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Luke Chapter 9
Sending out the twelve
Who Jesus is
Deliverance of a boy
The Transfiguration
Attitudes Jesus expects towards others
Feeding the five thousand
Luke Chapter 9 discussion questions

Luke Chapter 9

Sending out the twelve

1 [It was now time to get the disciples doing the ministry of Jesus,] so Jesus called his disciples together and imparted to them both power and authority over demons and to cure illnesses. [Jesus had already demonstrated what is available and how to access the gifts of the kingdom. Now he authorizes the disciples to access and flow in those gifts while he is present. He then releases the disciples to walk in those gifts independently without him present.] And he sent them out to announce the kingdom of God [God's rule as demonstrated by his ambassadors] and to heal those who were sick. [Under God's rule people get well rather than continuing to suffer].

And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey - no walking stick, no traveling bag, no food, no money, not even an extra shirt. [I want you dependent on God's provision which aids your faith.] Whatever house [you are invited into and] enter, remain there [until it is time to leave that town]. If no one welcomes you in a city, when you leave, shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them [for the people are disobeying my command to show hospitality to strangers and they are rejecting my rule].” So they left and went through all the towns, preaching and healing people everywhere.

Now Herod heard about all that was being accomplished [through Jesus and his disciples], but he was in confusion because some had told him that this was John the Baptist raised from the dead, and some had said that Elijah had appeared, and others said that some other of the prophets of old had returned. And Herod said, “I beheaded John, but who is this that I am hearing so much about,” and he wanted to see who it was in person. [He finally got the opportunity just before Jesus’ crucifixion in Luke 23:9.]

10 And when the ‘sent out ones’ returned, they told Jesus everything they had done, so he took them away by themselves to near the town of Bethsaida. 11 The people, when they heard that Jesus had left, followed him, and he made himself available to them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and those who needed healing, he healed.

Feeding the five thousand

12 As it got late in the day, the twelve came to Jesus and said, “It's time to dismiss the crowds, so they can go into the surrounding towns and countryside, find a place to stay, and look for some food to eat, since we are in such a remote location.” 13 But Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” They replied, “All we have is five loaves and two fish, unless you want us to go into town and buy food for all these people,” 14 for there were about five thousand, counting the men only. And he told them, “Have them sit down in groups of around fifty”, 15 and they did so, getting all the people to sit down.

16 Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish, looking up to heaven, Jesus blessed the food, and then broke it into pieces, and gave it to the disciples to distribute to the people. [The food was multiplied as it was distributed.] 17 They ate, and everyone had enough, and the leftovers were collected and filled twelve wicker baskets.

Who Jesus is

18 After this, he was praying one day, alone with his disciples, when he asked them this question: “What are the people saying about who I am?” 19 They answered him, “Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, but others say one of the prophets of old has risen again.” 20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Anointed One of God.” 21 And he commanded them in no uncertain terms that no one was to speak about this, 22 for he said, [What Peter said is the truth, and you may think it's glorious, but here is the other side of it.] The Son of Man must suffer many things, be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, be killed, and the third day be raised.”

23 And he said to all of them, “Anyone who really wants to come with me must say no to preserving your own life. Each day pick up and carry your cross [never holding back but being willing to suffer and die], and then follow me [wherever I take you]. 24 For whoever tries to save his own life [by denying who I am or by pursuing your own desires instead of mine] will lose it [for eternity], but whoever gives up his own life [to follow me as his Lord no matter what the cost] will gain his life [eternally].

25 “What have you achieved if you manage to preserve your life [and keep your possessions and achievements], but lose or damage your soul [in the process]? 26 For if anyone is ashamed of me and of the words I have spoken [to the point that you would deny your association with me to preserve yourself], I will be ashamed of him [and deny him] when I return in my own glory and with the glory of my Father and of the holy angels. 27 To tell you the truth, there are some of you standing here right now who will not taste death before you see the kingdom of God [including my glory].”

The Transfiguration

28 About eight days after he said these things, he took Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray [and to see his glory]. 29 And as he prayed, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothing became gleaming white. 30 And there were two men talking there with him - Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory, and they were talking with him about his departure [from the world] which he would accomplish in Jerusalem.

32 But Peter and the others with him were heavy with sleep [due to the weight of the glory of God's presence]. When they became fully aware, they saw the glory of Jesus and the two others standing with him. 33 When the two had departed, Peter said, “Teacher, it is good we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah,” but he had no idea what he was saying. [He just wanted to remain in the glory.] 34 Even while he was speaking, a cloud came over them, and they were fearful as it enveloped them. 35 And a voice came from within the cloud, “This is my son, the chosen one. Listen to him.” 36 And after the voice spoke, they saw that Jesus was now by himself. Later, they kept silent during those days and told no one what they had seen.

Deliverance of a boy

37 The day after they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met up with Jesus. 38 Then a man from the crowd called out to him, “Teacher, would you have a look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 See, a spirit grabs hold of him and he suddenly cries out, then he falls into a fit until his mouth foams. It's tearing him to pieces and hardly ever leaves him alone. 40 I asked your disciples to drive it out of him but they could not.”

41 Jesus answered, “What an unbelieving and perverted [thinking] generation this is. How long will I be with you and put up with you? [I have shown you how to heal and deliver people from evil spirits and given you the authority, and yet you still lack the faith.] Bring the boy to me.” 42 As they were bringing the boy to him, the spirit threw the boy down. Jesus spoke sharply to the spirit[, which departed] and thus cured the boy, restoring him to his father.

43 And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But even as they were exclaiming in amazement about all the things that Jesus did, Jesus was saying to his disciples, 44 “Let what I am about to say sink in - the Son of man will be given up into the hands of men. [Men may be excited now but later they will crucify me.] 45 But they didn't understand what he said, as though it were hidden from them. They didn't get it and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Attitudes Jesus expects towards others

[Excited about how successful Jesus' ministry had become and what that would mean for their own status,] 46 the disciples began to think about which one of them was the greatest among the disciples. 47 Jesus, knowing what they were thinking about, brought a little child next to him, 48 and said, “Anyone who accepts this child as important for my sake, is accepting me, and if you are accepting me, you are accepting the one who sent me. For the one who is smallest is the most important among you. [This is the attitude I want you to have.]

49 And John[, thinking about who was truly acceptable,] answered him, saying, “Jesus, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, but we told him to stop, because he wasn't a disciple like we are.” 50 But Jesus responded, “Don't forbid him. Anyone who is not against us is on the same side we are. [Ministry is not an exclusive club.]

