Jesus on his way from Galilee to Jerusalem
An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Luke 9:51 to 19:44
This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
Verses 51-56 Jesus was in the north of *Israel. He knew that the time of his return to heaven would be soon. Therefore, he set out to go to Jerusalem. There he would die and he would rise from death. Then 40 days later he would go up from the earth into heaven (Acts 1:1-9).
The journey to Jerusalem would take about three days by the most direct route. Jesus’ route went through Samaria. He sent some *disciples ahead of him to find a place to stay. The *Samaritans and the *Jews were not friends. The *Samaritans knew that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. So, they would not give him a place to stay in their village.
James and John were angry because of this. It seems that these two *disciples had bad tempers. Jesus called them ‘sons of thunder’ (Mark 3:17). Thunder is the loud noise that that you may hear in a storm. James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven on this *Samaritan village. Some translations add ‘as Elijah did.’ Elijah had called fire down from heaven on the soldiers that had come to arrest him (2 Kings 1:10-12). But Jesus told James and John that their attitude was wrong. Those people who follow the *Christ should not have such angry reactions. They should love their enemies and they should not want to hurt them.
Verses 57-62 These three incidents show that to follow the *Christ can be difficult. These three men did not understand what it meant to follow Jesus. There is a cost to pay if we would follow him.
The first man approached Jesus. If this is the same event as in Matthew, the man was a teacher of the law (Matthew 8:19). He spoke to Jesus. He said that he would follow Jesus. He would go wherever Jesus went. The man had not understood what this might mean.
Jesus replied that animals and birds have their homes. Jesus, as the Son of Man, had no home in this world. To follow him would mean to share his way of life.
Jesus asked the second man to follow him. This man is called a *disciple in Matthew 8:21. Jesus called him to *preach the good news. But this man was not yet ready to come. He wanted to bury his father first. If his father had died, the man would not have been with Jesus. He would have been busy until he had buried the father. So probably the meaning is that the father was still alive. The man wanted to stay at home until his father died. Then he would follow Jesus.
Whether the father was dead or not, the work of God’s *kingdom must come first. Let those who are at home bury that father. Not even this family matter is a sufficient excuse not to obey Jesus. This man must obey Jesus now. When Jesus tells a person to do something, he expects there to be no delay.
The third man said to Jesus that he would follow him. He asked that first he might say goodbye to his family at home. This sounds like a reasonable request. But perhaps in this case he was delaying his decision. Later he might follow Jesus or maybe he will not follow Jesus.
Jesus shows that the work of the *kingdom will not wait. Those people who start this work must not turn back. The man who starts to plough must go forward to finish the task.
Verses 1-4 The *Lord Jesus sent a number of *disciples ahead of him on his journey to Jerusalem. It is difficult to say how many there were. Many Bibles have 70 rather than 72. The word ‘another’ may mean that these were in addition to the 12 *apostles. So the total could be as many as 84. But it is more likely that the 12 *apostles stayed with Jesus.
People have tried to interpret the number 72. The *Jews thought that there were 72 nations in the world. So, the good news is for the entire world. Other people have tried to interpret the number 70. The Sanhedrin had 70 members. The Sanhedrin was the government of the *Jews. The 70 leaders of the people ought to be ready for the *Christ to come. They should have prepared the people for the *Christ. Another idea is that there is a reference to the 70 leaders of Israel in Numbers 11:24-30. After the *Holy Spirit came upon them, they shared Moses’ work (Numbers 11:16-17).
Jesus spoke of a large harvest. There was a lot of work to do. But there were only a few workers to gather it. Once the harvest is ready, there must not be any delay. A delay could spoil the harvest. The harvest here means the people who need to hear the good news about the *kingdom of God. This is true in every age. People need to hear the good news about Jesus.
Jesus sent these teams ahead of him. But the need was for many more workers. So, Jesus told them to pray that God would send more workers to work for the *kingdom of God. This should be the prayer of Christians in all ages.
The work of the *kingdom of God is often dangerous. Jesus told these *disciples that they were like young sheep among *wolves. *Wolves are wild animals. They look like large dogs. *Wolves are natural enemies of sheep. *Wolves will scatter the sheep. And they kill those sheep that they catch. The people who follow Jesus will have many enemies. Many Christians have died because they belong to Jesus. The Bible tells us that we should expect to suffer on behalf of Jesus (Philippians 1:29).
These *disciples had to depend on God and the kindness of people for all that they needed. They did not take money, food or spare clothes for the journey.
It was the custom to stop and to talk with anyone whom you met on the way. This was not just to say hello. It could be a long conversation. These *disciples must not spend the time in unnecessary conversation. They had urgent work to do.
Verses 5-7 When the *disciples came to a town or village, they would find a place to stay. Then they would ask the *Lord to *bless that house and the people who live there. If their hosts have the right attitude, the *Lord will *bless them. He would show them kindness as they had shown kindness to his servants. But the *Lord will not *bless those people who refused to receive them.
While the *disciples were in that place, they should not move from house to house. They should stay in the house that they entered first. As the *Lord’s workers, they deserve the food and drink that the hosts give to them. These things are their wages.
Here is a right principle. Those people who work for the *Lord deserve their wages (1 Timothy 5:18).
Verses 8-12 The *disciples would go into towns or villages where people would receive them. There the *disciples should accept the kindness of the people. In a wealthy home, the food may be very good; elsewhere the food may be poor. But the *disciples should eat whatever the people give to them. In these places, the *disciples would have the power to cure sick people. And they should *preach the good news of the *kingdom of God.
The people in other towns and villages would not receive the *disciples. The *disciples should tell the people about the *kingdom of God. But the people in these places would not believe the *gospel. The *disciples must warn these people that God will punish them. To show this, the *disciples must wipe the dust of that place from their feet.
You can read about Sodom in Genesis 18:16 to 19:29. At the last day, God will punish Sodom. But these towns will receive worse punishment. There is no hope for anyone that refuses to accept the *Lord Jesus.
Verses 13-15 Then Jesus spoke about some towns where he had done many *miracles. These towns were at the north end of the Sea of Galilee.
This is the only reference to Chorazin (or Korazin) in the Bible. Bethsaida was the home of Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44; John 12:21). It was on the north west side of the sea. Jesus made Capernaum his home while he was in Galilee (Matthew 4:13).
The people from these towns will suffer because they did not *repent. They opposed God as they refused to accept Jesus.
Jesus did many *miracles in all of these places. We read about only a few of them at Capernaum. He did many more powerful works in addition to the ones that the *New Testament mentions (John 21:25).
Tyre and Sidon were towns on the coast to the north of *Israel. Ezekiel chapters 26 to 28 describe how God would punish Tyre. If Jesus had done these *miracles there, the people would have *repented. Rough clothes and ashes were a sign of *repentance. The punishment for these people will be less severe than for the inhabitants of the towns in Galilee.
