Luke’s Good News
An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Gospel of Luke
This translated Bible text has been through our Advanced Theological Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
Luke wrote two books of the *New Testament (NT). Luke’s *Gospel tells the story of the life and work of Jesus. Luke’s second book, Acts, continues the story after Jesus went back to heaven. The two books amount to a quarter of the NT. This is even more than Paul wrote.
Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14). He was often Paul’s companion in his travels. The book of Acts contains passages in which the author includes himself as a companion of Paul (‘we’ in Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). Luke shared Paul’s work (Philemon, verse 24). He was a loyal friend. In prison, Paul says, ‘only Luke is with me’ (2 Timothy 4:11).
Luke was a *Gentile. He came from Antioch, which was an important town in Syria.
Luke was a skilled writer. He wrote to show that the *gospel is good news for all people:
Luke tells us how Jesus emphasised the *faith of the *Gentiles. Jesus did this when he spoke in the *synagogue at Nazareth (4:16-30). Luke also records that Jesus praised the *faith of a *Roman officer (7:1–9).
The *parable of the Good *Samaritan is only in Luke’s *Gospel (10:30-37). Jesus praised a grateful *Samaritan whom he *healed (17:11-19).
Luke describes Jesus’ meeting with Zacchaeus (19:1-10). And he includes three of Jesus’ *parables about God’s love for people who are ‘lost’, that is people who have wandered away from God (chapter 15).
The stories of the widow of Nain (7:11-16) and of Martha and Mary (10:38-42) are two examples of Luke’s sympathy for women.
Luke knew the dangers of wealth and he sympathised with the poor. Only Luke mentions the *parables of the rich fool (12:13-21) and the *parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus (16:19-31). Only Luke tells us about the poor *shepherds who visited Jesus after his birth.
Luke shows how Jesus, through the power of God, *healed people who were ill.
Luke, as a doctor, mentions some medical details that are not in the other *Gospels. Peter’s wife has a ‘high’ (bad) *fever (4:38). The man in the *synagogue could not use his ‘right’ hand (6:6).
There are many references to Jesus’ prayers. There are three *parables about prayer in this *Gospel:
1. The ‘friend at midnight’ (11:5-10)
2. The ‘unfair judge’ (18:1-8)
3. The ‘*Pharisee and the *tax-collector’ (18:9-14)
Luke includes the songs in which Zechariah (1:68-79), Mary (1:46-55) and Simeon (2:29-32) praised God, because the *Messiah had arrived.
The *angels appeared to the *shepherds (2:14). They sang ‘*Glory to God’.
Verse 1 The ‘things that God has done’ refers to the life, death and *resurrection of Jesus, and the news of his work. ‘Us’ means Luke and people of his time.
Verse 2 Luke was not one of the original witnesses who had seen and heard Jesus. But Luke had met some of these witnesses and heard their stories. He spent two years in Caesarea while Paul was in prison there (Acts 24:27). Luke would have found it easy to travel from there to collect information.
Verse 3 ‘Most noble’ are words of respect. They mean that Theophilus was an important official. ‘Theophilus’ means ‘friend of God’. It was a common name. Luke wants to give him clear and accurate information about Jesus. Luke had paid attention to every detail that he collected. Now he is going to describe the events in their proper order. This can mean in order of time. It also means that Luke will give a clear and careful account of the facts.
Verse 4 Theophilus had heard something about the Christian *faith. Luke wants to be sure that his friend has the right information. So, he has decided to write a full and accurate account. He wants Theophilus to understand more completely what Jesus did and taught.
Verse 5 This member of the Herod family was Herod the Great. He was king of all the land of *Israel for 33 years. Herod the Great was great as a builder, but not great in character. He was jealous and cruel (see Matthew 2:1-18).
The event that Luke is going to describe happened about one year before Herod died.
Zechariah belonged to one of the 24 groups of priests (1 Chronicles 24:10). Each group worked in the *Temple in Jerusalem. Twice a year they were on duty for a week.
Verse 7 If a wife had no children, *Jews thought that God was punishing her and her husband. The woman would feel both sad and ashamed. Other women, who had children, would think of her as a wife of no value.
Verse 9 Each group had so many priests that they had to choose their duties by *lot. The opportunity to burn *incense on the *altar was a special honour. A priest could do this only once during his life. The *altar was inside the Holy Place.
Verse 13 Zechariah would have prayed for *Israel. But, for many years, he and Elizabeth also must have prayed for a child. Now they were too old. But God has not forgotten what they prayed earlier.
The name John means ‘God is showing kindness’.
Verse 15 ‘He will be great in the *Lord’s sight’ means that God has very important work for him to do.
The order not to drink any *wine or strong drink was evidence. It meant that John was to serve God in a special way. Some people made a special promise to serve God (see Numbers 6:1-6). This order was part of the rule for them.
The words ‘full of the Holy Spirit’ mean that John will have the power of God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide him and help him in all that he does.
Verse 17 The *Jews believed that the great *prophet Elijah would return to earth. He would announce the arrival of the *Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6). There had been no *prophet for several hundred years. Like Elijah, John would be a *prophet who urged people to turn back to God. This would mean that they must put God first in their lives. This would also help to unite families. John’s work was to prepare the way for the *Lord. That is, he told people to expect the *Messiah to come very soon. *Messiah is the word for ‘Christ’ in *Hebrew (the *Jews’ language).
Verse 19 Gabriel was one of the most important *angels. His name appears twice in the *Old Testament (Daniel 8:16; 9:21).
Verse 20 The ‘right time’ means nine months after Elizabeth has begun to expect a child. It also means the time that God has chosen.
Verse 22 It was usual for the priest to *bless the people. He spoke the blessing in Numbers 6:24-26.
Verse 23 Zechariah’s home was in the hills, south of Jerusalem (1:39-40).
Verse 25 People would stop thinking that God was punishing her.
Verse 27 Nazareth was a small town, a few miles from the south of the Lake of Galilee. It was very serious when a man and woman agreed to marry. Such an agreement could only end in an act of divorce. If the man died before the marriage, the woman considered herself as a widow.
Verse 28 The usual *Jewish greeting was ‘Peace be with you’.
Verse 31 ‘Jesus’ is the *Greek form of the *Hebrew name ‘Joshua’. The name means ‘The *Lord is *Saviour’.
Verse 32 ‘son of the Most High’ was a way to say ‘son of God’. This was a name of the *Messiah. ‘The Most High’ was a name for God in the *Old Testament.
Verse 33 ‘The *descendants of Jacob’ means the *Israelites. These included King David. God promised David that his throne (rule) would never end (2 Samuel 7:16).
Verse 34 Mary wondered how she could have a son before she and Joseph had married.
Verse 35 The words ‘will rest upon’ mean that God’s *glory comes down on a place or person. God’s power, through the Holy Spirit, would make it possible for Mary to have the son.
Verse 35 ‘holy, the *Son of God’ means that the child would be God’s son. He would be without *sin.
Verse 38 When Mary accepted what God wanted, she was taking a great risk. Perhaps Joseph would be angry. She would probably have public shame. People in the village would certainly gossip about her. A girl who promised to marry should be loyal to her future husband. If she was not loyal, she broke God’s law. Yet Mary did not doubt the *angel’s message. Luke, with his sympathy for women, may have received this story from Mary herself.
Verse 44 A six-month baby moves in the mother’s body. However, Elizabeth knew that her baby made a sudden movement. This showed that her baby was full of joy. John had not been born yet, but he knew that Mary’s child was very special.
Verse 45 Elizabeth was much older than Mary was. But she was not jealous that Mary had the greater honour. Mary’s baby was to be the *Messiah.
When Mary heard what Elizabeth said, Mary burst into a song of joy to praise God. Christians still sing that song today.
The song has four parts.
Verse 49 The ‘name’ of God describes what he is like. He is pure and perfect. He is powerful over everything and everyone. He is *eternal. He is ‘holy’.
Verses 51-53 Mary speaks of how God has disturbed the plans of proud people (Genesis 11:4-8). He has dragged down strong rulers (Daniel 5). He has put humble people in ranks of power (Genesis 41:40). Mary was certain that God would act like this in the future. He had already acted like this in the past (Psalm 98:1).
The hungry people are poor people. God will provide for them (Psalm 107:9). Also, this means people who are ‘hungry’ to know God. He will satisfy their *spiritual hunger (Matthew 5:6). Some people are rich and feel that they do not need God. They will receive nothing (Luke 12:16-21).
Verse 54 ‘his servant *Israel’ means the people of *Israel. God had rescued them many times in the past from their enemies. God was now sending the *Messiah who would rescue them from *sin. God had promised this to their *ancestors.
Verse 55 God promised Abraham that he would *bless all the families of the earth. This would happen by one of Abraham’s *descendants (Genesis 12:3). Mary realised that God’s promise was coming true. The love and goodness that God showed to Abraham would continue in the *Messiah’s work. The *Messiah would bring *blessing to all Abraham’s *descendants.
Verse 56 Mary returned to Nazareth just before Elizabeth had her baby, John.
Verse 59 The law of Moses required the *circumcision of a boy, a week after his birth (Leviticus 12:3). *Circumcision was the evidence of God’s special agreement with the people of *Israel (Genesis 17:9-14). At the same time, they had a ceremony to name the child.
Verse 62 ‘They signalled to Zechariah’. Perhaps Zechariah was deaf as well as dumb. Or perhaps the people just thought that he was deaf. They knew that deaf people often could not speak.
Verse 63 ‘a writing board’. This was a small wooden board with soft polish on it. People scratched words on the board. They used a small stick with a point at the end.
Zechariah wrote the words, ‘John is his name’. The boy already had his name. God had given it to him.
Verses 67-75 are a song of praise to God. God rescues his people and keeps his promises. Verses 76-79 describe the work of John. The song is a message of hope for the future.
Verse 71 The *Jews had many enemies. In the past, powerful foreign nations attacked and ruled them. Therefore, most *Jews would describe ‘enemies’ in political ways. This was especially true at that time because the *Roman soldiers were in their country. However, the rest of the song suggests that ‘enemies’ means all people who oppose God.
Verse 73 The promise that God gave to Abraham is in Genesis 22:16-17.
Verse 76 Zechariah begins to speak to his son and describes him as a *prophet. There had been no *prophet in *Israel for hundreds of years. God sent John to prepare the way for the *Messiah (Malachi 3:1).
Verses 78-79 In the dark, people cannot see what is real. They cannot see where they are going. The words ‘the shadow of death’ suggest that they have no hope. When the sun rises at dawn, the darkness disappears. Like the sun, the *Messiah would bring light into the world (John 8:12). People would then really understand what is right and what is wrong. Light makes people able to see where they are going. Jesus is the light of the world. So, he will guide people into the way of peace. This peace does not mean freedom from trouble. It means that we feel quiet in our spirits. It means that we have peace with God, because he has *forgiven us. It means that we can be confident of God’s love in all circumstances. We shall not fear death. Christians are certain that they will live with God for ever.
Verse 80 This desert was probably west of the river Jordan, near the Dead Sea.
Verse 1 ‘At that time’ means when John was a baby. The name *Caesar means the *Roman *emperor. He was king over all countries that the *Romans ruled. This *Caesar also received the name Augustus, which means ‘noble’. This was because he had brought peace after many years of war. He ruled for 41 years.
The reason for the *census was to collect *taxes. The *Romans took a *census every 14 years.
Verse 2 We know from ancient records that Quirinius held a *census some years after Jesus was born (Acts 5:37). Quirinius governed Syria twice, so Luke must refer to an earlier *census. We do not know anything else about it.
Verse 3 Men had to go to the city that their family came from.
Verse 4 Nazareth is about 80 miles (130 kilometres) from Bethlehem.
Verse 5 Probably Mary did not have to go too. But Joseph would not want to leave her in Nazareth. People might have insulted her. She was expecting a child, but she was not yet married.
Verse 6 The first son belonged to God (Exodus 13:2).
Verse 7 When Joseph and Mary arrived, the town was already full. People had come for the *census. The *census brought Mary to Bethlehem. The *prophecy of Micah (5:2) said that the *Messiah would be born there. That came true.
Verse 8 Probably these *shepherds were looking after sheep intended for *sacrifices in the *Temple in Jerusalem. Bethlehem is only a few miles from Jerusalem.
Verse 9 ‘*glory’ describes a very bright light. It meant that God was there.
Verse 11 The city of David is Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:1).
‘A *Saviour’. Mary too spoke of ‘God my *Saviour’ (1:47). ‘Christ’ is from the *Greek word for the *Hebrew word ‘*Messiah’. ‘*Lord’ is a name for God in the Bible.
Verse 12 They would be able to see the evidence that the *angel’s message was true.
Verse 13 In the *Old Testament, God is ‘the *Lord of hosts’ (Isaiah 6:3). ‘Hosts’ means ‘armies’. The *angels were a great army in heaven.
Verse 14 ‘the highest heaven’ is a way to describe where God is. The *Messiah will bring peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Verse 20 *Jewish leaders of that time did not like *shepherds. Because of their work, *shepherds could not keep all the rules of their religion. Yet they were the first people to hear the good news of the *Messiah’s birth. Luke often emphasises that God cares for people who are poor or not important.
Verse 21 Luke emphasises the baby’s name. The name Jesus means *Saviour, that is, a person who rescues people from *sin.
Verses 22-24 After a woman gave birth to a boy, she was ‘*unclean’ for 40 days. She could not go into the *Temple in Jerusalem. Nor could she attend any *religious ceremony. At the end of the 40 days, she had to offer a *lamb and a young bird. If she could not afford a *lamb, she could bring another young bird instead. Mary’s *offering showed that she did not have enough money for a *lamb (Leviticus 12:8).
Exodus 13:2 says that the first son born in an *Israelite family belongs to God. When the first sons of families in Egypt died, the first sons of *Israelite families remained alive (Exodus 13:14-15). They belonged to God.
Verse 29 Simeon had finished his work for God because he had seen the *Messiah.
Verse 32 Isaiah spoke of a servant of the *Lord who would be ‘a light to the nations’ (Isaiah 42:6). Simeon’s words are similar to these. The *Messiah will help *Gentiles to understand God’s truth. All people, *Jews and *Gentiles alike, will see God’s *glory because his Son has come to earth (Isaiah 40:5).
Verse 33 Joseph was Jesus’ legal father.
Verse 34 ‘Fall and rise’ can have two possible meanings:
(1) People must be humble (‘fall’) before they can gain a place in God’s *kingdom (‘rise’).
(2) The child will separate people. People who refuse to accept Jesus will receive judgement (‘fall’). People who accept him will enter his *kingdom (‘rise’). This will happen ‘in *Israel’, that is, among Jesus’ own people. This truth also appears in John 1:11-12.
Verse 35 Mary will suffer greatly. This came true when she saw her son Jesus die.
People will show their attitudes to God, when they accept or refuse God’s Son, Jesus.
Verse 37 ‘she did not leave the *Temple’ may mean that she lived in a room there.
Verse 38 She arrived at the same time as Simeon was there.
Jerusalem was the centre of *worship for the whole nation of Israel. The nation was waiting for the *Messiah to come.
This story is the only one about Jesus as a boy. Only Luke tells it.
Verse 41 The *Passover *feast was in April and it lasted for a week. This *feast reminded the *Israelites how God rescued them from Egypt. They had been slaves there (Exodus 12:24-27). Every *Jewish man was supposed to go to Jerusalem for three important *feasts: *Passover, *Pentecost and the *Feast of Tabernacles. If they could not attend all three *feasts, they would choose the *Passover as the most important.
Verse 42 A *Jewish boy became a man, a ‘son of the law’, when he was 12 years old. This was probably Jesus’ first visit as a boy to the *Temple in Jerusalem.
Verse 43 At the end of the week, people travelled home together in large groups. Mary and Joseph did not worry about Jesus until the evening of the first day’s journey. Everyone met together in the evening.
Verses 45-46 Mary and Joseph took a day to travel back to Jerusalem. They looked for Jesus in the city on the second day. They found him on the third day.
Verse 47 The *court of the *Temple was a place where the *rabbis taught. It was usual for students to ask and answer questions. Jesus had joined a group. He was asking questions. He also answered the questions that the teachers asked him. He astonished them because he knew and understood so much.
Verse 49 No *Jew would call God ‘my’ Father. But Jesus already realised that he had a special relationship with God. Joseph was only his legal ‘father’.
When Jesus said ‘I must be in my Father’s house’, this showed how much he knew. Jesus knew that he must do what his Father required. All through his life, Jesus knew that he must obey God’s purpose for him.
Verse 51 After this, Luke does not mention again that Joseph was present. Joseph may have died before Jesus began his public work. However, the people in Nazareth called Jesus ‘Joseph’s son’ (Luke 4:22).
‘Mary stored all these precious memories in her heart’. Perhaps, many years later, she told them to Luke himself.
Verse 1 After the death of Herod the Great, his three sons (Archelaus, Antipas and Philip) shared the country:
(1) Herod Archelaus had Judea. When Joseph and Mary returned from the country of Egypt with Jesus, they went to Galilee. They did not want to stay where Archelaus governed (Matthew 2:19-23). Archelaus governed Judea in such a cruel way that the *Romans replaced him in the end. Pontius Pilate governed Judea for 10 years. (In 1962 people dug up a stone with his name on it at Caesarea, where he used to live.)
(2) Herod Antipas governed Galilee, during the time when both John and Jesus were teaching.
(3) Philip had the same father as Herod Antipas, but he had a different mother.
Verse 2 Luke says that Annas and Caiaphas were chief priests. There should have been only one chief priest at a time. Caiaphas was the official chief priest. But Annas (the father of Caiaphas’ wife) still had great power. The people who arrested Jesus took him first to Annas (John 18:13).
Verses 4-6 When a king was to make a journey, an official went ahead to prepare the road. The official would make the road level, straight and smooth. John was preparing the people for the arrival of the *Messiah, their king. They must give the *Lord a way into their lives. They must remove all their wrong attitudes. These attitudes are like ‘valleys’ and ‘hills’ that prevented God from saving them. They must put right everything that was wrong in their lives. They must put right everything that was against what God wanted.
Verse 6 Luke uses words from Isaiah to emphasise that Jesus had come for the whole world, *Jews and *Gentiles alike.
Verse 7 John realised that some people do not come with the right attitude. They were not really sorry for their *sins. They were trying to escape God’s punishment. ‘Fire’ is a way to describe God’s judgement.
Verse 8 These people were *descendants of Abraham. They thought that this connection would save them. But God could make as many children of Abraham as he wanted – even out of hard stones. In the *Hebrew language, the words ‘stones’ and ‘children’ are very similar. John was using this fact when he said these words.
People judge trees by their fruits, not by their roots. These *Jews were trusting in their ‘roots’, that is, their connection with Abraham. They should have been thinking about their ‘fruits’. ‘Fruits’ result from living in the right way towards God and other people.
Verse 9 John said that it was urgent that people should change their bad ways. God is like a farmer. When a tree fails to produce good fruit the farmer cuts it down. Then he throws the tree into the fire. God is ready to act in the same way, if people do not change.
Verse 10 The crowds were asking how they could satisfy God’s demand for ‘fruit’.
Verse 11 Ordinary people must stop being selfish. They must care for the needs of other people.
Verses 12-13 John did not tell the hated *tax-collectors that they must not work for the *Romans. Instead, they must not use their work to cheat people. They must be honest.
Verse 14 Soldiers must not use their authority to make money for themselves. They must not frighten people with *physical attacks. They must not make people pay money to avoid trouble about some crime. The soldiers had been accusing people of crimes that they had not done.
Verse 16 John recognised that he was only the person who announced the arrival of the *Messiah. The king was coming. But John felt that he was not good enough. Not even to do the most humble task of a slave for him. John *baptised people with water. This showed that people desired to be clean and free from *sin.
Fire is very powerful. The *Messiah’s *baptism would give people the power of the Holy Spirit to live in a new way. Fire would also refer to the punishment of those who refused to believe.
Verse 17 A farmer used a large tool like a fork to *winnow. He threw mixed grain and *chaff into the air. The wind blew the *chaff away and the grain fell to the ground. John used this picture language to show that the *Messiah would separate people. The good people, who were like grain, would come into his *kingdom.
Verse 19 Herod Antipas divorced his wife. She was the daughter of the king Aretas who came from Arabia. Herod wanted to marry Herodias who was his brother Philip’s wife. Philip was his half-brother. He was a son of Herod the Great by a different mother. [He was not the same Philip as the one who ruled Iturea (Luke 3:1).] John said that both the divorce and the marriage were wicked. Herodias never forgave John.
Verse 20 They did not put John into prison until later. John and Jesus continued to teach. Luke completes his account of John here. Then he continues to tell the story of Jesus.
Verse 21 Jesus had no *sin for which he had to say sorry. He came to rescue *sinners. And he wanted to show that he understood and cared about them. He also chose to mark the beginning of his public work in this way.
‘He was praying’. Luke emphasises the prayers of Jesus at all times in his life. Luke also includes two *parables about prayer (Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8).
Verse 22 The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus in the form of a bird. This could also mean that the Holy Spirit came in a silent way like a bird. The Holy Spirit gave Jesus power for his future work. The phrase ‘son whom I love greatly’ comes from Psalm 2:7. It describes the *Messiah. God was ‘very pleased with him’. These are words from Isaiah (42:1). They describe God’s Servant. Other verses in Isaiah show that God’s Servant would suffer and die (Isaiah 53:8-10).
Verse 23 There are several possible reasons why Jesus waited until he was 30 years old:
(1) There is no reference to Joseph after the *Passover visit to Jerusalem. Therefore, until he was 30, Jesus was working to take care of his mother, brothers and sisters.
(2) He had the opportunity to learn for himself the problems of family responsibilities. Later, when he taught, he could speak with authority.
(3) *Levites were officials who helped the priests. They began their service at the age of 30. People considered that a man of that age was mature.
Verses 23-38 The fact that Jesus had family *ancestors shows that he was a real human person. The *Messiah was to come from the family line of David, who was of the *tribe of Judah. The fact that Jesus came from the family of David shows that he was the *Messiah. And his *baptism also shows this. Luke records Jesus’ family *ancestors back to Adam, the first man (Genesis 2:20). (The words ‘Adam’ and ‘man’ are the same in *Hebrew.) So, Luke shows that Jesus is a relative of all people. Therefore Jesus came not only for the *Jews, but for all people.
Verse 1 Jesus returned after John had *baptised him in the river Jordan. While Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, he has been thinking about his work as *Messiah. All the verses that Jesus will use against the devil are from Deuteronomy. This suggests that Jesus has been thinking about Moses’ 40 days in the desert (Deuteronomy 9:9-18). During those 40 days, Moses received God’s instructions for his work.