51 As the time drew yet closer for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, he set his face firmly towards Jerusalem. 52 And Jesus sent some of the apostles before him, and they went into a Samaritan village to prepare the way for him. 53 But the Samaritans did not receive him, because he was so firmly set to go to Jerusalem. [Samaritans saw Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews, who oppress and reject Samaritans, so they rejected him before he could reject them.] 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked him, “Do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and scolded them [for their lack of forgiveness]. 56 So they went to a different village.

57 As they were going along the way, one man said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has no home to lay his head.” 59 To another man, Jesus said, “Follow me", but the man said, “Lord, allow me first to go bury my father.” 60 Jesus replied, “Let those who are dead bury the dead. You go and proclaim the good news of the kingdom.” [If the father had already died, the man would be grieving him at home, so he probably had not yet died. To those who hesitate to follow there is always a reason to wait.] 61 Another said to him, “I will follow you, but let me go back and say good-bye to those at my house.” 62 And Jesus said to him, “No man having put his hand on the plough, if he turns back and looks behind, is ready for the kingdom of God.”

Discussion questions

1. Before Jesus sent out the twelve, he gave them both authority and power. What does that tell you about Jesus’ authority and power that he could give them to someone else? Does he do this for all Christians?

2. The disciples had trouble accepting that Jesus would have to be abused and die if he was the Anointed One. How do you think they responded to Jesus saying that they would have to be willing to do the same? How do you respond to that message?

3. There were many things Jesus told the disciples and others not to talk about while he was alive. Why? Is there anything we can’t say about him anymore?

4. The disciples liked being part of an inner circle? Is Jesus interested in a hierarchy? Or does he want all things available to all people?

Luke Chapter 10

Luke Chapter 10

Sending the seventy

After this[, some fell away, but there were many others who wanted to live the Jesus style of life as powerful followers of God.] Jesus chose seventy others and sent them two by two to every town and location where he intended to go. Jesus said to them, “Truly, the harvest [before us] is great, and the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to cause workers for the harvest to be [captivated by your ministry and] sent forth into the fields. [As you carry out your assignments, I want you to] go as though you are lambs among wolves. [Be innocent yet careful.] Carry no wallet, nor backpack, nor extra shoes. And don't greet anyone on the road. [Don’t be distracted from your purpose.]

“And whatever house you enter, speak, ‘Peace to this house,’ and if there is a man of peace, your peace will rest on him, but if not, the peace will return to you. [This will be the test of whether you are to stay - when you offer peace, there will be a power that goes forth, and you will be able to tell whether it was received or not. If you have found a house of peace,] remain there, and eat and drink whatever they give you, for the worker is worthy of their pay. Don't go from house to house.

“Whatever town you enter and they receive you, eat whatever they put before you, heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come to you.’ [This is the way God rules - he brings fullness of life to his people.] 10 But whatever town you enter and they don't receive you, go into the streets of that city, and say, 11 ‘Even the dust that clings to our feet from your city we wipe off as a witness against you, for the kingdom of God has come to you [and you would not have it].’ 12 I tell you, it will be better for Sodom on the Day of Judgment than it will be for that town [because while Sodom rejected angels posing as men, this town has rejected God himself].

13 “How terrible for you, Chorazin [a city on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee]! How terrible for you, Bethsaida! If the mighty works which were accomplished in you had been done in the cities of Tyre and Sidon [outside of Israel, in Lebanon], they would long since have repented and shown it by sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 And it will go easier for them on the Day of Judgment than it will for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, have been lifted to heaven [by what God has done within your walls], but you shall be brought down to hell [because you have not turned your hearts to me when I have shown you such love]. 16 [Disciples,] whoever listens to you has listened to me. Whoever rejects you has rejected me, and if they have rejected me, they have also rejected the one who sent me.”

17 [Thirty-five pairs of disciples went out and each ministered in various locations, and then] the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we used your name!” 18 Jesus replied, “As I was watching [in the spirit], I saw that Satan was falling [from his position of authority over this region] like lightning from the sky. 19 [When I sent you out,] I gave you authority over snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and so he is unable to harm you. [The authority I gave you is powerful to destroy the works of the enemy like sickness, but also the ministers of the enemy themselves cannot stand against it and that authority protects you from their counterattack.] 20 Even though this is true, don't rejoice only because the demons submit to you in my name, but rather because your names are written in the Book of Life [because the benefits of that include eternal life (Psalms 69:27-28, Daniel 12:1, Revelation 20:15)].”

21 Jesus' spirit was very joyful to the point of dancing, and he said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you that you've hidden these things from those who are full of [worldly] wisdom and knowledge but revealed them to those who are like little children[, untaught and unskilled]. Yes, Father, for that's just the way you like to do things [so our spiritual success is not based on our ability but on your generosity]. 22 You've left it up to me, since no one really knows the Son except the Father, or the Father except the Son, except those to whom the Son chooses to reveal these things.” 23 And Jesus turned and spoke privately to his disciples and said, “You are so blessed to see what you have seen, 24 for prophets and kings longed to see what you have seen and did not, and to hear what you have heard and did not.”

Who is our neighbor?

25 One day, a certain lawyer stood up to challenge Jesus, and asked him, “Master, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” 26 And Jesus said, “What's written about that in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And the man replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your life, all your strength, and all your mind" [Deuteronomy 6:5], and "Love your neighbor as yourself” [Leviticus 19:18]28 And Jesus responded to him, “You have given the right answer. Do this and you shall live [the eternal kind of life].” 29 But the man wanted to make himself out as righteous, so he asked, “But who is my neighbor?” [It was customary, for instance, for the Jews to decide that non-Jews were not included as neighbors by the Law.]

30 Jesus used the opportunity to respond [by using a story illustration,] saying, “There was a man who traveled down from Jerusalem to Jericho, where he was attacked by thieves, who stripped his clothes, beat him up, and then departed, leaving him half-dead. 31 It happened that a priest came that same way and, when he saw the man, walked past on the opposite side of the road. 32 Likewise, a Levite arrived at the same location, and when he saw him, also walked past on the other side. [They both wanted to avoid contamination by touching a possibly dead body.]

33 “Then a Samaritan traveled to that location and, seeing the man, was moved with compassion. 34 He went right up to him, bandaged his wounds after cleaning them with wine and oil, set him on his mount, and brought him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 And the next day, before leaving, he went to the innkeeper, gave him money to pay for his care and told him, ‘If it costs more than I’ve given, I will pay you back when I return’.

36“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by thieves?” 37 The lawyer said to him, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus replied, “Go and do the same.” [Compassion is much more important than obedience to the Law.]

Mary and Martha

38 As Jesus and the disciples journeyed, they entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus and focused her attention on his words. 40 But Martha was busy with all of what she was serving, and she said to the Lord, “Doesn't it bother you that Mary has left me alone to do all of the serving? Won't you tell her to come and help me?” 41 But Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about many things. 42 But only one thing is essential. Mary has chosen the best portion, and it will not be taken from her.”

