12:56).
This passage has the same setting as the previous one. It occurs at the same time and place and with the
same crowds who gathered in 12:1 and whom Jesus has been addressing since 12:54. The themes of
judgement and repentance (Law and Gospel) run through both 12:54-59 and 13:1-9.
See detailed structure. Both judgement for the impenitent and forgiveness for the penitent are evident in
the two separate but related segments, 13:1-5 (the blood of the Galileans and the tower of Siloam) and
13:6-9 (the parable of the fig tree).
1. Jesus had chided the crowds for not examining the sign of this critical time (12:56). Perhaps some
in the crowd thought that Pilates killing of the Galileans might be such a sign and they wanted to see
how Jesus would interpret it.
The best explanation of when such a crime was committed was the Passover. This was the only time
when laypeople sacrificed in the temple. Pilate violated the holiness codes by sending his troops into
the temple, killing the Galileans in the temple during the Passover, and mixing their blood with the
blood of the lambs.
2. They may have brought this incident up because they believed this was a sign from God that they
should rise up against Rome to win freedom. But Jesus sees it in a religious context. In a religious
context and based upon Jesus response in 13:2a, who would the crowds most likely say the sinners
were in this incident and why this tragedy happened?

They would say the Galileans were sinners and were being punished for it. Jews believed in a
cause-and-effect relationship between sin and suffering.

Jesus sees it differently. Who does Jesus warn in 13:3? And what does he warn them to do?

Jesus warns all the people in the crowd that are listening to him. He warns them to repent,
otherwise they too will perish.

The Jews misread such signs. They are not Gods judgement on individuals for particular sins. They
are signs of Gods wrath against all sinful humankind. All humans are on the way to the judge and all
need to repent, to make peace with their adversary. Any who do not repent will perish.
3. John the Baptist preached the same message of repentance (3:3). What did John say would happen
if they did not repent (3:9)?

He said they would be cut down and thrown into the fire. In other words, they would perish.


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What happened to the Galileans at the hand of Pilate (13:1-3)?

They perished.

What did Jesus say would happen if the people did not repent (13:3)?

They would perish.

Ever since Adam, sin and its effects have been in the world. Sin brings with it suffering and death.
Jesus came to release his creation from sin and its effects. How does Jesus bring this release? See

Jesus came to suffer and perish so that humanity would not have to. He takes sin and its effects
upon himself, freeing the world so that it does not have to perish.

4. To drive home his point even deeper, Jesus brings up an accident at Siloam, where a tower fell on
some people and killed them (13:4-5). This event is similar to the previous one in that it is a tragedy in
which people perish and its grammatical construction is similar to the first incident. But it is also
different. The first event had political (Pilate/Romans) overtones and religious (sacrifice) overtones. In
the second incident there are no Roman villains and no Jewish martyrs. This tragedy is of natural
causes. Yet Jesus describes it as a sign just like the preceding one. Compare v.3 and v.5. What do
you notice about them?

They are exactly the same. Jesus makes the same point about both stories. These two stories
serve as signs of Gods judgement on all people. They both serve as a call to repentance.

Jesus call to repentance is to anyone who is listening to him, both then and now. Jesus says to each
of us, But unless you repent, you too will perish (13:5). The correct interpretation involves judging
what is righteous (12:57). The Christian conclusion is not they must have deserved it, but rather, I
deserved the same, yet also, Thank God that Jesus perished on behalf of me and of all, so that I
might not perish eternally.
5. Jesus continues his call to repentance with the parable of the fig tree. Once again Jesus words
remind us of John the Baptists exhortations. What similarities do you see between Lk 3:8-9 and Lk

Both are a call to repentance. In both people are compared to fruit trees. The people are urged to
bear good fruit, to do good works that show they are repentant. In both cases such good fruit is
not being produced and the threat is that they will be cut down.

This story fits in with the flow of the whole section. Jesus urges all people to listen to his words and to
see what he does. These are signs given now at this critical time. They are to judge that he is the
righteous one. And they are to recognize their sinfulness and bear the good fruits of repentance.
6. The owner of the vineyard has been very patient with the fig tree. He has waited three years for it to
bear fruit. But now the vinedresser intercedes for another period of time during which the vinedresser
will provide outside nourishment for the tree. Who might the vinedresser be and what might the
fertilizer be?


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Vinedresser: The vinedresser may represent Jesus and the early church whose mission was to
the Jews. But in reality, all who proclaim the Gospel of Gods mercy in Jesus and intercede for
those who are perishing play the role of the vinedresser.

Fertilizer: Only the Gospel has the power to bring forth the fruits of repentance, so the fertilizer is
the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The vinedresser acts to save the trees by applying the Gospel and at the same time the tree must
respond to those acts or they will be of no avail.
The themes of judgement and mercy must always be viewed through the lens of Gods judgement on
Jesus and Gods mercy on humankind through him. One must view massacres and accidents from
the perspective of the cross. In them one must see that at this critical time ones own judgement is
imminent and so flee through repentance into the kingdom that comes through the incarnation,
crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Gods Son. The forgiveness of sins is present in the risen
One, who remains present in his church through the proclamation of the Word and the administration
of the Sacraments.
Ultimately, Jesus words are not so much about Israels sin or the sins of individuals, but about the sin
of all humankind. The parable of the fig tree explains the proper way of understanding Gods mercy.
Jesus calls for repentance during this critical extra year, revealing Gods merciful forbearance.
Anyone who does not repent will perish (13:5).


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Lesson 64 The Second Sabbath Controversy (Lk 13:10-17)
This is the third in a series of six miracles in the journey narrative (10:17-20; 11:14-23; 13:10-17; 14:1-6;
17:11-19; 18:35-43). And it is the third miracle in a row that deals with the power of kingdom of God over
the kingdom of Satan.
This is also the second Sabbath controversy in Lukes gospel. This one is like the first one (Lk 6:1011):
both begin with Jesus teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath , followed by a healing that takes place
there. There will be a third controversy at 14:1-6.
See detailed structure. Luke opens with the introductory setting (13:10), continues with a chiastic
structure that includes the miracle (13:11-13) and the discussion (13:14-16), and concludes with the twin
reactions (13:17).
1. In 13:10 Luke provides the setting. Where and when does this story take place?

This story takes place in a synagogue on the Sabbath.

Who is at this place and what is he doing?

Jesus is there and he is teaching.

The beginning of this story reminds one of the beginning of Jesus Galilean ministry. How does this
setting connect the hearer to 4:14-21?

There too Jesus was at a synagogue teaching on the Sabbath.

How does 13:11-13 remind one of 4:31-41?

In both cases Jesus teaching is followed by his miracles.

What similar reactions occurred in both stories (4:28-29; 4:32,36-37; 13:17)?

The reaction to Jesus teaching and miracles was either opposition or praise.

2. The CC translates Jesus words to the woman in 13:12 as, Woman, you are released from your
weakness. In 13:16 we see that it is Satan who has caused this weakness. This provides us with an
interesting contrast between the Holy Spirit and Satan. Read 1:35; 4:14; and Acts 1:8. What do these
passages say about the Holy Spirit? Or what is connected with the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is powerful. The Holy Spirit used that power in the conception and ministry of
Jesus. The Holy Spirit also comes upon Jesus followers and them gives power. So Satan causes
people to be weak, but the Holy Spirit provides great power.

3. Sin affects humankind both spiritually and physically. Satan used an ailment to bind the woman
physically for eighteen years and he uses sin to bind people spiritually for eternity. Without outside


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help, we are doomed forever, but Jesus came to set us free from all that binds us. When Jesus frees
the woman from her sickness, he frees her not only from her physical sickness, but also her spiritual
sickness as well. When Jesus healed her, what did she immediately do (13:13)? What word could be
used to describe what she did?

She straightened up and praised God. She worshipped God; she responded to the gift of Gods
grace by praising him.

4. The response of the synagogue ruler, as translated by the CC, in 3:14 was, There are six days in
which it is necessary to work. Therefore, on those days come and be healed, but not on the day of the
Sabbath (italics mine). Later Jesus responded to ruler, Was it not necessary [for this woman] to be
released from this chain on the day of the Sabbath (13:16) (italics mine)?
In the book of Luke, the word necessary is connected to Gods plan and will for salvation for sinful
humankind. Whatever is necessary is the core or center of the Christian religion. So what the
synagogue ruler considers necessary is the core or center of his religion. Nowhere in scripture does
it say that it is unlawful to heal on the Sabbath (for laws concerning healing and cleansing, see Lev
12-15). Where do you think the ruler gets the idea that healing on the Sabbath was work?

This idea was part of the oral code that the Pharisees followed. It was a man-made rule.

The main thrust of the Law was love, that is, to love God and love neighbor. Loving our neighbor
involves providing for their needs. But whose needs did they put first before someone like this woman

They put the needs of animals before the needs of people.

Was Jesus justified in calling them hypocrites? Why or why not?

Yes, Jesus was justified in calling them hypocrites because they pretended to be zealous for the
law. A summary of the law is love. But the ruler was not concerned about loving the woman. He
was indignant that Jesus would do such a good thing as heal the woman on the Sabbath.

5. The synagogue ruler was missing the main point about the Sabbath. The Sabbath was to be a rest,
that is, a time of liberation from work. The support for such a concept (and Jesus healing on the
Sabbath) can be found in Lev 25. In Lev 25:1-7, what was Israel to observe? What rested during this

Israel was to observe a Sabbath year. During this year the land was liberated from its servitude.
They were not to sow their fields or prune their vineyards.

In Lev 25:8-55, what else was Israel to observe? What was liberated during this time?

Israel was to observe the Year of Jubilee. In the Year of Jubilee, the land is freed, nothing is to be
sowed. Land that has been sold is returned to the original owner. Those Israelites (Gods people)
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Who does the Scripture say owned the land and the people of Israel (Lev 25:23, 42)?

The land and the people belong to Yahweh, the LORD. They rightfully belong to him.

So knowing these things about the Sabbath year and the Year of Jubilee, how does it apply to Jesus
healing on the Sabbath and to his whole ministry?

Jesus is returning people to their rightful owner. Humankind sold itself into slavery. But Jesus is
redeeming them (buying them back) because Gods people are not to be slaves. Jesus is
liberating people from their slavery so that they might be free to serve God. Jesus ministry is the
year of the Lords favor (Lk 4:19), a year of Jubilee.

6. At this time go back and review the lesson for Lk 6:1-11, the first Sabbath controversy in Luke. Briefly
state the high points of # 1 of that lesson.

In Ge 2:3 and Ex 20:8-11 the Sabbath was given in connection with.. Gods work in creating the
universe. On the seventh day God rested from his work.

In Deut 5:13-15 the reason for the Sabbath.. was to remember Gods work of redeeming his
people Israel from Egypt.

In Jn 5:8-10, 16-17 Jesus said.. the Father and the Son are always working.

Considering Ge 3, where we are told that sin entered the world and where God made a promise
to send a Savior, the continuous work of the Father and the Son is.. to redeem his lost creatures,
to recreate them in his image.

So the Sabbath pattern established in the beginning gave one day of rest from the physical labors
of this world. But the Sabbath pattern given after the Exodus looked forward to the full redemption
and re-creation of the world back to the way God first intended it; it looked forward to the world to
come, that is, to Gods kingdom.

God set the same pattern in world history. He appointed a series of _____________
___________this-worldly kingdoms (Babylonians, Medes/Persians, Greeks, and Romans)
followed by _____Gods ______________________eternal kingdom, which brought peace and
rest (cf. Dan. 2:31-45; 7:1-28; 9:20-27). Gods kingdom came with the coming of ____________
______________________ his Son Jesus Christ. It came in Jesus incarnation, _____________,
______________, _______, and ________________ ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection.

The Sabbath day looked forward to the Sabbath age. With the coming of Jesus, a new day
dawned (Lk 1:78), the Sabbath age had begun. With this new day, the OT Sabbath day (the day
which had no end [See Ge 1:1-2:1 where each day was a complete day, each had an evening


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and a morning, except for the seventh day, a day seemingly without end.]) comes to an end. But
the eighth day, which dawns in Jesus, is the eschatological day of eternal rest. Jesus has fulfilled
and made obsolete the OT Sabbath by initiating Gods eternal kingdom of rest. In this new age, in
this new creation, all time and space are hallowed for worship.
7. This passage, along with the next, provide a conclusion to the discourse of 12:1-13:21. Thematically
this passage goes with the previous passages of this section. The first theme is that of hypocrisy (see
#4 above). Luke frames this section with hypocrisy (see 12:1 and 13:21). This type of hypocrisy does
not recognize that Jesus brings, in his teachings and miracles, a new Sabbath age. They cannot read
the signs of this present, critical time. This passage concludes this second theme. Another theme
hinted at is repentance. This ruler was indignant over the healing of this woman. Will he to look to
throw Jesus off a cliff? When Jesus work of re-creation is finished, he will die at the hands of his
enemies and only then will he rest on the Sabbath (in the tomb).

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Lesson 65 Parables of the Kingdom (Lk 13:18-21)
The parables of the kingdom bring to a close the unit that began in 12:1. In the next verse (13:22), Luke
will give his second travel notice, beginning the second stage of Jesus journey to Jerusalem.
Luke does not mention a change in audience, so the hearer assumes that the synagogue crowd hears
these parables in the context of Jesus healing of the woman and his sharp exchange with the chief of the
synagogue concerning the Sabbath. This forces the hearer to look for a link between the necessity of
release that Jesus works in the great Sabbath age and the parables of the kingdom. Also the mention of
yeast in the second parable ties back to the beginning of the discourse, where Jesus warned of the yeast
of the Pharisees, providing a frame for the discourse.
See detailed structure. The two parables are parallel in structure. Both begin with an introductory question
by Jesus. Both contrast the small beginning of the kingdom with its grand scope at the end of the age.
1. The meaning of these two parables seems quite clear. What do they mean?

Like a tree that grows from a small seed and like a small amount of yeast that leavens a whole
lump, Gods kingdom begins in a small and humble fashion and grows to be a great kingdom.

But there is more to it than the dramatic growth of the kingdom. This growth takes place over time and
through a powerful, mysterious process. What causes seed to grow and what causes dough to rise?

The growth process is a process beyond human understanding. God has built into his creation
the miraculous power for a seed to grow and for yeast to cause dough to rise. Humankind with all
of its scientific knowledge is not able to create such a living growth. God must be given credit for
the growth.

By what humble and simple means does God cause his kingdom to grow?

God uses the means of grace, his Word, Baptism, and the Lords Supper to grow his kingdom. By
these simple means and the power of the Holy Spirit, God causes his kingdom to grow until it
encompasses people from all over the world.

2. This discourse (12:1-13:21) begins and ends with Jesus speaking about 2 kinds of what?

It begins and ends with Jesus talking about 2 kinds of yeast, the evil yeast of the Pharisees
(hypocrisy) and the divine yeast of the kingdom of God.

The hypocrisy of the Pharisees leads to un-repentance and to un-preparedness for the eschatological
judgement. This hypocrisy refuses to read the signs that are present now, in Jesus teachings and


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miracles. The alternative, given in 13:18-21, is to turn to the kingdom of God. That kingdom, which is
present now in Jesus, seems small, insignificant, and hidden. But hidden within it is Gods mighty
creative power, the power that releases those who are captive to sickness, greed, and Satan. These
are signs that a greater release is coming, a release that comes through Jesus death and
resurrection. Those who perceive these signs (12:56) and remain faithful servants until the Masters
return have the divine yeast within them, which will raise them up and cause them to inherit an
immense treasure the size and value of which are hidden now (12:33-48).


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Lesson 66 The Second Travel Notice and Entering the Kingdom
Banquet (Lk 13:22-30)
This passage begins a new discourse (13:22-14:24) and the second major division in Jesus journey to
Jerusalem. By describing Jesus destiny as an exodus (9:31) and as being taken up (9:51) Luke
pictures Jesus work of salvation as a movement out of this world through suffering, death, resurrection,
and ascension. Jesus is reenacting Israels exodus from Egypt. References to Jesus movement to
Jerusalem immediately suggest his work of atonement there. His atoning sacrifice will be his own life, as
implied by 13:33 (necessity of a prophet dying in Jerusalem).
In this passage Jerusalem is not only the place of Jesus destiny, but also the place for feasting (13:2630). The eschatological table fellowship of Jesus becomes the setting for Jesus teachings. The previous
discourse ended with two parables about the kingdom of God. This new discourse begins with a section
about who will be received into the kingdom.
See detailed structure. The structure of 13:22-30 centers around three warnings, but the passage also
has an important introduction and a conclusion that portends Jesus reversal in Jerusalem (he was dead
but was raised to life) and the reversal of those who are saved (spiritually dead and raised to life).
1. What is the question asked in 13:23?

Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?

This question is one in a series of questions at critical moments in Lukes narrative. These questions
help the learner reflect on the significance of the theological discourse. How does the learner apply
this question to himself?

The learner will ask himself, Am I one of the few who will be saved?

Note that the question itself has a distinctive Christian flavor as it speaks of salvation, but it comes
from a preoccupation of the first century Jews concerning the relationship between historical Judaism
and the people of God. The Jews wondered if all those who called themselves Jews were really part
of the people of God. The concept of a remnant chosen by God from a larger population is found
clearly in the writings of the Essenes who saw themselves as that saved group and who scorned
other Jews. The Pharisees had the same thoughts and maybe even to a higher degree.
2. The question asked was in the third person and caused the spotlight to shine on others. How does
Jesus turn this around and shift the spotlight on the questioner and hearers of the question (13:23b27)?

Jesus speaks in the second person; he speaks to you. I tell you, you will stand outside, I
dont know you, Then you will say, and again, I dont know you.

Jesus begins with an imperative, Make every effort to enter through the narrow door. The CC
translates using the word struggle, struggle to enter. What kind of struggle occurs in every
Christians life? (For help see Ro 7:7-8:13)


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The struggle that takes place is that of Gods Word calling one to repent and trust in Christ and
the sinful nature encouraging independence from God and his Word, and in fact, warring against

St. Paul summarizes this struggle and its resolution in Ro 7:7-8:13. The struggle is resolved when the
old Adam is put to death by the Law and the person of faith is raised to new life with Christ by the
power of the Gospel. This ongoing, lifelong struggle characterizes the lives of all who are baptized
into Christ.
This interpretation (Will you enter through repentance?) agrees with the previous discourse, as it
called for preparation for the Son of Man by repentance (Lk 13:3,5) and for discernment of the signs
of Jesus ministry (perceived only by faith) (Lk 12:56). Entrance though the narrow door is gained by
those who repent and see in Jesus the Lord of the eschatological banquet.
3. In 13:23, Jesus talks about the narrow door. In Mt 7:13-14, Jesus talks about both the narrow gate
and the wide gate that leads to destruction. So again we see the two ways. The way to and through
the narrow door is catechesis. The time between Jesus first and second coming is the time of
catechesis. When Jesus comes again, the door will be shut and the time to enter through catechesis
will be over.
The question raised was, Will only a few be saved? In Jesus answer he contrasts the many and
the few. Given Jesus response, what is the answer to the question?

The answer is yes, few will be saved.

Jesus answer could be discouraging. But the hearer need not despair or try to struggle through his
own efforts. Lukes narrative makes clear that one passes through the door by grace, which both
encourages and instructs us. One clear example is when a similar question is asked, only this time in
the first person: What should we do? What answer was given to this question in Acts 2:37-39, 41?