Verse 16 The *disciples must speak as from the *Lord Jesus. Jesus gave to them authority to speak on his behalf. So, people who listen to the words of the *disciples in effect listen to the words of Jesus. To refuse the *disciples is to refuse Jesus who sent them. To refuse Jesus is to refuse God. As God sent Jesus, so Jesus sent his *disciples.
Verses 17-20 The *disciples came back to Jesus. They gave to him an account of their experiences. They had done many things by the authority that Jesus had given to them. Even *demons had to obey them because of the power of the *Lord Jesus. Without that power, they could not have done these things.
Jesus saw *Satan fall like lightning from heaven. This seems to mean the defeat of *Satan. And that defeat was sudden, like lightning from the skies. The power of Jesus in his *disciples broke the power of *demons.
Jesus had given to the *disciples authority over the enemy. The enemy is *Satan and his power is like that of snakes and *scorpions. The bites of snakes and the sting of *scorpions could be poisonous. But even these could not hurt the *disciples. So, nothing that the enemy would do could hurt them. As they carried out this special task for Jesus, the *disciples had authority over the enemy.
A *scorpion has 8 feet, 8 eyes and a long tail. It is up to 4 inches (10 centimetres) in length. At the end of the tail is its sting. Its sting is extremely poisonous, and sometimes it can kill a person.
The *disciples were excited that they had sent *demons away. But they should be happier that God had accepted them. Their future was in heaven. It was the custom in each city to keep a register of all the citizens. So, the *disciples were citizens of heaven.
Verses 21-23 What Jesus had done by means of the *disciples excited him. The *Holy Spirit filled him with this joy. So, Jesus praised God his Father who is the *Lord of heaven and earth.
Jesus does not say what ‘all this’ is. It probably refers to what the *disciples learnt. God had shown the truth to these ordinary people. Without God’s help, even intelligent people with their wisdom and education cannot find the truth about God. But God can show it even to little children.
God the Father has given to Jesus power and authority over all things. Jesus is the Son of God. Nobody can really know who Jesus is. Only God the Father has a full knowledge of Jesus the Son. Nobody can know God the Father. But Jesus shows us who God is. It is by means of Jesus and only by means of Jesus that we can know God the Father.
Jesus told the *disciples how God had *blessed them. They had seen that Jesus is the *Christ. They had heard what he said. They had seen his *miracles. The *prophets and many of the kings in the *Old Testament wanted to see the *Christ. But they did not see him. They wanted to hear him but they did not hear him.
Verses 25-29 This man was an expert in the *Jewish religion. He came to test Jesus. This does not mean that he was against Jesus. He asked Jesus how he could earn *eternal life. Probably he wanted to find out what Jesus would say to this question. He did not ask it because he needed the answer for himself. But Jesus turned the question back to him.
Jesus asked the expert what the law said on this subject. He asked him what he understood from the law. The answer from the law is that a person must love the *Lord. That love must be with the whole person. And a person must love his neighbour as much as he loves himself. Jesus agreed with this answer. If a person could obey the whole law, he would have *eternal life. Jesus told the man to do it. But such a standard is not possible for us to achieve. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot obey the whole law (Romans 3:20).
The law expert tried to obey the law. He wanted people to think that he had succeeded in it. So, he asked Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ That was an important question. The *Jewish law clearly taught that *Jews had a duty to look after other *Jews (Leviticus 19:18). But people argued about whether they also had a duty to look after foreigners. Especially people would not want to consider the *Samaritans, who were often the enemies of the *Jews, as neighbours.
Verses 30-37 Jesus told the man a story to show him what a neighbour would do. Jesus made the expert decide who was the neighbour. The expert had to say that a *Samaritan was the true neighbour.
From Jerusalem to Jericho is a distance of about 17 miles (about 27 kilometres). Jericho is on a plain near the Jordan River. It is a few miles north of the Dead Sea. The road in those days was very steep. It went down about 3000 feet (900 metres) through rocks in which thieves could easily hide. It was dangerous to travel that road alone.
A man went from Jerusalem to go to Jericho. Jesus expected the expert to understand that the man was a *Jew. Thieves attacked the man and they almost killed him. They took all that he had, even his clothes. And they left the man there at the side of the road.
Priests and *Levites served in the *temple in Jerusalem. There were 24 groups of priests. Each group was on duty for a week. A large number of these priests and *Levites lived in Jericho. So there would often be priests and *Levites on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.
In the story, a priest came down that road. He had finished his duties in the *temple. He was on his way home. He saw the man but he went by on the other side of the road. That was a terrible thing to do. A priest should be a holy man; he certainly should not neglect such an important duty. If the priest was going up to Jerusalem, he would have a special reason to be careful. If he touched a dead person, he could not serve in the *temple with his group. He would be unclean for 7 days (Numbers 19:16). However, that would not be a proper excuse. The duty to help someone in a desperate situation was more important even than the work in the *temple.
Then a *Levite came by. He came and he looked at the man. Then he passed by on the other side of the road. The same was true of the *Levite as with the priest. He had no proper excuse.
Jesus now says that a *Samaritan came down that road. The *Jews and the *Samaritans were often enemies. The *Samaritan came to the man and he pitied him. Jesus contrasted the attitude of the *Samaritan with that of the priest and the *Levite. They would not help another *Jew; but the *Samaritan helped an enemy.
The *Samaritan did what he could on behalf of the man. He cleaned the injuries with oil and wine. In those days, they used oil and wine as medicine to heal injuries. Then he covered the injuries with bandages. He put the man on his own animal and he took the man to a hotel. The *Samaritan took care of the man for the night. Then in the morning, he paid the hotel manager the money to take care of the man. Maybe the hotel would have to spend more. The *Samaritan promised to pay to them what they had spent.
The *Samaritan gave to the hotel manager two silver coins. These coins were probably enough to keep the man for perhaps a month in the hotel.
Jesus asked the expert in the *Jewish law which of the three persons was a neighbour to the man. The expert had to answer, ‘The one who helped the man.’ Perhaps his prejudice would not allow him to say, ‘The *Samaritan.’
The original question that the expert in the *Jewish law asked, was, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ The *Samaritan showed himself to be the neighbour to the man. Jesus did not say who was a neighbour to the expert. But the expert should be a neighbour. Now Jesus told the expert to do the same kind of thing. Show kindness to all whether they are friends or enemies.
Verses 38-42 Jesus and his *disciples went to Bethany village where Martha and Mary lived. Bethany was about two miles from Jerusalem. Martha invited them into her home. Martha lived there with her sister Mary.
With such a large group of guests, Martha was very busy. To provide for them all, there was a lot of work to do. And Martha was anxious about it. Probably she would rather have listened to Jesus but she was too busy. But Mary did not help her in her work. Mary just sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to what he said. It seems that she was eager to learn from Jesus. And Jesus encouraged her to learn from him. This was not usual in those times. Not many *Jewish teachers would teach a woman.