Discussion questions

1. Why was Jesus so excited that the seventy he sent out were so successful? Why did he warn them they needed to be more excited about their salvation than about their authority over demons?

2. Have you ever found yourself late to an appointment or meeting because you stopped to help someone? How do you balance being thoughtful to your obligations versus helping someone in need?

3. Is Jesus being fair to Martha? How important is it to Jesus to be served? What is it that Jesus is saying is essential? What ministry things do you need to give up to gain what is essential?

Sending the seventy
Who is our neighbor
Mary and Martha
Luke Chapter 10 discussion questions
Luke Chapter 11

Luke Chapter 11

The Lord’s prayer

At one of the places along the way, Jesus had just finished praying, when one of the disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John [the Baptist] taught his disciples to pray.” And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, your name is holy. [We know that you are full of goodness.] Your kingdom, come. [May your rule and reign, with its love, joy, and peace, and miraculous works, be with us wherever we go.] Give us each day the food we need. [We trust you to meet our material needs.] Release us from the consequences of anything we have done wrong or hurtful, and we also release anyone who owes us anything. And save us from our trials. [Help us avoid difficulties, but when it is a time of testing, help us to pass the test.]’

Persistence in intercession

Then he said to them, "[This story is to help you understand the need for persistence in prayer.] Imagine having a friend, and going to him at midnight, and saying, ‘My friend, could you lend me three loaves. Another friend of mine has traveled to see me, and I have nothing to offer him.’ For your friend [won't even come to the door and] will answer from inside, ‘Don't bother me now. It's very late, I've locked the door, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up to get you what you want.’ Let me tell you, though the friend won't give him what he wants because of friendship alone, he will respond and give him everything he wants if he is bold and persistent enough.

“So I tell you, [be persistent,] keep asking and it will be given to you, keep looking and you will find it, keep knocking at the door and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who keeps asking, receives, and the one who keeps looking will find what they are looking for, and the one who keeps knocking will have the door opened to them. [When you have a need, ask for it. Search if you need to, and he will bring you to where you can find it. If you need help, God will provide the help.]

11 “Would any of you, if you were a father, and your son asked for a fish, give him a snake instead. 12 Or if he asked for an egg, give him a scorpion? 13 If you, who are bad [that is, sometimes you do hurtful things,] know how to give good gifts, how much more will the heavenly Father [who is only good] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask? [When you pray, how much do you believe that God will answer you? God uses prayer to develop confidence in him. He is a good father, but it takes us awhile to become trusting sons. This happens through our persistence.  We also easily believe Satan’s lie that bad things in our life come from God, but he is only good. The best proof of that will be when he pours out the Holy Spirit on all who ask him.]

Distinguishing evil and good

[Here's an example of how confused people are about evil coming from good.] 14 Once Jesus was casting out a demon from a man who couldn't speak, and when the demon was gone, the man could speak, and the people were amazed. 15 But some said, “It is by Baalzebul ["Lord of the Flies"], the chief of demons, that he is able to cast out demons.” 16 But others wanted him to show a sign [that unmistakably came] from heaven to prove himself.

17 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “A kingdom divided against itself would be destroyed, for one household would be against another and they would fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how would his kingdom keep on standing, and yet you are saying that I am casting out demons through Baalzebul. [The purpose of Baalzebul is to cause evil - if I were following him, why would I bring about good? I would be working against my master!]

19 “And if I am casting out demons through Baalzebul, how about your own people [religious leaders among the Jews] who serve as exorcists, whom do they use to [successfully] cast out demons? Therefore, they shall be your judges [for they would be outraged if you accused them as you have accused me]. 20 But if am casting out demons by the finger of God =[, I do what he shows me to do and his power backs me up], then what you are seeing is the very kingdom of God at work.

21 “When the strong man [Satan or one of his henchmen] is fully armed and guards his house [in this case a person under his control], all his belongings are safe. 22 But when a stronger man [I or any follower of mine, who have the power of Father God behind what we say and do,] comes upon him, the stronger man overpowers him, removes all the armor in which he trusted [other demons and strongholds like fear and unbelief], and distributes his possessions [sets free those who were in bondage to him]. 23 He that is not with me[, who doesn’t believe I am doing God's work,] is against me, and he that doesn't gather [people into God's kingdom] with me, scatters. [Whose side are you on?]

24 [What do you think happens] when an evil spirit leaves a person? It passes through dry places [trying to find another place worth occupying], finding none. It says to itself, I can return to the house I left. 25 And when it comes, it finds its former home swept clean and inviting. 26 Then it will go and bring with himself seven spirits worse than himself, and the state of the man is worse than it was in the beginning!

[If evil is cast out of a person and the person has not committed himself to God and become filled with the Spirit of God, then evil will come back in and even increase. In fact, that’s what happens if you are not really seeking after God, but simply want to appear righteous. You will get more and more in bondage to greed, anger, jealousy, and religion.]

Listening and repenting

27 As he was saying these things, a woman from the crowd lifted her voice, saying to him, “How blessed is your mother - the womb that gave birth to you, and the breasts that nursed you!” 28 Jesus replied, “No, instead, blessed are those who listen to the word of God and are careful to follow it.”

The Lord's Prayer
Persistence in intercession
Distinguishing evil and good
Listening and repenting

29 As the people crowded even closer around him, he began to say, “The people alive today - you have a twisted attitude. [You're crowding around me], expecting you'll see some miraculous act of proof you can talk about[, rather than believing what you have already seen], but no further proof will be given to you than that of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a proof [of the reality of God] to the Ninevites [because of his miraculous appearance after three days in the fish and the power and conviction of his preaching], so shall the Son of Man be to this generation. 

31 [Likewise,] the Queen of the South shall rise as a witness at the time of the judgment of this generation and she will bring evidence against you, for she traveled from the farthest reaches of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and a greater one than Solomon is here[, yet you don't listen to me]. 32 [At the Judgment Day,] the men of Nineveh will rise as witnesses at your judgment and bring a conviction against you for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and a greater one than Jonah is here[, yet you will not repent].

33 “No one lights a lamp and then puts it in a hidden place or under a basket, but places it on a candlestick, so that whoever comes in can see the light. 34 The lamp of the body is your eye. When your eye works properly, then your whole body is filled with light, but if your eye works poorly, then your body is filled with darkness. 35 Watch out that the light in you not become darkness. [Even when a miracle of God is performed in broad daylight if you look at it with a skeptical rather than a believing eye, your soul will receive no light from it.] 36 And if your whole body is full of light, with no darkness anywhere, then your whole being will be bright, just as a shining lamp brings light. [If your sight is focused with belief then you will always be filled with light.]