The answer given was Baptism in the name of Jesus --- a Baptism of repentance to the
forgiveness of sins with the gift of the promised Holy Spirit --- provides all that is necessary for
entrance. Those who were baptized were added to the number of those being saved.

Those who were baptized remained steadfast in the apostles doctrine, in the fellowship, in the
breaking of the bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42). The regular reception of the Lords Supper
anticipates the end-time feast of Lk 13:29.
4. In the second warning (Lk 13:25-27), Jesus speaks of the master or owner of the house arising and
closing or locking the door. Who is the master or owner of the house? (Hint: see 13:26)

The master is Jesus. In his ministry he ate and drank with the Pharisees and with sinners.

During the time of Jesus (and John the Baptists) ministry, the gate was open. It was narrow, but it
was open. But the religious establishment refused to repent, and repentance was the only way
through the narrow door. So when the door is shut, they (and all who do not repent) will be left on the


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outside. They were invited to the Kings banquet, but refused to come, and now are shutout. After
being shutout, what kind of appeal do they make (13:26)?

They appeal to be let in on the basis that they had ate and drank with him and heard him teach in
their streets.

Why did this plea not help? (See 1Cor 11:27-31)

Eating and drinking with Jesus now does not guarantee a place at the eschatological banquet to
come. When one does not recognize the body and the blood of Jesus as the real presence of
Yahweh (the LORD), one brings judgement and condemnation upon oneself.

5. One of the primary locales where Jesus taught about his identity as the messianic King and the
coming of Gods kingdom was at the table. After Jesus ascension, the preaching, teaching, and table
fellowship of Jesus continues in the worship life of the church. Jesus is still present to teach his Word
and serve guests at his table. This is an open door. If entrance is not made now, later it will be too
late. What will Jesus response be (13:35b, 27)?

I dont know you or where you come from. Away from me all you evildoers, or all you workers
of unrighteousness.

Using the CC translation of Depart from me, all you workers of unrighteousness, what word ties this
to 12:57? What have these people failed to do?

The word righteousness ties the two together. They have failed to discern what is right Jesus
Christ. They reject the Righteous One who alone opens the narrow door to the eternal banquet.
They work against the Righteous One, and therefore are workers of unrighteousness.

In the previous discourse (12:57-59), Jesus threatened judgement, but now that threat becomes a
reality for those who reject him and his kingdom. They have chosen and traveled the wrong way.
6. The third and final warning continues Lukes catechetical language of the two ways, the way of life
and the way of death. What will happen to those who choose to reject Jesus (and John) and take the
way of death (13:28)?

They will be weeping and gnashing their teeth. They will see the patriarchs and prophets at the
banquet, but they will be thrown outside.

This statement seems to be pointed directly at the Jewish religious establishment. The mention of
what one person makes this connection? (see also Lk 3:8)

Abraham is the connecting person. They believed that since they were descendants of Abraham,
that they would enter Gods kingdom, the eschatological banquet.


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Instead of following this person on the way of life to the banquet, they took the way of death and
ended up on the outside looking in where he is.
7. Lk 13:29-30 tells us who traveled the way of life and entered through the narrow door. Who will attend
this joyous banquet? (see also Lk 13:28; 14:13, 21 and Is 66:19-23)

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, Gentiles (from the east and west, north and south), and
those who are last, the poor, the disabled, the lame and the blind.

To human eyes who would seem the most fit (the first) and the most unfit (the last) for Gods

The Pharisees and the rest of the religious establishment, from a human perspective, seem the
most fit. The unclean Gentiles and the outcasts of Israel seem the most unfit.

But in Gods kingdom, the Pharisees, who want the first seats in the synagogues (11:43) and at the
table (14:7-11), and the lawyers (scribes), who held the key of knowledge that opened the narrow
door to the final banquet (11:52), will be shut outside when they seek a seat at the final banquet.
Conversely, the Gentiles and sinners (the last) will enter. This is the Great Reversal of Gods
8. The hearer of the Word knows that the reversal referred to here prepares one for the ultimate reversal
in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Gods own Son will be rejected to the point of suffering and death on a
cross in order to open the eschatological banquet door to all humanity. In Jerusalem Gods firstborn
shall be last, and Gods exalted one shall be humbled (14:8; 18:14). But three days later will come the
greatest reversal of all.


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Lesson 67 Jesus Prophetic Destiny in Jerusalem (Lk 13:31-35)
The importance of this episode in Lukes gospel cannot be overstated. It is possible to structure the travel
narrative in such a way that this passage stands at the center of the entire journey. The theme of this
passage and this section is Jesus, the rejected prophet. This theme was first introduced in Jesus first
sermon (4:16-30) and has been reiterated several times since then. This passage also restates that
Jerusalem is the city of destiny and the place of his final rejection.
See detailed structure. Luke typically casts significant passages in chiastic frames and he has structured
this climactic passage pericope chiastically.
1. The introduction (13:31-32a) is critical to this passage. Luke begins with a time reference. When did
this take place? What does this time reference tie this story to?

This story took place at that time or in that very hour. It ties this story with the previous one,
the narrow door that leads to the end-time banquet.

Notice that similar vocabulary is used at the Last Supper (22:14), the moment of arrest (22:53), and
the Emmaus meal (24:33). These events are so momentous that Luke saw fit to record the times at
which they occurred. So with this time reference (13:31), Luke places this passage in select company.
There are no references to a place, so where do we assume this story took place?

It took place on his journey to Jerusalem at the same place where he gave three warnings
concerning the narrow door and the end-time banquet.

Who are the participants in this story?

The participants are some Pharisees and Jesus.

2. Lets examine the motives of the Pharisees as they urge Jesus to leave the area because Herod
wants to kill him. On the surface how does the statement by the Pharisees come across?

It comes across as positive. It seems as if they are genuinely warning Jesus.

But up to this point in Luke, has there been any indication that the Pharisees have had any concern
about Jesus?


In fact, what kind of words did Jesus have for the Pharisees and scribes in 11:37-52?

Jesus had very harsh words for them.

How did the scribes and Pharisees respond to Jesus (11:53-54)?


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They rigorously counterattacked Jesus.

What did Jesus warn the people to watch out for in 12:1?

He warned them to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

From their first encounter with Jesus, the Pharisees have rejected him. Is it likely, in light of what Luke
has told us to this point, that all of a sudden the Pharisees would be concerned about Jesus safety?

No. They are up to no good.

In terms of a prophet, if Jesus heeded their advise, what would that say about Jesus and why?

It would say that Jesus was a false prophet because he would be trying to avoid suffering and
death of a true prophet.

If Jesus ignores their advice and continues his journey to Jerusalem, what would that say about
Jesus as a prophet?

It would say that Jesus was a true prophet from God and that he remains faithful to his Father,
even in the face of death in Jerusalem.

The Pharisees warned that Herod wanted to kill Jesus. A short time later, Jesus came before Herod
(23:6-12), what happened?

This same Herod, who had John the Baptist beheaded, could have easily had Jesus killed if he
wanted to. Instead Luke says that Herod had been eager to see Jesus and had hoped to see him
perform some miracle.

From the episode just referenced, does it seem as if Herod wanted Jesus killed?


3. Lk 13:32b and 33 are parallel statements about Jesus ministry. These two statements correspond to
the two phases of Lukes prophet Christology. How does 13:32b express the first phase?

It speaks in terms of Jesus as a miracle worker and teacher.

How does 13:33 express the second phase?

It speaks of Jesus as a prophet who must be rejected and die in Jerusalem like all true prophets.

These statements reiterate the Christology of the Nazareth episode in 4:16-30 and look forward to the
acknowledgement of the Emmaus disciples in 24:19-20, that Jesus, mighty in word and deed, would
be rejected to the point of death. Included in the CC translation of verse 33 is, It is necessary. These
words too make a connection to ch. 24, in verses 7, 26, and 44. The prophet Christology of Luke 13
foreshadows and prepares for the completion of that Christology in Luke 24.


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4. In 13:32b what miracles does Jesus speak of?

He speaks of driving out demons and healing people.

Miracles always testify to the gracious presence of God. The first phase of Lukes prophet Christology
includes not only Christs miracles but also his teachings, but Jesus says nothing here about
teaching. Where is the teaching? Notice that as Jesus responds to the Pharisees, he is teaching, as
he explains his ministry to them. In this teaching, Jesus says he will release people from demons and
sickness today and tomorrow. This release looks forward to the great release which Jesus will
accomplish on the third day. The great release of all creation on the third day is Jesus goal; that is
what he is journeying toward.
5. In the first statement (13:32b), the passion and the cross are only hinted at. But in the second
statement (13:33) the passion and cross are brought into full view as Jesus describes his destiny of
being rejected. What is only hinted at in the first statement, on the third day I am brought to my goal
(CC), is said explicitly in the second, when Jesus speaks of a prophet perishing in Jerusalem. And
why must this happen? One must look at the wording closely. The first statement ends with a
theological passive. The phrase by the Father is assumed (at the end of the statement). It is the
Father that brings Jesus to his goal. Also note the divine necessity of the second statement: It is
necessary for me (CC) or I must (NIV). When Luke uses necessary, he is speaking of Gods
plan of salvation. Jesus is teaching that he must continue this journey in order to reach and complete
the goal that his Father has laid out for him.
6. The three days Jesus is speaking of in both statements are not literal days, but it does alert us to the
fact that Jesus will be in Jerusalem in a very short time for his death. This gives a heightened urgency
to the rest of the Jesus travels as the amount of time Jesus has to teach runs out. The closer he is to
his death, the more eschatological his teachings become.
7. The center of the chiasm (C, 13:34a) is Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the holy city, is known as the place
that kills the prophets. Time after time God had sent prophets speaking his word to this city, but
Jerusalems response was to kill them. It will be no different when The Prophet comes to Jerusalem.
They will reject him as well and will kill him by hanging him on a tree.
In B-13:33 Jesus is willing to do what is necessary, to journey to Jerusalem and die. What is this
contrasted with in B-13:34b?

Jesus willingness is contrasted to Jerusalems unwillingness to be gathered by the Savior.

8. In 13:35 Jesus uses a play on words that would easily be recognized by the Greek-speaking hearer.
Usually when the word release or forgive is used in Luke, it is used to describe Jesus ministry of
forgiveness. Jesus has come to release the captives. But here, what punishment does Jesus give to
those who refuse to accept him? (Note that this is a theological passive too.)

They will be released by God, that is, abandoned, separated from God. They forfeit the new
status of freedom and forgiveness.

God has dwelled among his people in the temple. God will continue to dwell among his people, but
now in the new temple, Jesus Christ, who is Immanuel. Those who do not accept Gods Christ, have
already separated themselves from God. The old temple will be destroyed, for the continued offering
of sacrifices after Jesus one-time sacrifice is an insult to God. But those who accept Jesus as
Immanuel and as the sacrifice for all of humankind, receive grace and mercy; they are the true Israel
(Ro 9:6-33; 11:25-26), the Israel of God (Gal 6:16). They will inhabit the new Jerusalem (Rev 21-22).


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Whether house means temple or people, is up for debate. But it really doesnt matter because by
the time the temple is razed in 70 AD Israel has ceased to be the people gathered around Gods
means of grace.
The citation of Blessed the Coming One in the name of the Lord (13:35, CC) is from Ps 118:26. This
same Psalm is quoted by Luke in Lk 20:17 and Acts 4:11 in reference to the cornerstone that the
builders rejected. The blessedness (a condition for which God alone is responsible) of the Coming
One (messianic title) who comes in the name of the Lord (his baptism and transfiguration) must be
seen in the context of his rejection by Israel. Even though the Coming One is rejected to the point of
death, God exalts him to the highest place of honor (the head of the corner). In Luke, the day when
Jesus is acclaimed as the Coming One is Palm Sunday, the day when Jesus is brought to the brink of
his goal. Jesus will also be acclaimed as the blessed Coming One at his Second Coming. Once
Jesus has ushered in Gods kingdom with his death and resurrection, the Second Coming (parousia)
may arrive today, tomorrow, or the next day.


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Lesson 68 Sabbath Healing, Meal Etiquette and the Banquet Story
(Lk 14:1-24)
Both the meal (5:27-39; 7:36-50; 11:37-54) and the Sabbath (6:1-11; 13:10-17) have been the occasion
for controversy with the Pharisees or religious authorities. The controversy with the Pharisees and their
careful observation of Jesus at the table during the Sabbath remind the hearer of their previous concern
for his behavior at the first Sabbath miracle (6:7, 11) and the second meal with the Pharisees (11:53-54).
The Pharisees unwillingness to be gathered into Jesus brood is exactly the kind of rejection Jesus just
described in 13:34-35.
Jesus is going to teach at a synagogue on the Sabbath. As was the custom, the guest preacher, is invited
to the house of a local church official to eat the Sabbath evening Seder and to preview his teaching the
following day. While at this meal, Jesus performs a miracle and teaches the host and the invited guests.
The literary unit is tied together by to eat (14:1) and taste my banquet (14:24) and by references to the
poor and infirm (14:2, 13, 21).
See detailed structure. For the Sabbath healing (14:2-6) Luke uses a simple ABC, ABC structure. Notice
the movement in this structure from sickness to healing (14:2-A; 14:4b-A), from Jesus question about
what is permitted on the Sabbath to his question that answers what is permitted on the Sabbath (14:3-B;
14:5-B), from silence to inability (14:4a-C; 14:6-C).
Jesus then teaches about meal etiquette now in his presence and at the eschatological table fellowship.
The teaching maybe divided into two parts, the part addressed to the guests (14:7-11) and the second
part to the host (14:12-14). In both cases there are parallel constructions that indicate that this is meant
for both the guests and the host. The detailed structure highlights these parallels (commands are
indicated by bold type; parallels by italics).
The last passage (14:15-24) is made up of seven stanzas which record conversations between the
master who is throwing the banquet, his slave, and some of the guests.
1. Lk 14:1 provides the setting for the narrative in 14:2-24. Jesus is at a Sabbath meal at the house of a
ruler of the Pharisees. See the context above.
2. The previous Sabbath healings are pertinent here. There has been a progression in the response of
the Pharisees. What is their response in each case?

6:11 anger.

13:17 humiliation.

14:4 silence.

The lawyers and Pharisees complete inability to answer Jesus questions (14:6) indicates that Jesus
overturning of their Sabbath requirements is irrefutable.
3. What is the proper attitude that Jesus teaches invited guests should have (14:8-11)?


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Jesus teaches that the invited guests should not exalt themselves, but rather humble themselves.

This is a clear teaching of the Great Reversal. Jesus teaching applies to his disciples. But it is much
more. It is a statement of Christology; it is a description of life, ministry, death, and resurrection of
Jesus. Consider Jesus teaching in 12:35-40. What reversal takes place there/

The master serves the servants.

What did Jesus teach about greatness when an argument arose among his disciples in 22:24-27?

The one who rules should be like the one who serves.

The ultimate act of service came when Jesus willingly suffered and died in the place of sinful
humanity. Jesus took the lowest place, but the Master exalted him to the highest place through his
resurrection and ascension, and now Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. The
stone that the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner (Ps 118:22).
4. In speaking to the host (14:12-14), who does Jesus say he should invite to dinner? And why?

He should invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind because they cannot pay him

What would the Pharisees think about inviting such guests?

It would be unthinkable to invite such unclean guests. In their eyes this would be bad table

Jesus reverses the normal Pharisaic table fellowship by teaching and actually eating with sinners. In
fact, Jesus said that fellowship with outcasts brings a state of blessedness now because repayment
will come from the Father (theological passive) at the resurrection (the not yet). The reward for being
a humble host will be exaltation at the end-time banquet, a movement by the Host to a place of honor
at His table.
5. What verses within 14:7-14 give this passage an eschatological thrust?

Verses 11 and 14 give it an eschatological thrust by speaking of the great reversal that ultimately
will take place. Taking the role of the humble servant now, results in exaltation later.

Humility is a mark of the messianic age, both of the Messiah and his followers. Humility now is
rewarded later. The humble and repentant who sit at the table with Jesus now will also sit with him at
the messianic feast, the essence of the next parable in 14:15-24. In essence, the meal now with
Jesus (The Lords Supper) is the same meal as the one celebrated later with Jesus. It is an ongoing
6. The pivotal verse for 14:1-24 is the beatitude in 14:15: Blessed whoever will eat bread in the
kingdom of God. This beatitude is a response to Jesus Sabbath healing and teaching by someone in
the crowd. It leads to the third passage, the banquet story, the climax of 14:1-24.


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The prophetic and wisdom literature of the OT developed a banquet theme as an expression of the
perfect happiness which God has in store for his faithful at the end time (see Is 25:6; 55:1-3; and Prov
9:1-6). This parable presents Jesus table fellowship as the fulfillment of the OT banquet prophecies.
A state of blessedness comes from eating bread in the kingdom of God. Jesus is now ushering in that
kingdom and offering that bread in his table fellowship with outcasts and sinners. The parable
describes the nature of the kingdom.
Jesus begins by giving the setting for the story. What is the setting?

The setting is that a certain man (later called master and owner in 14:21) was preparing a great
banquet and invited many guests.

7. The setting is followed by seven stanzas (see detailed structure) which record conversations between
the Lord, his slave, and some of the guests who were invited to the banquet.
In 14:16-17, what does it say about the guests?

It says that they had been invited. They had already received what is called the first invitation.

What happened in 14:17?

The master sent his servant out to inform those invited that the banquet was ready now. This is
the second invitation.

What is recorded in 14:18-20?

It records the invited guests making excuses as to why they cant come to the banquet. In that
culture this would be considered an insult.

The servant reported what had happened to the master. What was the masters response (14:21b)?

The master was angry. He commanded his servant to go to the streets and alleys in the town and
bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.

The servant did what the master commanded, but there was still room. So as a result, what did the
master command (14:23)?

The master commanded that those outside the city, out on the country roads and lanes, be made
to come to the banquet so that the banquet will be full.

8. If the people in the town represent Israel, what does the parable mean?

It means that Israel has rejected Gods invitation to the eternal banquet. Instead then, God will
invite the outcasts of Jewish society (these are the same people Jesus urged his host to invite to
his dinner party). Those who live outside the town (Israel) are the Gentiles.


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The parable began with a banquet beatitude and ends with a banquet warning. Jesus table fellowship
is a two-edged sword of blessing and judgement. There is tension between those who are excluded,
the Pharisees and religious establishment, and those who are included, the tax collectors and
sinners, the poor and maimed and blind and lame. Jesus table fellowship with sinners in the course
of his ministry prepares for the full expression of this fellowship at the Last Supper and at the endtime banquet.