It upset Martha that Mary did not help her in the work. It upset her that Jesus did not seem to care about it. She asked Jesus to tell Mary that she should come to help her. Jesus understood what Martha felt. He was gentle in his reply to her. Martha was anxious because she was so busy in her work for Jesus. Mary had not joined in that work, but she was still doing something good. Only one thing is really necessary for us: to receive a right relationship with God. Mary had done that and Jesus would not stop her. Our work for God should be the result of that relationship.
We can be so busy that we fail to hear the *Lord. It is better to hear the *Lord first. Then we can do what is necessary.
Verses 1-4 Luke often records that Jesus prayed. Jesus prayed at his *baptism (Luke 3:21). He often went alone to pray or he prayed with his *disciples (Luke 5:16; Luke 9:18). He prayed all night before he chose the *apostles (Luke 6:12). And he prayed on the mountain when Moses and Elijah came to him (Luke 9:29).
Leaders of religion often taught their *disciples how to pray. John the *Baptist had taught his *disciples. One of Jesus’ *disciples saw how Jesus prayed. So, he asked Jesus to teach them.
Then Jesus gave to them this prayer. We know it as the *Lord’s prayer. This prayer is similar to the one in Matthew (Matthew 6:5-15). That prayer is a bit longer than the one in Luke. Probably Jesus taught the prayer in Matthew some time earlier than this occasion. Both prayers have the same arrangement.
This prayer is a model of how we ought to pray. It is not enough just to repeat the words. But when Christians pray together, we often say these words. In prayer, by *faith we talk to our God. This prayer is a pattern for our own prayers.
Jesus starts the prayer with ‘Father’. When we pray we call God our Father. This is true for all who believe in the *Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God and by *faith, we become children of God.
The ‘name’ of God means God himself. It includes the whole character of God. God is holy. We praise God because of who he is. This is the proper attitude when we come to God in prayer. We praise him before we ask for anything. And our first request is for his *kingdom to come. In effect, we ask that he will rule as king in us and in the world. He is the *Lord and we are his servants.
Then there are three requests for us.
(1) The first request is for bread each day. We depend on God to provide for us. We ask God to supply all that we need for each day.
(2) The second request is that God would forgive us. First, we need to forgive those people who have done wrong deeds against us. We cannot expect God to forgive us if we do not forgive other people. But God does not forgive us because we forgive other people. He forgives us because he loves us. God can forgive us because Jesus died for our *sins. When we *repent of our *sins, God forgives us. But if we ask God to forgive us, we ought to forgive other people.
(3) God does not *tempt us (James 1:13). We should run away from the wrong deeds that *tempt us. But we are weak. So, we ask God to save us from all that *tempts us. In particular, we ask God to save us from the evil one, the devil.
Verses 5-8 Jesus tells a story to show that we should continue in prayer.
In the villages, each family would bake bread every day. By the evening, this particular family did not have any bread. A friend arrived in the middle of the night. The family did not expect this friend to come. But the host must feed this guest. In that society, people considered that to be an important duty. He could not then buy bread. So, the host went to the house of another friend to ask for three small loaves. But this other friend was in bed with his children. They all slept in one room. To get up would disturb the children. This friend would not get up even to help his friend. The man who needed the bread would not go away. He continued to ask for bread. So, in the end, the friend got up and gave him the loaves. He was ready to give more than the man had requested.
If we really want something from God, we will continue in prayer. God wants to answer our prayers. But he does not always answer immediately.
Verses 9-10 Jesus tells his *disciples to ask, to search and to knock. All three of these are continuous. Continue to ask. Continue to search and continue to knock. To each of these actions, there will be success. God will always hear true prayer. He will answer those prayers in the way that is best. The answer may be different from the request. Prayer must be in *faith and for the right purpose (James 1:5-8; James 4:3).
Verses 11-13 God is our Father in heaven. He is so much better than even the best human father. No human father would give a snake instead of a fish to his child. He would not give a *scorpion instead of an egg. An evil father knows how to give good gifts to his children. God is even more ready to give good things to his children.
God has promised to give the *Holy Spirit to his people when they ask him.
Verses 14-16 There was a man who was dumb because of a *demon in him. Jesus ordered the *demon to come out of the man. It came out and the man was able to speak. Nobody doubted that Jesus had done this *miracle. It astonished them. But they did not know the power by which Jesus had done it. Some of the people said that the power came from Beelzebul. Other people wanted to see evidence that the power was from heaven. They had not understood what this *miracle meant. It was evidence that Jesus was the *Christ. Jesus Christ had freed this man from the power of the *demon.
Beelzebul was the prince of *demons. The name probably comes from the name of a false god. It became another name for *Satan.
Verses 17-20 Jesus knew what was in the minds of the people. So he explained that it would not be reasonable for *Satan to force out *demons. If he did, he would defeat himself. *Satan tries to destroy what is good. He does not destroy what is evil.
There were *Jews who tried to force *demons to leave people. Jesus asked if they did it by the power of *Satan. The answer must be no. If they were able to free people from *demons, they could only do that by the power of God.
The ‘finger of God’ means the power of God. If Jesus forced out *demons by the finger of God then God’s *kingdom had come. In other words, Jesus’ success against *demons was evidence of God’s rule.
Verses 21-23 Jesus then told a story about a strong man. This man was ready to guard his house, in other words, his palace. The palace was safe until a stronger man came along. Then that stronger man defeated the man who was guarding his own palace.
*Satan was like the strong man who guarded his possessions. *Satan cannot stand against the power of God. *Satan has a strong grip on people. But when God’s *kingdom comes, it breaks that grip. The *Lord Jesus is that stronger man. By God’s power, he defeated *Satan.
People have to make a choice. Either they accept Jesus Christ or they refuse him. Either they are with him or they are against him.
Verses 24-26 Jesus had just sent a *demon (an evil spirit) out of a dumb man. This little story does not mean that the *demon will return to that man. Of course Christ did not make people free so that evil spirits could enter their lives again. But people have a choice whether they will serve God or not. In the story, the man chose not to allow God to rule his life. That wrong decision gave the *demon the opportunity to return to that man.
The evil spirit thinks of a person as its home. If it leaves that home, it will wander in dry places. People thought of dry deserts as the place where there were evil spirits. This evil spirit looks for a place of rest in the dry desert places. It does not find such a place of rest. So, it returns to the person that it calls its ‘house’.
Without the evil spirit, the person’s life had improved. When the evil spirit returns, he finds the person in a better state. But the person has not permitted God to rule his life. So that person is available for the evil spirit to come in again. The evil spirit finds 7 worse evil spirits. And they all make their home in the person. So, the person is in an even worse state than before.
In this story, the evil spirit had come out of the person. But it is not enough just to send an evil spirit away. There is an empty place in that person’s life; it is necessary to fill that empty place. But the person had not allowed God to rule his life; he had not allowed God’s *Holy Spirit to enter that place. So, he was open to the return of the evil spirit. When the *Holy Spirit rules a person’s life, no evil spirit can return.