Verses 2-4 The devil tries to make Jesus doubt that he is God’s Son and to use the wrong methods for his work. Jesus is hungry. So, the devil suggests that Jesus could use his power to turn the stones into bread. The hot, flat stones look like bread. The attractive idea would satisfy his own hunger. Also, Jesus could do the same to show his sympathy for the hungry crowds. The *Jews believed that, when the *Messiah came, he would give them bread from heaven (John 6:30-31). Jesus knows that to satisfy someone’s need for food will still leave that person hungry for God. Jesus refuses to do what the devil suggested. Jesus uses words from Deuteronomy (8:3). Those words mean that life is more than being alive. People need more in life than food for their bodies.
Verses 5-8 The devil now takes Jesus to a high place. From there, he can see all the countries of the world. The devil offers them to Jesus, if only Jesus will *worship him. This second test refers to the way in which other countries attracted the ancient *Israelites to follow their gods (Deuteronomy 6:10-15). Jesus knows that *worship belongs to God alone. People must not *worship anything that makes them turn away from God. Jesus again uses words from Deuteronomy (6:13) when he refuses the devil’s offer.
Verses 9–12 Then Jesus imagines that he is on the very top of the *Temple in Jerusalem. Below him, there is a drop of 450 feet (150 metres) into the Kidron Valley. If Jesus jumps off the roof of the *Temple in safety, it will be an extraordinary sight. It will attract people to follow him. The devil uses words from Psalm 91:11-12. He suggests that even the *Scriptures say that Jesus can trust God to keep him safe. But the devil does not go on to mention the next words (Psalm 91:13). They refer to the defeat of a lion. That is a picture of the devil (1 Peter 5:8). Jesus replies and speaks words from Deuteronomy (6:16). He says that it is always wrong to test God. And it is wrong to do something foolish. It is also no use. People who desire the excitement of extraordinary events soon become tired of them.
Verse 13 The devil then left Jesus, but only until he thought that he had another chance.
It was often difficult for Jesus to find enough time to teach. People were always asking him to help them. While Jesus was popular, the people wanted to make him a political leader (John 6:15). Many of his enemies asked Jesus for evidence to prove who he was (Luke 11:16).
Verse 16 The *synagogue was the place where the *Jews met to *worship God. The *Sabbath was the seventh day of the *Jewish week. It was a day of rest that lasted from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. In part of the service, someone read the *Hebrew *Scriptures. The officials might ask a visitor to read and then explain the words.
Verse 17 This official was responsible for the *scrolls, which he kept in a wooden cupboard. The ‘book’ was a long *scroll that Jesus had to roll open. The verses that he chose to read describe the work of the *Messiah. They are from Isaiah 61:1-2.
Verse 18 The poor are those who have very little. The *Messiah will give freedom to people as he forgives them. The blind will be able to see again. People can also be blind about *spiritual truth. The *Messiah will help these people to understand his words.
Verse 19 Jesus read the news of the arrival of the *Messiah. Then he finished reading. He did not complete the verse with the words about God punishing wicked people.
Verse 20 A teacher usually sat down when he taught.
Verses 22-23 The *Jews in Nazareth thought that they knew everything about Jesus. They had seen him grow up. They knew his family. He had been a carpenter (he made wooden objects). They could not believe that he was the *Messiah. In the same way, we may not give honour to someone who is very familiar to us. Jesus knew that they wanted him to prove that he was speaking the truth. They wanted Jesus to do something wonderful for them. This demand was like the devil’s third test in the desert.
Verses 25-27 In the past, *Jews had not believed the *prophets Elijah and Elisha. In the same way Jesus was saying that the *Jews of his day would not accept their *Messiah.
Verse 28 The idea that *Gentiles were better than *Jews made the *Jews in the *synagogue extremely angry. They wanted to kill Jesus.
Verse 29 The *Jews intended to push him over a steep hill. If he did not die when he fell, they would throw stones at him.
Verse 30 Jesus remained calm. He walked away through the angry crowd. He never returned to Nazareth. The people there had had their chance.
Verse 31 Capernaum was a city on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was an important port for trade. Jesus used it as his home. He went out from there to teach in Galilee.
Verse 32 The *scribes taught by referring to traditions. They supported their arguments by what past teachers had said. They taught in a confusing way rather than a helpful way. The *prophets had used the words ‘This is what the *Lord says’, when they gave God’s messages to people. But Jesus spoke with his own authority. He knew that he was the *Messiah.
Verse 33 The *demon was a wicked spirit. It made the person ‘*unclean’.
Verse 34 The word ‘us’ includes other *demons. They were all expecting punishment one day. The *demon, which was in the man, recognised that Jesus came from God. Jesus was ‘holy’, without *sin, and set apart for God’s work. The ‘Holy One of God’ was a title of the *Messiah. The *demon knew that the *Messiah would destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
Verse 35 People tried to force out *demons by all kinds of methods. Jesus cured the man just by his order. Luke, who was a doctor, noted that the *demon had not hurt the man.
Verse 36 The people recognised that Jesus had authority to make the *demons leave. His words had the power to make them obey him.
Jesus taught in a very different way from the *rabbis. They only repeated what earlier teachers had said. Jesus spoke in a direct way, on his own authority. He did not depend on the authority of what other people had said.
Verse 37 The news spread in the region of Galilee round Capernaum.
Verse 38 Jesus calls Simon Peter to be a *disciple in chapter 5. Simon Peter’s home was in Capernaum. Luke, who was a doctor, uses a medical term when he speaks of a ‘high (bad) *fever’.
Verse 39 Jesus shows his authority again when he orders the *fever to go. At once, she is well and able to prepare food for them all.
Verse 40 People remained at home as it was the *Sabbath day. They could not carry anyone to Jesus. It was against the *Jewish *Sabbath tradition to carry something. The *Sabbath ended at sunset. Then friends and relatives were able to bring their sick friends to Jesus. They either carried them on mats or helped them to walk. There were many different diseases among the sick people. On this occasion, Jesus cured by touching people.
Verse 41 Jesus did not want *demons to say who he was. If people believed the *demons, they might try to make Jesus king. Jesus did not want to begin a popular movement against the *Romans. This would cause great trouble. Then he would not be able to do his work.
Verse 42 Early on Sunday morning, Jesus went off by himself. Mark says that he went to pray (Mark 1:35).
Verse 43 ‘The *kingdom of God’ is not a country. It means that God rules as king. It is both a present and a future *kingdom. It was present when Jesus came. Everyone who believes him becomes part of his *kingdom. It is still in the future, when God will establish his rule over the whole world.
Verse 1 Gennesaret is another name for the Sea of Galilee. Luke always calls it a lake. It is a very large lake in Galilee, about 13 miles (21 kilometres) long and 7 miles (11 kilometres) wide. The river Jordan flows into the north end and flows out of the south end.
Verse 3 The crowds were pushing forward to hear Jesus. He got into the boat so that he avoided the crowds. Now they would all be able to see and hear him.
Verse 5 Simon had been fishing in this lake for many years. He knew that the best time to fish was at night. He did not expect Jesus to know that. He had only been a carpenter (made wooden objects). Simon protested. But he was willing to do what Jesus said.
Verse 7 Their partners in the second boat were James and John, Zebedee’s sons. Luke does not mention Andrew’s name here. But he may have been in the boat with his brother Simon.
Verse 8 Simon Peter somehow felt that Jesus was holy, but that he himself was not holy. Jesus seemed to have power that other people did not have. Simon called Jesus ‘*Lord’. This suggests that Simon realised that Jesus had the right to tell him what to do.
Verse 10 Jesus told them that they had worked to catch fish. Now they must work to catch people for him. They had worked to kill fish. Now they must work to give people *spiritual life.
Verse 12 In the Bible the word *leprosy refers to the disease that we call *leprosy. But it also includes other types of skin diseases. People with *leprosy had to keep far away from other people. They must call out ‘I am not clean!’ They warned other people not to come near them. Therefore, they could not be with their family or friends. Luke describes this man as ‘full of *leprosy’. He uses a medical term for a very serious form of the disease. The man came close enough to Jesus to fall down near his feet. He was not being humble. He was desperate. He needed Jesus’ help. This was urgent. He trusted that Jesus could *heal him. He was not sure that Jesus would want to.
Verse 13 Jesus would make himself ‘*unclean’ if he touched a person with *leprosy. But Jesus took no notice of this fact. Instead, he reached out and touched the man.
Verse 14 A priest acted as a medical officer of health. If the priest declared that the man was healthy, then he could go back among people. And the man who was now well would make the necessary *offerings. The law describes these matters in Leviticus 14:1-32. Everyone would then know that the man was really well again. They would accept him back into society. Although Jesus did not keep the *Sabbath traditions, he obeyed the law of Moses.
Verse 17 Luke does not say where Jesus was teaching. Mark says that it was in Capernaum. It was perhaps in Peter’s house (Mark 2:1).
The *Pharisees were strict *Jews who obeyed the law of Moses. They also tried to obey all the traditions that explained the law. Many *Pharisees were proud of all that they did. They were not sincere when they gave honour to God. They soon began to oppose what Jesus said and did. The teachers of the law (often called ‘*scribes’) were experts. They explained the *Hebrew *Scriptures. They taught especially about the law of Moses in the first five books of the *Old Testament.
Verse 18 Mark says that four men carried the man on his mat (Mark 2:3).
Verse 19 Houses usually had an outside staircase that went up to the flat roof. They made the roof from wood and mud. The men could easily make a hole in it.
Verse 20 At that time people believed that everyone who suffered was guilty of *sin (John 9:2). Even today, when people are ill they sometimes say, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ Some people may suffer because of what they have done. But this does not explain all illnesses. It was important that this man should not feel guilty any more, whatever the reason for his illness.
Verse 21 The *Pharisees said that God alone could forgive *sins. They were right. However, they were wrong when they accused Jesus. He had not insulted God. Jesus was the *Messiah. He knew that he had God’s authority.
Verses 22-23 When Jesus said ‘I forgive you’, the *sin may or may not have gone. People could not prove that it had happened. But the people could certainly see that the man was better. The man had not been able to move. But then he got up and was able to walk. That proved that Jesus had authority to forgive *sins.
Verse 24 Jesus called himself the *Son of Man. He used this name for himself many times. This phrase could mean that he was human. It showed that Jesus considered himself to be like other men. But it could also mean ‘the *Messiah’ (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus probably used the name on purpose because it had a double meaning. Many people were expecting that the *Messiah would fight and free them from the rule of the *Romans. But that was not what Jesus had come to do.
Verse 27 People hated *tax-collectors because they worked for the *Romans. Therefore, people regarded them as not loyal to their own country. It was also easy for them to cheat and take too much *tax. There were very many *taxes that people had to pay. Levi was in his customs shed. He collected taxes from people who were going in or out of Capernaum. This was a main trading route. Levi is the same person as Matthew (Matthew 9:9). His name is in the list of *apostles (Luke 6:15).
Verse 28 Perhaps Levi was giving up more than Peter and his partners gave up. They could, if necessary, return to their fishing. It is probable that Levi would not be able to return to his work as a customs official.
Verses 29-30 If you ate with people, this suggested that you approved of their behaviour. The *Pharisees would not want to mix with *tax-collectors and ‘*sinners’. ‘*Sinners’ were people who did not keep all the *religious rules of the *Pharisees. It did not usually mean that they were very wicked people.
Verses 31-32 When Jesus said ‘good people’, he meant people like the *Pharisees. They believed that they were good. But they were not sincere in their attitude to God and his laws. The ‘*sinners’ knew that they needed Jesus to help them. Jesus compared them to a sick person who knows that he needs a doctor.
Verse 33 The *Pharisees *fasted (did not eat food) on two days every week. They *fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. They tried to make people notice what they were doing. So, they looked as miserable as possible. They also prayed at fixed times during the day. The *Pharisees said that Jesus and his *disciples did not carry out these *religious duties.
Verse 34 Jesus said that guests at a wedding party are full of joy while the bridegroom is with them. Jesus was like the bridegroom. While he was with them, they would not *fast.
Verse 35 One day, people would take Jesus away to kill him. His *disciples would *fast then, not as a *religious duty, but because they were sad. Jesus and his *disciples often prayed. Luke does not record an answer to this part of the *Pharisees’ question.
Verses 36-39 Jesus uses two examples from daily life to describe what he was teaching. He was not aiming to ‘mend’ the *Jewish *faith. He was teaching new things. These were like a new piece of cloth. People make *wineskins from the skins of goats. The skin becomes hard when it is old. New *wine is strong enough to burst the old skins. The new things that Jesus taught were as powerful as new *wine. Some people would not like what he was teaching. They would be like a man who says that old *wine is better than new wine. The *Pharisees, and other people like them, were refusing to accept the joy that Jesus could give them. They preferred the ‘old *wine’ of their own traditions. They asked a question about *fasting. It had shown that they were not willing to change their ways. Their attitude was hard like an old *wineskin. They could not accept new ideas and the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Jesus’ message made people free from *sin. They could have joy as they obeyed God. However, Jesus’ message would destroy the religion of the *Pharisees. Their rules limited people’s freedom and did not give them any joy.
Verse 1 The *disciples were not stealing. It was legal for people to pick heads of grain (Deuteronomy 23:25).
Verse 2 The *Pharisees accused the *disciples that they were working on the *Sabbath. When they picked the grain, they were harvesting it. When they separated the grain from its outer cover, they were *winnowing it. They had prepared food. All these activities were work. Work was not legal on the *Sabbath.
Verses 3-4 Jesus reminded the *Pharisees of how David and his men went into God’s holy place at the town of Nob. David and the men with him were hungry. So, they ate the holy bread that only priests should eat (1 Samuel 21:1-6). David and his men were hungry and needed something. This was more important than the law of Moses.
Verse 5 ‘*Son of Man’ is Jesus’ special name for himself (see note on Luke 5:24). As the Christ (*Messiah), Jesus had the right to decide what should happen on the *Sabbath. He came from the family of King David. David could break a law, because people needed something. Therefore, Jesus could certainly take no notice of *Jewish traditions.
Verse 7 The *religious leaders allowed people to *heal on the *Sabbath, if someone’s life was in danger. If there was no danger, they had to wait.
Verse 9 Jesus intended to do good as he *healed the man. Then this man would be able to work again. The *Pharisees wanted Jesus to leave him alone. That was like doing wrong. Jesus intended to save the man. The *Pharisees were plotting to kill Jesus.
Verse 12 Jesus knew that more people were becoming his enemies. He had to decide how he should continue his work. He had many *disciples. So, he prayed all night about the ones whom he should choose. They were to be his special helpers.
Verse 13 The nation of *Israel grew from the 12 sons of Jacob (Genesis 35:10, 23-26). Jesus was beginning a new people of God. The 12 were to be *apostles, that is, men whom Jesus sent out. He gave them his authority to teach about him. The people whom he chose were not rich or important, but ordinary men.
Verse 14 Simon Peter always comes first in the lists of the *apostles. He and his brother Andrew were *fishermen. So too were James and John, the sons of Zebedee. James and John had fierce tempers. Jesus called them ‘Boanerges’, which means ‘sons of *thunder’. This meant that they were always ready to give their own opinion in a noisy and unpleasant way (Mark 3:17). Philip and Bartholomew came from the town of Bethsaida in Galilee and knew one another.
Bartholomew is probably the same person as Nathanael (John 12:43-49).
Verse 15 Matthew was a *tax-collector. Thomas was a *twin (John 11:16). Another Simon (not Peter) belonged to a party of *Jews who wanted to fight the *Romans and force them out of their country. So Simon was in the same group as Matthew, who had worked for the *Romans. Most people hated the *Romans. Jesus can unite people who used to be enemies.
Verse 16 Judas, who was the son of James, is probably the same person as Thaddaeus in Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18. ‘Iscariot’ may mean ‘man from Kerioth’, a place in Judea. So, Judas Iscariot was the only one of the group of 12 men who did not come from Galilee.
Verse 20 Poor people have so little in this world. But they can know God’s secret. God’s *kingdom belongs to them! Jesus said that the *kingdom is theirs. It is theirs, not only in the future, but here and now. They can know God’s rule in their lives. He will guide them. He will care for them.
Verse 21 God will *bless those who are hungry now. They will have plenty to eat. God will supply everything that they need. God will *bless those who are sad now. They will be able to laugh again. They see that many people and organisations in the world are wicked and unjust. They will be full of joy when they see that goodness overcomes evil.
Verse 22 Jesus spoke about the future when he warned his *disciples. But his words were already coming true. The *Pharisees hated Jesus and were plotting to kill him. They shut a blind man out of the *synagogue. Jesus had *healed him so that he could see (John 9:20-34).
Verse 23 ‘Their *ancestors’ means the *ancestors of people like the *Pharisees. They had hated and insulted the *prophets. People will hate and insult the *disciples. This is the evidence that they are being loyal to Jesus.
In verses 21-23, all these *blessings are very different from the way in which the world thinks of happiness.
Next come 4 ‘woes’ which are the opposite of the 4 *blessings. ‘Woe to you!’ is an expression of regret, meaning ‘How miserable for you!’ It is also a warning that God’s judgement is to come.
Verse 24 Rich people have a comfortable life. These people think only about what they own. They do not think about what follows this life. They may enjoy their present life, but they have nothing else to come (1 Timothy 6:7).
Verse 25 Some people only think about what they own and enjoy in this world. But they will never find true satisfaction. When this life ends, they are going to cry (Isaiah 65:13-14).
Verse 26 People will be miserable if they just live to be popular with other people. In *Old Testament days many people praised the false *prophets. These false *prophets pretended that their messages came from God. But their messages were not true. They had invented them. There will still be false *prophets in the future (2 Peter 2:1).
Verse 27 The *Jews knew God’s *commandment to love their neighbours (Leviticus 18:18). Their teachers had added the words ‘and hate your enemy’. But those words are not in the Bible. Instead, Jesus said that they must love their enemies. He was not asking them to like their enemies. This love was not like the natural emotion that they had towards their own family. Christian love means that you act for the benefit of the other person. It may be difficult, but God will help us. It is not a matter of the emotions, but we should do what God wants.
Verse 28 If someone hits you, you probably want to hit them back, perhaps twice as hard. This is a natural way to behave. The people who follow Jesus should behave in a different way. They must not do something evil to the person who does something evil to them.
Verses 29-30 Jesus did not mean that all Christians must give everything away and become very poor. But Christians must act with love. They must be generous to other people and not be selfish about their possessions.
Verse 31 Jesus gave this rule for the whole of life. There were many examples of the negative attitude, ‘Do not do to other people what you do not like’ (*Tobit 4:15). But Jesus said that those who follow him must be active and do good things. ‘Do to other people what you would want them to do to you’.
Verse 32 ‘*Sinners’ need not mean very wicked people. They are those who are not very *religious. They are not aware of God’s laws. Yet, even these people love the people who love them.
Verse 35 God is kind to everyone. This does not depend on people’s attitude to God, or how they behave. He is the Father whose children must behave in the same way as he does. The way that they behave will show whether they are God’s true children.
Verse 37 Jesus is not forbidding Christians to have an opinion about other people. He is saying that it is wrong to judge people if you do not know all the facts about their actions. A person, who remembers how much God has *forgiven him, will be generous to other people.
Verse 38 People pulled part of their long clothing up over their belt to make a large pocket. People could fill this pocket with a large amount of grain. This is a picture of how people can be generous when they give. The reward from God will be even more generous.
Verse 39 Perhaps this *parable was a warning so that people would not follow what the *Pharisees taught. Before a *disciple can teach other people to speak the truth and to love people, he must behave like that himself.
Verse 40 The *disciples needed to be humble so that they could learn from Jesus, their teacher. Then they would be able to help other people.
Verses 41-42 ‘Brother’ here does not mean a close relative. It means another member of the Christian family of God’s children.
A man cannot see if he has a big piece of wood that sticks out of his eye. His offer to remove the tiny bit of dust from his brother’s eye is stupid. Jesus’ humorous picture showed that it is impossible to correct another person’s mistake before one has corrected one’s own. The other person’s wrong actions may be very small when compared with one’s own.
The word ‘*hypocrite’ comes from a *Greek word which means that someone is acting. A *hypocrite is a person who pretends to be something that he is not.
Verses 43-44 If a tree is healthy, it has fruit that is good to eat. Thorn bushes are weeds. They have sharp branches. They produce fruit that people do not want to eat. A man’s ‘fruit’ means all of his words and actions. They will show what kind of person he is.
Verse 45 This is another way to describe good and bad fruit. Paul spoke of good riches which a *disciple stores in his heart. ‘Whatever is true, honourable, fair, pure, lovely…’ (Philippians 4:8). Jesus spoke of lies and other wicked words that come from a person’s heart (Mark 7:22). Whatever a person thinks about most will come out in his speech. The word ‘heart’ means the mind, from which thoughts and feelings come.
Verses 46-49 The wise builder is someone who not only listens to Christ’s words, but obeys them. So, if a flood comes, that person will have God’s help to deal with it. A flood may not be a flood of water. It may be a sudden severe test, or a difficult problem in our family. It may come as a serious illness, or the death of someone that we love. It may come in ways that we do not expect.
The foolish person is someone who does not do what Jesus says. So, when sudden trouble comes, that person’s trust in God fails. It is too weak.
Verse 2 The *Roman officer’s attitude was not usual. His servant was probably a *Jew. But he had served his master well. The officer certainly did not want him to die.
Verse 3 The *Jewish leaders were sincere when they asked Jesus to help.
Verse 5 They said that the officer loved the *Jews so much that he had paid to build their *synagogue. ‘Our’ *synagogue could mean that Capernaum had only one *synagogue. If so, it would be the building in which Jesus had already shown his power (Luke 4:31-37).
Verses 6-7 The *Roman officer was a humble man. He considered that Jesus was more important than he was. Also, he did not want Jesus, who was a *Jew, to make himself ‘*unclean’. This would happen if Jesus entered a *Gentile’s house (Acts 10:28).
Verse 8 He spoke from his own experience, when he requested Jesus to give an order. The officer knew what authority meant. He had to obey other officers who were superior to him. He himself could give an order to his soldiers, and they would obey him. He recognised that Jesus had God’s authority. If Jesus gave the order, the officer’s servant would get well.
Verse 9 The *Roman officer’s *faith astonished Jesus. It was stronger than the *faith of any *Jew, a member of God’s own people *Israel. Luke did not need to mention that Jesus actually gave the order. Instead Luke wants to emphasise the *faith of the *Roman officer, because he was a *Gentile.
Verse 12 Nain was a town with a wall round it. Jesus arrived at the gate in the wall. The widow had no other members of her family. Her son had provided her income and he protected her. He could not do that any more. Her family would not continue. Her husband was dead. Her son was dead too. She probably doubted whether God loved her. The large crowd with her was showing its sympathy for the death of her son.
Verse 14 When Jesus touched the *bier he made himself ‘*unclean’. Nobody had asked Jesus to help. Jesus acted because he had a lot of love.
Verse 15 When the young man spoke everyone knew that he had come back to life. Jesus gave an order. That order defeated death, at once and completely.