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Lesson 69 The Conditions of Discipleship (Lk 14:25-35)
Lukes narrative now begins the fifth discourse of Jesus teaching on the way to Jerusalem. This discourse
is filled with parables, many of which are unique to Lukes gospel. These parables tend to center on Gods
mercy and compassion.
Jesus has told the parable of the banquet showing that the Pharisees and lawyers were unwilling to
respond to Gods invitation. Jesus now warns the crowds that the price of accepting his invitation and
journeying with him is costly and requires sacrifice. In fact there are three entailments of discipleship
announced in this pericope: hating family (14:26), carrying the cross (14:27), and leaving possessions
behind (14:33). The point is illustrated with three parables (14:28-30, 31-32, 34-35).
See detailed structure.
1. Jesus is teaching the crowds and much of what he says he has said before. He has already spoken
of hating family (8:19-21; 9:59-62; 12:52-53), carrying a cross (9:23-27), and giving up possessions
(5:11, 28; 12:33). But especially, what Jesus says here seems to be an echo of what he said in Luke 8
(the parable of the sower and its meaning). Its just said in a different way.
Both Luke 8 and Luke 14 describe barriers to true repentance and impediments to genuine
discipleship. What was the main point of the parable of the sower? (look back to the study guide for
ch. 8 if necessary)

The point of the parable of the sower was that the message of the Gospel will have a mixed

Here too it describes how different hearers react to the Word. The first type of hearer is the one who
comes to Jesus (14:26), who maybe has heard about Jesus and has come to see what he is all
Jesus is teaching the crowds. That means the crowds are learners or catechumens. So in a sense,
Jesus is asking the crowds: What kind of learners are you? Can you accept what I teach? Will you
believe and live my words? Will you continue to journey with me, when you hear my word. Jesus
doesnt beat around the bush. His teaching immediately challenges his learners. What is Jesus first
teaching concerning those who would be a disciple of his (14:26)?

Jesus said that to be his disciple one must hate his family (father, mother, wife, children,
brothers, and sisters) and even himself.

Isnt this quite shocking? Mt 10:37 is very similar to Lk 14:26, but Mathew says it in a little different
way. Instead of hate, what language does Matthew use?
Anyone who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.
So when it comes down to a choice of following family or Jesus, who do you choose? Who do you
love more? Who is really your family? This can only be understood in the context that Jesus is


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overturning the Jewish laws of kinship. Jesus said, My mother and brothers are those who hear the
Word of God and do it (Lk 8:21).
So the first type of catechumen is one who finds it difficult to hate his family. This one is like the
seed that fell on the road and was eaten by the birds. They immediately make the wrong choice,
choosing their earthly family over Jesus heavenly family.
2. The second type of hearer is one who has left family, understands the cost of discipleship, and is
journeying with Jesus. But those who travel with Jesus encounter rejection and persecution. They are
like the seed that fell on the rock. They have received the Word with joy, but they have no roots and
fall away in times of temptation (8:6,13), which can include persecution (22:40-46).
3. Jesus interrupts the flow of the narrative with two parables. One parable concerns building a tower
(14:28-30) and the other concerns a king going to war (14:31-32). The parallel language in each
queues us in that both have the same theme. What is the theme?

The theme of both is counting the cost before embarking in a large project.

The two parables also illustrate the first two costs of discipleship. Luke is writing to those who are
learning about Jesus Christ and are considering baptism. When one becomes a disciple of Christ,
what does one build his life on (see Eph 2:19-22)?

The Christian life is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus
himself as the chief cornerstone.

Lukes gospel is providing the foundation and those who are baptized enter into a new family, the
family of God, which is built upon a sure foundation (6:48). In baptism one is crucified to the world
and the world to him (Gal 6:14), a new life begins. The follower of Jesus loses the world and gains a
One who is crucified suffers greatly and receives ridicule from crowds. When one is baptized into
Christ, one suffers with Christ and one enters Christs war. The disciple of Christ follows him into war.
The enemy is fierce and the battle wages all around them. Did the baptized consider this beforehand?
Will they retreat in the heat of battle?
Both parables warn catechumens to consider the cost of following Jesus as he travels to the heavenly
Jerusalem via the earthly Jerusalem and the cross.
4. The parables then lead to the third requirement of discipleship (14:33). What is the impediment to
discipleship here?

Possessions may impede one from becoming or remaining a disciple of Jesus.

How might this impediment be like the seed that grew up in the midst of and was choked off by the
thorns (8:7, 14)?

Possessions can preoccupy us to the point that our lives revolve around possessions and we put
our trust in our possessions. They can slowly choke the spiritual life from us.


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5. Jesus summarized his teaching with a saying about salt. Similar statements about salt are in Mt 5:13
and Mk 9:49-50. Lukes version accents the value of genuine salt. What two things are salt used for?

Salt is used for preserving food and for seasoning. For a long time salt was the only means for
preserving food; it was critical. Also, food that tastes bad or that has no taste can be redeemed by
seasoning it with salt.

Jesus says if salt loses the qualities that make it salt and make it valuable then the salt becomes
worthless. It can only be thrown out, like those thrown out at the end-time banquet because they
came without faith in Jesus (13:28). In fact any who hear the Word, but fall away because of family
ties, the burden of Jesus cross, or possessions, then they become like tasteless salt, worthless and
deserving of being thrown out.
6. There is one last tie to the parable of the sower. Jesus last statement: He who has ears to hear, let
him hear is almost identical to 8:8 Jesus is calling the crowds to be hearers of the Word, to be
disciples that follow him to Jerusalem, to the cross, and beyond to the empty tomb and the heavenly
exodus (9:31). But to be hearers of the Word they must take seriously the nature of Jesus call into a
new family, carry their cross, and renounce their possessions. The road to heaven leads through


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Lesson 70 The Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin (Lk 15:1-10)
Luke 15 is a high point in the travel narrative and in the entire gospel. It is sometimes called The Gospel
for the Outcast. Luke 15 is distinctive in Lukes portrait of Jesus. It is closely connected to the table talk
and discourse on discipleship in Luke 14; Jesus is looking for those who have ears to hear his catechesis
(14:35). The entirety of chapter 15 is directed at the Pharisees and is also a fundamental part of the
catechesis for the disciples and the crowds (and tax collectors and sinners).
See detailed structure. The structure of the chapter is simple: an introduction (15:1-3) and three parables,
one about a lost sheep (15:4-7), one about a lost coin (15:8-10), and one about a lost son (15:11-32).
1. What in the introduction (15:1-3) connects this pericope to chapters 13 and 14?

The grumbling by the Pharisees and scribes that Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them is
a statement about Jesus table fellowship. Table fellowship was a major topic in chapters 13 and
14 and it continues to be important in chapter 15 also.

What does this mean then concerning the context for reading the parables that follow? What does
this say about God?

It means that the parables are told in the context of Gods table fellowship. It says that God looks
for and finds the lost in order that they may have table fellowship with him.

Since this is the context, the parables ultimately look forward to the end-time banquet and eternal
table fellowship with God.
2. In his introduction Luke makes no mention of time or place. In fact, there are no time references from
13:31-35 until Jesus reaches Jerusalem (19:27). The last reference to a place was in the previous
passage where Jesus is clearly journeying to his Jerusalem destiny (14:25). It is important to known
that the teachings in Luke 14-16 are given while on the way to his destiny in Jerusalem, where his
exodus will take place.
Luke is most certainly concerned about the persons, the people who hear these parables. The people
can be broken into two groups. According to 15:1-2 what are the two groups?

They are the tax collectors/sinners and the Pharisees/scribes.

What does this introduction (15:1) say that the first group is doing and why?

The tax collects/sinners were gathering around Jesus in order to hear him.

How did Jesus end the previous passage (14:35b)?

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.


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What does the introduction say the second group is doing?

The Pharisees and scribes observe that the tax collectors and sinners are coming to Jesus and
that Jesus eats with them. They are grumbling that Jesus accepts them.

What did the children of Israel do while they were in the desert after leaving Egypt? (For help, see Ex

They grumbled against Moses because of the lack of water.

What signs did the children of Israel witness that were signs of Gods presence before they entered
the desert? (See Ex 7-14)

Israel witnessed the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea.

The Pharisees/scribes imitate the Israelites in the desert. They see the signs of Gods presence
among them, but refuse to believe and grumble.
3. Luke has prepared the hearer for the three parables, which have in common the themes of rejoicing
together and table fellowship. But to be prepared to enter into table fellowship with God, there must
be repentance. And the hearer cannot help but recall how these same two groups responded to
Johns call to a baptism of repentance. How did Jesus say these two groups responded (7:29-30)?

The tax collectors/sinners submitted to Johns baptism of repentance, but the Pharisees/scribes
rejected Gods plan for themselves by not submitting themselves to Johns baptism of

4. The parables will illustrate that the nature of the kingdom is joyous feasting with God. The kingdom of
God is present in Jesus. In the introduction and in the third parable (15:25) the word for draw near is
used. It is used for those who approach the kingdom that has come in Jesus. But these two incidents
result in two different responses. In the one case tax collectors and sinners draw near in repentance
to hear Jesus and receive forgiveness. In the other case the elder son, who represents the Pharisees
and scribes, draws near only to reject the eschatological meal of joy with the Father. Thus in these
parables Jesus addresses both groups. His revelation of the kingdom as a joyful meal with the Father
is of great comfort to repentant sinners and is an invitation to those who have not yet joined the
celebration through repentance. It is necessary to discern that both groups are addressed in order to
understand the points revealed in the parables.
5. Looking at the two parables, they are very similarly arranged, each in a chiastic structure. But the first
incorporates more details enlightening the hearers. When Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep,
which group would be more likely to identify with the shepherd and why?

The Pharisees probably would identity with the shepherd because they were Israels spiritual
leaders and teachers (Jn 3:16).

If they do identify with the shepherd, what might they find offensive about the story?


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The Pharisees might be offended that they were accused of losing one of those they were
responsible for.

What is the accusation that Jesus makes in 11:52?

In 11:52 Jesus accused the experts in the law of having the key to the kingdom, but not using it
and actually preventing others from entering.

Looking at the parable of the lost sheep (15:3b-6), what does the shepherd do?

The shepherd journeys, seeking the lost sheep, finds it, carries it home and restores it to the

This is what Jesus is doing when he accepts and eats with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus calls the
Pharisees and scribes to imitate him and this is what they grumble about.
6. A little background information about shepherds may be of some value. The normal Palestinian
practice would include several shepherds that watch over the sheep. If one sheep were lost, one of
the shepherds would go look for the lost sheep, while the other shepherds would stay with the ninetynine. A sheep that is lost will lie down helplessly and refuse to move. The shepherd must carry the
sheep back to the village where it is restored to the flock.
Most people probably picture the shepherd finding a little lamb that was lost and easily carrying it
back on his shoulders, but what if the sheep is full grown, then the picture changes. Then it would be
a great burden for the shepherd to hoist the heavy sheep on his shoulders and carry it all the way
back to the village. But notice the description of the shepherd as he finds the sheep, puts it on his
shoulders, and carries it home. How does the shepherd feel about this job (15:5)?

The shepherd is joyful, even if the task is difficult.

Without the shouldering of this burden by the shepherd there is no restoration to the flock of the lost
one. This description of the Good Shepherd is a major theme of Luke 15.
7. In first-century Palestine, the joy of one person or family was shared by the entire community. The
most likely way that this joy would be expressed would be the fellowship of a shared meal. While not
explicitly said in these two parables, the context of the table fellowship of chs. 13-14, the accusation
of Jesus eating with sinners, and the banquet for the found son would cause the hearer to envision
the shepherd/woman inviting friends and neighbors into his/her home to rejoice over a meal.
According to the chiastic structure of these parables, what is at the center? What is the main point?

At the center of these parables is rejoicing. The main point is the joy of the shepherd and the
community over the restoration of the sheep and coin.

Ultimately what is Jesus talking about? And who is it that rejoices? And what is it that they are joyful


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Ultimately Jesus is speaking about the community of Gods kingdom (angels and believers) that
rejoices along with God when one sinner repents.

8. Gods kingdom has always been about repentance. The OT prophets called Israel to repentance.
John the Baptists ministry was about repentance. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (5:32).
But the repentance of scripture is different than the repentance of the Pharisees and rabbis of Jesus
day. Looking at these two parables, how is repentance described?

Repentance here is pictured as the kingdom of God (in Jesus) searching for and finding the lost.
Essentially being found is equated with repentance.

9. Jesus gave these parables in defense of his practice of eating with sinners. The Pharisees must know
that Jesus is claiming to be the shepherd who is looking for and finding the lost, and that the lost are
the tax collectors and sinners that Jesus eats with. Will the Pharisees then understand that they are
the ninety-nine self-righteous (assuming Jesus words are to taken ironically) ones? Nothing else is
said of the ninety-nine. Are they still in the wilderness? Have they returned and joined in the meal of
rejoicing? Jesus does not say because this is Jesus call to repentance; the story is not finished. In
Jesus view all are lost and need the Good Shepherd to find and restore them. For Jesus, the call to
repentance goes out to all one hundred. The mission of the church is to the ninety-nine, to all who
have not repented. Through the church, God calls the ninety-nine to be found and to join the
eschatological feast with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
10. The parable of the lost coin has the same structure and emphasizes the same themes as the parable
of the lost sheep. Jesus often told two complementary accounts, one featuring a man and the other
featuring a woman (cf. 13:18-21). Luke especially, out of all the gospels, records this. This parable
then with a woman complements the parable of the lost sheep with a man. This parable has the same
losing, seeking, finding and community rejoicing as the previous one.
11. There is one unique contribution that the parable of the lost coin might make.
The woman with the lamp might be a symbol of the church.
The house that the woman lives in might stand for the house churches that the early church met
The church, as always, is illuminated (the lamp) by the Word of God. The Word is brought to
those who are assembled for worship in order to catechize them.
The coin that was lost may represent the offering paid for atonement of sins (Ex 30:16). The price
paid for atonement is Christ, the coin.
The way that the coin is found is through catechesis and Baptism, which sweeps clean the sinner.
Thus, taking the two parables together, Jesus the shepherd restores the sheep back to the fold,
where there is rejoicing that the lost sheep has been found. But after restoration to the church has
taken place, the church must continue to catechize so that Christ continues to be found in the
ongoing life of the church.


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Lesson 71 The Prodigal Son, His Elder Brother and Their Loving
Father (Lk 15:11-32)
Lk 15:1-2 sets all three parables of Luke 15 in a meal context. They follow closely upon the meal parables
of Luke 14 and are closely related to the division that is being produced by Jesus mission and practice of
table fellowship.
This parable reiterates the themes of the first two, the lost sheep and the lost coin: loss, restoration, joy,
and the invitation to join the rejoicing. But this parable is far more elaborate, rich in details ripe for
extensive interpretation.
See detailed structure. The parable can be broken into two parts. Lk 15:11-24 is about the prodigal son
and his father and 15:25-32 is about the elder son and his father. Both of these sections are structured in
the form of chiasm.
The last line of each of the first six stanzas (note the italics) has to do with the prodigals physical desires,
losses, and needs. The second six stanzas in their final lines (note boldface type) deal progressively with
the restoration to sonship and its ensuing joy. At the center is the prodigals restoration to the father and
his household. For the catechumen, this has ecclesiological overtones, for what is being described in this
part of the parable is how outcasts and sinners within Israel are restored to the new Israel through table
fellowship of Jesus.
The second part of the parable also consists of a chiastic structure. There are seven stanzas. An eighth
and final one would balance the structure and give the ending. But there is none, because the hearer
doesnt know how the elder son will react.
1. From the short first verse (15:11), who are the main characters of this story?

A man and his two sons. So the hearer, from the beginning, expects the parable to be about two
sons and that is exactly correct.

2. According to 15:1-2 who are the two groups of people that Jesus is telling these parables to?

Jesus is speaking to tax collectors/sinners and to Pharisees/scribes.

It is important to keep in mind then that these two groups also correspond to the two sons in the story.
Which of the two groups are represented by the prodigal son and which are represented by the elder

The prodigal son represents the tax collectors and sinners. The elder son represents the
Pharisees and scribes.

3. Lk 15:12 establishes the circumstance for the entire parable. When does one normally receive an
inheritance from ones father?


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Normally one receives an inheritance when the father dies.

In effect then, what was the younger son saying to the father when he made his request?

In effect, the younger son was saying, Please die so that I might receive my inheritance.

No one, in that culture or in any culture, would even consider this request. So it is a great surprise
when the father grants his request and gives to both sons their inheritance.
4. The culture of that day and time was very family oriented. So the community would look at the
younger son in disgust because of his request for his inheritance while the father was still living.
Shortly, the younger son would make his way to a distant country where he would squander his newly
received wealth (15:13). In order to do this, he would have to liquidate his property so he could take
his wealth with him. One only can imagine the amazement, horror, and rejection the young son faced
as he tried to sell off the property so he could turn it into cash.
5. After he had spent everything and, considering that this man is a Jew, how would you describe the
situation he found himself in (15:14-16)?

First he hires himself out to a Gentile (remember he is in a distant land and the man owns pigs).
Then he has to feed the pigs (making himself unclean). And finally he desires to eat the food of
pigs. The younger son has hit the bottom.

6. This brings us to the center of the chiasm (15:17-19). Here the young son comes to his senses. Most
commentators believe the young son completely repents. But the CC, following the lead of Kenneth
Bailey, would term it an initial repentance. He repents so far as he recognizes his desperate
situation and is willing to humble himself before his father, his elder brother, and the village
community. He knows where to go for salvation, back to his father. He has his confession planned; he
realizes that he has sinned against his father and against God.
The key phrase here is make me like one of your hired men. In a sense, the young son wants to
save himself; he does not look for or want complete grace. There are certain advantages in being
his fathers hired hand. He will be back with the family, although not yet restored to it. He will make
money. He wont have to live off of his brothers estate (all that was left was his). He will regain some
of the dignity and status he had lost. The down side to this plan is that he will be going back to a
community where he is considered an outcast. He is repenting but with certain conditions.
The Pharisees and scribes would see this young son as responding as a good Jew should, with a
deep sense of sorrow for sin and a desire to make amends for that sin. If the story ended here it
would be a good moralistic story and conform fully with the Pharisees expectations of how sinners
and tax collectors should be restored to Israel. They must first show through their deeds that they
deserve to be readmitted into the community of Israel.
7. The behavior of the prodigal son is fairly predictable, but the most unpredictable character in the story
is the father. First he gives away the inheritance while he is still alive and now he accepts his
wayward son back into his household with joy (15:20-24). Look at the order of the events as they
unfold. Which occurs first the confession of the prodigal or the love of the father (15:20)? What
adjective best describes the fathers love?


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The fathers love clearly precedes the sons confession. While the son was a long way off, the
father was filled with compassion for him, ran to him (An oriental nobleman with flowing robes
never runs anywhere. To do this is humiliating), hugged him, and kissed him. And he did all of this
publicly. The best way to describe the fathers love is unconditional love or total grace.

8. Notice now the confession the prodigal makes. Compare it (15:21) to the confession he planned to
say (15:18b-19a). Is it the same or are there any differences?

He gives the same confession that he had rehearsed earlier, except that he leaves off one
phrase: make me like one of your hired men.

The omission of this phrase is not because the father interrupts him. He leaves this part off because
he is overwhelmed by grace! He sees that the point for his father is not the lost money, but the broken
relationship. He understands that any new relationship must be a pure gift from his father. He cannot
mend the broken relationship with his labor. The only appropriate response is, I an unworthy.
9. The father desires that his acceptance of his son be clearly communicated to the family and to the
community. What visible signs does he use to show this (15:20-22)?

He publicly ran to meet him and kissed him. He gave him a new robe, the ring of authority, and
the shoes of a free man.

It would be very clear to all that the son had been restored to the fathers house. But the father now
wants to do more. He wants to reconcile the son to the whole community. How does he give the
community a chance to show that they too welcome him back (15:23)?