Consequences of faking holiness

37 When he had completed talking, a certain Pharisee invited him to share a meal at his house. Jesus went inside and reclined at the table to eat. 38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he was amazed that Jesus did not wash before eating. 39 Jesus said to him, “Sure, you Pharisees cleanse yourselves on the outside just as you do the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greediness and evil thoughts. 40 Fools, didn't he who made the outside also make the inside? 41 If you would simply give away [the food and drink,] what’s inside your vessels, then everything would become clean for you. [It is your attitude and action that make you clean or dirty, not how you observe ceremonial washing.]

Consequences of faking holiness

42 “How terrible it will be for you, Pharisees, for you give away a tenth of your mint and rue and all of your spices[, the minor things of life], but you bypass the justice and love of God[, which are far more important]!  You could have done the one without ignoring the other. 43 How terrible it will be for you, Pharisees, for you love the best seats in the synagogue and to have everyone honor you with greetings in the markets! 44 How terrible it will be for you, Pharisees, for you are like unmarked graves that people walk over [and are made unclean] without knowing it [just by being close to you]!”

45 Then one of the interpreters of the Law said to Jesus, “Teacher, in what you have said, you are also attacking us.” 46 And he said, [You are right – you are just as bad!] How terrible it will also be for you teachers of the Law, for you lay heavy burdens on the people, which are very difficult for them to bear, and then don't even lift a finger to lighten the load!

47 “How terrible for you, because you build memorials to the prophets that your ancestors killed[, acting as though you honor the prophets]. 48 Your testimony [against me] shows you agree with your ancestors, when they killed the prophets! 49 Therefore, it is the wisdom of God that says, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles [fulfilled in the New Testament times since there were no Old Testament apostles], and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute.’ 50 Thus you will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets, from the foundation of the world to the present generation, 51 from the blood of righteous Abel [Genesis 4:8] to the blood of Zechariah [2 Chronicles 24:20-21], who was slain between the altar and the Temple. I am telling you the truth, this generation shall pay the price for all of it.”

[God stores up the consequence of sin, but when it reaches its fullness, then payment comes due. In 70 AD, this generation did indeed pay a terrible price of their own blood as Jerusalem was trampled into the dust. If they had repented for their ancestors' sins and received Jesus and his followers, then the penalty would not have come on them.]

52 “How terrible for you, teachers of the Law, for you have removed the key of knowledge. [You understand every reference in the scripture that would validate that I am the Anointed One, but you have refused to use your knowledge to access the truth.] You won't enter into the truth yourself, and you get in the way of those who want to enter in.” 53 As he was leaving, they attacked him verbally, trying to get him to rise to the bait 54 and say something they could catch him in [so they could discredit him].

Discussion questions

1. Jesus makes two primary points about prayer. One is that persistence is rewarded. The other is that God desires to give us what we need and ask for. If God desires to give us what we ask for, why then is persistence required? Why did he warn them they needed to be more excited about their salvation than about their authority over demons?

Luke Chapter 11 discussion questions

2. Why were the people always looking for more proof that Jesus was from God, and so ready to believe that he was empowered by the enemy instead? Why are those resistant to belief in danger of being judged at the Judgment Day?

3. Why did Jesus say the generation of religious leaders who were resisting him would bear the judgment for the sins of many generations?

Luke Chapter 12

Luke Chapter 12

Fearing God not man

Meanwhile, thousands of people had gathered together in one place to the point they were stepping all over each other. Jesus spoke to his disciples, [Before I speak to the crowd,] first, watch out for the leaven [influence] of the Pharisees [in everything they do], which is that they pretend to be better than they are. For whatever you think you have completely covered up will inevitably be revealed, and whatever is secret will undoubtedly be made known. In fact, whatever you talk about in the darkness will be talked about in the light, and whatever you whisper in your closet will be shouted from the rooftops. [Trying to hide who you really are will never work. It always eventually gets exposed.]

Fearing God not man

“Let me tell you my friends, don't be afraid of those who can destroy your body, but after that there is nothing more they can do to you. [You saw how the Pharisees wanted to trap me and kill me, but I am not afraid of them, and neither should you be.] But I will tell you whom you should fear - He [God] who can destroy your body and has the authority to throw you into Hell. He's the only one you should fear [and whose opinion should count]!

“Aren't five sparrows sold for a couple of small coins, and yet not one of these little birds is forgotten by God. Even the very hairs of your head are numbered. [God cares about every single part of you!] Don't be afraid - you are more valuable than many sparrows [and since he is watching over you, you should be willing to trust him].

“I also want to say to you, that whoever is willing to publicly acknowledge their belief in me before other men[, risking the anger of the authorities], I will acknowledge before the angels of God [on the Day of Judgment]. But he who rejects me before other men, I will reject him before the angels of God. [It is your public relationship with me on earth that will determine how you will be treated in the afterlife.]

10 “If someone [doubts me in some area and] speaks a word against the Son of Man, the penalty will be dismissed against him. [In fact, I myself will forgive him.] But if he speaks against the Holy Spirit[, treating the works of God as though they were done by Satan], he will not be forgiven.  [For the Holy Spirit is the best and final witness to God's love and character.] 11 And when they bring you into the synagogues and before rulers and authorities [because of following me], 12 you don't need to figure out how to reply or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will himself show you what to say exactly when you need it.”

Heavenly versus earthly treasure

13 Then someone from the crowd said to him, “Master, tell my brother to share our inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied to him, “Sir, it's not my job to be the judge or legal expert of inheritances for you.” 15 Then he said to the disciples, “Notice what's at stake here - it's an issue of greed. The measure of abundance of a person's life is not how much they possess.”

Heavenly versus earthly treasure

16 Jesus told them [in the crowd] a story to illustrate his point, “There was a certain rich man whose land produced a rich yield of crops. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I don't have enough room to store all of my crops.’ 18 So he said, ‘I know what I'll do. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and then I'll be able to store all my crops and riches. 19 Then I'll be able to say to myself, “You now have enough stored for many years. Take it easy, now. It's time to eat, drink, and celebrate.”’

20 “But God said to him that very night, ‘You fool, it's time for you to give up your soul back to me. Now, who will all your possessions belong to?’ 21 It is not the one who stores up treasure for himself, but rather towards God, who is truly rich.”

22 Turning to his disciples, he said, “I am telling you, don't give a worry to your own life, [for instance,] what you will eat, or how you will clothe your body. 23 Your life is more than food and your body more than clothes.