Verse 16 The crowd recognised that Jesus had used God’s power. So they called him ‘a great *prophet’. They were perhaps thinking of Elijah and Elisha. These two *prophets of the past had also made dead people come back to life (1 Kings 17:17-23; 2 Kings 4:17-37).
Verse 18 John was in prison at the town of Machaerus by the Dead Sea. His *disciples told him what Jesus had done for the servant of the *Roman officer and for the widow’s son.
Verse 19 ‘The one who will come’ means ‘the *Messiah’. There may be more than one reason why John doubted. He may have wondered why Jesus did not do anything to free him from prison. Perhaps he was urging Jesus to tell people that he was the *Messiah. He did not know what to believe. He had warned people of God’s judgement. Perhaps he was expecting Jesus to free their country from the *Romans and to punish *sinners. However, Jesus was forgiving people and doing kind things.
Verses 21-22 When Jesus *healed people this pointed to the work of the *Messiah. This would remind John of the words of Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1. Jesus was making those words come true.
Verse 24 Jesus did not want people to be confused when they heard about John’s doubts. The crowds did not go to see a very ordinary man. Nor did they go to see a weak man. He was not like grass that the wind blew one way and then another way. John did not keep changing what he believed so that he agreed with other people. He had a strong character and firm beliefs.
Verse 25 They did not go to see a rich man who was living a comfortable life. John had worn rough clothes. He had lived a strict life with very simple food (Mark 1:6).
Verse 27 The *prophet Malachi had written about John (Malachi 3:1).
Verse 28 God gave John more honour than any other person. John announced that the *Messiah had come. However, when Jesus appeared in public, John was humble enough to end his own work. He said, ‘Jesus must become more important, but I must become less important’ (John 3:30).
Verse 28 Jesus was not speaking about John’s character. He did not compare it with that of one of his own *followers. John was the link between the time of the *Old Testament and the time of the *New Testament. He belonged to the time of preparation for the *kingdom. Now Jesus had come, people could actually enter God’s *kingdom.
Verse 32 Jesus compared the people of his time with children playing a game of weddings and funerals. One group was arguing with another group. One group said that the other group would not play a game of weddings. So neither would they pretend to play a game of funerals.
Verses 33-34 In the same way, people did not want to accept either John or Jesus. John the *Baptist led a very strict life. People said that he was crazy. Jesus enjoyed normal social occasions. People said that he was too fond of food and drink. Moreover, he mixed with the wrong kind of people. The people of Jesus' time were not satisfied with anybody!
Verse 35 Both John the *Baptist and Jesus were doing what was right for them at that time. Wise people knew that.
Verse 36 It is not clear why Simon invited Jesus. Everybody was talking about Jesus. Simon may have been curious and wanted to see Jesus. He may have been eager to show people that he had entertained a famous teacher. He did not do the usual polite acts when he welcomed Jesus as a guest.
Verse 37 People often used to come in to watch what was happening.
It is probable that the woman had sex with men to earn money. She may have met Jesus before. She may have heard his message that God forgives.
Verse 38 The guests leaned on their side at a low table. Their feet were behind them, away from the table. The woman had come to show how grateful she was to Jesus. Her tears were tears of joy. People did not respect *Jewish women who showed their long hair in public. She did not care about what people might think.
Verse 40 Simon had not welcomed Jesus in the usual polite way. But Jesus made a polite request when he spoke to Simon.
Verse 43 Simon said ‘I suppose’. He probably suspected that the story involved himself.
Verses 44-46 Hosts would usually provide water for their guests. They could wash the dust of the road from their feet. It was the custom to give a guest a kiss on the cheek to welcome him. A man used to put oil on his face and head. This would make him feel soft and cool after the hot sun.
Simon had left out all these usual ways to welcome a guest. The woman’s lovely behaviour was very different from the way that Simon welcomed Jesus.
Verse 47 The woman’s great love showed that she was grateful that her many *sins were gone. Simon did not even realise that he needed God to forgive his ‘few’ *sins. Simon’s attitude to Jesus showed this.
Verse 48 Jesus wanted to make the woman completely certain that God had *forgiven her. Simon’s attitude may have made her feel that she had done the wrong thing. Jesus also wanted Simon and the other guests to know that she was no longer a ‘*sinner’.
Verse 49 Jesus had shown that he was more than a ‘*prophet’. He could forgive *sins. Only God has that right.
Verse 50 Jesus did not care about what the other people said. He sent the woman away ‘in peace’. She could be confident that Jesus had rescued her from the wrong way that she used to behave. Her *faith in Jesus had *saved her. She loved him because she knew that he had removed all her *sins.
Verse 2 Mary was from the town of Magdala on the west side of the lake of Galilee. Some writers say that she had behaved in a very bad way. However, the ‘seven *demons’ may describe a terrible mental illness that had caused her to suffer greatly.
Verse 3 Chuza was an important official. He looked after the financial affairs of Herod Antipas, who was the ruler of Galilee. His wife Joanna may have given information to Luke. These women paid for food and other things that they needed. People thought it was a good act to provide for a teacher and his *disciples.
Verse 5 A farmer sowed his seed by hand. He threw the seed across his field and he would plough it in afterwards. The path through the field would be hard because people had walked on it. The birds could eat this seed, as it lay on top of the ground.
Verse 6 The stony ground had a thin amount of earth over the rocks and stone. Such a small quantity of soil would not contain water because the hot sun would dry up any water there. The plant would not be able to grow deep roots. It would soon die, because it had no water.
Verse 7 Weeds grew up at the same time as the grain seeds. The weeds had many leaves so the light could not reach the young grain plants. The grain could not grow because the weeds filled up all the space.
Verses 9-10 Jesus contrasted his *apostles with other people. The truths of the *kingdom are secrets. People cannot discover for themselves what they mean. God tells that Jesus is King, only to those people who are willing to believe him. Other people who heard the *parable would not understand what it meant. Some people had refused to believe in Jesus. The result was that they were unable to see and accept the truth. *Parables show truth to people who are sincere and try to obey God. *Parables hide God’s truth from people who hear the stories, but do not desire to obey God.
Verse 13 Troubles may be family problems, illness, *temptations to do wrong, or insults. The *faith of these people is not very deep and it soon dies, like plants in the hot sun.
Verse 14 Some people have many responsibilities in life. People desire wealth. They want to satisfy themselves in this life. All these things slowly push out the life of *faith. Some of these things may not be wrong in themselves. But they take a lot of time and people think about them. They do not have room for God.
This *parable invites people to think about their own ‘soil’. That is, the way in which they hear God’s word. The *parable will also encourage the *apostles when they give Jesus’ message. The people who listen will be like the people in the *parable. Some people will not be interested. The *faith of other people will not last. But there will be many other people who understand the message. They will receive it. These people will act on what they hear. Their lives will produce a harvest for God.
Verse 16 The people who follow Jesus must show that they have *faith. Then they can give ‘light’ to other people. The ‘light’ means that they know God’s love.
Verse 17 One day, every secret will be open. People may try to hide their actions, words and ideas, but they will not succeed. God will show everything on judgement day.
Verse 18 Jesus told this *parable to warn people. They must listen to God’s word with great care.
‘Whoever has something, will receive more’. If we use our knowledge of God, he will give us more and more of this knowledge. Those who do not obey God’s word will lose what little knowledge they have.
This incident emphasises that people should ‘hear and do’. It is in a suitable place, after the *parable of the man who sows grain.
Verse 19 Jesus had four brothers and several sisters (Mark 6:3). The tradition in the *Roman Catholic (world-wide) Church is that they were children of Joseph from a previous marriage, or they were cousins of Jesus. Other Christians believe that these brothers and sisters were children of Joseph and Mary. Luke describes Jesus as Mary’s first son (Luke 2:7). These words suggest that Mary and Joseph had other children from their normal marriage relationship.
His mother and brothers may have come to rescue Jesus and to take him home. They were worried. They had heard news of the crowds and of people opposing Jesus. They may even have wondered if he had become mad (Mark 3:21). Luke does not mention Joseph, so he may have died by this time.
Verse 21 Jesus never said that natural family relationships were not important. He cared for his mother, even when he was on the cross (John 19:27). He blamed the *Pharisees who wanted to try to avoid caring for their parents (Mark 7:9-13). But here Jesus was emphasising the importance of the Christian family and of his own work. The people who obey his message are part of his *spiritual family.
Verse 23 Jesus’ work made him very tired. The crowds always needed him to help them. He was so tired that he fell asleep. He was not even aware of the storm until the *disciples woke him. Jesus was a real human and he needed to sleep.
Verse 24 The lake is below sea level and there are hills all round it. Because of the shape of these hills, the wind can cause sudden fierce storms on the lake. The lake can then become very dangerous. The men in the boat were used to this. But this time they were afraid that they would die.
Verse 25 Psalm 89:8-9 says that God made a stormy sea calm. If the *apostles knew this Psalm, it would answer their question. Jesus was showing his authority over nature in the same way as God who created the world.
Writers often use this event to show that Jesus can bring calm to the ‘storms’ of life. For example, these may be sudden tests or problems. We should remember that Jesus is always with us. This will keep us calm.
Verse 26 The town of Gerasa was south of the Sea of Galilee, and east of the river Jordan. People who lived there spoke in the *Greek language. So Jesus was among *Gentiles.
Verse 27 People believed that *tombs were the place where evil *demons lived. Mark tells us that the man would hurt himself with sharp stones (Mark 5:5).
Verse 28 The *demons were afraid that Jesus was about to send them to the place of punishment.
Verse 30 Jesus’ question, ‘What is your name?’ made the man calm. The man’s answer, ‘Legion’, meant that many *demons had gone into him. A legion was a section of the *Roman army of about 6000 soldiers. It is possible that *Roman soldiers had frightened the man in the past. This may have badly disturbed his mind.
Verse 31 On the day of judgement, God will send evil *demons to the place of punishment. They knew that Jesus would be their judge. They did not want their punishment already.
Verses 32-33 *Jews would not keep pigs, as they were ‘*unclean’ animals. They were a suitable home for ‘*unclean’ *demons. There were 2000 pigs (Mark 5:13). The owners accused Jesus and said that he robbed them of their income. But the healthy mind of a human being is more important than money. The death of the pigs would convince the man that he was completely well.
Verse 35 The man was sitting next to Jesus’ feet, and was eager to learn from Jesus.
Verse 37 The people did not consider that the man’s dangerous behaviour had gone. Or that he was not now a public nuisance. The people saw that Jesus had great power. They did not want Jesus to upset their lives.
Verse 39 Jesus told this man to tell people that he was well now. Jesus did not usually do this. But he was in was *Gentile territory. The people there had asked Jesus to go away. But the man would be able to tell them what God was doing through Jesus. The man’s *faith would become stronger as he told other people what had happened to him.
Verse 41 Jairus was responsible for arranging everything that happened in the *synagogue. He would have been an important person. He would know that Jesus had *healed people in Capernaum. He was also aware that many *Jewish leaders opposed Jesus. Therefore, he had courage when he approached Jesus in public. He was humble, too, because he bent down at Jesus’ feet. He had the *faith to ask Jesus to come to his house.
Verse 43 Because of her illness, the woman was ‘*unclean’ (Leviticus 15:19-30). People would have avoided her. She could not take part in the *worship in the *synagogue. Mark 5:26 says that she had suffered much from many doctors. She had spent all her money to pay them. Instead of getting better, she had grown worse. (Luke, who was himself a doctor, left out these details!)
Verse 44 The edge of Jesus’ outer clothing had four *tassels. *Jews had these to remind them to keep God’s laws (Numbers 15:38-40).
Verse 46 Jesus lost some energy when the woman became well. He knew that she had touched him in a different way. He insisted that he wanted to know who had touched him. This was for the benefit of the person whom his power had *healed. If the woman said nothing then went away, she might feel guilty. She had taken a risk. She made Jesus ‘*unclean’ by her secret touch. She might not believe that her illness had ended completely. People might not believe her. She would then not find a welcome back into society.
Verse 48 Jesus used a kind word when he called her ‘daughter’. He declared that her *faith had made her well. He did not want her to think that he had some form of magic in the edge of his clothing.
Verse 51 This is the first time that Jesus gives Peter, James and John a special place in his work. He sent away all those who would worry or frighten the girl.
Verse 52 Jesus speaks of death as ‘sleep’ (John 11:11-13). This is how the *New Testament describes the death of Christians (1 Corinthians 15:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). This is true even if the person dies in a painful way (Acts 7:60).
Verse 54 Jesus called the girl as her mother might have done to wake her in the morning.
Verse 55 Jesus gave a practical order. The girl needed something to eat. Food would help to make her strong after her illness. Her parents needed something to do to bring life back to normal.
Verse 56 His order not to tell anyone meant that they must give all their attention to their daughter. This would also protect her from too much attention and from crowds gathering round the house.
Verses 1-2 The people who opposed Jesus were making it more difficult for him. He was aware that his time in Galilee would end soon. The 12 *apostles would make his message known more widely.
Verse 3 They were to carry nothing that would delay them. These instructions would also test them. They had to trust that God would provide everything. Jesus was preparing them for their future work.
Verse 4 They should stay in the same house where they were guests. They must not move somewhere else because they prefer the place.
Verse 5 The *apostles must not waste time on *Jews who do not give them a welcome. They must shake the dust of that place from their feet. This showed that they were not responsible for the people of that town any more. Their opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus was over. Those *Jews were no better than *Gentiles. (*Jews always shook the dust off their feet when they returned from *Gentile territory.) The action warned them that they must expect God to punish them. As they were *Jews, they should have given a welcome to God’s promise and his *messengers.
Verses 7- 9 Herod Antipas remembered that he had ordered John the *Baptist’s death at the request of Herodias (Mark 6:14-28). Herod had a guilty conscience about this, and popular opinion about Jesus confused him. He wondered who Jesus was. Later he did get an opportunity to see Jesus. That was when Pilate sent Jesus to Herod (Luke 23:6-12).
Verse 10 Bethsaida was on the north east shore of Lake Galilee. It was outside Herod’s territory. Jesus took the 12 *apostles there so that he could be alone with them. He wanted to hear more about their work, and he wanted to rest with them.
Verses 10-17 A *miracle happened. Everyone had plenty to eat and there were even 12 baskets of food left over.
At that time, there was a popular idea about the period of the *Messiah. The people thought that it would include a splendid dinner (Revelation 19:7). The *Jews believed that the *Messiah would feed them with special food from heaven. God fed the *Israelites in the desert in this way (Exodus 16). John 6:15 says that the *miracle of the bread and fish made the crowd believe that Jesus was the *Messiah. So, they tried to make him king.
Christians see the *miracle as the evidence that Christ feeds their *spiritual life. Nobody who comes to him goes away empty. The *miracle also reminds us of the *Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) in which Christians receive *spiritual food.
Verse 11 Although he wished to be alone with the 12 *apostles, Jesus still welcomed the people.
Verse 13 Philip calculated that they would need more than 200 days’ wages to give each person only a little food (John 6:7).
Verse 14 Jesus ordered the people to sit down in groups. This made it easy for the *apostles to give out the food.
Verses 16-17 The *Jews always thanked God for their food at the beginning of a meal.
This event was so important that it appears in all four *Gospels.
Verse 18 Matthew 16:13 says that this incident happened near Caesarea Philippi.
Verse 19 God promised that Elijah would return before the *Messiah (Malachi 4:5).
Verse 21 If the *apostles had spread the news that Jesus was the *Messiah, people would have misunderstood. They thought that the *Messiah would be a political leader. They expected him to free their country from the rule of *Romans. Peter and the other *apostles also needed to learn what kind of *Messiah he was.
Verse 22 In Daniel 7:13-14, ‘*Son of Man’ is a title of honour and power. Jesus used this title for himself here. He said that he ‘must’ suffer. He meant that all that happened to him was part of God’s plan for him.
It was the *Jewish leaders of the nation who would refuse to accept the declarations of Jesus. Jesus died and rose from death. This was in God’s plan for him.
Verse 23 To ‘take up his cross’ meant that someone was going to his death. When the *Romans were going to kill a man by *crucifixion he had to carry the central bar of his cross. The people who were listening to Jesus would have often seen this. The people who want to follow Christ must put to death their own selfish desires. They must be loyal to him, whatever the cost. The Christian life is a life of continuous discipline.
Verse 24 A man who tries to gain everything for himself in this life will lose his *eternal wealth. Some people refuse to satisfy their own desires because Christ is most important in their life. They will have life with him.
Verse 25 ‘The whole world’ means possessions, things that people enjoy and power. All these things have no value if someone gains them but ruins his *soul.
Verse 26 Jesus was speaking of his future *kingdom when he will come in *glory. On that day, he will not accept the people who were not loyal to him and his message on earth. They are not his *disciples
Verse 27 Some of those present would live until they saw the *kingdom of God. They would see Christ’s *resurrection, *ascension, and see the Holy Spirit come at *Pentecost. They would see how the good news of Jesus spread in the world. And they would see thousands of people accept Jesus as king.
These two verses (26 and 27) describe both the future *kingdom and the *kingdom that is present and growing on earth.
Verse 28 Luke does not name the mountain. It was probably *Mount Hermon, near Caesarea Philippi. This was where Peter had said that Jesus was the *Messiah. However, it could be *Mount Tabor if Jesus had returned to Galilee during the week.
Verse 29 Matthew 17:2 says that Jesus’ face shone like the sun. Peter, James & John were able to see for a short time what Jesus will be like in his *glory.
Verse 30 Moses, through whom God gave the law, and Elijah, the great *prophet, were both there. This showed that Jesus was more important. He explained what the Law meant, and he made the message of the *prophets come true. Seeing Moses and Elijah would make Peter, James and John stronger in their belief that God’s servants would live again after they had died.
Verse 31 The *Greek word that Luke used for Jesus’ death is ‘exodus’. By his death on the cross, Jesus would rescue men from *sin. Moses had rescued the *Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt. That event was ‘the Exodus’. Jesus’ death in Jerusalem would complete the purpose for which God sent him.
Verse 33 Peter said that it was good for the three *apostles to be there. He offered to make three temporary shelters, which meant that he did not understand the situation.
Verse 34 The cloud showed that God was there (Exodus 24:15-16).
Verse 35 The words are similar to those that God spoke at Jesus’ *baptism (Luke 3:22). They show that his decision to go to Jerusalem was right. The event would help the *apostles’ believe more deeply that Jesus was the *Messiah. It would also help them to accept that he must suffer.
Verse 36 Many years later, Peter wrote of this experience in his second letter (2 Peter 1:16-18).
Verse 37 The crowd probably included the other 9 *apostles. Mark says that some of the *Jewish *scribes were arguing with the *apostles (Mark 9:14). There was great confusion.
Verse 38 Luke notes that the boy was an ‘only son’. So it was with the widow of Nain (Luke 7:12). Jairus’ daughter, too, was his only child (Luke 8:42).
Verse 39 Luke was a doctor, but he still said that a wicked *demon had caused this illness.
Verse 40 The *apostles had received authority and power over *demons when Jesus sent them out (Luke 9:1). But they failed here. Mark 9:28-29 says that they asked Jesus why they had failed. He told them that a difficult situation like this needed prayer.
Verse 41 When Jesus complained about lack of *faith, he included the crowd as well as the *apostles.
Verse 42 Jesus again *healed someone with a *demon by an order, as he did at Capernaum (Luke 4:31-37). He gave the boy back to his father, as he had given the widow’s son back to her (Luke 7:15).
Verse 44 Jesus had spoken before this about what would happen to him (see 9:22). This was the second time.
Verse 45 Jesus’ words had confused the *apostles. They still had the wrong ideas about the *Messiah. It must have been very difficult for them to think that their *Messiah would die.
Verse 46 The other *apostles may have been jealous of Peter, James and John. Jesus had taken only those 3 *apostles with him when he went up the mountain on that special occasion (9:28-36).
Verse 48 To welcome a little child is an example of service to someone who has no important position. Jesus meant that anyone who was willing to serve him in any humble way is ‘great’. He did not use the word ‘greatest’, which means ‘the most important’. The people who serve Jesus must not compare themselves with one another.
Verse 49 Perhaps the *apostles were jealous of the man’s success. They themselves had just failed to cure the boy who had a *demon.
Verse 50 Jesus’ answer showed that people are on either one side or the other in the war against evil. They are either friends or enemies of Jesus. The man who was sending out *demons was not a member of their particular group. But he was a friend of Jesus. The people who are loyal to Jesus try to please him. Therefore, they must show love towards other people.
Luke ends his record of Jesus’ work in Galilee as he brings together 4 incidents (9:37-50):
They are examples of the *apostles’ lack of trust (verses 40-41), their lack of sympathy (verse 45), their *pride (verse 46), and their failure to accept other people (verse 49). They still had much to learn.
This long section of Luke’s *Gospel (9:51-19:28) tells what Jesus taught those who followed him. Luke places this section in the story of Jesus as he slowly travels towards Jerusalem. Luke often reminds his readers what will happen to Jesus in Jerusalem.
Verse 51 ‘time to go to heaven’ refers to Jesus’ *crucifixion, *resurrection and *ascension.
Verse 52 Jesus chose the direct route from Galilee to Jerusalem. It went through *Samaria. Many *Jews avoided this route. *Jews and *Samaritans had hated each other for a long time. The *Samaritans prayed to the same God as the *Jews. But they had married people who were not *Jews. They used only the first five books of the *Old Testament. They had built their own *Temple on *Mount Gerizim. A *Jew would use the word ‘*Samaritan’ as an insult (John 8:48).
Verse 53 Jesus was going to Jerusalem, where the *Jewish *Temple was. So the *Samaritans would not welcome him.
Verse 54 James and John both had a strong temper. They wanted to destroy the village. They remembered how the *prophet Elijah had asked God to send fire down from heaven (2 Kings 1:9-12). They knew that Jesus had the power to do this.
Verse 55 Jesus had not come to destroy people’s lives. He had come to rescue them from evil.
Verses 57-58 The man was eager to follow Jesus. But he had not thought about the kind of life that a *disciple would lead. It would not be easy. There would be no security.
Verse 59 It is probable that the man wanted to wait rather than to follow Jesus at once. He was not asking to go to his father’s funeral, as if his father had just died. He wanted to stay at home until his father died.
Verse 60 Jesus said that, when he called someone to follow him, they should not delay. The people without *spiritual life could bury those who had died. The work of Jesus’ *kingdom was urgent.
Verse 62 When a farmer ploughs, he must look straight ahead. Then the plough will go in a straight line. Jesus meant that someone who looks back to his former life was not ready to be a *disciple. It would be like a man who ploughs, but does not concentrate on his work.
Jesus was honest about what it would cost to become a *disciple. He did not try to hide the difficulties. A person must make an immediate decision and be completely loyal. Jesus’ work was urgent. People should spread the good news about Jesus. This is more important than other good work or responsibilities. This might even include care for one’s family, if God called. (But see Matthew 15:3-6; Mark 7:9-13.)