The father throws a great feast for the whole community (what other reason would there be for
killing such a large animal?). The communities attendance would show that they have followed
the fathers lead and accepts the prodigal son back.

10. In the CC, the father says, bring the calf, the fatted one, sacrifice it (15:23a). The word sacrifice
calls to mind the sacrifice of the Passover lamb (Lk 22:7), which the people of God ate in
remembrance of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. In the passion, Jesus sacrificed himself. He
is the Passover lamb that was sacrificed (1Cor 5:7) for the people of God to consume and to
remember their deliverance from bondage to sin.
11. In the NIV the word celebrate provides a frame around the reason for the fathers joy (15:23b, 24b).
What is the reason for the fathers joy?

This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

These themes are found in several OT narratives and provide background for our text. In high level
way, how do the same themes apply to the following?


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Joseph (Ge 37-50) Josephs brothers lied to Jacob in telling him that he was dead. When he
found out years later that Joseph was still alive, he was overjoyed. Gods purpose in all this was
to save many lives.

Jonah (Jon 1-4) Jonah was lost at sea and suddenly found himself on a beach. He was as good
as dead, but was given new life. Gods purpose here too was to save many people from perishing
(the people of Nineveh).

Noah (Ge 6-8) In the account of the flood, all the people of the world died except Noah and his
family. From them God began a new creation. The world was dead in its sin and God washed it
clean and started over.

All three of these OT stories look forward to the NT themes of death and resurrection through
Baptism. In this story of the prodigal son, there is both a physical and spiritual meaning. The father
thought his son was physically dead, but here he sees that he is physically alive. The father knew that
his son was spiritually dead, but now he is repentant and restored, and therefore, spiritually alive. The
fathers home is in good health, both physically and spiritually (15:27, received him back in good
health, CC).
12. The prodigals religious instruction occurred during the many years he lived in his fathers house. He
knew his father was gracious, as attested too by the giving of the inheritance. He remembered that
mercy when he had lost everything. He reluctantly returned with a plan to work his way back into his
fathers good graces. He is fully converted when he is confronted by the radical nature of the fathers
grace, the Gospel. Now the prodigal is like the newly baptized who has received the kiss of peace (a
sign of reconciliation), the robe of righteousness, and now is ready to join in the Eucharistic feast of
the Father. How many Jews who had been catechized in the OT and who knew the OT promises of a
merciful Messiah, but had fallen away from Israel, would have saw themselves in the prodigal?
13. The second part begins with the elder son in the fields. Apparently this family has a large estate,
which would explain why the elder son is unaware of what has happened. As elder brother comes
near the house, he hears the sounds of music and dancing. The feast that the father had ordered
(15:23) was now happening. The elder son finds out what is happening from one of the servants. How
does he react (15:28)?

He became very angry and refused to go into the celebration.

The father pleads with the elder son. The elder son responds. What is it that really made him mad

The real problem for the elder son is the feast. His father has never had even a small meal for the
elder son.

By his response, how has the elder son viewed himself in the fathers household?

The elder son has viewed himself as a slave, not a son.


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Some who have studied the culture of Palestine at the time of Jesus, see within the response of the
elder son seven insults to the father. How did the father react to the insults and accusations (15:31)?

The father affectionately calls him his son or child and assures him of his place in the family.

14. Notice how the last verse (15:32) begins: But we had to celebrate and be glad (NIV), or But it was
also necessary to make merry and to rejoice (CC) (italics mine). When Luke uses words like had to
or was necessary, what is Luke referring to?

When Luke uses the language of necessity, he is speaking of the divine plan of salvation; it is
passion vocabulary.

The same divine necessity that dictated the death and resurrection of Jesus stands behind the urgent
necessity for celebration and joy at the feast. Jesus death and resurrection is the basis for eucharistic
celebration by those who were lost and dead, but who now, through baptismal incorporation into
Jesus, are found and alive.
15. These three parables about the lost are a response to the grumbling of the Pharisees and scribes
about Jesus acceptance of sinners (15:1-2). They are directed to the Pharisees and scribes. In effect
Jesus is saying to them, I, like the loving father, joyfully accept these sinners/prodigals back into
Gods household, into my family. Wont you celebrate with us? The answer for most of the Pharisees
is No! (There are some Pharisees in Acts that do come to believe in Jesus.) Instead of joining the
party, they crash the party and have Jesus arrested and killed. They cannot stand his generosity to
16. The parable of the prodigal son emphasizes the importance of repentance for acceptance into the
kingdom in Lukes table fellowship. Briefly note how Luke has accented repentance in the table
fellowship of Jesus in previous passages:

Lk 5:29-32 While eating with tax collectors at Levis house, Jesus answered why he ate with tax
collectors and sinners. He said it was because he had come to call sinners to repentance.

Lk 7:18-35 John the Baptists mission was to call people to a baptism of repentance. The tax
collectors accepted Johns baptism, but the Pharisees and experts in the law did not. They called
Jesus a drunkard and a glutton because he ate and drank with these sinners.

Lk 7:36-50 While eating at a Pharisees house, a sinful woman came to Jesus. She was weeping
and performed acts of repentance (washed Jesus feet with her tears and hair, kissed his feet,
and poured perfume on his feet). Jesus then pronounced the forgiveness of her sins.

In the story of the prodigal son, the sons words of repentance occur twice. First in recognizing his
desperate situation and the loving father he could return to, and second, in full repentance, which was
a response to the fathers overwhelming grace. The repentance of the prodigal son becomes the


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prototype for all those who desire table fellowship with God in the eschatological kingdom. Gods
acceptance of the repentant sinner is the year of the Lords favor, which Jesus was sent to initiate.
17. The parable of the prodigal son explicitly connects the Lukan theme of joy in the new era of salvation
with the Lukes table fellowship. Joy results from the experience of salvation (soteriology), come
through Jesus Christ (Christology), incorporating one into the lasting community of friendship with the
Father (eschatology) through the power of the Spirit. Chapters 14 and 15 form the core of Lukes
theology of joy, with the banquet discourses of chpt. 14 preparing for the expression of joy at the feast
in 15:11-32.
The parable of the prodigal son explicitly connects joy with the eschatological kingdom and Lukes
table fellowship. The first two parables of chpt. 15, with the theme of Gods joy at the repentance of a
sinner, anticipates the fullest expression of that theme in the feast of celebration when the prodigal
son returns home. And the joy of the celebration for the prodigal son looks forward to Luke 24 where
the disciples returned to the temple with joy praising God. True joyful celebration at the table of Jesus
comes to the Emmaus disciples after he teaches them, breaks bread with them, and is revealed to
them as the risen Lord.

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Lesson 72 A Story about Possessions and Prudence, and Some
Applications (Lk 16:1-13)
This unit represents the continuation of the discourse that is set in the scene opened at 14:25. It is part of
the parables and teachings of 14:25-17:10. Chapter 16 opens with one story unique to Luke (the steward
of unrighteousness) and closes with another (the rich man and Lazarus). In chapter 16 Jesus teaches
about the proper use of possessions. In 16:1-13 Jesus teaches his disciples. But in 16:14-31, the
audience changes to the Pharisees.
Lk 16:1-31 is one of three major sections in the journey narrative discussing possessions. The others are
12:13-34 and 18:18-30.
See detailed structure.
1. Jesus audience shifts here. Jesus had been talking to the two groups, the tax collectors/sinners and
the Pharisees/scribes. Who does he now talk to now (16:1a)?

Jesus now talks to his disciples. He begins to teach them, through a parable, about the proper
use of possessions.

By telling them a parable, what is Jesus trying to do?

Jesus is using a parable to teach his disciples. It is prime catechetical material.

2. What is the dilemma that faces the hearer of this parable (6:1-8)?

The dilemma is that it appears that Jesus commends dishonesty to his followers.

But this is a false dilemma, a problem only if one dwells on the steward and his dishonesty. The
parable, first and foremost, teaches about God, and only secondarily about the response to God. In
fact there is a parallel between this parable and the parable of the prodigal son. Tell how the lord of
this parable is like the father of the prodigal?

Both the father and the lord are merciful.

Tell how the steward of this parable is like the prodigal?

They both squandered the property.

If one considers this parable from the perspective of the lord, then one will concentrate on the mercy
of the lord and not the dishonesty of the steward. This is the purpose of this parable, to reveal the
lords mercy.
3. Right away, in a subtle way, the mercy of the lord is shown. When the lord finds out about the
stewards wastefulness, he fires him, but he does not throw him in jail. This would have the lords right,


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but he is a merciful man. It is this mercy that the steward banks on in deciding upon the solution to his
Immediately upon being fired, what does the steward think about (16:3-4)? Is this a good thing to
think about?

The steward immediately begins to think about his future; this is a prudent thing to do. He thinks
about what he can do to get himself out of the mess hes gotten himself into.

The steward even considers two alternatives (digging and begging) that are in reality impossibilities.
The unrighteous steward is like the prodigal who wishes to eat pig food. He has hit bottom and there
is no escape from his crisis.
4. The stewards great insight is that he sees that the solution must come from outside of himself. His
entire plan is based on the assumption that the lord is an honorable man who will respond in mercy
as he has done in the past. If the lord will allow just a little bit of time, even though he has every right
not to, the stewards situation may be reversed.
The adverb quickly is very important here. If he moves quickly, before the community knows hes
been fired, then the lords debtors will think that the rewriting of their debts comes from the lord who is
known to be merciful.
5. When the lord discovers what the steward has done, he will have only two options. What two things
can the lord do and what would be the effects of each?

He could reverse what the steward has done. But if he does this, his debtors will be angry and his
merciful reputation will be damaged. Or he can let the adjustments to the bills that the steward
made stand. If he does this he will retain the goodwill of his debtors.

If the lord is to be consistent with his character, he must allow the adjustments to stand and he must
commend the steward for his shrewd use of the lords merciful character for his own benefit.
6. When we talk about eschatology, we talk about the end times, the Last Day. The question for every
person is: Will you survive the Last Day, the day of reckoning? The steward was looking ahead and
planning how he would survive his day of reckoning. So the lord commended the steward for cleverly
using the resources available to him in a wicked world and using them in the context of trusting in the
mercy of the lord so he could survive that day (16:8a).
7. 16:8b comments on the masters commendation in a Christian context. The people of this world know
how to be worldly; they know how to bend the rules, play the game, or beat the system in order to
accomplish their goals. Jesus does not want his disciples, whom this parable is directed towards, to
be worldly. But he does want his disciples to have an eschatological goal of going to heaven and he
wants them to be shrewd in knowing how to accomplish this goal. And the only way to accomplish it is
to rely on the mercy of Yahweh (the LORD).
8. The connection between the parable (16:1-8) and the teachings that follow it (16:9-13) is the theme of
the chapter: the proper use of possessions. How will the people of light be prudent in this world? The
steward was commended for using worldly possessions wisely; now the disciples are instructed by
Jesus on how they might use worldly possessions wisely for the sake of the kingdom. In chapter 12
Jesus has already dealt with this subject. He has laid a foundation, which warns Christians to be


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careful with possessions because they can become a real stumbling block. They can cause
Christians to lose their focus. Instead of looking to and trusting in a merciful God, they can trust in
their possessions to provide security in an uncertain world.
9. Lk 16:9 is the first teaching that follows the parable. In it, Jesus urges his disciples to follow in the foot
steps of the prudent steward. In 16:9a what is it that the steward did that the disciples should also do?
And how did he do it?

The steward used worldly wealth to make friends. He did this by giving the worldly wealth away.

What did the shrewd steward hope to gain by doing this (16:4b)?

He hoped that when he was out of a job, that these friends he had made would welcome him into
their homes, that he would have a future.

In a similar way then, the Christian is to give away worldly possessions (to the poor, 12:33) making
spiritual friends who will welcome them into their eternal dwellings (16:9b). Those who receive alms
(the poor and outcasts) become your friends because you have been shown mercy even as your
Father in heaven has been merciful to you (6:36).
10. In the second teaching (16:10-12), Jesus compares world wealth (little things) to true riches (big
things). The issue is faithfulness in both little and big things. The dishonest (unrighteous) steward is
an example of both unfaithfulness and faithfulness in both little and big things. In what little things
was the steward unfaithful in (16:1b)?

The steward was unfaithful in his use of his masters worldly wealth.

In what little things was the steward faithful in (16:5-7)?

The steward was faithful in his reducing the accounts of the lords debtors to make friends for
himself and his master.

In getting himself in this situation, the unrighteous steward must not have been faithful to his masters
mercy (big thing); he must have tried to take advantage of it. But then, like the prodigal son, he came
to his senses. How did the steward then show faithfulness in this big thing?

He was faithful in showing mercy as the master showed mercy.

11. The last part of this teaching (16:12) is parallel with 16:10b. What is dishonest with very little parallel
to in 16:12?

Dishonest with very little is parallel with not been trustworthy with someone elses property.

What is the biblical teaching in this phrase (16:12a)?

Any kind of worldly wealth is not ours. It all is belongs to God. That then makes us stewards of
what God gives us to manage.


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The teaching here then is, that if recognize God has the Creator and ourselves as stewards, and if we
are faithful in taking care of his property and using it wisely (little things), then God will give us
something of our own (16:12b), which will be a big thing, because it will benefit us forever.
12. The interpretation of this saying hinges on what the true riches are (16:11b). Again we go back to
chapter 12, where in verse 33 Jesus talked about a treasure in heaven. Look back at lesson 59 #8.
What is this treasure?

The true riches or treasure in heaven is Jesus Christ and those things that incorporate us and
keep us in Christ, catechesis, Baptism, and the Lords Supper.

What Jesus is saying in other words is: If, therefore, you were not faithful in the use of money, which
is really not your own and is a very transitory thing, who will trust you with true riches, the kingdom of
God, which comes in Christ?
13. Jesus includes one more teaching (16:13). The question is, what or whom do we put our trust in.
What is the main point that Jesus makes?

Jesus says you cannot serve both God and mammon (money).

So the question to the disciples is, Do you trust in money/possessions or in God? Or are you trying
to serve them both? If you are trying to serve both, then you are trying to do something that is
impossible. Again what Jesus said in Lk 12 echoes the point made here: For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also (12:34). Faithful disciples will be commended for seeing that Jesus is
their treasure and for trusting in his mercy.


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Lesson 73 Teaching about the Law and the Prophets and the
Kingdom (Lk 16:14-18)
Both the previous and next passage are about possessions, the prodigal squandered his, Lazarus had
none and the rich man had many but did not share them. So when this passage speaks about justification
and the law, it seems out of place. But the fact that this passage is sandwiched in this context should alert
us that there is a broader topic being presented.
Note that there is a strong link between Jesus teaching here and the following parable. The first part of
the parable (16:19-26) is a commentary on the teachings about the kingdom and stewardship in 16:14-15.
The second part of the parable (16:27-31) is all an illustration of the teaching about the Law and the
Prophets and the kingdom (the validity of the OT as testimony to Jesus; 16:16-18).
See detailed structure.
1. In this introduction, Lukes audience changes. Who had Jesus been talking to (16:1)?

Jesus had been speaking to his disciples.

Who overheard what Jesus had been saying (16:14)?

The Pharisees had heard Jesus teaching his disciples.

What were these people doing the last time we heard about them (15:2)?

The last time we heard about the Pharisees, they were grumbling that Jesus welcomed tax
collectors and sinners and ate with them.

Now what are they doing?

Having overheard Jesus, the Pharisees are now scoffing and sneering at Jesus. They reject
Jesus teaching on possessions and stewardship.

Why do they do this? To the Pharisees, Jesus statement, You cannot serve God and Money is
contradictory. For the Pharisees, tragedy in life was sign of Gods displeasure; success (e.g., financial
prosperity) was evidence of ones righteousness and Gods pleasure. For them, money was a sign of
Gods favor and of their place in the kingdom. This view came from such passages as Deut 28:1213).
2. How do the Pharisees present themselves to men (16:15)?

They present themselves as righteous (the outside).

But what does God look at and know?


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God looks at and knows the heart (the inside).

What does God see in the hearts of the Pharisees? (see Lk 12:1b)

God sees hypocrisy.

So the Pharisees present a pious front on the outside, while on the inside their hearts they are
corrupt. This hypocrisy is detestable in Gods sight. The way of the Pharisees is the way of selfrighteousness. This is not the way of life, which the OT teaches and which culminates in Jesus. The
Pharisees have chosen the way of death. Loving money and justifying ones self is highly valued
among men, but is detestable in Gods sight. The reason they are detestable to God is that
hypocrisy and love of possessions make idols of self and things. Idols take the place of God and are
worshiped in Gods place. The Pharisees claim to be righteous (have a right relationship with God),
but instead they have replaced God with self and money.
3. Jesus next teaching (16:16-17) is a teaching in salvation history. In Lukes gospel, John the Baptist
and Jesus have been compared in step-parallel fashion. John has been portrayed as the lesser and
Jesus as the greater. Johns ministry was catechetical and prepared the hearer for Jesus, that is, it
was part of the Torah (Law or better Law and Gospel, or even OT Revelation) and Prophets.
But John also baptized Jesus, which was the beginning of Jesus public ministry. Beginning with
Jesus baptism, the new era of salvation began to be proclaimed. John is part of the shift that takes
place, from the old to the new, from the Law (Torah) and the Prophets to the fulfillment of the Law
4. The next phrase (everyone is forcing his way into it, or everyone tries to enter it with violence
16:16b) is difficult. Everyone who encounters Jesus reacts violently in one of two ways. Those who
accept Jesus enter the kingdom through the violence of repentance, that is, through daily dying to
sin and faith in Jesus. Those who reject Jesus react violently as well. Their violence causes Jesus to
suffer and die. They imagine that their violence against Jesus is in service of Gods kingdom.
5. Next Jesus adds a statement about the continuing validity of the Law. In this statement, Jesus says
that the Law is even more permanent than what (16:17a)?

The Law is more permanent than Gods creation; it is more permanent that heaven and earth.

How do we understand Law here. Here Law means the entire OT revelation of God. Again then, it
would be better to transliterate this as Torah instead of translating it as Law, since Law carries a
connotation of legalism. Gods revelation in the OT is more than Law. It is also Gospel. Take a look at
Mt 5:17-18. What did Jesus come to do?

Jesus came to fulfill and accomplish the Law and the Prophets.

The Law and the Prophets (the entire OT) prepared for and announced the coming of the kingdom.
And the heart and core of the kingdom is the Good News of Jesus Christ. The OT testified to the
Gospel and that Gospel is now enfleshed in Jesus and everything in the OT is established in and
interpreted through Jesus.
6. The next verse (16:18) seems to be the most perplexing verse in this short passage. It seems to be
totally unrelated to the rest of the passage and the context. What does divorce and adultery have to
do with possessions? Lets find out.


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In the OT divorce and adultery are never mentioned together, but here Jesus brings the two together
and allows for no exceptions (whereas in Mt 5:32 he does). What does Jesus say constitutes adultery
in Lk 16:18?

If a man is married, gets divorced, and then remarries, it is considered adultery. And if a
woman who is divorced gets remarried to another man, then it is considered adultery.