24 “Think about the ravens. They don't sow seed or harvest a crop. They don't have either storerooms or barns [to store up food for tomorrow], and yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable are you than birds?

25 “For which of you through your worry can add a single moment to the length of your life? 26 And if you can't even accomplish that, why worry about any other part of your life?

27 “And look at the lilies! They don't have to work hard and spin thread [to make their clothes], and yet, I say to you, Solomon in all his glory was not wrapped in such splendor as one of these. 28 If this is the way God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is burned up, then how much more will your heavenly Father clothe you, [even though] you possess little faith.

29 “And don't [waste time to] look for what you will eat or what you will drink. Don't even be concerned. 30 For these are the things people seek all over the world, and your Father knows you need them. 31 But instead, look for His kingdom [, what God wants to do,] and these things [that you need] will be automatically provided. 32 Don't be afraid, little flock[, my small band of followers], for my Father really enjoys bringing about the kingdom for you. [His favorite thing is to make things happen for you that only he can do.]

33 “Sell your possessions and give money to those in need[, completely trusting him].  Provide yourself a wallet that won't wear out and a treasure that will never run out - in the heavenly places, where no thief can get to it and no moth destroy it. 34 For where your treasure is, your heart will be also. [You will spend your time and energy protecting and adding to your treasure, either an earthly one which you won't even be able to keep or a heavenly one that will last forever.]

Watching for God

35 [The treasure you are destined to receive depends on your willingness to serve your master.] Have your belts on [and your clothes hiked up, ready to serve,] and your lamps burning. 36 Be like men waiting for their lord to return from a wedding feast, so when he comes and knocks, you will immediately open the door for him. 37 How blessed will be those servants whom their lord will find watching for him. This is the truth - he will [be so pleased to see them he will] hike up his own clothes, have them sit down to eat, and he will serve them himself. 38 Especially if he comes during the second or third watch[, late at night], he will be pleased to find his servants ready and waiting. [Your Father is ready to reward you who give up their own comfort or pleasure to put yourselves at his disposal.]

Watching for God

39 “You can be sure, if a homeowner knew what time a thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Likewise, you should always be ready, for the Son of Man will return at the time you least expect. [Don’t put off your service to God for some later time in your life.]

Accountability of servant leaders

41 Then Peter said to him, “Lord, were you telling that story to us only or to everyone?”  [Jesus is about to explain the way he regards his followers in terms of caring for one another, especially those with leadership responsibilities.] 42 The Lord responded, “Who do you think then is the reliable and watchful manager, whom the master will appoint to manage the household and give out to the other servants what they need when they need it? 43 It will be wonderful for any servant whom the master finds caring for the others of the household when he returns. 44 Truly, the master will appoint him to manage all his possessions. [All followers of Jesus are responsible for caring for others. Those who always care for others will be doing so when Jesus returns, and they will be promoted and given greater responsibility during his reign on the earth.]

Accountability of servant leaders

45 “But what if a servant thinks, ‘My master isn't coming back any time soon,’ and he begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink, and even get drunk? 46 The master of that servant will return when the servant least expects, at an unknown time, and he will punish that servant severely and will assign him to the place of the unbelievers [for the judgment]. [A leader that takes advantage of his position of power and harms those he should be serving, at the time of Jesus’ return will be removed from responsibility and treated as an unbeliever – that is, as one who never did believe.]

47 “If a servant knows what his master wants and does nothing to get ready or carry out his will, that servant will receive a severe beating. 48 But a servant who is unaware [of his master's will] but does things [which violate his master's instructions] worthy of a beating, shall be beaten only a little. For to whomever much [understanding] is given, much will be expected, and to whom much is entrusted, much will be asked.”

[All followers of Jesus are servants and have a responsibility to love and care for one another. We are also responsible for getting ready for the return of the Lord. We do that by caring for others, taking care of his creation, sharing faith, discipling others, each one of us according to the assignments we have received, by our position in life and through personal revelation. When Jesus returns, even believers will be judged, not for eternal life but for rewards and position during Jesus’ reign. Did we understand what God wanted of us and did we carry it out? To the extent we did, we will receive greater reward and position during Jesus’ reign. To the extent we did not, we will lose reward, and endure punishment, but not lose salvation.]

Kingdom advances through division

49 [Getting back to my purpose,] I have come to set the earth fully ablaze, and how I wish the fire were already going. [I am in the process of starting the fire, but my death and resurrection is what will really get it going.] 50 I have a baptism [the cross] I must go through first, and how restricted I am until it has been accomplished. 51 Did you think I came to the earth to bring peace? No, I tell you - division! [Change requires division - someone needs to be first to change, and then others will follow, but in between there will be strife.]

Kingdom advances through division

52 “So from this point forward, a household of five will be divided [over who I am] - three against two, and two against three. 53 [As the scripture says in Micah 7:6,] father will be against son, and son against father, mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law-against mother-in-law.”

Settling up with God

54 And he spoke also to the people, “When you see a cloud coming up from the west, don't you immediately say it's going to rain, and so it does. 55 And when the wind blows from the south, you say it's going to be hot, and it is. 56 Hypocrites! If you're smart enough to be able to read natural things like the earth and sky, how can you possibly not be able to tell what time in history it is? [You know the signs of the Messiah, and yet you act like you're not seeing them happen right in front of you! Soon it will be too late to reconcile with God.]

Settling up with God

57 “Decide for yourselves what's right to do. [It’s time to turn your life over to God instead of resisting him.] 58 When you go with your opponent to see the judge, do your best to settle things with him so you can be released from his claim, or he will force you to go to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and the guard will throw you in prison. 59 And, I am telling you, you won't get out until you've paid the very last amount you owe. [I am your opponent, and I have a great case against you, and you don't want to go before God, the great judge, having opposed the one whom he has sent!  It will not go well with you in the Judgment!]

Discussion questions

1. Jesus didn’t want the disciples to be worried about what anyone else thought of them except for God only. How does it affect you if you want to please men? How does it affect you if you want to please God? Can you do both?

Luke Chapter 12 discussion questions

2. Why does Jesus say, it’s not a huge deal if someone resists him personally, but it is a big deal if they treat miracles that came from the Holy Spirit as though they came from an evil source?

3. Jesus describes believers as servants and says we will be judged on how well we take care of each other. Who are the other servants around you and how is God showing you that you could care for them?

4. Why in the world would people resist Jesus, since he was fulfilling all the prophesied signs of the Anointed One? What will happen to those fighting against Jesus at the time of the judgment?

Luke Chapter 13

Luke Chapter 13

Repentance or destruction?