Verse 1 Luke realised that the number ‘72’ had an important meaning for the Christian church in the future. He would know that the *Greek translation of Genesis chapter 10 lists all the 72 nations in the days of Noah. The 72 *disciples would help Jesus in his present work among *Jews. The time would come when all nations would receive the good news about Jesus (Matthew 28:19). That included both *Jews and *Gentiles.
Jesus sent the 72 *disciples in pairs for two reasons. Two *disciples would help and encourage each other. But also, two witnesses together proved that the good news that they brought about Jesus was true (Deuteronomy 19:15).
Verse 2 There were many *Jews who were ready to hear the good news. They were waiting to come into the *kingdom. They were like a crop waiting for workers to harvest it.
There were few *disciples. They must pray to God and ask him to send more workers. They would bring people into God’s *kingdom.
Verse 3 Their task was dangerous, because they would find enemies. They would be like weak animals going among fierce ones.
Verse 4 They were to go with only what they had at that time. They had to trust God to provide for them. Nothing must delay their urgent work. Jesus ordered them not to greet anyone. This sounds as if they were not to be polite. But at that time, *Jewish greetings took a long time!
Verse 6 ‘Peace be with you’ was the usual *Jewish greeting. It meant, ‘May everything go well with you’. The *disciples must not leave a *blessing with someone who did not want to receive them.
Verse 7 The *disciples deserved to be guests because they were working to give the people good news. But they should not go to many different houses to find a better place to stay.
Verse 8 They were to eat whatever food people gave them. They should not worry whether the food obeyed the strict rules about what was ‘clean’ or ‘*unclean’ (1 Corinthians 10:27).
Verses 10-11 To wipe the dust from their feet in public showed that the *disciples had carried out their responsibility. The people of the town could blame only themselves for their fate. They had had the opportunity to become members of God’s *kingdom.
Verse 12 The people of Sodom were so wicked that God destroyed their city (Genesis 13:13; 19:24-25.) The people who refused to accept the good news of Jesus were even more guilty than the people of Sodom. They must expect a more severe punishment.
Verses 13-14 Tyre and Sidon were two important commercial ports. God had judged them for their selfish *pride and cruel acts (Ezekiel chapters 27-28).
Jesus said that they would have changed their behaviour long ago, if they had seen his powerful works.
‘*Sackcloth’ and ‘ashes’ were the usual ways that people showed that they were sorry for *sin. The cities in Galilee had seen Jesus’ *miracles, but they continued to refuse what he taught. Therefore, God’s judgement on them would be severe. The name ‘Chorazin’ does not appear in the record of Jesus’ work in Galilee, but is in Matthew 11:21.
Verse 15 The people of Capernaum were very proud. They said that their city ‘reached up to heaven’. Isaiah 14:13 uses the same words about the proud king of Babylon. Capernaum expected fame. Instead, it would go down to Hades, which was the world of dead people. Jesus had performed many *miracles in Capernaum. But the people had disappointed him. They did not accept what he taught. Jesus’ words about their fate came true, because Capernaum is a ruined city.
Verse 16 The *disciples had Jesus’ authority when they worked. Many people believed what the *disciples taught. This showed that those people also believed that God had sent Jesus. Anyone who refused to accept Jesus was therefore refusing to accept God’s message.
Verse 18 *Satan is the Enemy of God. He is the chief of all *demons. The 72 *disciples were successful when they threw out *demons. This was a sudden defeat for *Satan’s forces of evil. It was as sudden as a flash of lightning. The rule of Jesus the *Messiah had begun. His authority was destroying the power of *Satan.
Another explanation (Isaiah 14:12) is that, before Jesus came to earth, he had seen *Satan’s sudden fall from heaven.
Verse 19 Jesus reminded his *disciples that their authority came from him. It was authority over all the forces of evil. To ‘walk on’ means to have power over. Snakes and *scorpions both produce poison that can kill. (*Satan has the name of ‘snake’ in 2 Corinthians 11:3 and Revelation 12:9.) The *disciples would be able to stop *Satan. He would not be able to ‘poison’ people’s minds, so that they would not believe in Jesus. They would save people from *spiritual death. Nothing would hurt the *disciples.
Verse 20 The *disciples should remember that *Satan fell because he was proud. It was a warning to them so that they did not become proud in their success. The real cause for joy was that they already had *eternal life. The idea of God’s ‘book of life’ is in Philippians 4:3 and Revelation 3:5.
Verse 21 Jesus thanked God for what the 72 *disciples had been able to do. He may also have thought about all those who had accepted what he had taught. He spoke to God first as ‘Father’. This showed God’s loving relationship with Jesus. He also called God ‘*Lord of heaven and earth’. These words emphasise that God has power over all that he has created. God had not shown his truth to people who thought that they were wise and clever. He had shown his truth to simple people. These people did not have great education but they trusted him. God was pleased that this should happen. Paul later wrote that God chose to act like this (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). It was to prevent people from becoming proud.
Verse 22 These words show the close relationship between Jesus and God. God has given Jesus complete authority. Jesus knows God’s purpose. People will come to know God only through Jesus.
Verse 24 Jesus told the *disciples that they have had a very special *blessing. They have seen the *Messiah and heard his words. Many *prophets and kings of *Israel had been expecting Jesus. But he did not come in their days. Now Jesus had made all the hopes of the *Jewish nation come true.
Verse 25 ‘To test Jesus’ may mean that he wanted to discuss what the Law meant. However, the words can mean ‘to trap’ Jesus. That suggests that he was not sincere when he asked for Jesus’ opinion. Perhaps he wanted to make Jesus look foolish.
Verse 27 The teacher had used words in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 when he answered. People should put God first in their life. They should love him with the whole of their life. The *Jews believed that the word ‘neighbour’ referred only people who were *Jews.
Verse 29 He had given the answer to his own question. So, the expert in the law tried to make it appear that he was right to ask. So he asked Jesus what ‘neighbour’ meant. He wanted to show that he was innocent.
Verse 30 The road that goes from Jerusalem to Jericho descends through the desert below sea level. The road was dangerous. Thieves often hid in the caves in the cliffs near the road.
Verse 31 The priest was probably going home to Jericho from his duties in the *Temple in Jerusalem. He saw the man, but continued his journey. The man might be dead. Then the priest would become ‘*unclean’ if he touched the body.
Verse 32 *Levites helped in the services in the *Temple. We do not know which way this *Levite was walking. If he were going to the *Temple, he could have been thinking of his duties there. He thought that he did not have enough time to help the man. He did not want to make himself ‘*unclean’. He also might have been afraid that the thieves still might be near.
Verse 33 The *Samaritan belonged to the nation whom the *Jews hated (see the note on 9:52).
Verse 34 Oil would make his injuries less painful. Wine would clean them. People often used oil and wine for this purpose.
Verse 35 The money that he paid was two days’ wages. The *Samaritan even offered to pay more if the *inn owner needed it. This was a risk. The owner might cheat him.
Verse 36 Jesus asked, ‘Who acted like a neighbour?’
Verse 37 The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who was kind to him’. As a *Jew, he probably did not want to admit that it was the *Samaritan. However, he gave a true answer. The man who helped was a ‘neighbour’. Jesus told the expert in the law that he must do the same. He must be a neighbour to anyone who needed help. To act as a neighbour was different from trying to identify a neighbour. The *Samaritan helped a man. He did not think of the differences in their nations or religions. Anyone in trouble requires another person to help and love him or her.
Verse 38 Martha and Mary lived in Bethany, about two miles (3 kilometres) from Jerusalem (John 11:1, 18).
Verse 39 Mary was sitting at the *Lord’s feet, as a *disciple. She wanted to learn from him.
Verse 40 Martha was rushing about and trying to prepare food. If some *disciples were there as well, she would have much work to do.
Verse 42 ‘Only one thing’ could mean that Martha was trying to prepare too many dishes of food. One would have been enough. Jesus also meant that to listen to him was more important than food.
This incident, which only Luke records, adds the other truth to the *parable of the Good *Samaritan. They are both examples of the Law in Deuteronomy and Leviticus (Luke 10:27). The Good *Samaritan story shows that a person needs to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’. Mary’s choice shows that to love God comes first.
Jesus gave the *disciples a prayer to use. There is a longer record of it in Matthew 6:9-13. Matthew writes that Jesus said, ‘Pray like this’. Therefore, it is a model for other prayers as well.
The first three parts put God first. The next three parts speak of what people need. These prayers ask God to do three things:
· to provide what we need for the present time,
· to forgive us for what we have done wrong in the past,
· to guide us in the future.
Verse 1 Jesus wanted the *disciples to talk to God as ‘Father’. Christians are members of God’s family. The word ‘Father’ reminds them that they have a relationship with him. They love and trust him.
Verse 2 ‘May we respect your name and keep it holy’. We should not use the name ‘God’ in a negative way. But Jesus meant more than this. In *Hebrew, the ‘name’ of someone means his or her whole character. *Disciples should give honour to God. Then they should help other people to understand God’s character. They should not do or say anything that would give people a wrong impression of God.
‘May your *kingdom come’. This prayer asks that more and more people will accept Jesus as their king. When God’s *kingdom is complete, *Satan’s power will end. *Disciples help God’s *kingdom to grow.
Verse 3 People depend on God for food. Jesus wants his *disciples to pray for their food each day. They should remember how God gave the *Israelites their food (‘manna’) each day in the desert (Exodus 16). They should not worry about the future. The word ‘us’ reminds people that they are part of a great family. Their demands must not be selfish. *Spiritual food is important too. People need to learn more and more about God and his purpose Then their *spiritual life will be healthy.
Verse 4 *Sin separates every person from God, who is holy. Therefore, we need God to forgive us. A person should forgive other people. If they do not, then God will not forgive them.
*Satan tries to lead people to do wrong things. God does not try to make anyone do anything wrong. God’s *disciples ask him to help them to avoid difficult situations. Some situations might be too hard a test for their *faith.
Verse 5 The visitor arrived at midnight. He had travelled later in the day when it was cooler. He avoided the heat at midday. This was a common practice. Three small loaves would be enough food for this guest.
Verse 7 The man in the house and his family would be sleeping together on mats on a platform. The animals would be on the floor near the door. He would wake them all, if he got up.
Verse 8 The man got up at last. He did not want the man at the door to continue to bother him. God is different. He is always ready and willing to listen to his children’s prayers. He will answer them when they make their requests. The *parable encourages *disciples to continue to pray and not to give up.
Verses 11-12 A *fisherman sometimes found a water snake in his net. When a *scorpion rolled itself up, it was like the shape of an egg.
Verse 13 Human fathers can do wrong. But they would not give their children anything that would hurt them. God, the Father in heaven, has no *sin. He has knows perfectly what is best for his children. He has perfect power to supply it. Therefore, he can be far more generous than a human father can. Luke says that God will give the Holy Spirit. He is the best gift, from whom everything good comes.
Verse 15 Matthew 12:24 tells us that the people who said this were *Pharisees. Beelzebul was a foreign god. The *Jews identified Beelzebul with *Satan, the chief of the *demons.
Verse 17 Jesus proved that they were speaking nonsense. It was stupid to think that *Satan would destroy his own *kingdom.
Verse 19 He asked about other people who forced out *demons. If Jesus was using *Satan’s power, were they working with *Satan as well?
Verse 20 ‘The finger of God’ means God’s power. This phrase is in Exodus 8:19. Jesus was showing God’s power as he made people well in their body and their mind. That meant that God’s *kingdom had arrived in Jesus.
Verse 21 Jesus speaks of *Satan as a strong man. He controlled people, until Jesus came to overcome him. Jesus had begun to defeat *Satan, as he forced out *Satan’s *demons.
Verse 23 People cannot refuse to take sides in the war against evil. Anyone who is not on Jesus’ side is against him. Such a person is like a bad *shepherd. He scatters sheep instead of bringing them together.
Verse 24 People thought that evil (or *unclean) spirits lived in the desert. Very few people live in deserts. So, the evil spirit could not find anyone.
Verses 25-26 Suppose that somebody clears a garden of weeds. That garden will become even more full of weeds, unless flowers replace the weeds. It is not enough to drive away evil thoughts and habits. Many people give up their *sins, but do not ask God into their lives to guide them. Good thoughts and habits must replace wrong ones. Evil will return unless people protect themselves. The ‘house’ is a person’s life. He or she must have God inside their life. When the Holy Spirit lives inside a person, evil cannot get in.
Verse 27 The woman’s remark may have been in a moment of emotion. But what she said about the mother of Jesus was true. Elizabeth had *blessed Mary (Luke 1:42). Mary herself said that people would call her one whom God had *blessed. When the woman praised Jesus’ mother she was also praising Jesus.
Verse 28 Jesus showed that it was not enough to praise him in this way. When people obey God’s message it brings real happiness.
Verse 29 Some people had asked for evidence, so that Jesus could prove where his authority came from.
Verse 30 Jonah was a *prophet who gave God’s message to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. He warned the people that they must change their behaviour. If they did not, then God would destroy their city (Jonah 3:4). Jonah spent three days in a great fish (Jonah 1:17). This was the evidence of Jesus’ *resurrection after three days (Matthew 12:38-40).
Verse 31 ‘The queen of the south’ was the queen of Sheba. She came from the Yemen in south Arabia. She made a long and difficult journey to listen to the wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10). Jesus was actually present there among the *Jews. She had only heard reports about Solomon. Jesus himself had invited the *Jews to follow him. The *kingdom which had come was more important than the wisdom of Solomon. On judgement day, the queen of Sheba will show that the *Jews were guilty. They did not believe in Jesus.
Verse 32 The people of Nineveh will also declare that the *Jews are guilty. They had changed their behaviour, when Jonah gave them God’s warning (Jonah 3). But the *Jews of Jesus’ time refused to believe Jesus’ message. The news about God’s *kingdom that Jesus brought was more important than Jonah’s message.
Verse 33 The *Jews had ‘hidden’ what they knew of God’s truth. They had failed to give the ‘light’ of truth to other people.
Verse 34 With a healthy eye, people can see what they are doing. If the eye has a disease, then the body is ‘full of darkness’. That person will be unable to do anything in the right way. The *Jews demanded evidence. Their *spiritual sight was not healthy. They were in darkness because they refused to accept Jesus.
Verse 35 Jesus warned each person who was listening. People must be careful not to lose what they know about God, that is, their ‘light’. Then they would be in the complete darkness of evil. The people who allow God’s truth to give them *spiritual sight will be able to show the truth to other people. They will be like a lamp that shines in the darkness.
Verse 38 The *Pharisee was surprised because Jesus did not wash his hands. This was not to remove dirt. It was a ceremony. It showed that a person was pure after he had been in the world outside. They had to pour the right amount of water over their hands and arms in a special way. Jesus might have touched a *Gentile or one of his possessions. This would have made Jesus ‘*unclean’.
Verse 39 Jesus said that it was foolish to wash the outside of cups and dishes and leave the inside dirty. The *Pharisees were as foolish. They worried about their outside washing ceremonies, but inside they were greedy and wicked. God wanted their *souls to be clean as well as their pots.
Verse 41 They should be generous and help poor people. Then all that they did would please God.
Verse 42 The *Jewish law asked for a tenth of the harvest of oil, grain and *wine (Deuteronomy 14:22). This tenth part was a ‘*tithe’. These *tithes paid the *Levites (Numbers 18:21). The *Pharisees were very careful to give a tenth of even small plants that flavoured food. The law did not ask for these. But the Pharisees failed in much more important matters. They were not fair to other people. They did not obey the *commandment to love God.
Verse 43 In the *synagogue there were seats for important people. These seats were in front of the cupboard that contained the holy books. The *Pharisees loved to sit in these seats, because everyone was able to see them. When they were walking in public, they liked people to show their respect for them as good, important *Jews.
Verse 44 The *Jews usually painted graves white so that people did not walk on them. If a person walked on a grave by accident they became ‘*unclean’ for a week. Such people could not join in any acts of *worship (Numbers 19:16).
The *Pharisees were like graves that people had not noticed. People were not aware of the bad effect that the *Pharisees had on them. The *Pharisees’ behaviour appeared to be holy. But people who listened to what they taught were becoming ‘*unclean’. That is, they were learning wrong ideas about God.
Verse 45 The experts in the law of Moses belonged to the same *religious party as the *Pharisees.
Verse 46 The experts in the law had hundreds of rules about how to keep God’s law. There were so many rules that ordinary people found it impossible to obey them. The rules were like great weights on people’s backs. The experts in the law, however, found clever ways to avoid their own rules. For example, they said that a person must walk only a short distance from home on the *Sabbath. But if someone tied something across the end of his street, he could call the end of the street his ‘home’. He could then walk the distance from there. They told other people what to do. But they did not even keep the rules that they themselves made up.
Verse 47 The experts in the law pretended to honour the *prophets of the past. They built their *tombs. This could mean that they built them again or made them more splendid.
Verse 48 The experts in the law of Moses and *Pharisees had the same attitude as their *ancestors. They would kill a living *prophet. Jesus meant that they would kill him.
Verses 50-51 The *Jews of Jesus’ time would be responsible for all the murders in *Jewish history. This was from the time of the first murder, when Cain killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8). The last was that of the *prophet Zechariah. The people killed him in the *Temple court, on the king’s orders (2 Chronicles 24:22). Genesis is the first book and Chronicles is the last book in the *Hebrew *Old Testament.
Verse 52 The lawyers had made the word of God very difficult for ordinary people to understand. They should have explained what the law meant. Then people would know what God wanted. Instead, they had made the law complicated. This prevented anyone from learning the truth. They did not obey God themselves. They also stopped other people who were trying to obey him.
Verses 53 -54 The *Pharisees were so angry that they wanted to get Jesus into serious trouble. They were like men who were waiting to catch a wild animal. They were hoping to make Jesus say something wrong. Then they could accuse him because he did not keep the law of Moses.
Verse 1 ‘*yeast’ or ‘*leaven’ is a substance that cooks use to make bread rise. Jesus used the word to describe the *hypocrisy of the *Pharisees. *Hypocrisy means ‘acting a part’. The *Pharisees pretended to be good, but they were hiding their true character. Their false behaviour could spread to other people, as *yeast spreads in flour. Therefore the *disciples must not believe what the *Pharisees taught. They must always be sincere in what they say and do.
Verse 2 *Hypocrisy is foolish. On the day of judgement God will show the hidden wicked thoughts of people like the *Pharisees.
Verse 3 There are two ways to say that the truth cannot remain hidden. People will hear in the daytime whatever anyone has said at night. People may whisper a secret in a private room in a house. But other people will shout it from the roofs.
Houses had flat roofs. As most houses were very close together, it was easy to shout from one roof to another.
Verse 4 When a person’s physical body dies no one can kill them again.
Verse 5 However, God has power after a person’s physical body dies. God judges everyone. He can punish them and send them into hell. The *Greek word for ‘hell’ is ‘Gehenna’. This refers to the valley of Hinnom, just outside Jerusalem. The people burned all their rubbish there. People thought that it was like the place of final punishment.
Verse 6 Jesus spoke of God’s power to punish. Then Jesus reminded the *disciples of God’s loving care. It cost only two pennies to buy five small birds.
People used to cook and eat them. They cost a penny for two, with an extra one free. But God does not forget any of these cheap and common little birds. He even remembers the free one.
Verse 7 *Disciples need not be afraid. They are worth much more than a great many little birds. God knows everything about those who follow Jesus. He even counts the hairs on their heads. That shows that he cares about everything and nothing is too small.
Verse 8 Our attitude to Jesus is very important. On judgement day he will declare to the *angels in heaven who his true *disciples are. They are those who are willing to say that they follow him. The people who deny Jesus on earth refuse to accept his claim on their lives. In heaven, Jesus will say that they do not belong to him.
Verse 10 God cannot forgive anyone who *sins against the Holy Spirit. Some people said that good things were evil. They were guilty of this *sin. They said that when Jesus *healed people, he was helping the devil. Such people refuse to recognise their own *sin. They continue to oppose God. Therefore, God will not forgive them. Their attitude has become so hard. They do not even realise that they need God to forgive them.
Verse 11 The *disciples would have trouble because of their *faith. But Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would help them. They might have to go to a *synagogue court. Maybe the chief *Jewish court, the *Sanhedrin, would judge them. Later, *Gentile rulers might oppose them too. They need not worry about what to say in court. John 14:16 calls the Holy Spirit the ‘Paraclete’. That word means ‘he who is at one’s side to help’. He will give the *disciples the right words to say.
Verse 13 It is possible that the man was the second son. He should have received less than his brother. This is what the law of Moses says (Deuteronomy 21:17). Perhaps he wanted an equal share. He may have felt that his brother was cheating him in some way.
Verse 14 Jesus said that he did not have the authority to judge. It was not his work. His work was to bring people to know God.
Verse 15 Jesus took the opportunity to give a serious warning about being greedy.
To be greedy is to have the desire for more and more things. It is like salt water. If a person drinks salt water, he feels that he still wants more to drink. Real life does not depend on how much a person owns in this world.
Verses 19-20 The man was a fool because he spoke of ‘many years’. He did not think about his death. Moreover, he could not know when he would die. Neither could all his possessions satisfy his *soul. He was also selfish. He used the words ‘I’ and ‘my’ 12 times. He thought only about using his wealth for himself. He did not think about helping other people. He planned to live a life of luxury. He believed that he was in control of the future. He did not realise that God gave him everything, including his life. He was stupid to depend on material things. He could not take those things with him when he died (1 Timothy 6:7).
Verse 22 Jesus had just spoken of the danger of riches. Then he spoke to his *disciples, who had few possessions. They must not worry about what their body needed, like food and clothes. There are more important things in life than these things. Jesus was not telling them to forget their responsibilities and not to think about the future. He was warning them not to worry.
Verse 24 Birds, such as ravens, do not farm or store food. Ravens were among the ‘*unclean’ birds in the *Old Testament list (Leviticus 11:15). But God takes care even of them. Christians are far more valuable than any birds.
Verse 25 Worry achieves nothing. A person who worries cannot make his life longer. Worry may even make life shorter.
Verse 26 If *disciples cannot do these things, they need not worry about the rest.
Verse 27-28 Wild flowers are more beautiful than rich King Solomon in his splendid clothes. Yet, flowers live for only a short time. People then burn them as fuel to heat their ovens. If God ‘clothes’ flowers that have such short lives, then he will certainly give clothes to his children.
Verse 29-30 People worry because they do not trust God. He is the Father who knows what his children need. The people who do not know God worry about things like food and drink.
Verse 31 They should give honour to God as they do what he wants. They should try to bring more people into his *kingdom. If they put his work first, then he will supply what they need each day.
Verse 32 Jesus spoke as a *shepherd. He compared his *disciples with a small number of sheep. Although they were few, their *shepherd cared for them. Jesus had just told them to put the work of God’s *kingdom first. Now he says that the *kingdom is a gift from God. God is happy to welcome them into his *kingdom. This is not in the future, at the end of time. It belongs to them now. They work to spread the good news of the *kingdom. God gives them the power that they need to do his work.