We have been saying that the OT is Gods revelation, that it contains both Law and Gospel. Of primary
interest in the OT is Gods relationship with Israel. Israel is the bride and God is the bridegroom. Was
Israel faithful in this relationship? Obviously not. Hosea calls Israels unfaithfulness adultery and Ezekiel
interprets Israels history as a story of constant adultery (Eze 16:32; 23:37ff.). As marriage was used as
example of Gods relationship with his people in the OT, so marriage is still the model of Gods
relationship with his church. In this relationship there is to be no adultery or divorce. There can be no
With this information, lets make the connection between possessions and marriage. The Pharisees were
lovers of money. They had made possessions into an idol. They had committed adultery against God.
Through Johns preaching of repentance, they had the chance to return to the Lord, but they refused.
Instead, they have remarried and when one remarries, then one belongs to another. This short saying
then about adultery and divorce is really a teaching about idolatry. The goal and end of all OT revelation
is Jesus Christ. In this case he is the bridegroom to whom the church must be faithful to. The Torah, which
leads us to the bridegroom, will stand forever.


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Lesson 74 - The Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31)
The story of the rich man and Lazarus provides a fitting conclusion to this chapter on the attitude toward
possessions in view of the life of the age to come and the Gospel preaching to prepare people for it.
See detailed structure. This account has two parts. The first part (16:19-26), which contains a chiasm,
describes love of worldly wealth and failure to heed witnesses (cf. 16:14-15), and the second part (16:2731) presents the importance of the testimony of the Law and the Prophets (cf. 16:16-18).
1. Luke does not mention a change in audience. Who is it that Jesus continues to talk to and how are
they described (16:14-15)?

Jesus continues to talk to the Pharisees, who love money and are self-righteous.

2. There are two main characters in this story. Who is the first one mentioned and what do we know
about him (16:19)?

The first character was a rich man. He dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury
everyday (or made merry sumptuously everyday).

There are several verbal connections between this story and the story of the prodigal son. One is the
word feast. What is different about the feasting that takes place in each of the stories (15:23-24;

The feast for the prodigal son was a one time feast that celebrated the return of the prodigal.
Feasting is usually reserved for special occasions, such as weddings or for an honored guest.
The rich man feasted sumptuously everyday. He lived in excess and extravagance. He is an
example of one who is out of control and does not use his possessions properly.

What else do we learn about this character from the other side of the frame (16:22b)?

We learn that the rich man died and was buried.

Notice the contrast between the lavish lifestyle of the man and the simple words that describe his
3. Who is the second character and what do we know about him (16:20-21)?

The second character was a poor man. He was a beggar, who apparently was disabled because
he was laid at the gate of the rich man. His name was Lazarus. He was covered with sores. Dogs
came and licked his sores. He was so hungry and had so little that he longed for the crumbs that
fell from the rich mans table.


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Notice that the rich man is unnamed, while the poor man is named, suggesting his importance in
Gods sight. Also, Jesus spends more time describing Lazaruss life and death than he does the rich
man. And Lazarus occupies the center of the chiasm.
How is Lazarus like the prodigal son? (see 15:16 and 16:21)?

Both the prodigal and Lazarus longed to eat pig food or the crumbs that fell from the table.

How did the rich man respond to Lazarus need?

No mention is made that he did. He apparently ignored Lazarus.

Wouldnt Lazarus be a perfect recipient for almsgiving? He is poor, sick, and disabled. He is
completely dependent on the mercy of others. He is one with whom mercy should be shown and with
whom possessions should be shared.
4. In 16:22 and in the following conversation, Jesus introduces the Great Reversal. The word translated
as bosom usually refers to one who reclines at a table for a feast. John 13:23-25 uses the same
word to describe how John reclined at a meal with Jesus. So the picture is one of reversal where
during his life on earth Lazarus did not feast at the table with the rich man, but now Lazarus reclines
and feasts with Abraham in heaven. On the hand, the rich man feasted everyday, but now his feasting
has come to an end.
5. Upon their deaths, how did the fortunes of the two men change (16:22-26)?

Lazarus: Lazarus went from being one in daily agony to one who is in the comfort of heaven at
Abrahams side feasting.

The rich man: The rich man went from experiencing all the comforts of life to the torments, agony
and fires of hell.

6. The main focus now shifts to the rich man. What is the first thing the rich man asks for (16:24) and
why is this ironic?

He asks for mercy or pity. This is ironic because he never had mercy or pity for Lazarus and now
he wants mercy shown to him.

The first two words tell us something about the rich man that we had not known up to this point. Who
is the rich man (16:24a)? (for help see 3:8)

Because of his calling Abraham father, we know that the rich man was a Jew.

Who and what did John the Baptist warn in Lk 3:7-9?

John the Baptist warned the Jews to repent and produce the fruit of repentance and not to claim
favor with God because their earthly ancestor was Abraham.


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Later Jesus calls Zacchaeus a son of Abraham (19:9). So the rich man is like one of the Jews who
refused to repent and he is also like Zacchaeus who was rich; Zacchaeus, however, repented and
welcomed Jesus into his home. Being a son of Abraham through physical lineage does not protect
one from the torments of hell. One must be a true son of Abraham, which is one who lives by faith
and responds to the mercy he has received by showing mercy to others.
7. In Abrahams response to the rich man (16:25), he tells how the Great Reversal has taken place, how
Lazarus, who lived in hunger, now lived in comfort, and how the rich man, who had received good
things, now was in agony. Abraham also tells the rich man to remember. This causes the hearer of
Jesus words to remember too. Look back at the Sermon on the Plain in Lk 6:21, 24-25. Could
Jesus words of blessings and woes be better illustrated than in this parable?
Abraham also speaks about a great chasm between heaven and hell. With these words there is a
sense of finality. Once the Great Reversal has taken place, there is no way to change sides even if
one wanted to.
8. It would be clear to the Pharisees that Jesus was talking about them in this parable. They were
lovers of money who looked down on the outcasts of society. What should they learn from this
parable concerning:

Wealth/righteousness? First, they should learn that wealth is not necessarily a sign of righteous.

Outward behavior/the heart? Second, they should learn that outward behavior (continuous
feasting while not sharing with the needy) is an indication of what is in the heart. Does the
behavior reveal a generous and merciful heart or a proud and arrogant one?

What is the conclusion that Jesus is trying to lead them to concerning their own situation?

The only conclusion for the Pharisees is this: if they dont change from their scoffing, hypocritical,
and selfish ways, they will find themselves with the rich man in eternal torment.

9. This parable is also an illustration of the story of the unrighteous steward (16:1-9). Lazarus is one of
those friends that a disciple can make by means of giving away worldly wealth. He would be one who
would welcome you as a fellow guest at the messianic feast in Gods eternal tent. The Pharisees
need to become like the unrighteous steward by seeing that Jesus is their Lord, and, relying on his
mercy, to give alms to people like Lazarus.
10. Abrahams word about the great chasm could easily have been the end of the story. But the rich man
continues the conversation. Who does the rich man think of, what is implied about them, and what
does he ask Abraham to do for them (16:27-28)?

The rich man thinks about his five brothers. Apparently they were a lot like him, since he is
worried that they will end up in this place of torment too. So he asked Abraham to send Lazarus
to warn them.


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If the rich man represents a Pharisee, who might the rich mans brothers be?

They may be his fellow Pharisees.

If this is the case, then Abrahams response points the Pharisees to Moses and the Prophets, which
are read regularly in their own worship services in their own synagogues! What Abraham is telling the
Pharisees is that to avoid the torments of hell, one must hear Moses and the Prophets (OT), and
when they do, they will find all they need to know about the kingdom of grace. Moses and the
Prophets testified to Jesus Christ. Through this parable then, the Pharisees are being called by Jesus
to hear Moses and the Prophets as they testify to Jesus, the Word made flesh, and as Jesus fulfills
and interprets their words. Here we see the continued validity of the OT as testimony to the promise,
which is fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
11. Again the story could have ended after 16:29, but the rich man speaks up again. Finally it seems that
he has learned the importance of repentance. Its too late for him, but its not too late for his brothers;
they still have time repent. But there is another lesson that he has not learned. What does he request
of Abraham now (16:30)?

The rich man requests that Abraham send someone from the dead to his brothers so that they
would repent.

But where does Abraham again point the rich man back to (16:31)?

Again Abraham points the rich man back to Moses and the Prophets.

In his request, the rich man is asking for a miraculous sign. He does not consider Gods Word
sufficient enough to produce repentance. Jesus has already condemned such a desire for a sign, and
instead, he has urged his audience to hear the Word of God and to keep it (11:14-23, 28-30).
Sending someone who had died is a clear reference to Jesus own resurrection from the dead. Even
after Jesus rose from the dead many did not believe. In thinking about Jesus resurrection, one
cannot help but think of the Emmaus story (24:13-35). Skim over this story now.
The two disciples knew of the empty tomb and the angels words but were still downcast. But then
they were enrolled in Jesus class of interpreting the Scriptures Christologically (24:27). This caused
their hearts to burn (24:32), but their eyes were not yet opened to see the crucified and risen Christ.
Only after he broke bread, which portends the eschatological banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, were they able to see Jesus. At that moment the Emmaus disciples received a foretaste of the
messianic banquet with Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. Their participation began with the hearing
of Gods Word and it was fulfilled in the breaking of the bread. So the Pharisees need to become
hearers of the Word and repentant guests at Jesus table. They need a radical repentance, a violent
break with the past. Their position must be reversed. Instead of being high and mighty, they must
become humble and lowly, and they must demonstrate it by showing mercy as the Father in heaven
has shown mercy.


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Lesson 75 - More Teachings by Jesus on Discipleship (Lk 17:1-10)
This is the final passage in a long discourse that seems to begin at 14:25. Once again the Lukan hearer is
confronted with a series of sayings that seem only loosely related to the context. These four sayings of
Jesus are positioned after the rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31) and before Lukes third travel notice
(17:11) and the healing of the ten lepers (17:12-19). Throughout the travel narrative Jesus has taught his
disciples about discipleship and their future leadership in the church. Here Jesus continues this teaching.
Jesus had been addressing his disciples in 16:1-13. Some Pharisees overheard this teaching and
sneered at it, and so, Jesus temporarily switched to the Pharisees, teaching them about possessions,
entering the kingdom through repentance, the validity of the Law and the Prophets (OT), and showing
mercy to outcasts. Now Jesus switches back to his disciples to teach them more about discipleship.
See detailed structure. As the structure shows, there is a certain unity among these sayings. They also
provide a short interlude in Lukes continuing narrative about Gods merciful order in his kingdom.
Imperatives are in bold and changes of the audience are in italics.
1. When considering Jesus disciples, Luke has talked about three different groups: the Twelve (the
apostles), the seventy, and the wider group of all Jesus disciples. In 17:1 Jesus addresses the
disciples and in 17:5 the apostles respond to Jesus. So it seems that the disciples that Jesus
addresses is more than just the Twelve, but also includes at least the seventy. So this whole pericope
is apparently for Jesus close group of followers, especially those whom he sends out to minister on
his behalf.
2. The first two sayings of Jesus conform to the first phase of Lukes Prophet Christology, teaching and
miracles. He warns his disciples to be careful in their teaching so that it will not become a stumbling
block to believers (17:1-2), and he admonishes them to forgive. The forgiveness of sins is one of the
miracles of release that Jesus brings in the new era of salvation (17:3-4). Earlier examples are 5:2024 and 7:47-50.
3. In the following verses who does Jesus direct woes to?

11:42-52: to the religious establishment.

6:24-26; 21:23: to sinful humanity in general.

10:13: to two cities who will not repent.

When Jesus speaks woes, he usually speaks them to those who reject God and his ways. When
Jesus speaks woes, it is strong and harsh language. Surprisingly, who does Jesus speak a woe to
here (17:1)?

Here Jesus speaks a woe to his disciples.

This alerts the hearer to the seriousness of Jesus words and to the responsibility that the community
of disciples bears.


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4. The CC translates 17:1 as follows: Jesus said to his disciples, It is impossible for stumbling blocks
not to come; nevertheless, woe through whom they come (italics mine). The stumbling block in Luke
has been Jesus himself because he brings mercy, compassion, and forgiveness, instead of
vengeance. This is the theology of the cross; the cross too is a stumbling block. But the stumbling
block here is different. Why did Jesus pronounce a woe on the experts in the law in 11:52?

Jesus pronounced a woe on them because they had the key of knowledge that would open the
kingdom to the people, but instead of opening the door through the teaching of Gods grace, they
hindered people from entering.

Jesus warning to his disciples here is similar. But to understand better we must keep in mind the
context of the previous chapter. The main themes of the previous chapter were hypocrisy and the
misuse of possessions. It would seem then that the disciples might be in danger of succumbing to the
same things as the Pharisees. So instead of causing people to sin, these verses might well be
translated as causing people to apostatize, to fall away. This would make sense because the disciples
have the key to heaven, Jesus, but the unholy trinity is pressing its ways on them. Later Judas
succumbed to the love of money and power as he apostatized. Woe therefore to anyone who draws
believers (these little ones. In Luke the outcasts and sinners become believers) away from Jesus
through false teaching; this includes the disciples who will teach.
5. The next sentence could go with either the first or second saying. Watch yourselves, could mean
watch out that you dont cause one of these little ones to fall or it could mean to watch out that you
forgive those who repent. Maybe its a warning that applies to both.
6. In the next saying (17:3), who is the brother Jesus is talking about that sins?

Jesus is speaking to his disciples. A disciples brother is anyone else who is part of the family of
God. Brother is parallel to these little ones in the previous saying; it refers to all believers.

What is the disciple of Christ to do when a fellow believer sins and repents?

A disciple of Christ forgives. And if he repeatedly sins and repents, followers of Jesus will
repeatedly forgive him.

This is the Christian way of life. The Christian must forgive. Forgiveness/absolution is the miracle of
God that releases creation from its bondage of sin through the power of Christs death and
7. The audience shifts to the apostles in 17:5. When Luke references the apostles, he is always talking
about the Twelve. So the next two sayings are directed primarily to the apostles. Why do you think the
apostles ask for more faith (17:5)?

They ask for more faith because they understand what Jesus has just said about not causing
others to stumble and forgiveness, and they think they do not have enough faith to do this.

Jesus words of response to the apostles may sound harsh, but in reality, they are meant to
encourage. He is saying that even if they have only a tiny faith, they can do something as miraculous


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as transplanting a mulberry tree, with its deep root system, into the sea. The power of faith is
unlimited because that power in it is actually Gods power. (To do such a miracle, one relies on Gods
power, as well as, the assurance that it is Gods will that such a miracle should occur.)
The apostles have already been sent out and had great success (cf. 9:1-6,10). In the future the
apostles will have the faith to preach the kingdom of God in Christ, keeping believers from stumbling;
and they will have the faith necessary to forgive continuously. God will work through their faith,
causing the kingdom to grow from the small size of a mustard seed into a great tree, releasing his
creation from its bondage to sin.
8. In the last saying, Jesus uses an example based on the servant/master relationship. Luke frequently
uses the servant/master imagery in his parables. What kinds of work (of servants) does Jesus
mention in 17:7-8?

Jesus mentions plowing the fields, shepherding the sheep, and serving the meal.

In the book of Acts, the apostles witness the Gospel in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and
to the ends of the earth. How do they do this? They do this by preaching of Gods Word and
baptizing in Jesus name. When they do this, are they not preparing (plowing) the fields for the
planting of the seed (Gods Word), watching over the flock and looking for the lost, and inviting the
poor and outcasts to the banquet meal, the Lords Supper, where the apostles serve at the Masters
Jesus, the Son of Man, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life. Jesus has come
as the Suffering Servant, serving the whole world. Those who are followers of Jesus follow him in a
life of service. This is what is expected; this is what he is called to do.
The apostles had asked for more faith. Jesus said that even a small faith has great power. The
apostles have what they need to preach and teach the forgiveness of sins. They have the power to do
what they were called to do, to plow and to shepherd and to serve.


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Lesson 76 The Third Travel Notice and the Cleansing of the Ten
Lepers and the Thankful Samaritan (Lk 17:11-19)
Lk 17:11 is the third mention that Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem. In the first travel notice (9:51), Jesus
states his intention to go to Jerusalem and he seemingly entered Samaria immediately following the
announcement (9:52). If the gospel is strictly chronological (and this is questionable), then it would imply
that Jesus, after moving quickly to the outskirts of Jerusalem (Bethany, the home town of Mary and
Martha, 10:38-42), returned north to border of Galilee and Samaria.
In this story It appears that Jesus is on the Galilee-Samaria border, moving north to south, but not along
the Jordan River. It is possible that the sixth discourse in Jesus journey to Jerusalem (17:11-18:34) could
very well have been told in one sitting in the village in Samaria where Jesus cleansed the ten lepers.
See detailed structure. Luke uses a chiastic structure to tell this story of cleansing. At the heart of the
structure is the Samaritan and his response to Jesus for the healing of his leprosy.
1. The outer frame (A-17:12-13 and A-17:19) gives us the occasion for this story. Jesus is travelling
when he comes to a certain unnamed village. There he comes in contact with 10 lepers. The lepers
made a request of Jesus. What was it?

The lepers cried out, Jesus, Master, have pity [or mercy] on us!

A leper has already appeared in Lukes gospel (5:12-16). What did that leper ask of Jesus (5:12)?

That leper asked to be healed.

So the request here in this story is different. A request for mercy is a request for salvation. This ties
right in with A, where Jesus said to the healed leper, Your faith has saved you (CC, italics mine,
17:19b). Their cry for mercy was a cry of faith. In faith they cry out and through faith they receive the
mercy and salvation they cry out for.
2. A couple of things happen in between the cry for mercy and the announcement of salvation through
faith. Looking at B/B (17:14 and 17:17-18), what happens in theses verses? (It may be helpful to look
at the detailed structure.)

The lepers are cleansed.

What differs here from the first leper that was healed (in chapter 5) (5:13-14)?

For the first leper in ch. 5, Jesus healed him and then told him to go show himself to the priests
and to offer sacrifices. For these lepers, Jesus reverses the order. He tells them to show
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What could a Gentile catechumen learn from this cleansing? First, the miracle is a sign that the
messianic era of salvation is present in Jesus (7:22). Second, there is an interaction between the
clean (Jesus) and the unclean (lepers). Jesus makes the unclean clean. Third, Jesus supercedes the
OT holiness code (Lev 12-26. More on this below.). Jesus has the power and compassion to undo the
effects of sin on his creation. Fourth, when they go to the priests, they go to the temple (more on this
below), which is the place where sacrifices are made by the priests for atonement. These sacrifices
looked forward to the cleansing atonement of the Messiah, who would offer the final, once-for-all
cleansing. By going to the priests, the lepers give testimony through their healed bodies that Jesus is
the Messiah who cleanses humankind, not only physically, but also spiritually.
3. Jesus instructions to the lepers are very short and simple. The lepers then simply left to go present
themselves to the priests as Jesus instructed (17:14b). Why do you think these lepers who had not
yet been healed left to go to the temple without question?

They must have had faith that Jesus would have mercy on them. They probably heard of Jesus
other miraculous healings and believed that if told to go to the temple that Jesus would heal them
as well.

4. Lk 17:14 and Lk 17:18 enlighten us on worship. Jesus had told the lepers to go to the priests, the
place of worship, the place where sacrifices of atonement were made, and the place where release of
sins and its effects is given and observed. But when one of the lepers saw that he was cleansed,
where did he go and what did he do?