Some who were there at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans Pilate had killed, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrificial animals they had brought [to Jerusalem]. Jesus responded, “Do you suppose the Galileans who suffered in that way were any worse sinners than the other Galileans? No, but I tell you, unless you reform your thinking [and turn towards God], you will also be destroyed. How about the eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell?  Do you think they were worse sinners than everyone else in Jerusalem? No, but unless you reform your thinking [and turn towards God], you will also be destroyed. [Your life will be over before you are ready, and you will be destined for eternal separation from God rather than eternal life.]

Repentance or destruction

Jesus also told them this story, “There was a man who had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he kept coming to look for fruit on it and didn't find any. The man said to his vine keeper, ‘I've been looking for fruit on this tree for the last three years and there has been nothing. Cut this tree down! It's been using up the ground too long!’ And the vine keeper replied, ‘Lord, why not keep it one more year, and I will dig around it and apply fertilizer. And if it bears fruit, then you will keep it, but if not, you can cut it down.’ [Can't you see that the patience of your heavenly Father wears thin wanting to see you respond to his care for you with fruitfulness? I am fertilizing you through my words and miraculous actions. But your future life hangs in the balance of how you respond! Jesus’ ministry had lasted for three years, and the fig tree (the people of Israel) had little time left to respond.]

Healing on the Sabbath

10 On a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues. 11 There was a woman there who had [been afflicted by] a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. She was bent over to the point of being doubled up, and she could not straighten her back at all. 12 When he saw her, he called out to her, “Woman, you are released from your infirmity.” 13 And he laid hands on her, and immediately she became straight, and she gave praise to God. [Her restoration required both something to be removed (a demon) and something to be added (healing).]

Healing on the Sabbath

14 But the response of the leader of the synagogue was anger, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. He [the leader] said, “There are six days where a man can work. Come and be healed in any of those six days, but not on the Sabbath day!” 15 But the Lord replied, “Hypocrite! Doesn't each one of you, even on the Sabbath day, untie his ox or donkey and lead them to water. 16 Then, shouldn't this woman, a daughter of Abraham, who has been tied up by Satan for eighteen years, be untied from her bondage and set free, even on a Sabbath day?” 17 When he said these things, it brought shame to those who were against him. But the people rejoiced because of the many wonderful things he did [and said].

How faith spreads

18 Next, he said, “What is the kingdom of God like? What can I compare it to? 19 It is like a tiny grain of mustard seed that a man threw into his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds nested in its branches.” 20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like a woman taking some yeast and folding it into three large sacks of flour until all the flour begins to rise. [One act of obedience to God may not seem like it will change the world, but the next thing you know, the response to that one act will spread everywhere and everything will change because of it.]

Known by God

22 Jesus continued through the towns and villages, teaching, as he made his way towards Jerusalem. 23 Then someone asked him, “Lord, will there be only a few who are saved?” And Jesus said to them, 24 “Strive with all your heart [while there is still time] to enter in by the narrow door, for many will try to enter but will not be able[, not because of the standard of behavior required but because of the humility needed to submit to God]. 25 When the master of the house gets up and locks the door, those of you standing outside will knock at the door and say, ‘Master, open up for us,’ but he will say, ‘I don't know you at all.’

How faith spreads
Known by God

26 “And you will start to say, ‘[Of course you know us!] We ate and drank in your presence and you taught in our streets,’ 27 and he will say, ‘I'm telling you, I don't know you at all. Get away, sinners. [Unless you love me enough to turn your life over to me, I will not acknowledge you in the afterlife, and without me you are still a sinner.] 28 It will be agonizing to you when you see [the heroes of the faith and your ancestors,] Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves are thrown out.

29 “And people will come from the east and west, the north and south, and sit down [at the banqueting table] in the kingdom of God. 30 And, notice, some who are last [in men's eyes] will be first [in God's eyes], and some who are first [in men's eyes] will be last [in God's eyes].”

Jerusalem’s destiny

31 That same day, some of the Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “[You’d better] get out of the area [which was still Galilee]. Herod wants to kill you. [And we don't want you around either.]32 Jesus replied, “Go and tell that [sly] fox, I will keep on casting out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, but on the third day my job will be complete. [Herod is not an obstacle to my fulfilling my task - in fact, there is a ‘third day’ coming (the day of my resurrection from death) when I will complete my task.] 33 Anyhow, I must keep traveling today and tomorrow and the next day too, for it is outside God’s plan that [I as] a prophet die outside of Jerusalem. [Jesus knew God’s plan, and God would not allow a plot of Herod or any other obstacle keep him from Jerusalem. He clearly saw that in Jerusalem he would confront the chief priests and they would kill him there.]

Jerusalem's destiny

34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I wanted to gather your children together like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you wouldn't allow me. [You, Jerusalem, are the city that I wanted to give a special love, but you never accepted my words and acts of love!] 35 I now leave you the responsibility for your own house. You will not see me again until the time comes when you [are ready to] say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ [My return to you, Jerusalem, will not come until you are ready to embrace me.]

Discussion questions

1. Why does God show mercy and try one more time with those that didn’t bear fruit? How much time is guaranteed for anyone?

Luke Chapter 13 discussion questions

2. If the woman who was severely bent over due to an evil spirit afflicting her were examined by doctors before Jesus healed her, how do you think they might have diagnosed her? Do you think medical conditions can have spiritual roots?

3. Why does Jesus give so much attention to Jerusalem? How does he feel about their hard-heartedness?

Luke Chapter 14

Luke Chapter 14

Healing at Pharisee’s house

One Sabbath day, Jesus went to eat [the Sabbath meal] at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and they watched him carefully [to see if he would heal on the Sabbath]. Right in front of Jesus there was a man with dropsy [his body was swollen with water]. And speaking to the interpreters of the Law and the Pharisees, Jesus asked, “Is it allowed to heal on the Sabbath or not?”, but they kept quiet[, afraid he would make them look foolish.] Jesus placed his hands on the man and healed him, then let go of him. Speaking to them, he said, “Which of you, if your son or an ox of yours fell into a pit would not immediately pull him out [and do work] even on a Sabbath day?” And they couldn't argue with his logic.

Healing at Pharisee's house

Inviting those who can’t invite you

[Jesus acted as a rabbi, teaching those around him, wherever he went. After first setting things right by healing the sick, he taught those attending the feast, including the host, the way they should act if they wanted to truly honor God.] Seeing how those who were invited chose the places of honor at the feast, Jesus spoke to them, using this as an example, “If someone invites you to a wedding, don't take the seat of greatest honor. What if someone more important came and the host asked you to give up the seat of honor to that man? Then you would have the shame of having to move to the lowest seat [since all the others would be taken]. 10 Instead, take the lowest seat. Then the host will come and say, ‘Friend, move up to a higher place’, and you will be honored in front of all those gathered with you at the feast. 11 For whoever lifts himself up high will be brought low, but whoever lowers himself will be lifted up.”