Verse 33 Jesus was not asking his *disciples to give everything away. That would make them a nuisance to society. He was urging them not to be like the selfish ‘rich fool’ in the story. Jesus wanted them to be generous with their goods. Their real wealth is *spiritual. This wealth lasts. It is like a purse that never wears out. It is completely safe. Thieves can steal valuable possessions on earth. Insects can destroy expensive clothes. A person concentrates all his time and effort on whatever he thinks is most valuable. Riches on earth will make him worry, but they do not last. Wealth in heaven means that he obeys God. Then he has joy and feels safe. A person’s life with God lasts even after death.
Verse 35 Jesus teaches about the time when he will return to earth. People must always be ready for Jesus to return at any time. He will come suddenly. Then there will be no time to get ready for him.
As servants got ready for work, they would pull up their long clothes over their belt. People need to care for lamps so that they continue to burn. The *disciples should prepare themselves too.
Verse 36 Jesus wants his people to be like servants who stay awake. They will then be ready when their master returns from a wedding party.
Verses 37-38 The servants do not know when the wedding party will end. They need to wait for their master all night. The servants, who keep awake and ready, even in the early hours of the morning, will receive a surprise. Their master will get ready to serve them himself. Jesus himself acted as a servant to his *disciples (John 13:4). God’s rewards are always more than a *disciple ever expects.
Verses 39-40 *Disciples must be like the owner of a house. He prevents a thief who tries to break into his house. They must always be ready for the *Son of Man to return to earth. Jesus will return when they are not expecting him.
Verse 41 Peter asked the question, because he was worried about Jesus’ warning. Jesus had said that he would return to earth. He seemed to suggest that some of his *disciples would not be ready.
Verse 42 *Disciples are the *Lord’s servants, to whom God has given great responsibility. They are like the servant who looks after his master’s house.
Verses 43-44 The *disciples should wait for the *Lord to return. While they wait, they should be active and work for him and for other people. When the *Lord returns, he will reward those people who have served him and been loyal.
Verse 45 Nobody has the right to be lazy. Nobody should live and just satisfy his own desires.
Verses 47-48 Some *disciples know more and have more opportunities. Therefore, they should be more responsible. As a *disciple learns and knows more, God expects him to become more responsible. God will be fair when he punishes people who do wrong. God has been more generous to us than we deserve. He will expect us to serve him much better.
Verse 49 Jesus had come to bring God’s judgement. It was like fire that destroys things that have no value. This judgement would take place at the cross, where God would judge people’s *sin. Jesus came to rescue people from *sin. He wished that his work had already begun.
Verse 50 He referred to his death as a ‘*baptism’. The word *baptism sometimes means suffering. (Look at Mark 10:39.) Jesus knew that he would suffer and die. He felt great strain as he thought about it. He wanted it to happen soon.
Verses 51-53 Jesus did bring peace. He made people at peace with God. However, his message also divided people. Some people accepted his message. Other people refused to obey him. This would even divide some families. Jesus used words like those in Micah 7:6. He said that in one family there would be three people on his side and two people against him. Or it would be the other way round. A father will decide one way, a son another way. Mother and daughter will not agree. In a family, people must be loyal to Jesus first. Their family must take the second place.
Verse 54 Jesus said that people could understand the weather. They saw the evidence that it would change. Sometimes the clouds came from the Mediterranean Sea. Then they knew that it would rain.
Verse 55 The south wind from the desert would bring extremely hot weather.
Verse 56 They were *hypocrites. They knew how to judge the evidence of future weather. But they refused to understand the ‘signs’ that Jesus was talking about. The *Greek word for ‘time’ here is ‘kairos’, which means ‘the right time’. People were not deciding to follow Jesus while they had the opportunity.
Verse 57 Jesus asked why people did not think for themselves. They should not let people like the *Pharisees guide them.
Verses 58-59 A man is in debt. He should pay the person who is taking him to the court. If he does not, he could go to prison. He will not get out until he has paid every single coin, even the very last small coin. Every man is in debt to God because he or she has failed to love and obey him. He should ask for God’s *mercy, before God judges him.
Two incidents and a *parable all teach that people need to turn to God. They must do this so that they avoid punishment.
Verse 1 Pilate was the *Roman who governed Judea. He was always afraid that *Jewish crowds would disturb the peace. ‘Galileans’ are people who came from the area near Lake Galilee.
Verse 2 The *Jews often thought that people suffered because they had *sinned (John 9:2). Jesus had just spoken about *judgement. The people may also have thought of what Jesus had said. Therefore, they were wondering if these Galileans were especially wicked. Some people from Galilee were offering their *sacrifice in the *Temple. Pilate did not want anyone to cause trouble against the *Romans. He ordered his soldiers to stop such people. The soldiers killed the Galileans. Their own blood mixed with the blood of their animal *offerings.
Verses 4-5 The building may have been part of Pilate’s plan to improve the water supply to Jerusalem. This was necessary, but the *Jews were very angry. Pilate took some money from the *Temple to pay for it. These men may have been working on the water system. Some people hated Pilate’s plan. They thought that people should not work on it. The workers should not have accepted money which came from the *Temple as their wages. They died when the building fell down. Therefore, people thought that God had punished them. Jesus denied that they were more guilty than anyone else in Jerusalem. But their deaths were a warning. People needed to turn to God.
Verse 6 A *vineyard was picture language for the nation of *Israel. Isaiah spoke of the care that God had given to his *vineyard. But its fruit was no good. The people were wicked. Therefore God would destroy the *vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7).
Verse 7 In Jesus’ *parable, the *fig tree was in good soil in the *vineyard. But it had failed to produce fruit after three years. Jesus had been expecting the *Jews to accept his message for the past three years. The *fig tree disappointed its owner in the story. In the same way, the *Jews had disappointed Jesus.
Verses 8-9 The extra year in the story suggests that God gives people every chance to *repent. But there comes a time when there are no more opportunities. If the *Jews did not change their behaviour, God would destroy their nation. He was like the *vineyard owner, who would cut down the *fig tree.
The *Jews would not obey God. Jesus knew that this would lead to trouble with the *Romans. The *Romans destroyed the *Jewish nation in AD 70.
Verse 12 ‘Woman’ was a polite way of speaking. Jesus used the word when he spoke to his mother (John 2:4).
Verse 14 Many people opposed Jesus because he did not keep their *Sabbath traditions. This incident is another example of this. The official may also have been angry that Jesus had taken no notice of his authority. He did not have the courage to speak directly to Jesus himself. Instead, he protested to the people in the *synagogue.
Verses 15-16 Some people agreed with the attitude of the official. Jesus called them ‘*hypocrites’. They would free their animals on the *Sabbath. But they were not willing for him to free a person. God rescued the *Israelites so that they were not slaves any more (Deuteronomy 5:13-15). Jesus linked this to the law about the *Sabbath.
*Satan had kept the woman in a ‘prison’. Jesus gave the woman her freedom. By that action Jesus was destroying the work of *Satan.
Verse 19 The *mustard seed is very tiny. Matthew emphasises this (Matthew 13:31-32). The plant can grow as large as a small tree. The *kingdom of God had a very small beginning, with just a few *disciples. But it grew. Now *disciples are all over the world.
At that time, a tree was picture language for a powerful nation. The birds in its branches were the nations to which it gave protection (Ezekiel 17:22-24). People of all nations will find their *spiritual security in God’s *kingdom.
Verse 21 Jesus must have watched his mother as she made bread. A small amount of *yeast causes a large amount of *dough to rise. Nobody can see its slow work as it changes the *dough. In the same way, God works slowly to change a person’s character. The *yeast is a picture of the difference that the *kingdom makes to society. The *yeast affects the *dough. In a similar way the Christian *faith affects society and improves it. The people of Thessalonica said that Christians had ‘turned the world over the other way’ (Acts 17:6). *Yeast changes *dough. *Faith in Jesus the king changes people and society.
Verse 23 The *Jewish teachers often discussed who would escape God’s punishment. Many considered that most of the *Jews would escape. God would punish *Gentiles.
Verse 24 Jesus did not answer their question. He did not say how many God would *save. Instead, he concentrated on why so few people would enter the *kingdom. He told them to struggle with determination to enter the ‘door’ of *salvation. Jesus was not suggesting that people can earn *salvation by their own efforts. He was emphasising that *salvation is an urgent matter. People cannot postpone a decision to follow Jesus. Their opportunity to enter God’s *kingdom does not last for ever.
Verse 25 Some people wait until it is too late. Then the owner of the house will deny that he knows them.
Verses 26-27 The people outside will try to get in, because they have had a few contacts with Jesus. Many people who are members of a Christian country may consider themselves Christian. But they have no real desire to be *disciples of Jesus. Jesus used words from Psalm 6:8. They are wicked. He does not recognise them. If they were genuine *disciples, they would have changed their behaviour.
Verse 28 They will weep and be angry. They will see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who began the *Jewish nation. They will see the *prophets too. They will all be in God’s *kingdom. But the people who are outside will not be there themselves.
Verse 29 *Jews taught that there would be a great dinner at the end of time. They imagined that they would be there and have great joy. Jesus said that people would come from every part of the world to the *Messiah’s great dinner (Isaiah 25:6). *Gentiles would be guests as well as *Jews. This would make Isaiah’s words come true. God’s *salvation would ‘reach to the ends of the earth’ (Isaiah 49:6).
Verse 30 Heaven has very different standards from those on earth. God will welcome *Gentiles who trust in him. But he will shut out *Jews who have not accepted him as the *Messiah. Also, people who are the least important on earth will receive more honour than other people in heaven.
Verse 31 These *Pharisees may have acted as sincere friends. But they probably tried to move Jesus out of Galilee for their own reasons. They had more power to change public opinion in Judea. Therefore, they were willing to warn Jesus about Herod, a person whom they hated. Herod Antipas was the ruler of Galilee and Perea. Perhaps he was still anxious because he had agreed to John the *Baptist’s death. He did not want to be responsible for another murder. Jesus was popular. So, Herod may have been worried about political activity that would disturb the peace. Therefore, he thought that he should warn Jesus. This would make him leave that region.
Verse 32 The *Jews believed that they could not trust a fox. It was an animal that was always destroying things. Foxes were of little worth. Jesus compared Herod to this animal. Jesus continued his work. He forced out *demons and *healed people. But soon he would finish this work.
Verse 33 He ‘must’ go to Jerusalem but not because of Herod’s wish. God planned that Jesus would go there. It would be when God wanted. It would not be when Herod wanted. Jerusalem was a ‘holy’ city because the *Temple was there. But they had often killed *prophets there. Jesus was a *prophet too.
Verse 34 ‘I often’ shows that Jesus went to Jerusalem more times than Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record. Jesus said that the people of Jerusalem had refused to obey God’s servants. They even killed them.
Verse 35 *Jews refused to obey God. So, God stopped protecting their city. As in the time of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:4), the *Jews believed that their city would always be safe. The *Temple was there. So, they thought that an enemy would never defeat Jerusalem. But Jesus’ words came true. In AD 70, the *Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem.
Jesus used words from Psalm 118:26. People greeted one another with these words when they came to Jerusalem. People greeted Jesus with these words on the Sunday before the first Easter (Luke 19:38). Here Jesus also refers to when he will return to earth. On that day people will have to recognise him as *Messiah.
Verses 1-2 Probably the *Pharisees had put the man there on purpose. They wanted to see what Jesus would do. They did not doubt that Jesus could *heal him.
Verses 3-4 The experts in the law of Moses and *Pharisees could not reply. They knew that the law allowed them to do good acts on the *Sabbath. God linked their law about the *Sabbath to the rescue of the *Israelites from being slaves (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). They had been slaves in Egypt and God brought them out of Egypt. The *Pharisees had limited this law. They said that a person could *heal only if someone’s life were in danger. If the *Pharisees said ‘Yes’ to Jesus’ question, they would break their own rule. If they said ‘No’, they would appear to be cruel.
Verse 5 Jesus showed that they were *hypocrites. On the *Sabbath none of them would hesitate to rescue a person or an animal if they were drowning in a well. Jesus had helped a man who was very ill.
Verse 6 The *Pharisees could not give an answer to Jesus.
Verse 7 What Jesus said was more than just advice about good behaviour. It was a ‘*parable’ and a *religious lesson. Jesus showed that people should to be humble.
Verses 9-10 uses words like Proverbs 25:6-7.
Verse 11 Mary’s song in Luke 1:51-52 is similar to this verse. God does not want people to be proud. Instead, he gives honour to humble people. Nobody has the right to make themselves important in God’s *kingdom.
Verses 12-13 Jesus did not mean that people must never invite their close friends and relatives. He meant that people should invite other guests as well. Proverbs 19:17 says, ‘He who is kind to the poor lends to the *Lord, and the *Lord will pay him back’. Jesus was asking people to be generous hosts.
Verse 14 Some people denied that the wicked would rise from death. *Pharisees believed in a general *resurrection (Daniel 12:2). But the *Sadducees did not believe this (Luke 20:27).
Verse 15 The person may have been someone who desired to be at the *Messiah’s great dinner. It is probable, however, that he was a person like a *Pharisee. He was confident that he would be there himself one day. Jesus then told a *parable that was about an invitation. The people had to reply in the present time, not in the future.
Verse 16 It was the custom for a host to give a second invitation after the first one. Someone might accept the first invitation and refuse the second one. Then they were insulting the host.
Verse 18 The first man made the excuse that he must look at his field. He may have bought the field and he had not seen it yet. But he could wait for a few days.
Verse 19 The man who bought new animals also could have waited. He, too, would have been foolish to buy the animals if he had not seen them.
Verse 20 Perhaps the third man referred to the law in Deuteronomy 24:5. This law allowed a man freedom from military service for a year after his marriage. But it did not forbid social contacts. He had accepted the invitation. The generous host probably would have welcomed his wife too. The man did not even say that he was sorry to refuse.
Verses 18-20 The *Jews who cared more about their own *religious rules were like the people in verses 18-20. Jesus was like the servant. He reminded them that God called them to come into his *kingdom.
Verse 21 The people from the city were those people whom the *Pharisees called ‘*sinners’. They were people like *tax-collectors, and other people who did not keep all the *religious rules.
Verse 23 The hedges were plants and bushes along the road. They could shelter people who had no homes. They might doubt that the host really wanted them at his great dinner. The servant must persuade them with love, but not with force. Jesus was referring to the *Gentiles. There will be room for them in God’s *kingdom.
Verse 24 ‘You’ is plural. Jesus is speaking to all the guests, and to everyone who will hear his words. It is important to accept Jesus’ invitation today. If anyone refuses it, he loses the opportunity to enjoy life with God in his *kingdom.
Verse 26 A person should be more loyal to Jesus than to his or her closest family. And Jesus is more important even than one’s own wishes.
Verse 27 The crowds were following Jesus. They thought that he was going to become a powerful leader. But Jesus told them that he was going to suffer. His *followers must be ready to suffer for their *faith, and even to die for it. But Jesus also meant that a *disciple must give up his own plans, comforts and ambitions. Carrying a cross is very hard and painful. Sometimes today, it is difficult to be a Christian.
Verses 28-32 These two *parables use familiar situations. They make people think about the cost and danger of being a *disciple. Verses 28 and 31 talk of ‘sitting down’ first. This suggests that people must take care when they decide whether to follow Jesus. One must consider what it will cost to ‘build’ one’s *faith and ‘fight’ its enemies. ‘Build’ means the work of a whole life, not a sudden, brief effort. ‘Fight’ means opposing evil in every way.
Verse 33 To ‘give up everything’ means to be completely loyal as one follows Jesus. Whatever it costs. A *disciple must give his whole effort to the work of the *kingdom of God.
Verses 34-35 People used salt to give flavour to food. Salt also prevents food from going bad. Refrigerators are a modern invention. People used to put salt on the land to help plants to grow. Jesus said that his *disciples were ‘the salt of the earth’ (Matthew 5:13). Christians should add flavour and joy to life. They should act against evil in the world, and help people to be good. The salt of Jesus’ time was not as pure as it is today. In those days, salt could dissolve and leave only a type of substance that had no flavour. People threw it away as it had no value. Some *followers of Jesus are not carrying out their functions. Those *disciples are of no use to God.
Jesus told three *parables as an answer to the *Pharisees. They did not approve of him because he ate meals with ‘*tax-collectors and *sinners’. People who are lost can be those who have never been Christians. Or they can be Christians who have wandered away from God.
Verse 2 The *Pharisees believed that it was wrong to meet with people like *tax-collectors and ‘*sinners’. ‘*Sinners’ refers to bad people. Many people did not keep all the *Pharisees *religious rules. The *Pharisees called these people ‘*sinners’ too. A person might eat a meal with them. This would show that the person approved of their behaviour. The *Pharisees did not understand God’s love.
Verse 4 It was very easy for a sheep to wander away from the rest and not realise it. God is like the good *shepherd. Many people have gone away from God’s laws. They did not mean to. So, God searches for them. Every person is valuable to God. The *shepherd searches until he finds his ‘lost’ sheep. In a similar way, God will search until he finds the ‘lost’ *sinner.
Verse 7 When Jesus said ‘good’ people, he probably meant the *Pharisees. They considered that they did not need to turn to God. But they were ‘good’ only in their own opinion of themselves.
Verse 8 The silver coin may have been the woman’s savings. One coin was the amount of a day’s wage. There is another reason for its value. The 10 silver coins on a silver chain were the evidence that she was a married woman. She would wear them round her head, and nobody could take them from her. They were as precious as a wedding ring is today. In those days, the houses had tiny windows. This kept out the sun and heat. It was dark inside, so she would need to light a lamp. Then she could see where her coin had fallen.
Verse 10 This *parable, like the first one, shows that God’s love is great. He searches for the ‘lost’ *sinner with as much care as the woman looked for her lost coin. Both *parables speak of God’s joy when a *sinner turns to him.
Verse 11 The law allowed the oldest son to receive two thirds of his father’s property (Deuteronomy 21:17). This was because, after his father’s death, he would have many things to buy. He would be the head of the family. The second son would therefore receive only a third of the property.
Verse 12 The younger son wanted to enjoy himself. He did not want to wait until his father died.
Verse 13 The younger son hurried to be free. He went as far away as possible. He did not want anyone to reduce his freedom. He bought whatever he wanted. He had fun and paid for entertainment. He had a ‘good’ time but he wasted all his money.
Verse 14 The lack of food in the country would make his situation worse. Food would be more expensive. People would not be as willing or able to share their food.
Verse 15 *Jews considered pigs to be ‘*unclean’ animals (Leviticus 11:17). But the son accepted a job to look after pigs. He must have been desperate.
Verse 17 The son recognised that *sin against his father was also *sin against God.
Verse 20 The father must have been watching for his son to return. He saw his son from a long way off. It was unusual for an older person to run as the father did. People would think that it was not right for him to run.
Verse 21 The son was going to ask to be like one of his father’s workers. The father prevented him as he gave his son a great welcome home.
Verse 22 The best clothes showed his honourable position. The ring was evidence of his authority. Slaves had bare feet. Therefore, the son had shoes. This showed that he was free and was not a slave.
Verse 23 The animal was one that the father made fat for a special occasion.
Verse 24 The father felt as if a dead son had come back to life. He was ‘lost’ to his father when he went away. He was ‘found’ when he decided to return.
Verses 28-29 The older brother was like the *Pharisees. His work was strict duty. He did not serve his father because he loved him. The *Pharisees obeyed the law, but they did not love God. The son did not understand how his father felt. The *Pharisees did not believe that God would welcome *sinners.
Verse 30 He would not say ‘my brother’ but he said ‘this son of yours’. He was trying to blame the father when he said that. He accused his brother. He said that he had spent all his father’s money. But the younger brother had spent only his own share. The older brother could not know what his brother had spent his money on. He imagined that his brother had done terrible things. He may have been right, but he did not speak with love. The older brother was angry and jealous.
Verse 31 The father emphasised that he loved both his sons. The older one should have enjoyed being at home with the father. He still had his share of the property.
Verse 32 The father corrects the words ‘this son of yours’ when he says ‘this brother of yours’.
The *parable does not say whether the son listened to his father. It does not say whether he joined the party. The story of the older brother was a warning against the proud *Pharisees. The father gave a generous welcome to his ‘lost’ son. In the same way, God welcomes *sinners whom he forgives. The *Pharisees heard the *parable. In the story, the father means God. The Pharisees had to decide whether to have the same attitude as the father or to be like the older brother.
Verses 1-2 The manager had wasted his master’s goods. He had been careless as he did his duties. He may have been guilty because he used his master’s goods for himself. The master asked him to hand in his accounts before he lost his job.
Verse 3 The manager thought hard about how he could live in the future.
Verses 5-7 The people that he called may have owed rent to the master. They paid in goods rather than money. Perhaps they had bought goods from his master’s lands and promised to pay for them. The people in debt may have believed that the manager had persuaded his master to reduce the amount. They would be very grateful. It is more likely, however, that the manager had involved them in a wrong business deal. They would be willing to give him a home. Or perhaps they could not refuse to help him. He could accuse them of doing something wrong unless they helped him.
Verse 8 The master praised the manager. He knew that the manager was not honest. He did not praise him for that reason. But he praised him because he had been very sensible. He had thought about his future and made plans.
Verse 8 People who are not Christians often manage their affairs with care. And they are sensible when they plan their future. Christians do not always show as much care when they think about God’s work and their own *eternal life.
Verse 9 *Disciples should use their wealth to help people who have a need. Then the people that they have helped will welcome them into their home in heaven.
Verses 10-12 If people are responsible in small matters, they will be responsible in large ones. A *disciple uses goods that belong to God, not to him. He needs to show that he is responsible. God can then trust him to look after other people’s *spiritual needs. And then God can trust him with the riches of heaven.
Verse 13 Nobody can serve two masters. He can be completely loyal to only one master. Nobody can have money as his master and *worship God at the same time.
Verse 14 The *Pharisees believed that wealth was God’s reward for their goodness. But Jesus contrasted love for God and love for money. This did not please the *Pharisees.
Verse 15 What some people admired in the *Pharisees disgusted God. He knew that their ‘good’ behaviour was a false show.
Verse 16 The Law of Moses means the first five books of the *Old Testament. The *prophets form the second part of the *Hebrew *Old Testament. A new period in *Jewish history began when Jesus came. People wanted to accept Jesus as king. They certainly wanted to enter his *kingdom. They were different from the *Pharisees, who did not use their opportunity.
Verse 17 The Law had not ended. The tiny detail was the small extra mark on a *Hebrew letter that distinguished it from another letter. The Law would come true even to the very smallest detail. When Jesus taught, he explained what the Law meant.
Verse 18 There were two opinions about divorce, a strict one and a very easy one. The *Pharisees accepted the easy opinion. A man could divorce his wife if she burnt his dinner. Or if he saw someone who was prettier. But Jesus said that marriage was a permanent relationship. He spoke again about divorce, where he made the one exception. They could divorce if either the husband or the wife was not loyal to the other (Matthew 5:31-32). That *sin against God’s law breaks one of the Ten *Commandments (Exodus 20:14).