The Samaritan leper returned to Jesus thanking and giving praise to God. He returned to the
source of his cleansing and responded to the gift of cleansing by praising God at Jesus feet

Jesus was the new temple; the place where God dwelled on earth with people. He is the one-time
sacrifice that brought cleansing to a sin stained world. Jesus brought an end to the temple worship of
the OT. Like many other OT persons, places and things, the temple was but a shadow of new and
eternal temple.
5. What does Jesus call the one leper who returned to him giving praise to God (17:18b)? From an
earlier verse (17:16b), who was this man? What standing did he have with the Jews?

Jesus calls him a foreigner. He earlier was called a Samaritan. He was not a part of people of
Israel. Basically he was an outcast to the Jews.

But Jesus commended him for his worship and his faith. According to the holiness code in Lev 12-26,
this man was an unclean Gentile, an unclean leper, and most probably ate unclean food. One of the
major purposes of the holiness code was to separate Israel from the unclean. However, as Jesus
crosses the boundary from Galilee (Israel) to Samaria (unclean), he also crosses the OT cleanness
boundary. Jesus creates a new holiness, one based upon himself. Holiness is no longer determined
by circumcision, dietary laws, or the sacrifices at the Jerusalem temple. Instead, it is a holiness based
on his own person, the sinless Son of God, and his sacrifice, the one-time perfect sacrifice that takes
away the sins of the world. This holiness transcends all ethnic and cultural boundaries as it purifies
the people of Gods new covenant in Christ (Gal 3:27-29). This cleansed Samaritan pointed forward
to the future foreigners who would be incorporated into the church in Acts and beyond.


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6. Jesus contrasts the worshipful Samaritan to the other nine. At the end of 17:16, Jesus specifically
points out that the one who came back praising God was a Samaritan. And then at the end of 17:18
Jesus talks about the other nine. What might this imply about who the other nine were?

It implies that the other nine were not Samaritans, which means they were probably Jews.

If this is the case, then a theological statement is being made, which is typical for Luke. The
statement concerns open and closed eyes, or seeing and being blind. When the Samaritan saw that
he had been healed, he came back. What the Samaritan saw was more than the physical healing. He
saw by faith that God was present in Jesus. Again Luke shows how the unclean Gentiles see who
Jesus is and accept him, while the Jews are blind to Jesus identity and reject him.
The words saw and healed connect frame B with frame C. As Jesus saw the lepers and sent
them to the place of Gods presence to confirm that they were healed, so the Samaritan saw that
he had been healed and went to the place of Gods presence to give thanks and praise, the person
of Jesus Christ.
7. At the center of the chiasm (D/D, 17:15b/17:16) is the Samaritans worship. Who does the Samaritan
give praise to (17:15b)?

The Samaritan returns to give praise to God.

At whose feet does the Samaritan throw himself and give thanks (17:16)?

He throws himself at Jesus feet and thanks him.

Look up each of the following verses in Lukes books of Luke and Acts. In each case who is thanks
given to?

In each case thanks is given to God.

The center of this chiasm expresses the mystery that Jesus is God in the flesh. The Samaritan shows
us that giving glory to God in the NT era is expressed by worship of and thanksgiving to Jesus. True
faith gives thanks to the one who brings salvation.
In Jn 2:18-22, what does Jesus say about the temple?

Jesus says that he is the temple and that his body will be destroyed and in three days he will
raise it again.

The Samaritans true faith has done the impossible (like transplanting a tree in the sea); it has brought
a foreigner to the temple.
8. Finally at the end of the story, Jesus tells the Samaritan to Arise, journey (CC, NIV-Rise and go).
When we hear the word journey, we think of the journey Jesus is on to Jerusalem to die. In fact this
story was preceded by Lukes third travel notice. Those who have faith in Jesus journey with him that
they might die and rise with him.
9. Consider the fact that Lukes original hearers were Gentiles. If the ten lepers were made up of one
Samaritan and nine Jews, what comfort might his hearers take in this story?


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They would take comfort from the fact that they were foreigners just like the Samaritan. And if this
foreigner can be healed, have faith, and come into Gods presence, then they could as well.

10. The Samaritan, who had faith, prostrated himself giving thanks to Jesus. In this act we also learn
about Holy Communion, also called the Eucharist (from a Greek word which means giving thanks).
In the Eucharist, the church prostrates before the presence of the crucified and risen Christ, who
gives his body and blood in the Meal where divine cleansing is for all who, like the Samaritan, are
saved through faith. Soon we hear, the kingdom of God is among you (17:21), for the kingdom is
wherever the King is, and the King is in his church.

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Lesson 77 Teachings about the Coming of the Kingdom (Lk 17:2037)
There is a continuity between the healing of the ten lepers (17:12-19) and Jesus teaching about the
kingdom (17:20-37). Jesus is not only the new temple because he is God in the flesh, but the long
promised kingdom is present wherever Jesus is because Gods presence in him means that he is also the
King. It is best to look at these teachings as the second episode in the final leg of Jesus journey to
See detailed structure. It is clear that there are two teachings, one to the Pharisees (17:20-21) and one to
the disciples (17:22-37), the first about recognizing the presence of the kingdom now (as the healed
Samaritan did), the second about recognizing the coming of the Son of Man in judgement (the not yet).
The structure accents the two audiences and breaks down the discourse.
1. This passage begins with another change of audience. The last time Jesus addressed the Pharisees
was in 16:14-16:31. Perhaps the Pharisees had witnessed the miracle of the healing of the lepers and
the return of the Samaritan to give thanks. They obviously at this point knew that Jesus had been
talking about them, especially in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31). Perhaps they
questioned whether Jesus considered them to be like the nine Jewish lepers. Their very question of
when the kingdom of God would come shows that they have missed the point of Jesus teaching
and that they have closed eyes. If they had opened eyes, they would be able to see that the
kingdom was present now in the person of Jesus.
2. What does Jesus mean when he says, The kingdom of God does not come with your careful
observation? He is saying that it is not up to human arbiters to analyze unusual phenomena and then
to declare that the kingdom has arrived. These are the ones who say, Here it is or There it is. These
people are only concerned about impressing people.
3. The discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees should sound familiar. Earlier Jesus spoke to the
crowds about the same subject. What did Jesus say about the kingdom in 11:20?

Jesus said that his driving out demons was a clear sign that the kingdom had come to them.

What did Jesus say about people who demanded signs (11:29-30)?

Jesus criticized those who demanded signs. He called them a wicked generation.

The crowds back in ch. 11 were looking so much for signs of the kingdom, that they missed the
kingdom altogether even though it was right before them in their midst. Jesus had provided more than
enough signs in his authoritative teaching and in his miracles. But even with all of these signs, this
wicked generation could not interpret the signs of this critical time (12:56).
4. The NIV translates 17:21b as the kingdom of God is within you (italics mine, although see NIV text
note for another translation). While the Greek word is normally translated as within you, in this case
it should be translated among you (NIV text note). Within you introduces a foreign theology. The
kingdom of God is never just an interior event. The kingdom always comes from outside a person,
from above, through the teaching and miracles of Jesus. Also Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees.
Jesus would hardly be saying that the kingdom of God is within them. What Jesus is saying is that the

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kingdom of God is present now in himself. This is a statement of inaugurated eschatology. The
believer now possesses the blessings that Christ has won in these end times, which began with
Christs first coming (now) and will be fully consummated at his Second Coming (the not yet).
5. In 17:22 there is not only an audience shift, but also a shift in outlook. The rest of Jesus teaching in
this passage concerns recognizing and being prepared for the consummated kingdom (the not yet).
The period of preparation is the time from Pentecost to the Last Day, the period of the church as she
waits for Jesus to be fully revealed (17:30).
To summarize, Jesus says three things to his disciples: 1) the final coming of the kingdom will be
clear for all to see, 2) the kingdom of God will come suddenly when the Son of Man comes again, and
3) when the Lord comes again, some will be taken to glory and others will be left behind, implying that
it will be a great surprise for some. These are obvious points.
There are other subthemes that speak about the relationship of the kingdom now and the kingdom
when the Last Day arrives. In this, the evangelist reiterates a theme that he taught in Luke 9: the
order of the kingdom is suffering first and glory later. The first three sections here correspond to the
arrangement of topics in Luke 9. In 9:22 and 17:25 it is necessary for the Son of Man to suffer and be
rejected. Jesus ends the second section (17:33) by repeating 9:24, which speaks of the reversal of
the kingdom for his disciples. The third parallel is the glory of Jesus in the transfiguration (9:28-36)
and the glory of those taken up (17:34-35). This overview provides the context for us to better
understand the details.
6. In 17:22-25, we must sort out all the different references to days. First of all, what does his day in
17:24 refer to? (note the context from the rest of the verse)

This refers to the day when Jesus will return in judgement. On this day he will appear as quickly
and as visibly as a flash of lightning.

The first reference to day is the day is coming (17:22, CC or the time is coming-NIV). This refers
to the time of the church, the time between Pentecost and the Last Day. And lastly, you will long to
see one of the days of the Son of Man. During the time of the church, the church will be persecuted.
During this time, Jesus disciples may once again wish they were with Jesus during his earthly
ministry, during the days of the Son of Man.
When looked at in this way, these three references refer to three periods in salvation history: the time
of Jesus, the time of the church, and the time of glory. This helps us understand the general thrust of
this section. During the time of the church, there will be false prophets who will say Jesus has come
again. Jesus followers are to pay no attention, because when Jesus does come again, it will be as
clear as lightning in the heavens. But before this time of the church must suffer and be rejected by
this generation.
7. Next Jesus gave two clear examples of what the Last Day will be like (17:26-33). The examples he
gives are that of Noah and Lot. What is the main point Jesus is making by giving these two

In both cases, people were doing the normal things of life, eating and drinking, marrying, buying
and selling, and planting and building, as if there were no crisis looming. But then suddenly, like
the flood, and like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gods judgement will be upon the


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If one waits until his day to repent, it will be too late. One must be prepared ahead of time. Jesus
also makes an example of Lots wife. From the context of 17:32-33, why did she look back?

She looked back because she wanted to preserve her old way of life.

From her example then, what happens when we do this?

When we try to keep or to hold on to our old sinful life, we lose it like Lots wife.

A Christian is one who dies and rises with Christ in Baptism. In dying, one loses his life to the world
and rises to a new life in Christ. By willingly losing ones life, one gains eternal life.
8. Next Jesus tells what will happen on that night (17:34-35). Notice the switch from day to night. It will
be a dark time for many. What will happen on that night?

On that night, a separation will occur. Some people will be taken and others will be left. This is
similar to the separation of the sheep and the goats in Mt 25:31-46.

Luke does not tells us who will be taken away and who will be left. The author of the CC goes with the
idea that the believers will be taken to heaven, like Enoch and Elijah were taken up (see Ge 5:24; 2
Ki 2:10-11), while those who are left on the earth will be left to experience the destruction of heaven
and earth (Lk 21:33).
9. The Pharisees started this passage by asking when the kingdom of God would come. Now the
disciples finish this passage by asking where the kingdom of God will come. By asking such a
question, the disciples show that they still do not understand. With what picture does Jesus respond
with (17:37)?

The picture Jesus gives is one of vultures hovering over a dead body.

What earlier theme (in this story) is Jesus returning to here?

Jesus is returning to the theme that consummation of the kingdom will be very clear to all. Just as
one recognizes vultures gathered around a dead body, so will all recognize the coming of Gods
eternal kingdom.

How will these images (vultures) be fulfilled in terms of the kingdom?

Gods kingdom will come when Jesus dead body on the cross is surrounded by his enemies.
When the disciples see this sign, they will know when and where the kingdom of God comes.

So, where is the place of Gods kingdom?

The place of Gods kingdom is the body of Christ and it will remain so in the age of the church
the body of Christ.


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Lesson 78 The Unrighteous Judge (Lk 18:1-8)
Between the now of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the not yet of his second coming is the
time of the church in which the church is encouraged to pray and not lose hope. This parable goes well
with the preceding pericope, with its themes of vindication and the coming of the Son of Man. But also the
prayer theme looks forward to the next parable, the Pharisee and the tax collector (18:9-14). Persistence
in prayer is the churchs posture until the parousia.
See detailed structure. The pericope is easily divided into the evangelists introduction (18:1), the parable
(18:2-5), and the Lords interpretation (18:6-8).
1. Lukes introductions are always significant. But this one is especially significant because it includes
the point of the parable. What is the main point (18:1)?

The main point is to always pray and not give up.

Also note from the introduction that the audience has not changed from the previous passage. Jesus
is still speaking to his disciples.
2. From 18:2-3, who are the main characters of this parable and what do we know about them?

There is a judge who doesnt care about God or other people; he cares only about himself. (Later
he is called an unrighteous or unjust judge.) And there is a widow who keeps coming to the judge
pestering him for vindication against her opponent.

From 18:4-5, what is the result of her persistence?

Because of her persistence, the judge does vindicate her.

3. In terms of power and position in society, contrast the judge and widow.

The judge is in an obvious position of power and has a higher position in society by the very fact
that he is a man. The widow was a woman and woman had few rights. Plus, she no longer has a
husband to care for her.

4. Lets look at what it means that the judge did not fear God. Look at the following verses: Ps 34:7-10;
86:11; 111:10; 118:4; 128:1; 147:11. Who is it that fears the Lord?

Those who believe and trust in the Lord, the faithful, fear God.

Also look at the following verses: Acts 10:2, 22, 35; 13:16, 26. Who are these that are called Godfearing?

The God-fearing in these passages are Gentiles who have come to worship the one, true God.


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Now look up Deut 10:12-22; 24:19-21; 26:12-13. How does one who fears the Lord treat widows?

The one who fears the Lord would want to take special care of widows.

So we would conclude that one who does not fear God is not part of Israels faithful remnant and he is
not a Gentile who fears God. He is later called unrighteous. He is a pagan who is outside the people
of God.
5. Next lets look at the statement that the judge did not care about men. Many have observed that in
Jesus time that honor/shame was a major motivational factor in life. In this judges case then it would
mean that he did not feel any shame if he did not help a widow as most others would; he did not care
about the downcast of society. If this were the case, the widow could not have any influence over the
judge; she would not be able to sway him because he didnt care.
Also note that the widows behavior is unusual for that time as well. A widow in that culture would not
normally act as she does, pestering the judge. In a word then, both the judge and the widow act
shamelessly in this story.
Having said all of this, it is then a great surprise to see the widow get her way. After a while the judge
gives in to the widow (18:5). To understand this better, what the NIV translates as, so that she wont
eventually wear me out with her coming! is translated in the CC as, with the result that she not keep
coming until [the] end and give me a black eye (italics mine). The literal meaning of the word is
strike under the eye or give a black eye. In other words, she would blacken his reputation. So even
though he says he does not care about people, he does seem to care about what they think about
him, and he does not want them to think negatively of him.
6. This leads us up to Jesus interpretation (18:6-8). What seemed to be a straightforward parable about
the believers persistent prayer while waiting Gods final vindication has now changed as the focus
has shifted to the unscrupulous judge who is concerned about his reputation. In his interpretation,
Jesus compares the unrighteous judge to God. This comparison causes difficulties as did Jesus
praise for the dishonest steward in 16:1-13. The point of comparison is not, of course, their
unrighteousness, but is the character trait that motivates eventual vindication, ones reputation.
What was Gods reputation in the OT (see Ex 34:6; Nu 14:18; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Ne 9:17; Joel
2:13; Jnh 4:2)?

The Lord was known for being merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in
steadfast love.

The comparison Jesus makes goes from the lesser to the greater. If the human judge in the parable,
whose reputation is that of shamelessness, finally succumbs to the widows persistence and
vindicates her, how much more will God, whose reputation is one of mercy and compassion, vindicate
his elect. The judge vindicates because he is harassed and doesnt want his reputation damaged.
God will vindicate because he has promised salvation to the elect, who cry to him day and night. God
vindicates not because of persistent prayers and cries of the elect, but because he is true to who he
is and to his word. God would have every right to punish the elect because they are sinful, but instead
he acts according to his mercy.
Jesus promises that the vindication of the elect will come quickly; it will come in Christs atonement.
Christ is heading towards Jerusalem. Shortly he will be experiencing his passion, death, and


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If their prayers then do not cause their vindication, why did Jesus urge them to always pray and not
give up? The answer is in the last verse. When Jesus comes again will he find a faithful community
waiting for him? Persistent prayer of loyal disciples is evidence of the communitys faith in Gods
faithfulness, mercy, and compassion.

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Lesson 79 The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Lk 18:9-14)
This passage may be seen as the second of two parables about prayer (18:1-14) or as the first pericope
of a series of three that illustrate entry into the kingdom by those who are inferior (18:9-30). This passage
is certainly linked to the previous passage as it shows one who prays in the faith that Christ hopes to find
when he returns (18:8b). This passage, along with the rest of Jesus teachings on this final part of his
journey to Jerusalem, is related to discipleship (18:9-19:28).
The tax collector as the true disciple compared to the Pharisee.
Children are perfect disciples in their humility.
The rich ruler can only be a disciple if he sells all and gives to the poor.
True discipleship involves the kind of suffering Jesus must undergo.
A blind man shows that discipleship comes from acknowledging that Jesus is
the Son of David, who alone gives mercy.
Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, is a true son of Abraham, a true disciple,
because the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.
The parable of the minas illustrates that gifts Jesus gives his disciples come
with responsibilities.
The contrast between the Pharisees and the tax collectors is at its starkest in this passage. These are the
same to groups that have been present throughout much of Luke, those who receive Jesus in faith and
those who reject him. This parable sums up Jesus teaching about those who accept him and those who
reject him.
See detailed structure. The structure is balanced with the parable (18:10-14a) nestled between an apt
introduction (18:9) and conclusion (18:14b-c). Jesus provides a frame (A-18:10/A-18:14a) that contains a
circular movement of two men going up to the temple to pray and returning from the temple to their
homes. In between, we observe the actions of the two men (B-18:11/B-18:13). Jesus makes a judgement
about the two (18:14a) out of which flows his concluding restatement of the principle of the Great
Reversal (18:14b-c).
1. Lukes introduction (18:9) is again very direct in revealing the point of the parable. This parable is a
word against those who are self-righteous and who despise others. Obviously we know this includes
the Pharisees, even before we hear the parable.
2. The first part of the frame (A-18:10) identifies the place and persons involved in this story. What is


It takes place at the temple.


The main characters of the story are a Pharisee and a tax collector.

The temple was the place of Gods presence among his people. The temple was necessary as a
place for sacrifices and prayer. At the end of Lukes gospel, the temple has been rendered obsolete
because of Jesus one, great sacrifice. But at this point the temple is still necessary and Gods
presence is still there.
Jesus begins the parable by saying that two men went to the temple to pray. Some assumptions
might be made about the time that they came to the temple to pray. Every morning and evening (9 AM


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and 3 PM), atonement sacrifices were made for the sins of the people. Along with the atonement
sacrifice was the offering of incense, which represented the petitions of the people rising up to God.
At this same time public prayers were allowed at the temple. It was also common that private prayers
would be made at this same time. This background combines the idea of private prayer (which these
two men offer) in the context of corporate worship (to go home justified atonement had to be made) in
a place of public worship (the temple).
3. Between 18:9 and 18:11, what is the picture Jesus paints of the Pharisee for us?