Verses 27-28 The woman thought that it would be wonderful to be the mother of Jesus. She would be happy if her son was as great as him. His mother must be happy because God had *blessed her with such a son. That was true but Jesus spoke of something more important. The natural relationship with him is not so important. But God *blesses those people who have a right attitude to his word. They hear the word of God and they obey it.
Verses 29-32 The people had asked Jesus for evidence. They wanted him to show them *miracles from heaven (verse 16). As the crowd increased, Jesus replied to their request. Because the people of that time wanted such evidence, Jesus called them an evil people. They should trust God; they should not merely ask for *miracles. And Jesus would not do any *miracles in order to satisfy them. People have a duty to trust God whether or not they see his *miracles.
The story of Jonah will be evidence for them. As Jonah *preached to the people in Nineveh, so Jesus *preached to the people of his time. The people in Nineveh *repented and they turned to God. God was doing a greater work by means of Jesus than he did by means of Jonah. But most of the people to whom Jesus *preached did not *repent. They did not believe him and they did not accept him as the *Christ. At the time of the judgement, the people from Nineveh will show that these people are guilty.
Luke does not talk about the time that Jonah was in the big fish. Jonah was three days and three nights in the big fish (Jonah 1:17). So, the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the earth (Matthew 12:40). Jonah came out of the big fish as from death to life. So, Jesus would rise from death. That will be the proof that Jesus is the *Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus talks about the queen of the south. We know her as the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-13). Sheba was probably the country that we now call Yemen. She heard of the wisdom of Solomon. From Sheba to Jerusalem was a long and difficult journey. But she came all that way to hear Solomon. God was showing more wisdom in Jesus than he did in Solomon. But the people of his day did not believe Jesus. At the time of the judgement, the queen of Sheba will show that the people of Jesus’ day are guilty.
Verses 33-36 The purpose of a lamp is to give light. The eye receives light for the body. Jesus calls the eye the ‘lamp of the body’. The body here means the person rather than just his body. When the eyes are good, the whole person gets the benefit of the light. If the eyes are not good, the person cannot see properly. It affects all that the person does.
Jesus uses the idea of light and darkness to mean what is good and evil. People can choose the right way to live, or they can choose an evil way. The good things in a person are like the light that shines. The bad things in a person are like the darkness.
We should take care that the light in us is good. In other words, we must always choose good things, and never evil things. We are responsible for the light or darkness that we receive. In other words, we are responsible for what we accept into our hearts and minds. We can be full of light and without darkness. In other words, we should obey God completely, because he is completely good. God’s word is like a bright light that shines into our lives (Psalm 119:105). It directs how we should live.
Verses 37-41 A *Pharisee invited Jesus to have a meal with him. The *Jews had two main meals in a day. The first one was lunch. The other meal was dinner in the evening. Jesus accepted this invitation to lunch. He took his place at the table. When he came in, Jesus did not wash before the meal. The *Pharisees washed their hands in a special way before they ate. They poured water over their hands and half way up their arms. To them this was an important and necessary ceremony. It was not that Jesus had dirty hands. But Jesus did not wash them in the special way. Jesus could see that this surprised the *Pharisee.
Jesus then began to speak about the wrong ways that many people use religion. He spoke about the actions of the *Pharisees and the experts in the law to explain this. However, his words are also true about many kinds of wrong religion. Many *Pharisees genuinely wanted to serve God; Jesus was not speaking about them. He was speaking against those leaders of religion who make it difficult for people to obey God. Such leaders insist that people must follow unimportant rules. But they will not do what God wants them to do.
The *Pharisees had many rules that came from their traditions. But these rules were all about outer things like how they washed cups and dishes. It was possible to obey all their rules but still to be wicked. People who follow such rules may seem to be good persons when really they are thieves and full of evil things. In such a system of religion, what a person does is most important. But to God, it is much more important what a person is. In other words, God cares about our attitudes and thoughts, not just our actions.
The person who made the cup made both the outside and the inside. God made both our outer body and inner *soul.
When our inner *soul has a right relationship with God, God helps us to have right thoughts and attitudes. So we are clean on the inside. The result is that we will do good deeds. For example, we will give to the poor people.
Verses 42-44 Jesus warns severely here about the wrong behaviour of many of the *Pharisees. They tried so hard to appear to be good. But they failed to love God and to have *faith in him. When the *Lord comes as the judge, it will be terrible for them.
To give a 10th to God was part of the *Old Testament law (Leviticus 27:30). The *Pharisees had interpreted this law in unnecessary detail. It should be a joy to give to the *Lord. But they had made it a heavy duty. They were not wrong to give a 10th in this way. But they missed the more important parts of the law. The first command in the law was to love God. Love for God would cause them to love other people. This is what they should have done.
*Mint and *herbs are plants that people grow in their gardens. They use the leaves to give flavour to food.
Jesus often had to warn *Pharisees who wanted to be superior to other people. In the *synagogue, the most important seats were at the front. People who wanted to be important strongly desired these seats. In the market places, they wanted people to see them and to respect them. They were so proud of themselves. But God opposes people who have proud attitudes (Luke 1:51).
Jesus then says that they are like graves. These graves have no marks. People walk on these graves but they do not know it. To walk on a grave made a person unclean in their religion. So, Jesus meant that the effect of this wrong kind of religion was to lead people away from God.
Verses 45-46 Jesus spoke against the *Pharisees. But what he said referred to many of the experts in the law also. (That is, the experts in the laws and rules of religion.) One of them thought that Jesus’ words were an insult against them.
These experts in the law interpreted the *Old Testament rules. But they added many rules and traditions of their own to God’s commands. So, the many laws that they made were too much for people to obey. There were so many minor rules that an ordinary person could not know them all. The experts found ways to make it easier for themselves to follow all these rules. But they would not help the people.
When the *Lord comes as the judge, it will be terrible for these experts in the law.
Verses 47-51 These experts in the law, together with some other leaders of their religion, built graves for the *prophets. Their *ancestors had killed the *prophets. Now these men pretended to show honour to the *prophets. But they would not obey what the *prophets had taught them to do. So, they were behaving like their *ancestors. In effect, they approved of what their *ancestors had done. They built the graves. In this, they showed that they were guilty too. This would become even plainer in the near future. With the *Romans, they would cause the death of Jesus. And God would send other *apostles and *prophets. The same people who built graves to give honour to the *prophets, would *persecute the *apostles and *prophets. And they would kill some of them.
It was in the purpose of God to send *prophets and *apostles. He knew that people would refuse these, his servants. He knew that they would kill many of these *apostles and *prophets. So, the people of that day would be as guilty as their *ancestors were. The blame for the deaths of all the *prophets would fall on the people of that time. They had the same attitude as those people who killed the *prophets. So, they would share the same punishment.
Cain, the brother of Abel, murdered him (Genesis 4:8). Cain and Abel were sons of Adam and Eve. Abel was the first to die in this way. The people under King Joash killed Zechariah in the area of the *Lord’s *temple. They threw stones at him until he died (2 Chronicles 24:21). This was the last incident of this nature that the *Old Testament records. (The two Books of Chronicles were one book in the *Hebrew Bible. And the Book of Chronicles was the last book in the *Hebrew Bible.)