Verse 19 The rich man wore purple outer clothes. Kings wore that colour. Underneath he wore the best quality clothes. He ate splendid meals every day.
Verse 20 The name ‘Lazarus’ means ‘God is my help’. He suffered from disease. Someone had to carry him to the rich man’s gate.
Verse 21 He was very hungry. He hoped to eat the bread that the guests threw. They had wiped their hands on it first. He was so weak that he could not even push away the *dogs in the street. The *dogs were a nuisance.
Verse 22 Abraham was the host at the great dinner in heaven. After Lazarus died, he was in a place of honour next to Abraham. Lazarus was very happy there. People gave the rich man a funeral. But the story does not mention whether Lazarus had a funeral.
Verse 23 The rich man went to ‘*Hades’. This was the *Greek word for the *Hebrew name ‘sheol’. It just meant the place for all dead people. However, in this verse, it seems to mean the same as ‘hell’. Hell is the place of punishment or pain.
Verse 24 The rich man spoke to ‘father’ Abraham. Perhaps he wanted to emphasise that he came from *Israel. That was the nation that God had chosen. The rich man had done nothing for Lazarus. Now he wanted Lazarus to act as his servant.
Verse 25 Abraham answered him. It was fair that Lazarus should be happy. He had suffered through no fault of his own. The rich man had enjoyed his life and had not thought about Lazarus.
Verse 26 Moreover, the rich man had made an impossible request. After a person had died, their situation was permanent.
Verses 27-28 The rich man requested that Lazarus should warn his brothers. But the rich man was also making an excuse for himself. He did not think that he had received sufficient warning. He would not be in *Hades if someone had warned him.
Verse 29 The books of Moses and of the *prophets contain frequent *warnings. They told people to care for the poor. His brothers could listen to those words in the *synagogue every week.
Verse 30 The rich man then asked Abraham to send some special evidence to warn them.
Verse 31 God’s word had already warned them, and they had paid no attention. Abraham said that even astonishing evidence would not help. Not even if a dead person became alive. This was true. Martha and Mary’s brother died and Jesus raised him from death. However, people did not believe in Jesus. Instead, they plotted to kill him (John 11:1-53). The *Jews still refused to believe in Jesus, even after his *resurrection (Matthew 28:11-15).
The *parable showed the rich *Sadducees that there is a life after death. They did not believe this. Moreover, a person’s life after death depends on what he did in his life. The man in the story was guilty, but not because he was rich. Abraham himself was a rich man (Genesis 13:2). The man was guilty because he had a selfish attitude. He only thought about his own satisfaction. He did not think about what the poor man needed.
Verse 2 A millstone was the heavy upper stone that turned grain into flour. It had a hole in the middle for people to pour the grain in between the upper and lower stones. Anyone with such a stone round his neck would certainly drown.
Verses 3-4 ‘Be careful how you act’ could mean ‘do not lead anyone into *sin’ (verse 1). It also means that a *disciple must forgive a person’s wrong acts. A *disciple must be ready to forgive as many times as anyone asks him. Jesus told Peter to forgive ‘70 times 7’ (Matthew 18:21-22). That is, as many times as you need to.
Verse 5 *Disciples should not lead other people away from God. They should also be ready to forgive. This is not easy. It means that the *disciples need God’s help. They realised this. So, they asked God to help them. They needed stronger *faith in God’s power.
Verse 6 A *mustard seed is very tiny. A tree has strong roots. Jesus was using picture language. It seems impossible to do some things. But Jesus showed that even very little *faith in God makes things possible.
Verses 7-9 At the end of a day’s work, a servant serves the master. The servant just does his duty. The master does not thank him.
Verse 10 There is no place for *spiritual *pride. A *disciple cannot expect God to be grateful to him. A *disciple may give his best service to God. However, that is no more than his duty.
Verses 11-12 10 men had *leprosy. 9 men were *Jews. The other man was a *Samaritan (verse 16). Jesus was on the border between Samaria and Galilee. People with *leprosy had to live together. They could not get near to other people. They were obeying the law of Moses as they stood at a distance (Leviticus 13:45-46). This is why they had to call. It was so that Jesus could hear them.
Verse 13 They asked Jesus to pity them. This means that they wanted him to *heal them.
Verse 14 Jesus did not touch them. He did not say that he would *heal them. But he told them to go to the priests. The priests had to examine anyone to see whether he had recovered from his disease. All 10 men obeyed Jesus. So they showed that they had *faith. They started to go to the priests. Then they realised that they were well again.
Verses 15-16 The man who returned praised God ‘in a loud voice’. He was excited. He wanted everyone to know that Jesus had *healed him.
Verses 17-18 Jesus asked two questions. These questions showed that he was disappointed. He did not want the men to thank him. But the 9 men had not been grateful to God.
Verse 19 All 10 men had shown *faith. But the *Samaritan’s *faith had led him to praise God. Jesus’ words meant that the *Samaritan now had a healthy spirit as well as a healthy body.
Verse 20 Both John the *Baptist and Jesus had taught about the *kingdom of God. The *Pharisees may have asked this question because of what they had heard.
Verse 21 ‘The *kingdom is in you’. The *kingdom is not an event. The *kingdom is an inner experience that changes a person’s character. The *Greek word for ‘in’ also means ‘among’. The *kingdom was present ‘among’ them. The *Pharisees were looking for a *kingdom. But the king, Jesus, was already among them.
Verse 22 Later the *disciples would think about the time when Jesus was with them. They would desire to be with him again. However, they would look forward to the time when he returns to earth. Jesus probably meant that. They would not see any evidence that he was going to come. He would come when they did not expect him.
Verse 23 People will make false *prophecies about when the *kingdom will arrive. The *disciples should not believe them.
Verse 24 Everyone will see the *Son of Man when he comes. People will see him as clearly as when lightning flashes across the sky.
Verse 25 But before he comes again, the *Son of Man ‘must’ suffer. Jesus knew that he was going to die. He knew that this was God’s purpose.
Verses 26-27 People were living ordinary lives during the time of Noah. There was nothing wrong with these particular activities. But people were thinking only of their normal lives. They took no notice of Noah. The flood came when they did not expect it. They did not believe that it was possible.
Verses 28-29 The same normal business of daily life went on in the time of Lot. The people of Sodom took no notice of what Lot taught. Or how well he lived. They did not think about God or his judgement until fire came from heaven. The fire destroyed their city (Genesis 19:23-25).
Verse 29 Sulphur is a yellow substance. It burns with a fierce heat and a very unpleasant smell.
Verse 30 These two examples show that Jesus will return to earth suddenly. People will be thinking only of their ordinary lives.
Verses 31-32 Nobody can escape when Jesus returns to earth. But these verses speak of a bad event from which people are able to escape. So it may refer to when the *Romans attacked Jerusalem 40 years later. When that happens, Christians should escape as quickly as possible. They should come down from the roof of their house. But they must not even go into their house. Or, they may be in their field. Then they should not go home before they escape. Lot’s wife looked back, when she was escaping from Sodom. She was wishing for the things that she had left behind. She delayed. So, she died when fire destroyed Sodom (Genesis 19:26).
Verse 33 Jesus had already spoken about how someone could save or lose his life (Luke 9:24). A selfish person is only interested in his own life in this world. But he will lose it when the *Son of Man returns. But the Christian who spends his life for God and other people in this world will save it in heaven.
Verses 34-35 Jesus could return at night, when two people are sleeping in the same bed. He could return in the day, when two people are working together. Jesus will take to heaven the person who has believed in him. The other person will remain behind and God will judge him. Each person’s attitude to Jesus will decide what happens to him or her.
Verse 37 Jesus used a common saying. He did not answer the question about where he would return. Judgement will certainly come to where there are *spiritually dead people. In a similar way, large birds that feed on meat will always find a dead animal.
Verse 2 The judge was probably a *Gentile official whom Herod or the *Romans appointed. He was a judge who wanted money. People called them ‘thief judges’. *Jewish courts had three judges. That made fair decisions more likely.
Verse 3 The widow was someone who was without help (Malachi 3:5). She had no friends who could persuade the judge to act for her. She had no money to encourage the judge to answer her request.
Verses 4-5 The judge answered her in the end. It was not because it was his duty. He was losing his patience because she kept coming to him.
Verses 7-8 God is very different from the unjust judge. God is not impatient. Sometimes he seems to delay the answer to the prayers of his people. But he will see that they get right judgement. This may not happen when people want it to. God knows the right moment to answer their prayers. Jesus will return to earth one day. He wonders whether he will find people who are loyal to him. He wonders how many people will continue to pray.
Verse 10 People went to the *Temple court for private prayer. The *Pharisee ‘stood’. The *Jews usually stood when they prayed.
Verses 11-12 The *Pharisee informed God of the wrong things that he had not done. He then spoke of some *religious practices that the Law did not require. The Law told every *Jew to *fast on a special day that they called the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). *Pharisees *fasted twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. The Law ordered that people should give a tenth of their oil, grain and *wine to the *Levites (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). The *Pharisee did more than this. He gave even a tenth of the small plants in his garden. He compared himself with the *tax-collector. The *Pharisee thought that he was praying. But really, he was praising himself. He used the word ‘I’ many times, as he was interested only in himself. He compared himself with other people. He should have compared himself with God, who is holy.
Verse 13 The *tax-collector put his head down. He kept hitting himself to show how sorry he was. He knew that he was a *sinner. He knew that he needed God to forgive him.
Verse 14 Nobody can be proud of himself in front of God. The men went home, but only the *tax-collector had pleased God. He had been humble and he asked God to forgive him. A person’s attitude is important to God.
Verse 15 Jesus probably placed his hands on the children’s heads. This was the way that he gave them a *blessing. The *disciples protested. They probably thought that Jesus was too busy and tired. Jesus was helping and teaching the adults. The *disciples thought that children were not as important.
Verses 16-17 Children trust and believe people. And they accept gifts with delight. The only people who are in God’s *kingdom are those who trust and accept his rule over their lives.
Verse 18 The man was a leader of the *Jews. He may have been a ruler of a *synagogue. Matthew tells us that he was young (Matthew 19:22). The ruler used the word ‘Teacher’ because he respected Jesus. He thought that he had to do things to earn life with God after death.
Verse 19 Jesus asked why the ruler had called him ‘good’. Jesus was not denying that he was good. Instead, he was reminding the ruler that only God is completely good. Therefore, if the ruler meant that Jesus was good, he was saying something very important. Moreover, *eternal life is life with the God of absolute goodness. The ruler could not have been as good as God is. Therefore the ruler should have asked for God’s *mercy, rather than how he could earn *eternal life as a reward.
Verse 20 The ruler had asked what he should ‘do’. So Jesus mentioned five *commandments. These speak of a person’s duty to other people. Jesus left out the *commandments that speak of duty to God.
Verse 21 Jesus mentioned five *commandments. The ruler believed that he had obeyed those five. He had obeyed them all his life.
Verse 22 Jesus knew that the man’s wealth separated him and God. He trusted in his riches rather than in God’s *mercy. Jesus promised him wealth in heaven, which is *eternal life. But he must have no possessions to take first place in his life.
Verses 24-25 Jesus saw that the ruler was sad. Jesus said that it is difficult for rich people to accept God as their king. ‘It is difficult for a camel to go through the hole of a needle’. Writers have explained what this means in three different ways:
1 A camel with a load on its back could not squeeze through a very narrow gate into a city. A man with a ‘load’ of riches cannot enter the *kingdom.
2 The *Greek word for camel is similar to the word for a very thick type of string. This string could not go through a needle’s hole.
3 This is the most probable explanation. Jesus used a phrase that means something is impossible. The *Jews had a similar phrase about an elephant.
Verse 26 The people who listened were astonished. They thought that wealth was evidence of God’s *blessing. However, Jesus said it was difficult for a rich man. Therefore, the people wondered whether it was possible at all for anyone else.
Verse 27 God has *mercy and he can work *miracles. He can *save people who cannot *save themselves.
Verse 28 Peter says that he and the other *disciples have left everything. Therefore, he thinks that they must deserve some reward, either on earth or in heaven.
Verses 29-30 Jesus replied that God’s rewards are always far greater than service to him. If *disciples have to leave their own family, they still belong to the far larger family of God. And they will have *eternal life with God.
Verse 31 What happens in Jerusalem will be part of God’s plan.
Verses 32-33 This is the first time that Jesus speaks of *Gentiles. He refers to the way that they kill people. They were whipped before *crucifixion. But that would not be a defeat for Jesus, because he would rise again.
Verse 34 Jesus had spoken about people dying in order to live (Luke 17:33). The *apostles may have thought that he was speaking about that again. They did not understand what Jesus meant. Not until after he died and rose again.
Mark 10:46 says that the blind man’s name was Bartimaeus.
Verse 35 Jericho was an important city about 15 miles (24 kilometres) from Jerusalem. Jesus and his *apostles were on the last part of the journey to Jerusalem, where Jesus would die.
Verse 36 The crowd would include people on their way to Jerusalem for the *Passover. So, the blind man would hear that many more people than usual were passing by.
Verses 37–38 Many people believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the *Messiah. The blind man must have heard that. He called out to Jesus as ‘*Son of David’. This was one of the names of the *Messiah. Jesus did not say that it was wrong to call him this.
Verse 39 The people wanted the man to stop shouting. They could not hear Jesus when he shouted. Perhaps they thought that he only wanted money. He was also delaying their journey to Jerusalem. They were selfish and impatient.
Verses 40-41 Jesus asked the blind man what he wanted. Jesus knew that the man wanted more than money. But the man had to express himself what he needed. God knows what we need. But he wants us to tell him.
Verse 42 Sometimes Jesus touched blind people and cured them (Mark 8:22–25; John 9:1- 7). This time Jesus just spoke. The man did not doubt that Jesus could make him see. People had tried to stop the man. But he had continued to ask Jesus to help him. The man’s *faith *healed him.
Verse 43 The man could see immediately. He became a *disciple of Jesus. He began to thank God for what Jesus had done for him. The crowd joined in and praised God too.
Verse 1 Jericho was a wealthy and important city. It was near a main route for trade. It was about 17 miles (27 kilometres) from Jerusalem.
Verse 2 Zacchaeus was the head of the *tax district of Jericho. He would not have been popular. He worked for the *Romans and had made himself rich by his job.
Verses 3-4 He had heard that Jesus was a friend of *tax-collectors. Zacchaeus was a lonely man, so he was eager to see Jesus. He was a short man, but the crowd would not let him through. So, he forgot his important official position. He climbed into a tree that grew by the road. The tree was one with a short main stem and wide branches. He could climb it easily.
Verses 5-6 Jesus did not ask to stay with Zacchaeus. He said that he ‘must’ stay with him. It was part of his work for God.
Verse 7 Everyone called Zacchaeus a ‘*sinner’. They did not think that Jesus should go into his home.
Verse 8 Zacchaeus stood up, as he was going to make an important statement. Jesus’ visit had changed his attitude to his wealth. He would give half of his goods to the poor people. As a *tax-collector, he had taken too much money from people. He promised to pay back 4 times the amount that he had taken. This was far more than the Law of Moses ordered. The Law asked for the original amount plus one fifth (Leviticus 6:5).
Verse 9 Jesus said that Zacchaeus was not only a physical *descendant of Abraham. Because of his *faith, he was a true *spiritual son of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). And his whole family would benefit.
Verse 10 Jesus came into the world to look for those who had wandered away from God. He came to rescue them.
Verse 11 In this *parable, Jesus used a true incident that happened in his time. Herod the Great was king of the region Judea. He said that, after his death, his son Archelaus would become king. After Herod’s death, Archelaus went to *Rome. He asked the *emperor to allow him to be king. Archelaus was a very cruel man. So 50 *Jews went to *Rome to oppose his claim. Their protest did not succeed. Archelaus returned to Judea, although he could not call himself ‘king’.
Jesus used these events to speak of himself. The main purpose of the *parable was to correct the belief that the *kingdom was coming soon. He also warned his *followers to be loyal in their service until he returned.
Verse 12 After his death, Jesus would go to heaven to receive honour from God. There would be a long interval between his death and when he returned to earth. The words ‘a far country’ shows this. Matthew emphasises the long time before Jesus returns to earth. The bridegroom ‘delayed’ in the *parable of the ten maids (Matthew 25:5).
Verse 13 The servants are Christians everywhere today. They are responsible for using all the gifts that God has given them. They especially have the gift of the good news of Jesus. This is like the gold coin that God has given each person. They should use this gift and tell the good news to other people.
Verse 14 The citizens are the *Jews of Jesus’ time and all the people who oppose Jesus.
Verse 15 Jesus will return to earth. Then he will expect his *disciples to give an account of their work for him.
Verses 16-19 A person’s reward for loyal service is not to escape from service. Instead, he will have the honour of greater responsibility.
Verses 20-21 The lazy servant made the excuse that he was afraid of his master. He was a strict man who expected profits from the work of other people. The servant returned the gold coin but he had not used it. He had put it in a cloth and kept it safe.
Verses 22-23 The servant thought that the master was very strict. Therefore, the servant should have been even more careful. He could have put the money in the bank to earn some extra money.
Verse 25 People protested. They may have been people who were listening to the story. Perhaps they were so interested that they interrupted Jesus.
Verse 26 Jesus was expressing an important principle that is true in all parts of life. Exercise makes the body stronger. A part of the body becomes of no use, if a person does not use it. The people who use their gifts find that they increase. Some people do not use the gifts that God gives. They will lose them.
Verse 27 Some people oppose Jesus. When he returns to earth, he will judge those people.
Jesus made careful plans to show everyone that he was the *Messiah. He showed great courage when he decided to ride into Jerusalem. The *religious leaders were already plotting to kill him (John 11:50). But the *Jews were not expecting a *Messiah like Jesus. They expected him to force out the *Romans. A king would ride a horse in war. But Jesus chose to ride on a *donkey. He did that to make the words of Zechariah 9:9-10 come true. A king would ride a *donkey in times of peace. Jesus was not a military hero; he was a king who brought peace.
Verse 29 Bethany is a village about two miles (three kilometres) from Jerusalem. Bethphage was close to Bethany.
Verses 30-31 A young *donkey that nobody had ridden was suitable for a holy or royal purpose. Jesus probably had friends with whom he had made this arrangement. The words that the *disciples should use (‘The *Lord needs it’) were the evidence to the owners. They would know that the *disciples were not stealing the animal.
Verses 35-36 The *disciples’ coats made a saddle for the *donkey. The clothes that the crowds laid on the road made a carpet for a royal procession. Luke does not mention the branches that people put on the road (Matthew 21:8). Neither does he say that people came out from Jerusalem to give him a welcome (John 12:12).
Verse 37 The road into Jerusalem goes down the hill on which there were many *olive trees. People made oil from the fruit of *olive trees.
Verse 38 The crowd used words that come from Psalm 118:26. The priests would *bless people with these words as they came into Jerusalem. Luke adds the word ‘king’. ‘*Blessed is the king’ instead of ‘*Blessed is he’. ‘In the name of the *Lord’. This means that Jesus came as God’s servant, with his authority and power. ‘Peace in heaven’ means that God has already won the war against the power of evil. The other three *Gospels use the *Jewish word ‘Hosanna’ to praise God. Luke says ‘*Glory to God’ as a shout of praise.
Verse 39 The *Pharisees were afraid that the *Romans would understand the crowd’s actions. Then the *Romans might punish Jesus and the whole nation. The people were welcoming their *Messiah. The *Pharisees could not stop the crowd from shouting. So, they asked Jesus to tell them to be quiet.
Verse 40 Nothing could stop the crowd. Jesus used a phrase that showed that. It was right that they should *praise God. Everything that God created would praise him.
Verse 41 Jesus would have crossed the Kidron valley. Then he went to the *Mount of *Olives where there is a wonderful view of Jerusalem. Jesus saw the city from there.
Verse 42 Jesus speaks as if the city is a person. He weeps because people in the city had not accepted him as king. They wanted a king to fight the *Romans. They did not want Jesus, the prince of peace. This choice would lead to war and the people would suffer greatly.
Verse 43 If there was a war, the *Romans would completely ruin Jerusalem. Jesus knew that this would happen. It came true 40 years later. The *Romans surrounded Jerusalem. Nobody could escape from or enter the city. Many died of hunger during this time.
Verse 44 Josephus was a *Jew who lived at that time. He wrote a book called ‘The history of the *Jewish war’. He says, ‘When the *Romans seize Jerusalem, they killed all the inhabitants, young and old. Titus (a leader) ordered his soldiers to destroy the city completely. Future visitors would not believe that the city had ever been there’. All this happened because the *Jews had refused God’s Son. They had refused God’s plan to *save them.
Verse 45 In one part of the *Temple, merchants had erected stalls. Animals for the *sacrifices had to be perfect. People could buy them in the city for a much cheaper price. But it was safer to buy them in the *Temple. Here, the merchants said that the animals were perfect. People had to pay the annual *Temple tax in special coins. There were stalls where people could exchange their money for the special coins. The men who changed money were charging far too much. All these stalls belonged to the family of the chief priest.
Verse 46 God had said that the *Temple would be a place for prayer (Isaiah 56:7). Jesus was angry because it had become a noisy market. It was impossible to pray there. The merchants and the men who changed money were cheating people. They were making huge profits for themselves. Jesus was also angry with that. He repeated words from Jeremiah 7:11. Jeremiah described the *Temple as a ‘place where thieves could hide’.
Verse 47 Jesus continued to teach in the *Temple courts. The *religious leaders wanted to kill him for his action in the *Temple. But they were unable to do anything. Many people wanted to listen to Jesus. So, it would have been impossible for the leaders to arrest him.
Verses 1-2 Jesus had upset the *Temple trade. The *religious leaders sent an official group of *Jewish rulers to examine his authority. They were members of the ‘*Sanhedrin’. They wanted Jesus to give the wrong answer to their question. If Jesus said, ‘From heaven’, then they could accuse him of *blasphemy. If he said, ‘From men’, Jesus could be in trouble from the *Romans.
Verses 3-4 Jesus did not give them a direct answer. Instead, he asked them a question about the authority of John the *Baptist.
Verses 5-6 This question was one that the *religious leaders could not answer. Although John had been very popular with the public, the *religious leaders had refused to accept him. They did not have courage to say that John was a genuine *prophet. Jesus could then ask why they had not believed John. They were afraid of the crowd’s power. Many ordinary people did believe John. So, the leaders could not deny that John’s authority came from God.
Verse 8 John had said that he was preparing the way for the *Messiah. They could not give an honest answer to a question about John. Therefore, Jesus would not answer their question.
Verse 9 A *vineyard was picture language for the nation of *Israel (Isaiah 5:1-2). God is the owner of the *vineyard. He had given responsibility to the *Jews, who were the *tenants in the story.