We have the picture of a man who is arrogant and an elitist, who sets himself apart from the rest
of the worshippers, but yet close enough for them to hear him (it was not uncommon for Jews to
pray out loud, even in private prayer). His prayer centers around himself (he uses the first person
singular, I, five times).

The Pharisees prayer is eucharistic (thanksgiving). What does he thank God for (18:11-12)?

He thanks God for himself and not for any gifts that God has given him.

What does he petition God for?

He petitions God for nothing since he needs nothing. He believes he is already perfect.

In Lk 18:9 Luke talks about those who looked down on everybody else. How is this illustrated in the
Pharisees prayer (18:11)?

The Pharisee thanks God that he is not like robbers, evildoers, and adulterers (NIV. seizing,
unrighteous, and adulterers, CC). Hes glad he is better than other men.

The Pharisees prayer is ironic. What does Jesus say the Pharisees are full of in Lk 11:39b?

Jesus says that the Pharisees are full of greed and wickedness. The word Jesus uses there is
from the same family as the word the Pharisee uses here for robbers or seizing.

The word the NIV translates as evildoers can also be translated as unrighteous. Looking at
18:14a, why is this ironic?

Its ironic because the Pharisee thanked God that he was not like the unrighteous and yet when
the two prayers were over he was not the one who went away justified (pronounced righteous);
he was the unrighteous one.

The Pharisees have never been presented as adulterers, but taken in the spiritual sense (Israel is
pictured as a nation of adulterers in the OT as they left God for idols), they were guilty of leaving God
as an adulterer would his spouse. So the Pharisees thanked God that they were not like adulterers
and yet they were spiritual adulterers. This too is ironic.


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Finally the Pharisee thanks God that he is not like this tax collector. By doing this he places the tax
collector in the same group as robbers, evildoers, and adulterers. He uses the tax collector as an
example of one who is not pious and contrasts him with himself as one who is pious. In this contrast
the Pharisee gives evidence of his piety in his fasting and tithes. At that time, these works were above
and beyond what was expected of the pious faithful. There is no doubt that the Pharisees have
chosen an alternate way to heaven and that way is based on works. In no way do they need Jesus
and Gods grace.
4. The actions and words of the tax collector stand in sharp contrast to those of the Pharisee. What two
actions show humility (18:13)?

The tax collector would not look up to heaven when he prayed (which was typical of Jews at
prayer) and he beat his breasts as a sign of his unworthiness.

What were the tax collectors words that showed humility?

The tax collector simply prayed, God, have mercy on me a sinner.

The CC translates the word mercy as propitiated instead. The normal Greek expression for have
mercy is not used here. Propitiate means to turn Gods wrath away from the guilty sinner. He sees
himself as the chief of sinners. If these prayers occurred at the time of the atonement sacrifice, this
makes very good sense since that was the purpose of the sacrifice, to turn Gods wrath away from the
sinner and to the sacrifice. This is what Jesus, the Messiah, came for, to offer the one great sacrifice
for the world (himself) that would turn Gods wrath away from sinners and to himself.
Also in translating the tax collectors prayer as, O God, be propitiated toward me, the sinner (italics
mine), the tax collector is comparing himself to others. How does he see himself as compared to

The tax collector does not see himself as better than the others like the Pharisee. Instead, he
sees himself as the sinner or the chief of sinners.

5. The word Jesus uses here for justified (pronounce righteous) is the same word used in 7:29 for the
sinners and tax collectors acknowledging Gods way as right when they submitted to Johns baptism
of repentance. When justified is considered in relation to propitiated then the basis for the
declaration of righteousness before God is the sacrifice of atonement. In the Messiah God provides
that one-time sacrifice of atonement. So again it boils down to whom one trusts for salvation: either in
ones self and in ones own righteousness, or in God and in the atoning sacrifice he provided.
6. The prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector reflect the spiritual condition of each: pride versus
humility. The principle of radical reversal applies again here (first introduced at 14:11). Of course the
ultimate reversal happened as the Son of God humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a
cross (Phil 2:8). Because of that he became highly exalted, the stone that the builders rejected has
become the head cornerstone (Lk 20:17).


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Lesson 80 Children and the Kingdom of God (Lk 18:15-17)
The previous passage, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, and this passage have the same
theme. The tax collector is a true disciple of Jesus in his humility and acknowledgement that God makes
atonement for sin. Before God, he is as helpless as an infant. Infants and little children have access
through Jesus to the kingdom of God. Earlier a question was raised by Jesus: Will he find faith when he
returns? The answer is yes, but in the most unlikely places, in tax collectors and infants!
See detailed structure. Luke uses a chiastic structure. Jesus exhortation is that to enter the kingdom one
must be like a child (18:16), and this exhortation is framed (18:15 and 18:17) by the disciples preventing
the children from coming and Jesus announcement that those who do not receive the kingdom of God as
a little child will not enter into it.
1. Why were people bringing babies and infants to Jesus (18:15a)?

People were bringing babies and infants to Jesus that he might touch them.

How do the disciples react (18:15b)?

The disciples rebuked the people for bringing the children.

Earlier in his ministry, Jesus rebuked demons, fevers, and winds, all things that invaded mans world,
causing it harm. Here the disciples rebuke the people for bringing babies to Jesus. They rebuke what
they think is an invasion into Jesus ministry. By doing this, what do the disciples show about their
understanding of Gods kingdom?

By this rebuke, the disciples show that they do not understand the true nature of Gods kingdom.

2. The teaching of this passage is very similar to the teaching in 9:46-50. In that passage Jesus taught
that greatness in the kingdom comes through humility like that of a child and not to prevent anyone
from casting out demons in Jesus name. In this passage, Jesus says the kingdom belongs to these
humble little ones and not to prevent their parents from bringing them to him. Again, the disciples
understanding of the kingdom has not progressed.
3. People are bringing their children so that Jesus can touch them. When the disciples prevent them,
Jesus responds by saying the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. So there is a connection
made between Jesus and the kingdom. In sending Jesus in the flesh, the Father sends his kingdom.
To be touched by the man Jesus is to be touched by God. Jesus instructs the disciples to release
(CC) the babies that he might touch them. This is what the ministry of Jesus was all about; it is a
ministry of release. By preventing the babies from coming, the disciples prevent them from entering
the kingdom of God.
4. By their simplicity, humility, and utter inability to come to Jesus, babies demonstrate the
characteristics and posture of those who enter the kingdom. The kingdom comes to those who are
least among humanity and who have nothing to offer God.
5. A connection can also be made to 11:52. There, Jesus pronounces a woe on the scribes. What did
the scribes do to receive such a woe?


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The scribes have taken away the key to knowledge, thereby hindering people from entering
Gods kingdom.

The key connecting word here is hindered or prevented. What have the disciples done that is

By preventing the children from being brought to Jesus, the disciples have taken away the key of
knowledge. As the scribes prevented or hindered people from entering the kingdom, so do the
disciples by hindering the babies. They are doing the same thing as the scribes! If they continue
to prevent them, they will not enter the kingdom either!

We see the same thing in the previous passage of the Pharisee and tax collector and through out the
gospel. The Pharisees would prevent sinners and tax collectors from entering Gods kingdom.
6. Luke also uses the word for preventing someone from entering the kingdom of God twice in Acts. And
both times he uses it in connection with Baptism. What happens in Acts 8:36?

In 8:36, the Ethiopian asks if there is anything preventing him from being baptized.

What happens in Acts 10:47?

In 10:47, Peters asks what is to prevent Cornelius and his household from being baptized.

In Acts the Good News spreads outside the Jewish world. The Ethiopian, Cornelius, and Cornelius
household are all Gentiles. They do not qualify for entrance into the kingdom of God. No one is to be
prevented from entering the kingdom of God.


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Lesson 81 The Rich Ruler (Lk 18:18-30)
The discussion Jesus has with the rich ruler continues the theme of discipleship that began with the
parable of the Pharisee and tax collector (18:9-14). In the parable Jesus places before us the two
categories that have occurred throughout his teaching: the Pharisee who justifies himself and the tax
collector who humbly accepts the atonement that God provides. Immediately following the parable Jesus
gives an example those who enter the kingdom: babies and little children (18:15-17). Childlike faith is
required to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus now gives an example of someone else who tries another
way of entering the kingdom: through trust in riches (18:18-30).
See detailed structure. This passage could be divided into separate but related sections, i.e., 18:18-23
and 18:24-30, but there is a chiastic pattern that has a pattern of recurring key words and thoughts.
1. This passage begins with a certain ruler asking Jesus what he has to do to inherit eternal life. In
Luke, a ruler was a Pharisaic scribe who represented the Pharisees on the Sanhedrin. This ruler
then represents the Pharisees at the highest level. From the story, we know that this ruler displays
two of the great failures of the Pharisees. From 18:21 and 18:23, what are those two great failures?

First, he is a hypocrite, because he believes that he has kept the Law perfectly (18:21). And
second, he was obsessed with possessions (18:23); he was a lover of money.

In the extended discourse of 12:1-13:21, these two things were the two major stumbling blocks for the
According to the frame (A-18:18/A-18:30), what is the issue that this story deals with?

The issue is eternal life.

Also note that this same idea is expressed in different words in the center of the chiasm in A-18:24/A18:25. In what words is this idea expressed?

Here entering the kingdom of God is the same thing as having eternal life.

From the rulers question, what do we know about his belief in how one gets eternal life?

He believes that one obtains eternal life by works (He asks, what must I do?).

2. Jesus response to the question seems rather strange. When the ruler asked him the question, he
addressed Jesus as good teacher. Jesus response focuses on the word good (B-18:19). Jesus is
saying that If only God is good and you call me good, then are you saying that I am God? By
focusing on Gods goodness, instead of on what the ruler must do, Jesus completely shifts the debate
about eternal life and the commandments. But as we see in 18:21, the ruler remains focused on his
own accomplishments and fails to see that the kingdom of God is Gods good gift in the good
Teacher, Jesus (B-18:29).
3. The question arises as to why Jesus chose these commandments and in this order. It has been
suggested that these commandments are presented in the form of chiasm, as follows:


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Do not commit adultery
Do not murder
Do not steal
Do not bear false witness
Honor your father and mother

(loyalty to family)
(physical destruction of others)
(respect for property)
(verbal destruction of another)
(loyalty to family)

On the outside and in the middle are two things that Jesus has said one must be willing to leave
behind in order to follow him, family and property (cf. 18:22, 28). The Pharisees will break both
commandments that deal with destruction of others when they bear false witness against him at his
trials and lead him to death. In the very middle is a commandment dealing with property. Love of
money is an issue for this rich ruler and for Pharisees in general.
The rulers response is to claim that he has kept these commandments since he was a boy (18:21).
This ruler actually believed that had kept the commandments perfectly. This is why Jesus warned the
crowds in 12:1 to be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
4. When Jesus heard the rulers response (C-18:22), what did Jesus tell the rich ruler to do?

Jesus told the ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor, and then come follow him.

Look back at 12:33-34. Notice the similarity to 18:22. Also look back at the lesson for 12:22-34
numbers 7 and 8. What is the treasure in heaven?

The treasure in heaven is Jesus and the gifts he gives, life and salvation.

So again Jesus urges us to give up our temporary earthly treasures so that we might have eternal
heavenly treasures. The disciples, in contrast to the rich ruler, have left all to follow Jesus (C-18:28).
Also in contrast is Zacchaeus who, also being rich, did give to the poor (19:8).
5. When the rich ruler heard what he should do, he became very sad because he was very rich (D18:23). For him this was impossible. The rich ruler has come to Jesus and heard the Word, but he is
like the seed thrown among the thorns (8:14). He has heard the Word but it is choked off by the
anxieties and riches and pleasures of life.
Some believe that the reason the ruler was so sad was more than more than being told to give away
his wealth. Perhaps, having been so sure that he had kept the commandments, he has found out that
he really hadnt. Perhaps he realizes he cannot earn his way into heaven. Or maybe he sees that he
has been trying to serve both God and money, and when put to the test, he sees who his god really
6. Now we come to the center of the narrative (E-18:24/E-18:25) where the language shifts from
inheriting eternal life to entering the kingdom of God. Jesus makes his point about the difficulty
possessions cause for entering the kingdom (18:24) by using an example. What example does Jesus
use (18:25)?

The example is a camel going through the eye of a needle.

Many have tried to explain this example, but the best way is to take it literally. And obviously, if taken
literally it would be impossible. And thats exactly what Jesus wants them to see. Both a camel going
through the eye of a needle and human beings entering into Gods kingdom are impossible. Only
through Gods miraculous intervention can either of these happen. (See 18:27.)


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7. Both Matthew (19:22) and Mark (10:22) say that the rich ruler departed. Although no mention is made
of it in Luke, he does seem to drop out of the picture, as another group asks a question (D-18:26).
The question asked is a legitimate one for that time. At that time, what did the Jews believe wealth
was a sign of based on passages such as Deut 28:12-13?

Based on their interpretation of scripture, possessions were a sign of Gods favor and blessings.

With this mindset, the question is, If a person who is rich because God has showed him favor cannot
enter into the kingdom, then how can anyone else be saved? What answer does Jesus give (D18:27)?

Jesus answers by saying that salvation comes from God alone; its is a pure gift. Men cannot save

This will be demonstrated by Zacchaeus, as he a rich man, will be saved by God (19:1-10). The
desperate sorrow of the rich man (D-18:23) can only be reversed by God in Jesus (D-18:27).
8. Peter responds by saying that they had left all to follow Jesus (C-18:28). Indeed, if we look back at Lk
5:11 we see that this is true. Having gone back to the beginning of Jesus ministry and seeing Peter
speak for the rest of the disciples, we are reminded that Peter was first among the disciples (5:1-11),
Matthew was the first among the gospel writers (5:27-39); and the Twelve are the reconstituted Israel.
Having left all (both possessions and family), the disciples are not tied down and are free to follow
Jesus wherever he goes. Peter does follow Jesus all the way to Jerusalem. But after Jesus arrest
Peter follows at a distance to the court yard of the chief priest where he denied Jesus. Even to remain
a disciple is a miracle of God.
9. Peters exclamation leads to Jesus summary of the themes of his teaching: to be a disciple one must
be willing to give up property and family (B-18:29). Previously we have heard Jesus say that he has
come to overturn the OT kinship laws and create a new family (e.g., 8:19-21; 9:57-62; 12:52-53;
14:26-27). Membership in this family, the kingdom of God, does not come through bloodlines, but
through evangelical poverty and following Jesus. Jesus is calling them to a greater loyalty to himself
than to their homes and families. For the Middle Easterner loyalty to family and village home were of
the utmost importance. For Jesus to demand an even greater loyalty was impossible for them. Again,
only with God are such things possible.
10. To his radical call Jesus attaches the promise of Gods blessings (A-18:30). To whom and when will
these blessings be given?

God will give his blessings to those who heed his radical and gracious call to leave all. These gifts
will be given both now and in the future (eternity).

For the disciple of Christ, the gift received now is the presence of Jesus. He is present now in his
sacramental gifts, which are a foretaste of eternal life. When we receive Jesus, we receive our
Brother, for we have become part of a family, Gods family, the body of Christ, the church where
Jesus dwells. Jesus is both the kingdom of God [that dwells] among you (17:21) now and treasure
in heaven that yet awaits.


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Lesson 82 The Third and Final Passion Prediction (Lk 18:31-34)
As Jesus journey to Jerusalem draws to a close, he predicts his passion and resurrection one more time.
At the end of the Jesus Galilean ministry (9:22, 44-45) and at the end of Jesus journey to Jerusalem, the
two major locales of Jesus ministry, Luke has placed Jesus passion prediction. By doing so, Luke keeps
the hearers focus of attention on the purpose for Jesus coming, and therefore, the purpose of Lukes
See detailed structure. This passion prediction is complex and emphasizes resoluteness in fulfilling
scripture in the face of betrayal, shame, pain, death, resurrection, and misunderstanding.
1. Who is this passion prediction addressed to (18:31)?

Jesus is addressing the Twelve.

Lukes use of behold (Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,CC) along with we are going up to
Jerusalem signals to the disciples the significance of this final passion prediction. By doing this,
Jesus combines a travel notice with a passion prediction as he did at the beginning of the journey
narrative (9:51).
Luke has used the language of fulfillment throughout his gospel. In 2:39, 12:50, and 22:37 (where he
quotes Is 53:12) Luke uses the Greek word which means to complete, fulfill. Luke uses another
Greek word in 2:43 and 13:32, which means to bring to completion, accomplish, fulfill. Now, Luke is
the only synoptic evangelist to include the phrase, and everything that is written by the prophets
about the Son of Man will be fulfilled (18:31b). So with Jesus approach towards Jerusalem and the
language of fulfillment, there is a heightened sense that the purpose of Jesus life and ministry is
about to come to be accomplished.
2. When Jesus speaks about being handed over (18:32a), what do we know he is referring to?

Jesus is referring to his betrayal by Judas.

Who does the Gentiles (18:32a) refer to?

The Gentiles refers to Pontius Pilate and the Romans.

So this sentence, He will be handed over to the Gentiles, is a direct reference to Jesus trial.
Following this general reference to the Passion, Luke gives an expanded description of the passion
and death. What specifics does Jesus give (18:32-33)?

They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise

3. Lukes stress on fulfillment of the prophets followed by the details of his coming passion, death, and
resurrection, show Lukes interest in showing that Jesus death and resurrection were in fulfillment of
the Scriptures.


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After his death and resurrection, Jesus appeared to two of his disciples who were travelling to
Emmaus. What happened in 24:25-27?

Jesus chided the disciples for being slow to believe what the prophets had spoken. He then
explained to them that according to Moses and the prophets he had to first suffer and die and
then enter his glory.

And again, in his final commission to his disciples, what did Jesus do (24:45-46)?

Jesus opens their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures and then shows how the
Scriptures were fulfilled in his suffering, death, and resurrection.

Finally, after Jesus ascension, the central message of the apostles in Acts was how the plan of God,
as laid out in Scripture, was fulfilled by Jesus Christ. That Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures is a message
of high importance for Lukes hearers.
4. Again Luke includes something that the other synoptics do not, the reaction of the disciples (18:34).
Once again, how are the disciples pictured?

The disciples are pictured as being ignorant; they do not understand.

Later on in Acts Peter and Paul declare that the people of Jerusalem acted in ignorance in asking for
Jesus death (Acts 3:17; 13:27). They were all ignorant of the meaning of the Scriptures and of the
plan of God.
Look back at the second passion prediction (9:44-45). As compared to this third passion prediction,
how did the disciples react to it?

The disciples reaction was almost identical: they didnt understand and it was hidden from them.
The major difference is in the third part of their reaction. In the second prediction they were afraid.
In the third prediction, they did not know what Jesus was talking about.

The verb to know is one of Lukes synonyms for faith, as in the prologue: that you may know.
When someone in the gospel finally understands the passion facts, their eyes are opened and they
know Jesus (24:31).


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Lesson 83 The Healing of the Blind Man (Lk 18:35-43)
Jericho is the scene of three climatic events: the healing of the blind man (Lk 18:35-43), his stay in the
home of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector (19:1-10); and the parable of the minas, which shows what a
true king looks like and who that king might be (19:11-28). All three occur just prior to Jesus entrance into
See detailed structure. The account in 18:35-43 moves smoothly from blindness (18:35), to a cry for
mercy (18:36-39), to Jesus response of healing (18:40-42), and finally to sight (18:43).
1. For the first time since 17:11, we are given specific geographical information about Jesus location.
What town does Jesus approach in 18:35a?