Verse 52 In the day of judgement, it will be terrible for the experts in the law who had behaved in this wicked manner.
The purpose of a key is to lock or open a door. It was as if they had the key to the truth in the *Old Testament. They could have opened up the knowledge of God. In other words, they could have shown the people what God wanted. But they closed the door of the *Old Testament by their own rules and traditions. In other words, they had taken away the true meaning of God’s law. They did not obey God’s law. And by their rules and traditions, they stopped other people who wanted to know God.
They shut the *kingdom of heaven from the people. They did not go in themselves. And they stopped other people, so that those other people could not go in. (Matthew 23:13). In other words, they were making it difficult for other people to understand the *Old Testament. And the result was that those people could not have a right relationship with God.
Verses 53-54 Among the *Pharisees and experts in the law were many people who genuinely wanted to serve God. They would agree with what Jesus said. They did not approve of anyone who used religion to impress people or to control people.
However, many of the *Pharisees and the experts in the law became angry with Jesus. Jesus had explained clearly what was wrong with their behaviour, their attitudes and their use of religion. From now on, these men opposed Jesus. They wanted to find something with which they could accuse him. So, they asked him all kinds of difficult questions. They needed to defend their position with the people and to damage that of Jesus. The people had respected them but now the people were turning from them to Jesus.
Verses 1 The word for thousands really means more than 10 thousand. Here it does not mean that actual number. Luke used the word to mean a very large crowd. The whole crowd pushed in to hear Jesus. But Jesus spoke first to his *disciples.
Jesus told his *disciples to be cautious about the *yeast of the *Pharisees. He warns them not to let this kind of *yeast affect their lives. Most people in those days baked their own bread. They knew that a small amount of *yeast would affect the whole lump of the bread. In the same way, *hypocrisy can affect a person or a church. The effect of *yeast is good in bread but the effect of *hypocrisy is bad for people or the church.
Many *Pharisees did not do what they taught. This was their *hypocrisy. And they preferred to teach their traditions rather than the word of God.
Verses 2-3 We may try to keep secrets but in the end, nothing will be secret. The *Lord knows even the thoughts that we have. We can hide nothing from the *Lord. The *Lord will show in public all that people try to hide (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Houses were often of one floor, with a flat roof. A flat roof made a good platform from which to speak to a crowd.
Verses 4-5 It is natural to be afraid of those who can kill the body. Jesus tells his friends not to be afraid of them. They can do nothing more after they have killed the body. The death of the body is not the end of the person. Beyond death, there is heaven and hell. God has the authority to send a person to heaven or to hell. God controls the final fate of all people. Therefore, it is important to be afraid of God. So, Jesus tells his friends to be afraid of God rather than men.
Hell comes from the *Greek word: Gehenna. Gehenna was another name for the Valley of Hinnom. The Valley of Hinnom is outside Jerusalem city. In *New Testament times, this was the place where people burned their rubbish. It seems that a fire burned there at all times. So, it began to mean a place of *eternal punishment.
The Valley of Hinnom had been the place where people *sacrificed children to false gods (Jeremiah 7:31, 2 Chronicles 28:3). King Josiah stopped that practice (2 Kings 23:10). But the *Jews continued to consider that valley as an evil place.
Verses 6-7 Jesus tells them that God cares about his people. He speaks about the *sparrows. A person could buy these common little birds. Poor people bought small birds for food. They cost very little: just two *sparrows for one *assaria or 5 *sparrows for two *assaria (see Matthew 10:29). And God cares about each one of those little birds.
An *assaria was a very small *Roman coin. It was worth a 16th of a *denarius. A *denarius was equal to a day’s wage for a farm worker.
God knows each hair on the head of each of his people. He has such knowledge of each person. He knows more about us than we can know about ourselves. Therefore, his *disciples should not be afraid. They are worth more than many *sparrows to God. They can trust God to take care of them.
Verses 8-9 Our attitude to Jesus is very important. A Christian must not be afraid to say that he belongs to Christ. Then Jesus will tell the *angels that this person belongs to him. If a person denies Christ now, Christ will deny him in the future.
Verse 10 There is a *sin that is too serious for God to forgive. God will forgive all other *sins if we *repent of them. But this *sin, he will never forgive.
We cannot talk of one *sin as less bad than another *sin. *Sin is *sin and all *sins are bad. God can forgive us even if we *sin against Jesus. But God will not forgive the *sin of *blasphemy against the *Holy Spirit. It is important for us to understand what that *sin is.
The enemies of Jesus said that he did good deeds by the power of the devil (Mark 3:29-30). They called evil good and good evil. People who say these things have chosen on purpose to oppose God. They deny that God is good. If they continue with this attitude, they are guilty of the final *sin. These persons are not able to *repent because they will never change their minds. They cannot believe in the *Lord Jesus for *salvation because their final choice is to be God’s enemies.
God can forgive all kinds of *sin if people *repent. He can even forgive the *sin of *blasphemy. But it is possible for a person to continue with *sin until he is completely unwilling to *repent. Because that person will not *repent, God will never forgive that person.
Verses 11-12 However, the *Holy Spirit is with those who believe in Jesus. Their enemies will accuse them in front of rulers and judges. These enemies may be in the *synagogues or in the courts of law. When this happens, the Christians should not worry about it. They do not need to prepare to defend themselves. They can depend on the *Holy Spirit to teach them what to say. He will teach them at the right time when they need it.
He does not promise to free them from the situation. But in their defence, they will serve the purposes of God. They will declare the truth.
Verses 13-15 A person in the crowd had a problem with his brother. Their father had died and the brother had taken the father’s property. He asked Jesus to tell his brother to share the property with him. The person asked for a decision for his own benefit. Perhaps he expected the brother to hand over the property if Jesus told him to that.
There are rules in the *Old Testament about what the first son in a family should receive (Deuteronomy 21:17). These rules gave the first son twice as much as the other sons. A father had to give the first son his proper share. Maybe the brother here was the first son; if so, he had the right to a larger share of the property. However, he should not take everything. It seems that he had acted unfairly.
Jesus refused to make a decision in this personal matter. Nobody had appointed him to act as a judge of such matters. He warned the people to be careful about greedy attitudes. They must not be greedy for material things. Many people constantly worry about their possessions. But our life does not depend on what we own.
Verses 16-21 Then Jesus told a story to show what he meant. The story was about a wealthy farmer. The farmer had a very good harvest. His sheds were full and he had nowhere to store his harvest. So, he decided to replace his sheds with bigger sheds. Then he could relax and enjoy his wealth. He had enough for many years.
In all of this, there was no thought about other people or about God. He thought only about himself. He supposed that he would live for many years. He thought that he would live in luxury.
God called this man a fool. The man was stupid to think that he had control of his future. No man can know how many years he will live on this earth. God told this man that he would die that night. Then the man would have to give an account of his life to God. And all his wealth would belong to someone else. The man who depends on his wealth alone is a fool.