Inviting those who can't invite you

12 Then he spoke also to the Pharisee who had invited him, “When you make a special brunch or dinner, don't invite your friends, your brothers, other family members, and your well-off neighbors, knowing that they are well able to pay you back by inviting you in return. 13 Instead, when you hold a feast, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind, for they can't pay you back. 14 You will receive your reward at the Resurrection of the Just[, when it matters for eternity].”

15 And one of those sitting with him said, “How happy will be the man who eats a meal in the Kingdom of God.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “There was a certain man who held a great feast and invited many. 17 And, when it was time, he sent his servant to those he had invited, saying, ‘Come, the feast is prepared.’ 18 They all began to make excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I need to go see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I need to go examine them. Please excuse me.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have just gotten married. I can't come.’

21 “So the servant returned and reported what had happened. The master was angry and said to the servants, ‘Go to the main streets and side streets and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the weak, and bring them here.’ 22 The servant returned and said, ‘Everything has been done as you commanded, and still there is more room.’ 23 And the master said, ‘Go to the highways and city walls [where the homeless live] and get them to come, so that my house may be full. 24 I tell you, none of those I originally invited will have a single taste of this feast.’”

[The religious leaders were the first invited to participate in the kingdom life that Jesus demonstrated yet had many excuses why they weren't interested. This is frequently the case for leaders and members in the church - we are too busy to invite and pay attention to those all around us. It was the poor, sick, weak, and homeless who were willing to receive, and they are the ones who will enter the heavenly banquet, but the leaders will miss out entirely.]

Cost of following Jesus

25 As Jesus continued to travel, there were large crowds that walked with him, but he turned to them and said, 26 “Anyone who comes to me cannot be my follower, unless he hates his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, and yes, even his own life. [Following me may well cost you every other relationship that you hold important, and even your own life.] 27 Unless you are willing to carry your own cross and go wherever I go[, expecting you will die for it], you cannot be my follower.

Cost of following Jesus

28 “If any of you wanted to build a watchtower, wouldn't you sit down and calculate the cost to make sure you had enough to finish it? 29 Or else, after getting the foundation laid, if you couldn’t complete it, people would make fun of you, 30 saying, ‘He started it but he couldn't finish it.’ [Decide from the beginning what it truly means to follow me. It could cost you everything, just as it will cost me everything.]

31 "Or what ruler, going to make war with another ruler, doesn't stop to consider whether, with ten thousand troops, he can successfully confront the other, who has twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still at a distance, he will send him a representative to seek terms of peace.

33 "So, based on those examples[, let me tell you the cost of following me.] Anyone not willing to give up everything that he has, cannot be my follower. [You won't be able to follow me to completion.]

34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its flavor, how can you restore its seasoning? 35 It's not fit for fertilizer or even for the trash pile. [Someone who claims to follow me but who holds on to the world is incapable of changing the world, and at the same time gives a bad name to believers.] He who has ears, let him hear! [If you are willing to hear the truth, here it is!]” [Jesus made this declaration to spiritually unclog ears,]

Discussion questions

1. Jesus suggested we invite people we don’t know to our parties. Have you ever done that? Jesus’ story about the wedding feast implies that the ones who will come to faith may be those we least expect. How can we find them to invite them?

Luke Chapter 14 discussion questions

2. Are we willing to give up everything to follow Jesus, including putting at risk every relationship we have? If we are to watch over what we’ve been given, how can we also put it at risk for the sake of the kingdom?

Luke Chapter 15

Luke Chapter 15

Value of individual souls

1 The tax collectors and [others considered by religious leaders to be] sinners drew close to him to hear what he was saying. But the Pharisees and teachers of the Law muttered, “Look, this man associates with sinners and even eats with them!”

Value of individual souls

So Jesus told them this story, “Which of you, if you had a hundred sheep and lost one of them, won’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go searching until you find the lost one? And then you will carry it on your shoulders, rejoicing. And when you come home, you will gather your friends together and tell them, ‘Look, I have found the sheep that was lost!’ In the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous men who have no need to repent!

“And what woman, if you have ten silver coins but lose one, will not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? Won't you call your neighbors, telling them, ‘Celebrate with me - I've found the coin I lost!’ 10 In the same way, the angels celebrate in heaven when even one sinner turns his thinking around towards God.”

Story of two sons

11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my portion of the estate.’ The father went ahead and distributed his wealth.

Story of two sons

[Jesus is telling the story to show the value of every person to God and especially of when one who has turned away from God turns back to God.  Jewish inheritance gives the oldest son two shares in the estate and each other son one share. In this case, with only two sons, the younger will be given one-third. However, the younger son asks for it in advance. This would never be done in Jewish society, but the Father complies with the son’s wishes. This primarily means he wants to use it all for himself. Many of us want to use all of what we have been given for our own enjoyment. If the younger son had waited, the entire family would gain from the use of the resources, and the father might actually invest the resources so both sons would have more.]

13 “After only a few days, the younger son gathered his possessions together and took off for a foreign land, where he wasted everything in a senseless manner. 14 And after he had spent it all, a terrible famine arose in that land, and he became needy. 15 He was employed by a man who lived in that land, who sent him into the fields to feed the pigs. 16 He desired to fill himself on the carob husks he fed to the pigs because no one had given him anything to eat.

17 “Finally, he came to his senses and said, ‘My father has many hired servants, and they have plenty to eat, while here I am dying of hunger. 18 I will go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against God and in your eyes. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants.”’

20 “So he got up and went to his father, and when he was still a distance away, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion. He ran to him, and hugged him, and kissed him tenderly. 21 And the son said to him, ‘I have sinned against heaven and in your eyes. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him and place a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. [Even though you spent your portion, I am restoring your position and once again giving you authority as a son in my household.] 23 Get the fattened calf and kill it.  Let's eat and have a celebration, 24 for this son of mine was dead and now he is alive. He was lost, but now he is found!’ So, they began to celebrate.

25 “Now, the elder son was in the field, and as he came near to the house, he heard music and dancing, 26 so he called over one of the servants and asked him what was going on. The servant said to him, 27 ‘Your brother has arrived and your father has killed for him the fattened calf, to celebrate his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and would not go in, so the father came outside to encourage him. 29 The older son said, ‘Look, I have been with you all these years, and never rebelled against any of your rules, but you have never given me even a baby goat to have a party with my friends! 30 But as soon as this son of yours, who spent all of your money on women, arrives, you kill him the fattened calf [as though he did something worth celebrating].’