Jesus approached Jericho.

Find a map of Israel. How close is this town to Jerusalem?

Jericho is within 20 miles of Jerusalem.

The hearer knows that Jesus will make his way from here to Bethphage and Bethany (19:28) and
then he will enter Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives on Palm Sunday.
Besides Jesus and the place of the story, the frame introduces another main character, the blind man.
What is the blind man doing?

The blind man is sitting by the roadside begging.

As the pilgrims make their way to Jerusalem for the Passover, the location of the blind man is an ideal
location to meet Jesus. This blind man is on the way to meet Jesus, to be healed by him, and to
follow him. He is not like the rich ruler who was unable to follow Jesus.
2. In the very beginning of his ministry, why did Jesus say he had come (as it relates to this blind man)

Jesus had come to bring recovery of sight for the blind.

When John the Baptist questioned if Jesus was the promised Messiah, how did Jesus respond (as it
relates to this blind man) (7:19b, 22a)?

Jesus told Johns disciples to report what they saw and heard (7:21b): The blind receive sight

This is Good News for the blind man. He is one of those Jesus had come to heal in fulfillment of Is 61
and 58.
3. While the blind man was begging, he apparently heard some unusual commotion and asked what
was going on. What did the crowd tell him (18:37)?


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The crowd told him that, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.

When the blind man heard that it was Jesus, he knew who Jesus was. He called immediately called
out to Jesus to have mercy on him. How do you think that the blind man would know that this Jesus of
Nazareth was a merciful one? (see 4:14, 37; 5:15; 7:17)

Jesus had performed many miracles in Galilee. The news of his merciful and miraculous
healings and exorcisms spread quickly.

But this title Jesus of Nazareth, or as the CC translates, Jesus the Nazorean would have meant
more to the first-century Jew. The spelling of the word Nazorean is like that of the word used in Is
11:1, the branch from the root of Jesse. It is upon this Branch that the Spirit of the Lord will rest (Is
11:2, the same Spirit referred to in Is 61:1). This Branch from the root of Jesse is none other than the
Son of David, the Messiah. How ironic it is that this blind man sees who Jesus really is. The blind
mans cry to Jesus is more than a request, it is also a confession of faith. He confesses that he
believes that Jesus is the Messiah, who is merciful.
4. When the blind man cried out, what did those who were leading the way do (18:39)?

Those leading the way rebuked the man. They basically told him to shut up and be quiet; dont
bother Jesus.

This is another ironic twist. Those who were travelling with Jesus are presumably his disciples. At this
point they ought to understand that Jesus mission is to show mercy to the downtrodden and outcasts.
But this blind man who saw who Jesus really was cried out all the more. And again he expressed his
faith as he called Jesus the Son of David and asked for mercy.
5. When Jesus heard the mans shouts and cries for mercy, he stopped his journey and had the blind
man brought to him (18:40). Then Jesus asked what seemed to be a strange question. What was that
question (18:41a)?

Jesus asked the blind man, What do you want me to do for you?

Wasnt it obvious what the man needed? It was, but Jesus gave him an opportunity to confess his
faith before the journeying pilgrims. And in doing so, the blind man added another title for Jesus.
What was the title (18:41b)?

The blind man called Jesus Lord.

The blind man had been given the gift of faith in Jesus, for it took the eyes of faith to see that this
Jesus was the Son of David and the Lord. And it took faith to cry out to him, believing that Jesus had
the power to cure his blindness.
6. Jesus response to the faith of the blind man, as translated by the CC, is See again, your faith has
saved you. What difference does it make when saved is translated instead of healed?

The word saved conveys the idea that the blind man has received more than physical sight. He
has received both physical and spiritual sight. Through his faith he has received not only physical
sight, but also eternal salvation.


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Looking ahead at the next passage, we see the same theme. According to 19:9-10, who is Jesus
(18:9a) and why did he come (18:10b)?

Jesus is salvation. Jesus has come to seek out the lost and to save them.

This is an important theme throughout Luke. Salvation comes through Jesus and the benefits of that
salvation flow from his merciful presence among fallen creatures who are blind to the new creation
unless he opens their eyes.
7. Immediately after Jesus spoke, the blind man received his sight. But that is not all that happened.
What did the blind man become? Or what do we call someone who follows Jesus and praises God

The man who once was blind became a disciple of Jesus.

This is the response Jesus wants. This is what Jesus came to do, to seek the blind and to give them
sight to see that Jesus is the Promised One, the Son of David, the Lord, who gives salvation, which
evokes praise.
In this is a subtle reference to Jesus deity. Who does the healed man give praise to (18:43a)?

He gives praise to God.

The faith of the now healed man has informed him that only God could do this. He has been visited
by Gods presence in the flesh of Jesus the Nazorean. This is true worship. The receiver of the gift
worships the Giver of the gift. But this event has an even greater impact. For when all the people saw
it, they also praised God. They too worship the Giver of all good gifts.


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Lesson 84 Zacchaeus, the Chief Tax Collector (Lk 19:1-10)
This pericope brings to an end that part of the Lukan travel account which has been called the Gospel of
the Outcast. This story brings to conclusion the themes of Jesus Galilean ministry and the travel
account. Jesus has just delivered a poor, blind man and now he will deliver a rich, corrupt man. The
popular support for the former is contrasted to the popular dismay of the latter.
Since Jesus says he must stay at Zacchaeus house, it is assumed that Jesus will eat at least one meal
with Zacchaeus. The fact that Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus, the onlookers complain and Jesus eats with a
tax collector/sinner makes this passage a part of Jesus table fellowship and provides a frame for Jesus
ministry along with Jesus meal with Levi the tax collector. Jesus words in 19:10 are climactic and
summarize Jesus activity at the table with sinners.
Jesus has contrasted the Pharisees and tax collectors throughout his ministry. The parable of the
Pharisee and tax collector especially made this point. In this story, Zacchaeus, the rich tax collector, is
happy to give alms, where on the other hand, the rich young ruler, a Pharisee, would not give up his
See detailed structure. This account consists of an introduction (19:1), Zacchaeus seeking of Jesus
(19:2-4), Jesus response (19:5-8), and Jesus concluding pronouncement about his ministry.
1. This story takes place as Jesus passes through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem (19:1). This is the
second of three passages at Jericho. The first being the healing of the blind man (18:35-43) and the
third being the parable of the minas (19:11-28). The three together might be called the Jericho
2. This story emphasizes one of the major themes of Jesus ministry. In Lk 5:27-31, who does Jesus eat
and drink with?

Jesus eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners.

In Lk 7:29 and 7:34, who is it that accepts Gods plan of salvation in John and Jesus, which involves

It is the tax collectors and sinners that accept Gods plan, which means repentance from sin and
acceptance of grace.

In Lk 15:1-2, what do the Pharisees and teachers of the law mutter about concerning Jesus?

They mutter that Jesus welcomes and eats with sinners.

Who is it that is introduced in Lk 19:2 and who Jesus says he must stay with (19:5b)? And what do we
know about him?

Jesus says he must stay at Zacchaeus house. Zacchaeus was not only a tax collector, but a chief
tax collector. And Zacchaeus was very wealthy.


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From the point of view of the Pharisees, tax collectors and sinners are the outcasts of society. So
Zacchaeus, as the wealthy chief tax collector, represents all the outcasts of society. But we must note
also that Zacchaeus is specifically said to be wealthy. Throughout Lukes gospel, Jesus has had
much to say about money and possessions. This another major theme for Luke and he includes it
also in this story. This gives us another point of view. From Jesus point of view, those who have who
are rich are outcasts. Thus, from the different religious perspectives of the Pharisees and Jesus,
Zacchaeus is a person who is in need of salvation.
3. When Jesus came walking by, what did Zacchaeus do and why (19:3-4)?

Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. But because he was short, Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a
tree so he could see him.

It would have been highly unusual for someone of this position to act this way. In the Ancient Near
East it was considered demeaning for an honorable man to run or to climb trees. So what does this
tell us about Zacchaeus and how important it was for him to see Jesus?

It tells us that Zacchaeus was serious about seeing Jesus even if it meant doing something in his
culture that was considered foolish and humiliating.

4. Zacchaeus was eager to see Jesus, but it was Jesus who called Zacchaeus (19:5), just as he did
Levi. Jesus call includes some important words that describe Jesus ministry. The first word is
necessary or must. Jesus had said that he must suffer and die, because it was Gods plan. The
second word is abide or stay at. This word has to do with Jesus presence. Because Jesus stays
at Zacchaeus house, salvation has come to this house.
5. How did the onlookers respond to the fact that Jesus went to stay at Zacchaeus house (19:7)?

The onlookers grumbled saying that, He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.

The Pharisees and teachers of the law had the same response when Jesus ate with tax collectors at
Levis house (5:29-30).
6. When Zacchaeus announced his giving to the poor and his paying back four-fold anything he had
cheated people of (19:8), was he speaking of what he was already doing or of what he would do in
the future? Theologically, it must be a future activity. As was noted in 7:47, Jesus did not forgive the
women because of her love, but rather, her love flowed from Jesus forgiveness. It is the same here.
Zacchaeus generosity results from the forgiveness Jesus offered him when he said he would stay at
his house. Zacchaeus reaction is a sign of his repentance and his reception of Jesus forgiveness by
7. What Jesus said to Zacchaeus in 19:9-10 can also be used as a summary for Jesus ministry. What
do Jesus words say about how salvation works?

1. We are lost in our sinfulness.

2. Jesus seeks us out.


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3. Jesus comes to us, to our house today.

4. When we come into Jesus presence today, Gods kingdom is among us and offered to us.

5. We are saved from our lostness today when in faith, as sons and daughters of Abraham, we
receive the gift of salvation offered to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

As promised the thief on the cross, Today you will be with me in paradise (23:43), so when he
comes to us and we receive him in faith, he makes the same promise. When Jesus comes to us,
salvation and Gods kingdom are a present reality.
Jesus words in 19:9-10 also tie into the Great Reversal theme. In 9:24b Jesus said, Whoever loses
his life for me will save it. When one loses his life, his former way of life perishes and a new way of
life begins. How is this true for Zacchaeus? (see also 13:23, 29 for a connection to table fellowship,
the new life.)

In the presence of Jesus, Zacchaeus recognized his lostness, accepted Jesus into his house, and
showed his willingness to do away with his old way of life by giving away his money. In 13:22-30,
those who are being saved (13:23) recline at the table in the kingdom of God (13:29). By
allowing Jesus to stay at his house, Zacchaeus will recline at the table with Jesus. He who had
been last will now become first.

8. In 1:77 what is salvation connected to? (see also Lk 3:3-6; 7:47-50)

Salvation is connected to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not mentioned in 19:1-10. But based on what we know about salvation from the verses
above, we know that since salvation has come to Zacchaeus his sins have been forgiven.
This salvation is Zacchaeus because he is a son of Abraham. In what two ways is he a son of
Abraham and which of those two ways counts where salvation is concerned and why?

Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham by physical descent and by faith. Where salvation is concerned,
being a physical descendant of Abraham avails nothing. It is faith that counts because it is faith
that receives the gift of salvation.

Even though Zacchaeus will give up his earthly wealth, through faith he will gain the priceless wealth
of salvation, the forgiveness of sins.


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Lesson 85 The Parable of the Minas and the Final Travel Notice (Lk
See the context sections of the previous two lessons. This is the third of three pericopes in Jericho, which
is just prior to Jesus entrance into Jerusalem. Jesus long journey to Jerusalem, where he will accomplish
the Fathers plan, is just about complete. And so we have Jesus final teaching before he reaches the
place of his destiny, where he will give his life to bring salvation to the world.
As we shall see below, this parable is more about kingship than it is about proper use of money. Even
Lukes introduction stresses this fact. The story is about a nobleman who goes to get a kingdom, gets it
despite opposition, and returns to establish that rule by getting rid of his rivals for power and placing in
positions of authority over cities the slaves that have shown themselves trustworthy. The nobleman who
becomes king is a figure who represents Jesus. The hardness of this character makes it more difficult to
make the connection.
See detailed structure. Luke frames this story with references to the nearness and Jesus going up to
Jerusalem, the place where he will be crowned king.
1. Lukes introduction to this parable is of great importance. In his introduction, what does Luke tie this
parable to (19:11)? (persons, place, thing, time, etc.)

Luke connects this parable back to the previous pericope. So we know this parable was told at
Zacchaeus house, which was in Jericho, as he was making his way to Jerusalem. The view of
the CC has been that those who are hearers of Jesus are Jesus
disciples/learners/catechumens. So this is Jesus final teaching before he enters Jerusalem,
concluding the long journey narrative that began in 9:51.

What does this introduction say that the hearers of the Word (Jesus followers) were expecting?

They expected that when Jesus entered into Jerusalem that the kingdom of God would come at
once, that Jesus would become king. Jerusalem was the city of messianic expectations and they
believed Jesus to be the Messiah.

How ironic it is that they were right, only it would not come in the way they expected and he would not
be the kind of king they expected. The kingdom would come, but instead of in glory, it would come in
suffering, death, resurrection, and the breaking of bread; it would come in the form of grace and
In Luke, Jesus kingship is an issue in the last week of Jesus life before his death. Besides being
mentioned here, he is acclaimed to be king by his disciples on Palm Sunday (19:38), during his final
supper with his disciples (22:28-30), in his trials (23:2), and at the cross (23:37-38). Even after the
resurrection, the disciples have a question about the coming of the kingdom (Acts 1:6). With this

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parable, Jesus gives his disciples a long-range view of the triumph of the kingdom despite the
impending sufferings, which would first be misinterpreted as defeat.
2. This parable could be based on a true story. Both Herod the Great and later his son Archelaus went
off to Rome to gain the kingship over Israel. A Jewish delegation followed Archelaus to Rome in
protest. Both of these kings were very severe. They would kill anyone who got in their way, including
family. For those who used their money wisely, Herod appointed to them a number of towns. For
those who didnt he punished by slaughtering them.
If Jesus wanted them to think of Herod, then he was pointing out what kind of king he was not. It is
similar to the dilemma of unrighteous steward(16:1-13) and the unrighteous judge (18:1-8), where the
figures partially represented God and also contrast with him. Jesus may have wanted some to
interpret it one way and others another way (remember the purpose of parables was to hide from
some and to reveal to others). But Jesus would expect a different interpretation from his disciples, a
Christological one.
3. The first part of the parable set the stage and introduces the main character (19:12-13). It first
introduces a man of noble birth. Would you consider Jesus of noble birth? Why or why not? (For help
see Lk 1:26-38)

Yes. On his earthly side, Jesus was from King Davids line. Jesus was conceived by the Holy
Spirit. So on his spiritual side, Jesus was the Son of God.

In a Christological interpretation, the man of noble birth is Jesus. According to 19:12, what was Jesus/
the nobleman about to do (19:12)?

Jesus/ the nobleman was about to leave for a distant country to be appointed as a king and then

What has Luke called this leaving for a distant country?

Lk 9:31

An exodus or departure.

Lk 9:51

A being taken up to heaven.

So what is the distant country that Jesus will travel to, to receive his kingship?

Jesus will travel to heaven. There he will be crowned Lord of lords and King of kings.

Only when Jesus work of redemption is complete will he leave for this distant country. Only after he
is born, lives, ministers, suffers, dies, rises again, and shows himself to be alive will he be ready to
ascend to this distant country.
4. Next in the parable, the nobleman called ten of his servants, gave them about three months wages
each (a mina), and told them to put the money to work until he came back (19:13). These servants
represent Jesus disciples (the Twelve and the Seventy). The minas were given as a gift, but they
were expected to use them to gain more. The mina represents the gifts that Jesus brings, which he
entrusts to his disciples. When Jesus sent out the Twelve in 9:1-2 and the seventy in 10:1-2, 9, what
did Jesus give them and what were they sent to do?


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Jesus gave them power and authority and the gospel message. The Twelve and the seventy were
sent to drive out demons, cure diseases, preach the kingdom of God, and heal the sick, to be
workers in the eternal harvest fields.

So already Jesus disciples have a taste of what it will be like when he leaves to that far away place
(heaven) to receive his kingship. At Pentecost, Jesus will fully entrust his disciples with his gifts of the
Word and Sacraments and expect them to faithfully put them to work to increase the number of souls
that are saved.
5. In 9:14 we hear that the noblemans subjects hate him and try to keep him from being king. If Jesus is
the nobleman, who are those who hate him and what do they do to try and keep him from being

Those that hate Jesus are the Pharisees, Sadduccees, and the teachers of the law, the religious
establishment. They try to keep Jesus becoming a king by having him killed.

6. The next section (19:15-26) begins with a simple, matter of fact statement. What happened when the
nobleman went off (19:15a)?

The nobleman was made king and then returned home.

While stewardship is an important theme here, everything that follows must be seen in terms of the
noblemans kingship and his return home. What kingdom is Jesus made king over?

Jesus is made the king and given the kingdom of God. Jesus rules over all things.

Where is the distant country that Jesus traveled to?

Jesus is traveling to the distant country of heaven.

What event for Jesus, does the return of the nobleman point forward to or what is it a shadow of?

The return from the distant country refers to Jesus return from heave to earth, the parousia.

According to 19:15b and the verses that follow, what will the nobleman/Jesus do when he returns?

The nobleman/Jesus will demand an accounting from his servants of how they used his gifts
(money) and what had been gained.

What does 19:16-19 say about faithfulness in using the noblemans/Jesus gifts or what will happen to
those who are faithful?

It says that faithfulness in using Gods gifts will be rewarded.

At what time will Jesus give out these gifts and ask his servants (disciples) to put them to work?


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Jesus does this after his ascension, during the time of the church. It is the church that is entrusted
with gifts of Gods Word and Sacraments and it is expected to use them faithfully to bring more
people into the kingdom.

7. After talking about the faithful servants, Jesus then speaks about one who is unfaithful 19:20-26). He
is unfaithful because he did not put his mina to work as the nobleman had asked his to. The servant
claims to have not done what he was asked to do because the nobleman was a hard man. The
nobleman never admits this, but asks the servant that if it were true, wouldnt he at least have put it in
a bank and earn some kind of interest on it? Either the servants view of the nobleman was incorrect
or he is being less than truthful in his explanation.
While the nobleman was gone, the servants showed if they would be faithful. If they were, then they
were given more authority over bigger things. If they were not, even what little they were responsible
for was taken away. This not the first time Jesus has said this, in Lk 8:18 we see Jesus saying the
same thing.
8. The nobleman/Jesus has some harsh words for his enemies (19:27). Again, Jesus is speaking of the
final judgement at his second coming. In Lk 10:12, what did Jesus compare the fate of his enemies

Jesus said that the fate of those who reject him and those he sends out would be worse than
what happened to Sodom.

What happened in Ge 19:23-29?

Sodom and Gomorrah were completely destroyed by God when he reigned down sulfur upon it.

For those who do not accept Jesus, the King, and the salvation he brings, they will have to face the
wrath of God. It will not be a pleasant sight.
9. Lk 19:28 is the final travel notice, the conclusion of the parable, and the conclusion of the journey
narrative. It puts Jesus journey to Jerusalem at center stage. What is about to transpire in Jerusalem
is of eternal importance.