It is foolish to store up wealth on earth without God. What really matters is our relationship with God. We must store up wealth in heaven rather than on earth (Matthew 6:19-21).
Verses 22-26 Jesus told the story in Luke 12:16-20 to the crowd. Now he spoke to his *disciples. What he said to them follows from that story. The greedy person can never get enough to satisfy his own desires. Other people worry that they may not have enough. The *disciples of Jesus should not be greedy for possessions on earth. And they should not be anxious that they might not have enough. It is important in all circumstances to trust the *Lord. The *Lord knows that his people need food and clothes.
Birds like ravens do not farm for their food. Ravens are large black birds. God has provided for the birds. People are of more value to God than birds. He will take care of those people who trust him.
People cannot extend their life. The rich farmer (in Luke 12:16-20) could not change the time of his death even by one hour. It is not certain whether verse 25 refers to time or height. The verse could be, ‘You cannot add one cubit to your height even if you worry about it.’ A cubit was about 18 inches. Either way it shows that worry is of no use. These things are beyond the control of men. They are small things to God but they are impossible for men.
Verses 27-28 Jesus had used the birds as an example. Now he talks about the plants in the field. *Lilies grew in the grass. We do not know anything about these flowers, except that they were beautiful flowers. The word ‘lilies’ could mean flowers in general rather than one type of flower. Flowers do not have to work to be beautiful. They do not make their clothes as people do. They do nothing to achieve their own beauty. God gives to them their beauty. The skill of people made magnificent clothes for King Solomon. But they could not make anything as beautiful as a flower.
Flowers do not last long. They are in the grass. People cut the grass and they burn it. These flowers are so temporary. They are alive one day and they are in the fire the next day. God does so much for the flowers that last for such a short time. Certainly, he will give clothes to his own people. They are worth much more to him than the flowers. The *disciples do not need to be anxious about clothes. They need to have *faith in God.
Verses 29-31 Jesus commands his *disciples not to be anxious about food or drink. Life is so much more important than these things. They should give their attention to the *kingdom of God. God is their Father. And he knows what they need. God will take care of his people and he will provide these things for them.
Verses 32-34 Jesus calls his *disciples his ‘little group of sheep’. He is their *shepherd and the *shepherd takes care of his sheep. They do not need to be afraid because he will protect them. He has told them to look for the *kingdom of God. God their Father is happy to give that *kingdom to them.
We do need some possessions. Jesus does not say that his *disciples should have no possessions. He was speaking about our attitude to material possessions. They are not the most important things in life. It is better to sell our possessions than that we should allow them to take control of our lives. Trust in material wealth prevents trust in God.
What we possess on earth cannot last. We cannot have the benefit of such things permanently. Thieves can steal our possessions. *Moths are insects that fly. Some *moths eat clothes. *Moths spoil clothes when they make holes in them. In those days, clothes were valuable. When we die, we cannot take anything with us. Our true wealth is what we have with Jesus. God’s people have a new life now and a safe home in heaven. God is giving to them his *kingdom.
Where our wealth is will be the centre of (the most important thing in) our life. Our attitude to wealth governs our desires and thoughts. Our wealth can be the material things on earth that will fail. Or, our wealth can be the *kingdom of God in our life now and for the future in heaven.
Verses 35-40 People wore long clothes that were not good for physical work. To dress ready for action, they would lift the skirts of the clothes into their belts. This would free their legs for easier movement. Their lamps burned oil. To be ready, they would need to light their lamps. We too need to be ready. In particular, we need to be ready for the time when Jesus will come again.
To show what he meant, Jesus told a story. The good servants were ready for the master to return home. As soon as he knocked on the door, they were ready to open it. It pleased the master very much to find that his servants were ready for his return. This master did something that was not usual. Most masters would expect the servants to prepare the master’s meal first. Then the servants could get their own meal. But this master changed his clothes. And he prepared a meal for his servants.
The servants did not know when the master would come. The *Jews divided the night into three parts. The first part was from sunset to about 10 o’clock in the night. The second part was until 2 o’clock in the morning. And the third part was until sunrise. The master may come very late, even after midnight. The good servants will be ready for him at all times. They would stay awake all night if necessary, because they did not know when to expect him.
Jesus spoke about a house owner. If he knew when to expect the thief, he would be able to stop the thief. If he did not know, he would have to be ready to defend his house at all times.
The *disciples do not know when Jesus will come again. The fact that he will come again is certain. So, we need to be ready for when he does come. We should live as if we expect him to come at any time.
Verses 41-46 Peter wanted to know if the story referred to the *disciples or to everybody. Jesus did not give Peter a direct answer. Instead, Jesus answered him with two examples.
In both examples, the servant was the manager of his master’s house. He was responsible for the other servants. And he had control of the house while the master was away.
The loyal servant was a wise manager. He took care of the other servants. And he did all that the master wanted him to do. The master came back home. He found that the servant had done a good job. So, he rewarded that servant.
The other servant was not a wise and good manager. The master was away for a long time. So, the manager could do what he wanted. He beat the other servants and he did not do his job. He ate too much and he drank too much. The master came back home when the servant did not expect him. The master saw what the servant had done. So, he punished that wicked servant. The wicked servant would suffer a terrible punishment. He would suffer as one who did not have *faith in Jesus.
Jesus was talking about the people who followed him. The story refers especially to those people who are leaders. But the same principles are true for all who follow Jesus.
We cannot know when Jesus will come back again. But we must look for his return, and we must be ready for him to come.
Verses 47-48 Punishment is certain for those people who do not do their duty. Here the punishment is not because of wrong deeds. It is because of failure to do what is right. A master expects much of those servants who have received much. They will receive the greater punishment for their failure. Those people who did not know will receive less punishment. A servant should try to find out what his duties are. That is why these servants deserve punishment. But their punishment is not as severe as if they had acted on purpose.
In those days, the punishment for a serious crime was up to 40 blows with a whip. For a smaller crime, the punishment may be just a few blows with a whip. Jesus uses this to express the idea of different levels of punishment. He does not mean that God will use a whip. So the answer to Peter’s question (verse 41) was this. Everyone should be ready for Christ’s return. But people who know more about it have greater responsibility. If someone with knowledge refuses to be ready for Christ’s return, that is a very severe matter. When we understand Christ’s message, it is very important to obey him.
Verses 49-50 Jesus came to bring fire on earth. It is not clear what this means. Fire may mean to make pure or it may mean punishment. In a sense, it could mean both. Jesus came to die for the *sins of the world. In his death, he took the punishment for our *sins. Through his death and by *faith, God can make us pure. In other words, he can forgive us and he can give us a right relationship with him. But those people who refuse to believe will suffer the punishment because of their own *sins.