Verses 10-12 The servants who went to collect the harvest were like the *prophets. God had sent them to remind *Israel that he demanded the ‘fruit’ of good lives. The rulers of *Israel had taken no notice and had made the *prophets suffer. For example, they had insulted Amos (Amos 7:12). They beat Jeremiah and put him in prison (Jeremiah 37:15). They killed Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20-21). God showed great patience when he sent the *prophets. He gave *Israel every opportunity to do what was right.
Verses 13-15 In the end, God sent his son whom he loved greatly. These words for Jesus appear in the story of his *baptism (Luke 3:22). They show that Jesus was more than a *prophet. He was the *Messiah. The *tenants’ murdered the son. This shows that Jesus knew what was going to happen to him.
Verse 16 The *tenants thought that the owner was too far away. But he returned to punish them. God, like the owner, would punish *Israel. Then he would give the church the position that *Israel had enjoyed. The people who were listening were shocked. ‘God forbid!’ they said. These were very strong words. They hoped that God would never make it happen.
Verse 17 Jesus then reminded them of words in Psalm 118:22. He was like the stone. The *Jews were like the builders. The *Jews refused to accept Jesus. Yet, he would become the most important stone. This stone was probably the special ‘foundation’ stone. It united two walls at the base of a building. It made the whole building strong. Or it may have been the special stone that united two parts at the top of a building. Jesus would become the ‘foundation’ of the Christian church. He would make it strong. Peter used these words to describe Jesus (Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7).
Verse 18 Jesus spoke of the fate of those who opposed him. He used words like those in Isaiah 8:14-15. Isaiah spoke of a stone that people would trip over. The picture is also like one in Daniel 2:34-35. There, a stone destroyed the model in the king’s dream. It became like dust that the wind blew away.
Verses 19-20 The *religious leaders had failed with their direct question about Jesus’ authority. They were afraid of the crowd. Again this prevented their plan to arrest Jesus. They were afraid for their own safety. And if the crowd disturbed the peace, there would be trouble with the *Romans.
Verse 20 They paid men to ask a question. They pretended that they wanted him to answer a genuine problem. Whichever answer Jesus gave would make trouble for him.
Verse 21 First, they pretended to praise Jesus about what he taught.
Verse 22 Every *Jew had to pay a personal *tax every year to the *Romans. It was not a great amount of money, but the *Jews hated it. It showed that they were not a free nation. Some *Jews thought that they should not pay *tax to the *Romans. They thought that it was against God’s law. Judas of Galilee had led a group of men to protest against this *tax (Acts 5:37).
Verse 23 Perhaps Jesus would say that the *Jews should not pay the *tax. Then he would be in trouble with the *Romans. Perhaps he would say that they should pay it. Then he would lose much support. He would be in trouble with the people.
Verse 24 The coin which Jesus asked for was a ‘denarius’. It was equal to a man’s wages for one day. The coin would show the head of Tiberius, the *emperor at the time. The writing on one side gave his name.
Verse 25 Jesus said that they were using the *emperor’s coins. Therefore they should pay the *emperor’s *taxes. They received benefits from the state. The *Romans made good roads. They kept order and established a peaceful society. The *Jews should be prepared to pay for what the state did for them. But they should give to God the love and service that was his right. If there is a difference between duty to God and duty to the government, God must come first. Peter stated this principle. He said, ‘We must obey God rather than people’ (Acts 5:29).
Verse 27 Most of the *Sadducees were priests. They did not believe in the *resurrection of dead people. They did not believe in *angels (Acts 23:8). Also, they accepted only the first five books of the *Old Testament. They did not accept the traditions of the *Pharisees. But they did not oppose the *Roman government of their country.
Verse 28 The law of Deuteronomy 25:5-6 meant that a brother or close relative must marry a widow. The dead man’s name and family could continue when children were born in that second marriage.
Verses 29-33 This story was one that the *Sadducees made up. They were probably thinking about two things: They would make Jesus look foolish, if he could not answer their question. At the same time, they tried to make the *Pharisees’ belief in *resurrection look foolish.
Verses 34-36 Jesus explained that in heaven life is different from life on earth. There is no marriage, because there is no more death. People will not have children to continue their family. They will be like *angels who do not die. They will become *spiritual people, part of God’s family in heaven.
Verse 37 Jesus then used a passage from one of the books that the *Sadducees accepted. This was about the incident when Moses saw a bush on fire. God spoke to him from inside the bush (Exodus 3:1-6).
Verse 38 God said, ‘I am’ (not ‘I was’) the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So he meant that they were alive and with him. The bodies of these men had died long ago. But he was not the God of dead people. He was God of living people.
Verse 38 ‘To him all are alive’. Real life is a relationship with God. Such a relationship cannot end when a person dies.
Verses 39-40 The teachers of the law were pleased with Jesus’ answer. They did not agree with the *Sadducees about *resurrection. But the *Sadducees had not been able to make the belief in *resurrection look foolish. The *Sadducees did not dare to ask Jesus any more questions.
Verse 41 Jesus did not deny that he was from David’s family. The blind man had given him this title (Luke 18:38). Luke records the promises to Zechariah and Mary. Jesus would be a king from the family of David (Luke 1:32, 69). But Jesus wanted to show what the title ‘*Son of David’ meant for the *Messiah. People thought that he would be a soldier like David, as well as a king. He would defeat the *Romans and other nations. He would make *Israel a great political state.
Verses 42-43 Psalm 110 describes the *Messiah. In verse 1, David spoke of the *Lord as ‘my *Lord’. God invited the *Messiah to the place of honour until all his enemies suffered defeat. An enemy had to lie on the ground. The man who had defeated him could put his foot on his neck. There is an example of this practice in Joshua’s time (Joshua 10:24). For the *Messiah, it meant that God would defeat his enemies. God would make them look humble.
Verse 44 Jesus was correcting false ideas about the *Messiah. He was greater than David. He was David’s ‘*Lord’. The *Messiah was not a military hero. He was a king whose people would love him. And they would be glad to follow him.
Verse 46 Jesus is not protecting the *disciples from such teachers. He is warning them not to become proud like them.
Verse 47 All teachers of God’s truth should work to provide for themselves. They should not charge when they teach. But these teachers wanted more money. They were cheating poor widows, who could not defend themselves. Then the teachers tried to hide what they had done. They said long prayers, which made them look very *religious. But God knew what they had done. And he would certainly punish them.
Verse 1 In the Court of the Women in the *Temple, there were 13 boxes. The priests collected people’s money in these boxes
Verse 2 The widow’s two coins were the smallest coins. They had little value. Yet, her gift was more generous than that of those who gave large amounts. They had given what they could easily afford. They still had plenty of money left.
This incident comes after that of the teachers of the law. It shows clearly the difference between a person who is sincere and a *hypocrite.
Verse 5 The *Temple was a magnificent building. The stones in the foundation (base) were enormous. Gold covered a large part of the walls. People, including King Herod, had given gifts that made the *Temple even more beautiful.
Verse 6 Jesus knew that the *Romans would completely destroy Jerusalem. The idea that anyone could destroy God’s *Temple was *blasphemy to the *Jews. But Jesus’ words came true 40 years later. The place where the *Temple had been became no more than a field. Men could plough it.
Jesus answered a question. He spoke about the evidence of the end of the world. And when he would return. He also warned them about what would happen when armies attacked Jerusalem.
Verse 7 The *disciples asked when armies would destroy Jerusalem. What would show them that it was about to happen?
Verse 8 Jesus warned them first not to trust false *Messiahs. They will say that they know the time of the end of the world.
Verses 9-10 Good relationships between nations will end. But wars will not be the evidence of the immediate end of the world. Wars will happen all through the time. Bad events have happened on the earth all through history. Strange events in the sky have always frightened people. But all these events will probably happen together before the end of the world.
Verses 12-19 describe the troubles that the *followers of Jesus will have. But God promises to help and protect.
Verses 12-13 The *Jews will oppose them. The *synagogues were not only places of *worship. They were also courts of law. ‘Kings and rulers’ means that the *Gentiles also will oppose the *disciples. In such situations, Christians will have opportunities. They will be able to tell people about Jesus. Later, Paul was in prison in *Rome. Many people were guarding him. He was able to speak about Christ to all of them (Philippians 1:12-13).
Verses 14-15 The *disciples may have to go to court. But they should not be anxious. Jesus himself would give them the right words to say.
Verse 16 Troubles will come even from friends and relatives. ‘Brothers’ means either actual brothers or close relatives. Jesus had already spoken about the divisions that being loyal to him would cause (Luke 12:51-53). Some *disciples would even suffer death for their *faith. In the early days of the church, the *Jews killed Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). Then Herod Antipas killed the *apostle James (Acts 12:2).
Verse 17 People in general will hate Christians. They hated Christ and therefore will hate those who obey him (John 15:18-19).
Verses 18-19 Jesus had used these words before to show that God cares (Luke 12:7). A *disciple may even suffer *physical death, but God can control all situations. *Disciples will be safe as they obey God. This should encourage them to remain loyal. Then they will receive life with God in heaven.
Verse 20 About 40 years later, *Roman armies camped outside Jerusalem for about 5 months. The people in the city were starving. They were so desperate that they were even prepared to eat human bodies.
Verse 21 Jesus had warned his *disciples to leave the city. They did. They escaped to Pella, a city on the east side of the river Jordan.
Verse 22 The *prophets in the *Old Testament warned that God would punish his people for their wicked behaviour. The *Jews of Jesus’ time had refused his message too and they must expect punishment.
Verse 23 Jesus thought especially of women who were expecting babies or still feeding them. They would suffer themselves. And they would watch their children starve to death. It would be a terrible experience.
Verse 24 Thousands died when the *Romans broke into the city. The *Romans took thousands of other people to other countries. The phrase ‘until their time is over’ can mean ‘until God has decided that the *Gentiles can no longer rule Jerusalem’. Or it can mean ‘until the *Gentiles have had enough time to hear the good news about Jesus’.
Verses 25-26 The *Old Testament *prophets often wrote of strange events in the sky. These would happen before God’s judgement. The earth will become dark because the sun, moon and stars will not give their light (Amos 8:9; Joel 3:15). The sea will be greatly more stormy than usual. Something will shake the sky. The *Greek word for ‘shake’ refers to an earthquake (when the earth shakes greatly). But this will happen in the sky.
Verse 27 Daniel wrote that ‘one like a *Son of Man will come in the clouds of heaven’ (Daniel 7:13). Jesus said that he would return to the earth in this way. In the Bible, a cloud was often evidence that God was present (as in Exodus 13:21). When Jesus’ comes ‘in a cloud’ this describes how he will return in *glory.
Verses 28-31 Leaves first appear on trees when summer is near. In the same way, the events described in verses 25-27 will show that Jesus is about to return.
Verse 32 Some of the people whom Jesus spoke to would still be alive when the *Romans destroyed Jerusalem. Some writers think that Jesus was referring to those people. This would be true only if the defeat of Jerusalem was a sign of the end. Other people think that he meant the *Jews, or other people who would remain loyal to the end. Other people think that he meant ‘people who are alive then’. Not ‘people who are alive now (when Jesus was speaking)’.
Verse 33 What Jesus said would always be true. Whatever happens to the earth or sky will not change Jesus’ words.
Verse 34 Jesus had already warned his *disciples. They should be ready for when he returns to earth. Jesus told the *parable of the servants (Luke 12:35) and he described the fate of the people in the time of Noah and of Lot (Luke 17:22-29). This shows that judgement will be sudden. He now warns his *disciples about fun and worry. If they concentrate on these things, they will forget to watch for evidence.
Verse 35 A trap shuts quickly and catches an animal. When Jesus returns to earth it will happen quickly. *Disciples will need God’s strength to escape the troubles in the future. Then they will be ready to meet Jesus in heaven and serve him.
Verse 37 Thousands of people came to Jerusalem for *Passover. Jesus was able to continue to teach. The crowds were too great so the rulers would not arrest him. He may have slept outdoors on the *Mount of *Olives or stayed in a friend’s house that night.
Verse 1 The *feast of *Unleavened Bread and *Passover were very important. They reminded the *Jews of what God had done for their *ancestors. The *Jews escaped from Egypt many centuries ago (Exodus 12). They had been slaves there. But God, through Moses, rescued them. They had left Egypt in a hurry. They did not have time to make bread with *yeast in it. The *feast lasted 7 days in the *Jewish month of Nisan (middle of March to middle of April). The *Passover was on the 14th day of Nisan.
Verse 2 Many more *Roman soldiers came from Caesarea to control people during the *feast. If the *religious leaders had arrested Jesus in public, the crowds could have caused trouble. That would lead to punishment from the *Romans.
Verse 3 People ask why Judas allowed *Satan to lead him to do such a wicked thing. Judas was one of the 12 *apostles, whom Jesus trusted as friends. Here are some possible answers:
1 Perhaps Judas wanted the money that he expected as a reward. Judas used to steal money from the *apostles’ bag. Judas was in charge of the money (John 12:6).
2 Perhaps he was jealous of the other *apostles. If his name ‘Iscariot’ means ‘man from Kerioth’, he was the only one of the 12 who did not come from Galilee. Jesus had given special honour to Peter, James and John on several occasions. Perhaps he thought that Jesus had not given him the place of honour that he deserved.
3 Perhaps he expected Jesus to drive out the *Romans and make himself king. Then Judas would have had a special place in this new *kingdom. His name ‘Iscariot’ could mean that he was one of the *Zealot party A *Zealot was a man who wanted to fight against *Rome. The *Zealots wanted the *Jews to rule *Israel again. Perhaps he wanted to use force to free his nation. He may even have thought that his action would force Jesus to show his power.
4 Perhaps he was a coward. He saw trouble coming to Jesus, and wanted to protect himself.
Verse 5 The priests promised Judas 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15). That was the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32).
Verse 7 Men killed the *lambs for the meal before sunset on the 13th day of the month Nisan. A new *Jewish day begins after sunset. So the *Passover meal was in the evening of 14th Nisan.
Verse 10 A man who carried a jar of water was special evidence. Usually, only women carried jars of water on their heads or shoulders.
Verses 10-11 Jesus gave the instructions to Peter and John. This shows that he had already made the arrangements. He had also done that with the young *donkey (19:29-35). He did not want the rulers and Judas to know the place. He still had important truth to teach his *apostles.
Verse 12 We do not know the name of the owner. Some people think that the house belonged to Mary, the mother of John Mark. The room became a meeting place for the *disciples after Jesus rose from death (Acts 12:12).
Verse 13 The *Passover meal included *lamb and *unleavened bread. The *Jews ate bitter *herbs to remind them of the bitter life of their *ancestors as slaves in Egypt (Exodus 12:1-11).
Verse 16 The *Passover meal reminded the *Jews how their *ancestors used to be slaves in Egypt. And how they gained their freedom. The word ‘fulfilled’ means this: When the *kingdom of God comes, Christians will praise God. They will have freedom from *sin, judgement and death. Jesus won this freedom for people on the cross.
Verses 17-18 During a *Passover meal there were three loaves of *unleavened bread and four cups of *wine. He gave his *disciples *wine to share to show their unity.
Verse 19 Bread was a like a picture of his body. He was going to give his life on their behalf.
Verse 20 The final cup after supper showed the new special relationship between God and people. The *Jews had broken the old agreement to obey God’s laws. The new special agreement (see Jeremiah 31:31-34) would mean that people would want to obey God. They would obey him, because he loves them. The blood of an animal ‘signed’ the old agreement. When Jesus gave his life for them, he would have ‘signed’ the new agreement. They ate bread and drank *wine. These two ceremonies were to be a permanent way to remember his death.
Verse 21 Jesus said that the person who would *betray him was sharing the meal. It was especially wicked for a guest to *betray his host.
Verse 22 Jesus spoke of his death as part of God’s plan. But Judas was responsible for his own actions. Jesus spoke of how terrible his fate would be. His warning was a final appeal to Judas. He could have changed his decision, even at this last moment. Luke does not tell us what the *apostles said to Jesus. But John 13:21-30 gives the details.
Verse 24 The *apostles had argued about this before (Luke 9:46-48). Jesus had said that the least important person was the best.
Verse 25 The *apostles were wondering which of them would be the most important in the *kingdom. Jesus told them that the *Gentile rulers tried to make themselves look important. They demanded that people obey their authority completely. And yet, they liked to call themselves the people’s friends.
Verses 26-27 The Christian attitude must be very different from people who are not Christians. The only person who can really be great is someone who serves other people. John records that Jesus had given an example. He had washed the *apostles’ feet. That was the work of a slave (John 13:1-10).
Verses 28-30 The *apostles had shared the hard times in Jesus’ work. Jesus encouraged them. He said that they would enjoy the *Messiah’s splendid dinner with him in heaven. They would share with him the honour of his *eternal rule. Some Christians believe that ‘the 12 *tribes of *Israel’ refers to the Christian Church.
Verse 31 Jesus repeated the name ‘Simon’. This emphasised that he was going to say something important. ‘Simon’ was the name that Peter had before Jesus changed it (Mark 3:16. ‘Peter’ means ‘rock’). Jesus knew that Peter was not yet strong like a rock.
*Satan can act only with God’s agreement. We know this from Job 1:6-12.
Verse 32 Jesus had prayed that Peter’s *faith would not fail completely. When he became loyal to Jesus again, he would help the other *apostles.
Verse 33 Peter did not realise how serious the situation was. Neither did he realise that he was weak. He was confident that he would be willing to die for Jesus in some future time of trouble.
Verse 34 Jesus now spoke to him as ‘Peter’. Jesus was reminding Peter of the name that he had given him, the ‘Rock’ (Luke 6:14). Jesus knew that Peter was not yet as strong as a rock. Peter would deny Jesus three times before the *cock gave its loud cry in the early morning. These words may refer to the farmer’s bird. Or they may refer to the *Roman trumpet. Someone blew this trumpet (musical instrument) at three o’clock in the morning. But it meant that Peter would deny that he knew Jesus, before the night was over.
Verse 35 Jesus spoke of the time when he sent the *disciples out. They had to trust God to supply what they needed (9:3; 10:4)
Verse 36 The situation was going to be different in the future. They must prepare to have the equipment for it. Jesus did not mean an actual sword. He was using the word to emphasise future danger.
Verse 37 He used a verse from the ‘suffering Servant’ poem in Isaiah 53:12. People would consider him a criminal. They would punish him, like a wicked person. Jesus said that all the *Scriptures about the *Messiah would come true.
Verse 38 The *apostles failed to understand Jesus. They showed him two swords. ‘Enough!’ does not mean that two swords among 11 *apostles were sufficient. Jesus said it to end the conversation.
Verses 39-40 Matthew and Mark tell us something else about the place that Jesus went to. They tell us that it was the garden of Gethsemane. Luke adds that Jesus had often gone there.
Verse 41 The *Jews usually stood when they prayed. And they looked up to heaven. On this very serious occasion, Jesus went down on his knees.
Verse 42 In the *Old Testament, the ‘cup’ describes God’s action, sometimes when he was angry. In the *New Testament, it refers to pain, as in Mark 10:38 and John 18:11. Jesus did not mean only *physical pain. However, he knew that *crucifixion would be very painful. Jesus would have to leave the work of his *kingdom to men who were still not ready. He was struggling with *spiritual powers of darkness as he prayed to obey his Father.
Verse 44 ‘The water on his face was like drops of blood’ describes the size and quantity of the drops, not the colour. The drops were the size of big tears. This shows that Jesus was suffering greatly.
Verse 47 Judas gave Jesus a kiss. This showed which man they had to arrest (Mark 14:44). Judas was using a greeting from a friend and *apostle to *betray Jesus!
Verse 50 Peter attacked the servant, whose name was Malchus (John 18:10-11). The chief priest was Caiaphas.
Verse 51 Jesus stopped the *disciples so that they did not fight. And he *healed the servant’s ear.
Verses 52-53 Jesus asked why they had chosen to arrest him in secret like this. If they had a good reason, Jesus had given them every opportunity for a legal arrest in the *Temple. Darkness was the time for *Satan’s work. That time had arrived.
Verse 54 They took Jesus to Annas first. Then they took him to the house of Caiaphas (John 18:13).
Verses 55-57 Someone had lit a fire because it was cold that night. The light from the fire shone on Peter’s face. A servant looked hard at Peter. She thought that she recognised him. She said that he had been with Jesus. But Peter denied that he knew Jesus.
Verse 58 The man made a more serious remark. He said that Peter was one of Jesus’ *followers. Peter denied Jesus for the second time.
Verses 59-60 People who came from Galilee had a different accent from everyone else. Someone insisted that Peter was a *disciple of Jesus because he too came from Galilee. Mark 14:71 adds that Peter denied it and cursed. Then Peter heard the cry of the *cock.
Verses 61-62 Jesus looked at Peter. Jesus probably felt very sad, but also he had pity. Peter remembered his warning. Peter cried because he had been weak. Also he had failed his *Lord.
Verses 63–65 Luke does not mention that the priests also had a *trial during the night (Matthew 26:57-68). To examine a person at night was not legal. So, the priests had to wait until morning. Then the *Sanhedrin could declare that he was guilty. While they waited, the soldiers hit Jesus. They laughed at him and his message.
Verse 66 Early on Friday morning the soldiers took Jesus to the *Sanhedrin, the chief *Jewish authority. It had 70 members. The chief priest was its leader.
Verse 67 Jesus could not answer their question. He knew that their belief about the *Messiah was very different from his. He knew that they would not believe him, even if he said ‘yes’.
Verse 68 Jesus had asked questions about the *Messiah before (20:3, 41). But they had not been able to reply.
Verse 69 Jesus then used words from Daniel 7:13. They would see the *Son of Man. He would be sitting in the place of honour at God’s right side. The word ‘sitting’ suggests that he would be at rest. He would be at rest after his work on earth was complete.
Verse 70 They asked Jesus a direct question about his relationship to God. He did not deny that he was ‘the’ *Son of God.
Verse 71 The *Sanhedrin said that this was ‘*blasphemy’. They said that he was guilty. But they had broken their own laws. Two witnesses had to agree about the person that they accused. The *Sanhedrin should not have asked a direct question. There was another law. They could decide that someone was guilty. Then they had to wait for a day before they decided his punishment. But they were so anxious to kill Jesus that they broke their own rules. They did not have the authority themselves to kill Jesus. So they made up charges that the *Roman ruler, Pilate, would consider serious.
Verse 1 Pilate had to come to Jerusalem from his official house at Caesarea because of the *Passover *feast. The crowds came to remember their *ancestors’ freedom from Egypt. There was always a danger that they might start a fight against the *Romans.
Verse 2 The *religious leaders accused Jesus of three things. They suggested to Pilate that Jesus was encouraging a revolution.
Verses 3-4 Jesus answered Pilate’s question. But it depended on the way in which Pilate understood the word ‘king’. Jesus was king of the *Jews. But not in a political way. Pilate must have suspected the *Jews as they accused another *Jew to a *Roman. He decided that Jesus was not guilty.