31 “The father replied, 'Son, you have indeed remained with me. [Don't you know?] Everything I have is yours. 32 But it was right to celebrate, because your brother was dead and now he has been restored to life. He was lost, but now he's found.’”

[Those who stay close to God always have access to everything that’s His. We need only ask for it, and God is glad to give it to us. But we don't understand the value of a human being! When they are restored to good relationship to God, that is the greatest thing on earth! Furthermore, what God owns is never in fact depleted by what is given to his followers.]

Discussion questions

1. Jesus has been making the distinction between what God calls sinful and what man does. Why is there so much energy around finding that which was lost and restoring it?

Luke Chapter 15 discussion questions

2. In Jesus’ story, how much energy does the Father put into making the returned son feel bad about needing to be restored? How quickly does the Father restore his status and even his authority in the household? What should our attitude be towards “sinners” and those newly restored?

Luke Chapter 16

Luke Chapter 16

Using worldly wealth for eternal reward

Then he told [this story to] his disciples, [I have told you about how patient our heavenly Father is towards his children concerning their life decisions. Now let me tell you about how a child of God should steward his life’s resources.] There was a rich man who had a manager who worked for him, who had been accused of mismanaging the rich man's possessions. So the rich man called him in and said, ‘What's this I hear about you? Bring me a final accounting of my possessions you are managing, because you are fired as my manager.’ The man said to himself, ‘What can I do? My management job has been taken away. I'm not strong enough to work as a laborer. I'm too ashamed to beg. Ah, I know what to do so that when I no longer have this management job, people will welcome me into their homes.’

Using worldly wealth for etenal reward

“So he called in each person who owed goods to his master, and when the first one came in, the manager said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And the man said, ‘One hundred barrels of olive oil,’ so the manager said, ‘Sit down for a minute. Let's quickly change that to fifty.’ And to another, the manager said, ‘How much do you owe?’, and the man said, ‘One hundred measures of wheat,’ so the manager said, ‘Make it eighty.’ [The manager likely was paid through the commission he received from each transaction, but now he was giving up his commission for future good will from his clients.]

[When the master heard what the manager did,] the master praised the dishonest manager because what he did was smart. For the sons of this age are wiser in dealing with their own kind than the children of light are in dealing with their generation. I'm telling you, use unrighteous wealth to make friends [by investing it in the kingdom during this life], so that when your time is done, your friends will be there to welcome you into an eternal home.

[Dishonest, worldly people are smart enough to use wealth to make friends, even if what they did seems crooked to us. Followers of God, instead of holding on to their wealth, would be smart to invest it in others and the work of the Kingdom of God, thus making friends with God, with the result they will be greeted with a heavenly reward, though to their worldly friends they may look foolish. Every action, whether selfish or generous, is recorded in heaven. Those who benefitted from our generous actions no doubt testify on our behalf at the judgment of our lives. Our greatest reward in heaven is gaining eternal life. Beyond that, however, we are rewarded based on heaven’s assessment of our generosity.]

10 “He who is trustworthy with the smallest things [like money and worldly possessions] will be trustworthy with greater things [like spiritual gifts and assignments from heaven] as well. Someone who can't be trusted with the smallest things can't be trusted with greater things either. 11 So if you can't be trusted to handle unrighteous wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth? 12 And if you can't handle someone else's wealth [such as serving God or an employer with honesty and loyalty], who will trust you with your own [by helping you launch your own business or ministry]? 13 No servant can serve two masters, because he will either hate the first one and love the other, or be loyal to the first one and look down on the other. You can't serve both God and wealth.”

True righteousness

14 The Pharisees also heard all Jesus had said, but they loved money, and they sneered at what he said. [They thought, “What could Jesus know about money since he himself is poor”.] 15 But he said to them, “I know what's in your hearts. You are the ones who make yourselves appear righteous before men, but what men consider great is detestable in God's sight. 16 The Law and the prophets were [the only guide] until John the Baptist came, but since then the good news of the Kingdom has been proclaimed [and illustrated through miracles]. As a result, everyone is pushing to get in. [It is no longer a kingdom of the rich and self-righteous, but for the poor and sinners made righteous by trusting God’s representative, Jesus.]

True righteousness

17 “It would be easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for a single point of the Law to become invalid. [But you who sneer at the poor and sinners have yourselves been trying to invalidate the Law for your own purposes. For instance, you promote divorce for ungodly reasons.] 18 Whoever divorces his wife to marry another woman commits adultery, and whoever now marries the woman who has been illegally divorced also commits adultery. [Stop trying to get around the Law.]

Story of the rich man and Lazarus

19 [Everyone will face judgment for their attitudes and how they live this life.] There was a rich man who dressed every day in purple and fine linen and celebrated with lavish feasts. 20 There was also a poor man named Lazarus, who every day was laid at the gate of the rich man. Lazarus was full of sores 21 and he longed to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. Even worse, dogs came and licked his sores. [The name of the poor man, Lazarus, is remembered, but not the rich man.]

Story of the rich man and Lazarus

22 “There came a day when the beggar died and was carried by angels into [the place in the afterlife known as] the Bosom of Abraham. Likewise, the rich man died and was buried. 23 And, in Hades[, the place of the unrighteous dead], he was in torment, but lifting his eyes, he saw Abraham far off and Lazarus nearer him. 24 And the rich man cried out, ‘Father Abraham, would you send Lazarus to come and dip his finger in water to cool my tongue? I am in such pain from this flame!’

25 But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that in your life you received only good things and Lazarus only evil things, but now he is comforted and you are in pain. 26 Besides, can you not see that there has been established a great chasm between here and there, so that no one from here can cross to you, and likewise no one can cross from there to here?’

27 “The rich man said, ‘Then Father, please send him to my father's house, 28 for I still have five brothers, so that Lazarus can testify to them, or else they may also end up in this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said, ‘They [already] have Moses and the prophets - your family needs to listen to them.’ 30 The man said, ‘No, but Father Abraham, if someone came back from the dead and told them, they would change their ways!’ 31 But Abraham said, ‘If they wouldn't listen to Moses and all the prophets, neither will they listen to someone who comes from the dead.’” [Jesus was anticipating what would happen when he himself rose from the dead. He would then become a witness to believers, not unbelievers. There is ample evidence for those who are alive to turn to God, and many do not. This was especially true of the religious leaders.]

Discussion questions

1. Many Christian programs teach us that it is righteous to accumulate and save up money. Is Jesus telling us the opposite – spend it on the poor and for kingdom works?

Luke Chapter 16 discussion questions

2. Jesus seems to be saying that how we handle our material resources is a dress rehearsal for how we might handle much greater resources both in this life and the afterlife. How do you think he is grading you?

3. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, what is Jesus telling us? Will hell be our destination if we are selfish?

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