The water in *baptism is a picture of death (Romans 6:3). People rise from the water to live a new life (Romans 6:4). So, Jesus uses *baptism as a word-picture here. The *baptism that Jesus talks about means his death and his life beyond death. He looks forward to the time when that *baptism will be complete. Until that time, Jesus suffered with the knowledge of what was to come. He knew the awful and painful death that he would go through.
Verses 51-53 There is a way in which Jesus does bring peace. We can have peace (a right relationship) with God through *faith in Jesus. But that peace is not what he meant here.
The good news of Jesus Christ separates people. Some people accept the death of Jesus and they believe in him. Other people refuse to believe that Jesus died on their behalf. And the division often causes strong feelings. It can cause family members to fight against each other. Parents can turn against their children. Children can turn against their parents. There can be trouble between mothers and their sons’ wives.
Verses 54-56 The people in *Israel had learned how to interpret the clouds and the wind. From these, they could tell what the weather would do. The clouds from the west came over the sea and they brought rain. The wind from the south came from hot dry regions and it brought hot weather.
Jesus calls them *hypocrites. They understood what the clouds and the wind meant. But they were not able to see what was happening on earth. They did not understand that Jesus had come from God. They did not realise that judgement would come upon them. They did not see that this was a time of opportunity and responsibility.
Verses 57-59 It is better to settle out of court than to lose in the court. The one who owes money would be wise to make an agreement rather than to go to court. The judge would send the guilty person to prison. There would be no escape unless someone paid the debt.
We have all *sinned against God. Therefore, we would be wise to come to him now, before the day of judgement. He has made an agreement for us in Jesus. In this agreement, Jesus has paid the debt because of *sin on behalf of us all. If we accept this agreement by *faith then, by his death, Jesus paid the debt on our behalf. But if we do not accept it, we will have to pay for our own *sins. That is an impossible task. God as our judge will declare that we are guilty. We will have to suffer the punishment because of our *sins.
Verses 1-5 We have no further details about this incident. These men had come from Galilee to Jerusalem to *worship God. As they made their *sacrifices, the *Roman soldiers killed them. Pilate was the *Roman ruler of Judea. He was in command of these soldiers; perhaps he ordered the soldiers to kill the men. The occasion could have been at the *Passover. That is the only time that the people killed their own animals.
We do not know why the people told Jesus about this incident. Many people believed that such events were a punishment because of *sin.
Jesus was himself from Galilee. He did not say anything about the action of the *Romans. But he used the incident to speak about *repentance.
Those men from Galilee did not suffer that fate because they were worse *sinners than other people. But their sudden death should warn everyone that we all need to *repent. We do not know the time of our own death. It could be as sudden as theirs was.
Jesus then spoke about an accident in which 18 people died. The *tower at Siloam fell down and it fell on them. They were not more guilty than other people in Jerusalem. But they suffered a sudden death. Our death could be as sudden and we need to be ready. If we do not *repent, we too will die. That death refers to the future judgement rather than the death of the body.
The *tower at Siloam formed part of the wall of ancient Jerusalem. It was above the pool of Siloam where the south and east walls join.
Verses 6-9 Then Jesus told a story about a *fig tree. A man had planted it because he wanted fruit from it. For three years, it failed to have any fruit. The man told the gardener to cut it down. The gardener wanted to give the tree another chance. But after another year, if it did not have fruit, the man could cut it down.
The man planted the *fig tree in a vineyard. A vineyard is a farm where people grow the fruit to make wine.
God is kind to us. He gives us many opportunities to *repent and to turn to him. But the time of our death will come. And after that, there will be the judgement.
Verses 10-13 Jesus taught in a *synagogue on the *Sabbath day. In the *synagogue, there was a woman who had been ill for 18 years. The cause of her illness was an evil spirit. As a result, she could not stand up straight. She did not ask Jesus to cure her. He saw her and he called her to the front of the *synagogue. She obeyed him and she came forward. Then he put his hands on her and he cured her. Immediately she stood up straight for the first time in 18 years.
Jesus did not put his hands on people who had evil spirits. Here it seems that he freed her from the spirit first. Then he put his hands on her to cure her from the illness.
The woman did not praise Jesus. She praised God.
Verses 14-17 The right use of the *Sabbath was a cause of disagreement between Jesus and the *Pharisees. Here the leader of the *synagogue was angry that Jesus had cured the woman on the *Sabbath. Also, it may have annoyed him that Jesus acted without his agreement. He was in charge of the *synagogue meeting and of all that happened there. He did not speak to Jesus directly. Instead he spoke to the people. He said in effect that it was wrong to cure people on the *Sabbath day. To cure a person was work and the law forbade work on the *Sabbath day (Exodus 20:9-10).
Jesus answered him. The purpose of the *Sabbath was for the benefit of the people. So, to cure on that day was in the purpose of the *Sabbath. The *Jews did look after their animals on the *Sabbath. They freed their animals on the *Sabbath. They would lead the animals with a chain but they would not carry anything. They would draw water from a well for them. But they would not hold the bucket for the animals to drink. If it is right to take care of animals, it must be right to cure this woman. By this illness, *Satan had bound her for 18 years. It must be right to free this *Jewish woman even on the *Sabbath. That was why Jesus called the leader of this *synagogue a *hypocrite. The man’s own actions showed that his words about the *Sabbath were wrong. If it is right to free an animal, clearly it is right to free a person - especially a *descendant of Abraham. If it is right to give water to an animal, then it is right to cure a person. God gave the *Sabbath to help people, not so that they would suffer.
What Jesus said made his enemies ashamed. The people were happy because of the good things that Jesus did.
This was perhaps the last time that Jesus taught in a *synagogue.
Verses 18-21 A mustard seed is a very small seed. In Matthew and Mark, there is a contrast between the tiny seed and the large bush (Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-32). The mustard plant could grow up to 10 or 12 feet high. It grows big enough for birds to have their nests in its branches. The *kingdom of God will be so large that people from all nations will come into it.
Women used to make bread for their family. They would put a small amount of *yeast in with the dough. Dough is the mixture of flour and water from which a person makes bread. The *yeast affects the whole lump of dough. This causes the bread to rise. The small quantity of *yeast affects a large quantity of dough. The *kingdom of God is like that. Its citizens, God’s people, are in the world and they have a powerful effect across the whole world.
In these stories, there is power in the seed and in the *yeast. So, the *kingdom of God comes with power. From a small start, it becomes a great and powerful *kingdom.
Verses 22-25 Jesus taught in all the towns and villages that he went through. He was on his way to Jerusalem. In reaction to what he taught, someone asked him this question. Many of the *Jews believed that God would save all the *Jews except a few bad *sinners. And they did not believe that God would save the people from other nations.
Jesus does not answer the question. He urges the people to make sure that they enter the *kingdom. Entry into the *kingdom is not certain even for the *Jews. By our own efforts, we cannot get into the *kingdom. But there must be that desire to do so now while there is still time. The way in is not easy. It is like a narrow door.
The door will not always be open. At some future time, God will say that it is too late. Many people will try then but they will fail to enter. They will fail because they are too late. They will knock on the door but the *Lord will tell them to go away. He will not know them.