Verse 5 The *religious leaders said this about Jesus, too. He had caused trouble wherever he went.
Verses 6-7 Pilate discovered that Jesus came from Galilee. So, he sent Jesus to Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee. Herod came to Jerusalem for *Passover. He was hoping to please the people that he ruled. Pilate had to take some responsibility for a decision. But he hoped that Herod would share the problem.
Joanna was the wife of Chuza, Herod’s house-manager. It is possible that she gave Luke the information about what happened (Luke 8:3).
Verses 8-9 At one time Herod was afraid that John the *Baptist had come back to life. He was afraid that Jesus might be John the *Baptist (Luke 9:9). He wanted Jesus to perform a *miracle for his entertainment. Jesus would not answer Herod’s questions. He knew that they were not sincere.
Verse 11 Herod joined the soldiers. They put a royal coat on Jesus and laughed at him as a king.
Verses 13-15 Pilate said that neither he nor Herod had found Jesus guilty of any crimes. This is important. Both Pilate and Herod agreed that Jesus was innocent. The *Jewish law says that if two witnesses agreed, that provided proof (Deuteronomy 19:15).
Verse 16 Pilate showed that he was trying to please the crowd. He said that someone would whip Jesus. This was a very cruel *Roman punishment. Sometimes the person even died.
Verse 17 is not in many *Greek copies of Luke. A *scribe may have added it from Mark 15:6.
Verse 18 Barabbas was a *Jewish terrorist. This means that he used terror to fight the leaders. His name means ‘son of a father’. Pilate freed him and ordered the death of the Son of God the Father.
Verses 20-22 Pilate wanted to free Jesus. Luke does not record details of Pilate’s questions to Jesus. Nor does he record that the *Jews warned Pilate. If he freed Jesus, then he was not being loyal to Caesar (John 19:12). Pilate had already been in trouble. He had taken the *Roman army flags into Jerusalem. He had also upset the *Jews. He had used *Temple money to improve the water supply. He was afraid that they would complain about him to the *emperor again. Then perhaps he would lose his job.
Verse 26 A man on his way to *crucifixion had to carry the beam part of the cross on his back and shoulders. Jesus was weak after the *Romans had whipped him. He was so weak that he could not carry it. Simon was a *Jew from North Africa. Perhaps he lived in Jerusalem but he was coming home from his work outside the city. Or perhaps he had come to Jerusalem for the *Passover. Mark tells us that Simon was ‘the father of Alexander and Rufus’. Alexander and Rufus were well-known Christians. Simon carried the cross and witnessed the *crucifixion. He may have become a *disciple because of this experience. His sons were later known as Christians in *Rome (Mark 15:21). Mark wrote for *Romans. (See also *Romans 16:3.)
Verses 28-29 Jesus had already warned that people would suffer. The *Romans would attack and destroy Jerusalem (Luke 21:23). Now Jesus said this. Women without children would be lucky when trouble came to Jerusalem.
Verse 30 Jesus used words from Hosea (10:8). Hosea had warned *Israel of an attack from the country of Assyria. The words may mean that the *Jews would want the mountains to protect them. They could hide there from the *Romans. Or the words mean that the people would suffer very much. It would be so awful that they would want the mountains to fall on them and kill them.
Verse 31 This was probably a well-known phrase. Green wood is alive. Dry wood is dead. The *Romans were going to kill an innocent man in a time of peace. They would do worse things to guilty men when the nation was at war.
Verse 32 Two criminals were on either side of Jesus. The words, ‘People counted him among *sinners’ (Isaiah 53:12) came true.
Verse 33 The *Hebrew name of the place was Golgotha (John 19:17). In the Latin language the word is ‘Calvary’. Both words mean ‘the Skull (the bone inside a man’s head)’. This was because of the shape of the ground. Or because *crucifixions took place there.
Verse 34 Jesus meant the *Roman soldiers when he prayed to his Father to forgive them. They were only obeying their orders. He also meant all the *Jews who had brought about his death. The clothes of a person whom the soldiers killed in this way became their property. The soldiers threw special stones on the ground to decide who should have the clothes.
Verse 35 People watched *crucifixions out of a strange curiosity. The *Jewish rulers laughed at Jesus, because he said that he was the *Messiah. They said that he could prove his claim if he saved himself. This was a cruel demand for a special sign.
Verse 36 Jesus had refused the *wine with a drug in it which a person could have before *crucifixion (Mark 15:23). Later, the soldiers showed him their cheap *wine. They knew that he would be desperate for a drink. Then they took it away.
Verse 37 They suggested that he could save himself, if he really was ‘the king of the *Jews’.
Verse 38 They usually put up a notice to say why the person was on the cross. John tells us that the priests complained because the notice said, ‘This is the king of the *Jews’. Pilate refused to change it (John 19:21-22). The notice was in three languages, *Hebrew, *Greek and Latin. Therefore, everybody could read it.
Verse 39 The *Romans *crucified two criminals with Jesus. Matthew and Mark say that they both insulted him.
Verse 40-41 One of the criminals changed his attitude. He realised that Jesus was different from them. They were receiving punishment for their crimes. But he declared that Jesus had done nothing to deserve death.
Verse 42 He asked Jesus to ‘remember’ him. He realised that death was not the end. There was something beyond it.
Verse 43 Jesus promised far more than the criminal had asked. He would be in Paradise that very day. And Jesus would be with him. ‘Paradise’ is a word from the Persian language. It means ‘a quiet garden with a wall’. It was a beautiful place, like the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-9).
Verse 44 The country was dark for three hours. This was evidence that evil was happening to Jesus. He was the ‘Light of the World’ (John 8:12). In the Bible, darkness is often evidence of God’s judgement. This darkness showed that God in Jesus was judging human *sin.
Verse 45 A special curtain in the *Temple separated the Holy Place from the ‘Holy of Holies’ (Exodus 26:31-33). It separated the people from God. Only the chief priest ever went into the Holy of Holies. And this was only once a year. It was on a special day, that they called the Day of Atonement. The curtain was huge and very heavy. No human hands could have torn it. In any case, the tear was from the top (Mark 15:38). This meant that people could now approach God (Hebrews 10:19-22). The death of Jesus made this possible.
Verse 46 Jesus prayed in words from Psalm 31:5 and added the word ‘Father’. The *Jews used this prayer at night before they went to sleep. Jesus was confident that God, his Father would care for him. His last words showed that.
Verse 47 The officer heard how Jesus spoke on the cross. He praised God. He said that Jesus had not been guilty of any crime.
Verse 48 The people who had been watching returned home. They were very sad. Many people had probably come because they were curious. But they had changed their attitude. This happened because they saw the darkness. And because of the way that Jesus had spoken, before he died.
Verse 49 The *disciples who stood at a distance included women from Galilee. They had travelled with Jesus (Luke 8:2-3). They were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and Salome, the mother of James and John (Matthew 27:55-56).
Verses 50-51 Arimathea was a town a few miles north of Jerusalem. Joseph must have been a secret *disciple of Jesus. He may have remained silent in the *Sanhedrin. Or he had no chance to change their decision.
Verse 52 It was the *Roman custom to leave the bodies on crosses. The *Jews believed that it was wrong to do that. Someone must bury a man before sunset, if he had died in this way (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Joseph was brave. He went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised that Jesus was already dead (Mark 15:44-45). But he granted Joseph’s request.
Verse 53 The *tomb was a cave in the hill. It belonged to Joseph. It had never had a dead body in it before (Matthew 27:60). A new *tomb was a suitable place for a dead king. When the *Romans *crucified a criminal, they threw his body into a common grave.
Verse 54 The ‘day of preparation’ was Friday. The *Jews prepared for the *Sabbath, which began at six o’clock on Friday evening. Therefore, Joseph had little time after the death of Jesus and his visit to Pilate.
Verse 55 The women from Galilee saw where the *tomb was. But they had no time to prepare the body. They usually put oils, which smelled sweet, on it. Nicodemus helped Joseph to put *spices between the strips of cloth (John 19:38-40). The women wanted to finish doing this.
Verse 56 They went back to where they were staying in Jerusalem. The *Sabbath ended at sunset on Saturday.
Verse 1 As soon as the sun rose, very early on Sunday, the women went to the *tomb.
Verses 2-3 There had been a heavy round stone that closed the entrance to the *tomb. Someone had rolled this stone away. When the women arrived, they saw that. So they could get in. But the body of Jesus was no longer there.
Verses 4-6 The two men were actually *angels, in human shape. Their shining appearance greatly frightened the women. But the *angels reminded them what Jesus had said about his death and *resurrection.
Verse 7 What had happened was all in the plan of God. The word ‘must’ emphasises that.
Verses 9-10 Luke alone mentions Joanna (8:3), but Mark includes Salome (Mark 16:1). The women told the other *apostles what they had seen and heard.
Verse 11 Luke used a medical word to describe what the *apostles thought. It meant the nonsense that a very sick person might say. Luke emphasises the *apostles’ attitude when he adds, ‘They did not believe them’.
Verse 12 But Peter ran to see for himself. He found only the cloths that Joseph had wrapped round the body. John 20:3-7 says that John went with him.
Verse 13 The two people who were returning to Emmaus were *disciples of Jesus. One was Cleopas (verse 18), but Luke does not name the other one. The second one could have been Cleopas’s wife.
Verse 15 Jesus must have been behind them.
Verse 16 We do not know why they did not recognise Jesus. They were not expecting to see him. Also, they were too sad to look straight at this stranger. But there were other occasions when people did not recognise Jesus at once. Perhaps he looked different. Perhaps the two people needed to understand the message of the *Old Testament before they could recognise him.
Verses 18-21 The traveller astonished them. He did not seem to know what had happened. They told him that Jesus was a *prophet. God approved of him. The *miracles that he performed showed that. The ordinary people had accepted him as a *prophet.
Verse 21 ‘We hoped’ would include the other *disciples as well as the two travellers. The *Jews all hoped for a political *Messiah who would drive the *Romans out of their country. Now their hope had ended in bitter disappointment.
Verses 22-23 They explained that the women had visited the *tomb. And that some *apostles had visited it to check their story. Luke mentions only Peter. John also went with him (John 20:3-8).
Verse 27 The ‘books of Moses’ are the first five books of the *Old Testament. The second part of the *Hebrew Bible contains what the *prophets wrote. Jesus would have used a passage like that of God’s Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. *Israel had thought of itself as this servant. Jesus showed that he was the suffering servant. And he died on behalf of other people (Isaiah 53:12).
Verse 28 Jesus never forced anyone to welcome him. He acted as if he were going on.
Verse 29 He accepted their invitation to stay, as it was getting late in the day.
Verses 30-31 Jesus acted as the host. He gave the usual thanks to God, when he broke the bread. As he broke the bread, they suddenly recognised him. They may have seen the marks of the nails on his hands. Perhaps he thanked God and broke the bread in the familiar way. They were probably not at the Last Supper (just before the *Jews arrested Jesus). But they may have seen Jesus do this on other occasions. On one such occasion, Jesus fed 5000 people.
Verse 32 The two people had felt excited as Jesus was explaining the *Scriptures to them. Now they remembered that.
Verse 33 It was evening. The journey back to Jerusalem meant that they walked another 7 miles (11 kilometres). And the road was up hills all the way! But they wanted to share their good news with the other *disciples immediately. So, they left at once. They knew where the 11 *apostles and the other *disciples would be.
Verse 34 The *disciples in Jerusalem already knew that Jesus was alive. He had appeared to Peter. There are no details of this meeting. It was probably a painful but happy experience for Peter. But too private to talk about. Paul says that Jesus appeared especially to Peter (1 Corinthians 15:5).
Verse 35 The two travellers then told of their own experience. And how they had recognised Jesus when he broke the loaf. Later, Christians would break a loaf. They considered those occasions as the special time when Jesus was present with them. Holy Communion is one of the names for these special times when Christians remember Jesus’ death. Other names for it are Eucharist, Breaking of Bread, and the *Lord’s Supper.
Verse 36 ‘Peace be with you’ was the usual *Jewish greeting.
Verse 37 Jesus did not enter through the door. His sudden appearance greatly frightened them. They thought that he was a spirit. John says that the doors were shut because they were afraid of the *Jews (John 20:19).
Verse 38 Jesus tried to make them calm. He told them to look at his hands and feet and to touch him. They would see the evidence of the nails. They would realise that he had a real body. A spirit does not have a physical body.
Verses 42-43 They still could not believe that he was real. So, Jesus asked for some food. He did not need it for himself, but it gave them extra proof.
Verses 44-45 Jesus may have taught them that evening or on another occasion. He said that the three parts of the *Hebrew *Old Testament all taught about him. He said that their words had come true. Psalms are in the third part, called ‘The Writings’. The *Scriptures said this: The *Messiah must suffer before he rose to life again three days later.
Verses 47-48 Jesus said that they must take his message of good news to all nations. They would have his authority. They must tell people to turn to God. Then God will forgive their *sins. The *disciples’ work must begin in Jerusalem. There they would give the good news that they knew was true.
Verse 49 Jesus said that he himself would send the Holy Spirit to them. But they must stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. He would give them power.
Verse 50 Luke gives only this short account of the *ascension. Luke wrote the Acts of the *Apostles. He intended to begin it with more details (Acts 1:1-11). The way in which Jesus left meant that the *disciples would not see him again on earth.
Verse 53 The good news in Luke’s *Gospel began with Zechariah in the *Temple. He received God’s promise about Jesus the Christ (*Messiah). It ends with the *disciples praising God in the *Temple. They are waiting for the Holy Spirit, whom the *Lord Jesus Christ has promised to send to them.
altar ~ a table in the *temple on which people make *offerings to God.
ancestors ~ any persons from whom the families of your father or mother come.
angel ~ God’s servant and *messenger in heaven.
apostle ~ one of the 12 men whom Jesus chose to be his special helpers.
ark ~ a large boat such as Noah built.
ascension ~ the passing of Christ’s body from earth to heaven.
baptise/baptism ~ to put a person into water to show that he wants to obey God.
Baptist ~ a person who *baptises people (John the Baptist).
betray ~ to give a person to an enemy by not being loyal.
bier ~ open structure on which to carry a dead body.
blasphemy ~ insulting God.
bless, blessing ~ to say or to do much good to a person; to call something holy; to ask God for good things to happen; to guard and to keep from evil things.
Caesar ~ *Roman *emperor.
census ~ official count of people.
chaff ~ outside cover of grain.
chest ~ top part of a person’s body where the heart is.
Christ/Messiah ~ the *Jews’ word for the king whom God would send to rescue them.
circumcise, circumcision ~ act of removing end part of skin from the male sex part; a sign of God’s special agreement with *Israel.
cock ~ male chicken.
commandment ~ a rule that God gave.
convulsions ~ sudden body movements that a person cannot control.
court, courtyard ~ open space with building round.
covenant ~ special agreement.
crucifixion ~ to nail someone to a wooden cross in order to kill them.
crucify ~ to kill by *crucifixion.
demons ~ bad or evil spirits. They work for *Satan, the chief demon.
descendants ~ future members of a family or nation.
Devil ~ or *Satan; chief of *demons.
disciple ~ one who follows another and learns from him; a person who believes in Jesus; a person who follows the things that he teaches.
dog ~ an animal that some people have in their houses.
donkey ~ animal like a small horse.
dough ~ bread mixture.
elder ~ a leader.
emperor ~ king who rules over many countries.
empire ~ group of nations under one ruler (*emperor).
eternal ~ without beginning or end.
eternity ~ the future life in heaven.
faith ~ trust.
fast ~ to choose not to eat and drink for a time.
feast ~ special meal; *religious ceremony.
Feast of Tabernacles ~ a *Jewish harvest *festival to remember God’s care for his people when they were in the desert.
festival ~ a holiday; a *feast; a big meal.
fever ~ illness that makes the body very hot.
fig ~ kind of sweet fruit that grows on a tree.
fisherman ~ someone who fishes.
follower ~ person who follows a leader.
forgive ~ when someone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things.
Gentiles ~ people who are not *Jews.
glory ~ everything that makes God beautiful and great; like a great light from God.
gospel ~ good news about Jesus.
grape ~ fruit of *vine.
Greek ~ language of the *New Testament. Many people spoke Greek in *New Testament times.
Hades ~ *Greek name for place of dead people.
heal ~ cure; make completely well.
Hebrew ~ language of the *Jews and of the *Old Testament.
herald ~ one who announces the arrival of an important person.
herbs ~ plants that are useful in cooking or medicine.
Holy Spirit ~ God’s *Spirit sent by Jesus to help people; another name for God; also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the one who comforts; the Holy Spirit is a person, but not human as we are; he lives and works for God; he is God, equal with God the Father and with God the Son. We cannot see him but he is there.
husks ~ dry outer cover of grain.
hypocrisy ~ pretending to be better than you are.
hypocrites ~ persons who pretend to be better than they are.
incense ~ substance that people burn for its sweet smell, especially in *religious ceremonies.
inn ~ a place that provides food and shelter for travellers.
Israel, Israelites ~ all the people from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Jew ~ a person who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.
judge ~ one who decides what is true or not.
kingdom ~ land that a king rules.
lamb ~ young sheep.
leaven ~ see *yeast.
leprosy ~ serious disease of the skin.
Levite ~ *priest’s helper in the *Temple.
Lord ~ name for God in the Bible; name that we use for Jesus when we obey him.
lot ~ means of reaching a fair decision.
mercy ~ be kind to and help a person who does wrong.
messenger ~ person who gives a message.
Messiah/Christ ~ the *Jews’ word for the king whom God would send to rescue them.
miracle ~ an event that seems to be against the usual laws of nature.
Mount ~ small mountain.
mustard seed ~ a very tiny seed.
offering ~ a gift to please God.
olive ~ a kind of tree that has fruit.
parable ~ a story with a moral meaning.
Passover ~ annual ceremony to remember when God rescued the *Jews from Egypt.
Pentecost ~ the time each year when the *Jews thank God for their food; the time when God gave the *Holy Spirit to the church.
Pharisees ~ group of *Jews who were very strict about the law of Moses.
physical disabilities ~ people with physical disabilities are people who cannot see or people who do not find it easy to walk or to do other things.
praise ~ to say how good a person is; to tell God how great he is, as when we are praying or singing to him.
preach ~ to tell people about Jesus, and how to live for Jesus.
pride ~ to praise yourself. To think that you are very important.
priest ~ a man that gave gifts and burned animals as a *sacrifice to God for the *Jews; a man that God chose to serve him.
prophecy ~ words that God gives to a person to tell other people.
prophet ~ one who tells God’s messages.
rabbi ~ teacher of the law of the *Jews.
religious ~ leaders belonging to a religion.
repent, repentance ~ to change one’s attitude and behaviour.
resurrection ~ to come back to life after death.
Roman ~ person or thing that belongs to *Rome.
Rome ~ capital of a great *empire in *New Testament times.
Sabbath ~ day of rest when people should not work (Saturday for *Jews).
sackcloth ~ rough material (made from old sacks). *Jews wore it when very sad or sorry.
sacrifice ~ a gift to God to ask him to forgive sins; or to thank him for something.
saddle ~ rider’s seat on an animal.
Sadducees ~ group of *Jews who did not believe in life after death.
salvation ~ when God saves a person from the results of, and punishment for, sin. When a person is sorry for their wrong ways; God forgives them and they follow Jesus.
Samaria ~ country on north border of Judah; its capital has the same name.
Samaritan ~ a person who comes from *Samaria.
Sanhedrin ~ the group of *Jewish *priests and other leaders.
Satan ~ chief evil spirit; the Devil.
save/salvation ~ rescue from the power and result of *sin.
Saviour ~ the one (Jesus) who rescues from *sin.
scorpion ~ a dangerous insect that stings.
Scribes ~ teachers of the law of Moses.
Scripture(s) ~ Bible.
scroll ~ long piece of paper or animal skin with words on it.
shekel ~ *Jewish money.
shepherd ~ one who cares for sheep.
sin/sinner ~ when people do things against God or other people.
Son of David ~ *descendant of David; a title of *Messiah.
Son of God ~ a title of *Messiah.
Son of Man ~ special name that Jesus used of himself.
sore ~ a bad place on your body.
soul ~ the part of a person that we cannot see, that is in us during our life on earth. It continues to live after the body dies.
spice ~ powder that people make from certain plants to give flavour to food.
spirit ~ the part of a person which is alive, which we cannot see. It can speak to other spirits and the *soul.
spiritual ~ belonging to the *spirit.
spit ~ to send liquid out of the mouth.
synagogue ~ a building where *Jews gather to pray and to study the *Old Testament.
tassels ~ groups of long pieces of wool or cotton on the edge of clothes.
tax ~ money that people must pay to the government.
tax-collector ~ man who received *taxes for the government.
Temple ~ special building in Jerusalem where *Jews *worshipped God.
temptation ~ something that tries to make us do wrong things.
tenant ~ person who occupies somebody’s property in return for rent.
thresh, threshing ~ to separate grain from straw.
thunder ~ the loud noise that you may hear in a storm.
tithe ~ one tenth. The *Jewish law said that the people must give a tenth of the harvest of oil, grain and *wine to God. This tenth part was a ‘tithe’.
Tobit ~ an old book that someone wrote before Jesus came to earth.
tomb ~ cave in side of a hill for a grave.
transfiguration ~ change in appearance.
trial ~ the examination of a person in a court of law to discover whether he is guilty or not of a crime.
tribe ~ a group of people; a family or people having the same *ancestors.
twin ~ one born at the same time as a brother or sister.
unclean ~ (1) not pure in a *religious meaning. (2) dirty.
unleavened ~ bread without *yeast.
vine ~ plant that produces *grapes.
vineyard ~ a place in which to grow *grapes.
warning ~ when we warn someone. We say that we are giving them a warning.
wine ~ a drink made from *grapes.
wineskins ~ these were used to keep *wine in. They made them from the skins of animals.
winnow ~ after you *thresh plants, you winnow to separate the grain from the rest of the plant.
worship ~ show honour and respect to God and praise him.
yeast ~ substance that you put in bread to make it rise.
yourselves ~ more than one ‘yourself’.
Zealot ~ a strong enemy of the *Roman government.
H. Balmforth ~ St Luke ~ Clarendon Bible Commentary
William Barclay ~ The *Gospel of St Luke ~ Daily Study Bible
John Blanchard ~ Look through Luke
Robert G. Bratcher ~ A Translator’s Guide to the *Gospel of Luke
G. B. Caird ~ St Luke ~ Pelican *Gospel Commentary
A. E. Garvie ~ The *Gospel according to St Luke ~ Westminster *New Testament Commentary
William Hendriksen ~ The *Gospel of Luke ~ *New Testament Commentary
D. G. Miller ~ St Luke ~ Layman’s Bible Commentaries
Leon Morris ~ Luke ~ Tyndale NT Commentaries
Michael Wilcock ~ The *Saviour of the World ~ The Bible Speaks Today
Bibles ~ TEV, RSV, NIV
© 1997-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words)
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