Jesus came to announce the year of the *Lord’s kindness (Luke 4:19). The year refers to the period in which God offers *salvation to us. The opportunity to receive *salvation is open to all people now.
The door means Jesus (John 10:9). There is no other way to get in. *Salvation is in Jesus and no one else (John 14:6).
Verses 26-30 Some of those to whom Jesus refuses entry will argue against that decision. They will say that they did know Jesus. They even ate and drank with him. They heard him as he taught in their streets. They were there but they did not believe in Jesus.
To be there and to hear Jesus is not enough. Without *faith in Jesus, there is no way into the *kingdom of God. He will send these people away. He calls them ‘people who do evil deeds’. In the end, there will be just two types of people, those inside and those outside. Both types are *sinners. But those inside have *repented and they have believed in Jesus.
Jesus will say that he did not know those other people. He does know all about each person. But here it means that he does not have a relationship with them. All who believe in Jesus become children of God. He knows them as members of the same family.
Away from the *kingdom of God will be a terrible place. In that place, people will be sorry and angry. They will regret that they did not accept the good news of Jesus. But then it will be too late.
Many *Jews at that time thought that the *kingdom of God was only for the *Jews. Every *Jew expected to sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the *feast in the *kingdom of God. It will surprise them to see people from all round the world go into the *kingdom. They are the people from every nation who have accepted the good news of Jesus. These people who are not *Jewish will be at home in the *kingdom. These people, whom many *Jews considered without hope, will be there. But some *Jews will not be able to go in. Nobody who refuses to accept the good news of Jesus will be able to enter the *kingdom of God.
Verses 31-33 It is strange that the *Pharisees warned Jesus about Herod. But they did warn Jesus that Herod wanted to kill him. This was Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great. Herod Antipas was the ruler in the regions called Galilee and Perea. Perea was to the east of the Jordan river. The *Pharisees suggested that Jesus should go somewhere else. It could be that Jesus was at this time in one of those regions. He was on his way to Jerusalem, which is in the region of Judea. Pontius Pilate was responsible for Judea.
Jesus referred to Herod as ‘that fox’. The *Jews used the term ‘fox’ for a person who was clever in a bad way. Herod was a clever and a cruel man. Also, they used ‘fox’ for a person that they could not respect. Jesus would not respect such a person as Herod.
Jesus told the *Pharisees to go to Herod. He told them to tell Herod that Jesus would complete his task. It did not matter to Jesus what Herod tried to do. God had chosen his time and Herod could not change it. Jesus would continue to free people from the power of *demons and to cure sick people. ‘Today, tomorrow and the third day’ mean a short time. Jesus had a short time in which to complete his work. God, and not Herod, would decide when Jesus would die.
In the purposes of God, Jesus must die in Jerusalem. Jesus expected to suffer as a *prophet. And it would not be right for Jesus the *prophet to die elsewhere.
Verses 34-35 Jesus probably spoke these words as he approached Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-39). Maybe Luke has recorded them earlier to fit in with the design of his book. But perhaps Jesus said these things on more than one occasion. In this passage, the word ‘you’ means Jerusalem and its inhabitants.
The people in Jerusalem had killed many of the *prophets. They had thrown stones at some of them until they died. Jesus knew that he too would die there.
The fate of that city upset Jesus deeply. He knew what would happen to it in the future. He loved the people in Jerusalem and he wanted to save them from that future. He wanted them to come to him for his protection. But he knew that they had refused him. They would not come to him.
In a special way, God had been at home in Jerusalem. Now however, he had gone away from it. He did not live there still. The ‘house’ was empty without God. The ‘house’ probably means the city called Jerusalem. But it could refer to God’s *temple that was in Jerusalem.
People did cry out in this way when Jesus entered Jerusalem (Luke 19:38). That event is not what Jesus was referring to here. The people who cried out then were not the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Matthew records these words after Jesus had entered Jerusalem (Matthew 23:39). Jesus has promised to come again. That event is still in the future. When he comes, the people of Jerusalem will accept Jesus as the *Christ. Then they will say these words, which come from Psalm 118:26.
Verses 1-4 It was a *Sabbath day. This is the 4th time that Luke records a disagreement about the *Sabbath (6:1-5, 6:6-11, 13:10-17). A leader of the *Pharisees invited Jesus and other guests to a meal. The host was an important man. He may have been a member of the *Jewish government. It seems that the other guests were enemies of Jesus. They had come to see what he would do. They hoped to find something with which to accuse him.
At the meal, there was a man who was sick. Maybe the *Pharisee had invited him in order to tempt Jesus to cure this man. In their tradition, that would be work on the *Sabbath day. Then they would accuse Jesus of wrong deeds against the *Sabbath rules.
There were other lawyers and *Pharisees there. So, Jesus asked them if it is legal to cure someone on the *Sabbath day. It was a difficult question for them to answer. There is nothing in the Bible to say that it is not legal. But they had their regulations. These regulations had become law to them. By this law, it would be wrong to cure a person on the *Sabbath day. (They would allow a doctor to cure a person if it was a matter of life or death. But this man was not in such a desperate state; he could wait until after the *Sabbath.) The lawyers and *Pharisees would not answer Jesus. So, Jesus cured the man and sent him away.
Verses 5-6 If a son, or even an *ox, fell into a well, they would pull him out. Although it was a *Sabbath day, they would not wait. Immediately they would rescue the son or the *ox. Such an act may have been against their rules for the *Sabbath. But it was not against God’s law. In the same way to cure a man on the *Sabbath day may be against their rules. But it was not against God’s law. The lawyers and *Pharisees could not argue against Jesus.
Verse 7 At special meals such as at a wedding, there was a strict arrangement of places. The most important ones were next to the hosts. The next important ones were those on the sides nearest to the hosts. The least important ones were those furthest away from the hosts. Jesus saw how the guests tried to take the more important places.
They did not sit on chairs. Often, they lay on their left sides on cushions. There were three persons to each cushion. And the middle one of the three was more important than the other two.
Verses 8-11 Jesus spoke about a wedding meal. He advised guests to take lower places rather than important ones. Then if a guest were important, the host would take him to an important place. If a less important guest were in that place, the host would ask him to move. Then it could be that the only place available was the lowest place. The other guests would see this, and it would cause shame for that guest. Suppose however that an important guest was in a lower place. Then the host would come and he would take that guest to a higher place. The other guests would see this, and it would bring honour to that guest.
God will act in a similar way. If people make themselves important, God will give no honour to those people. But to those people who are humble, God will give honour. A person’s position does not depend on his own opinion about himself. It depends on God because God will be the judge of all people.
Verses 12-14 Then Jesus spoke to the *Pharisee who had invited him. Jesus advised him not to invite those people who could invite him back. Jesus did not mean that he should never invite any such person. Jesus is not against normal social life. But in God’s opinion, a host gains no advantage when he only invites those people. Such people may reward the host by the invitations that they give to him. So the host would receive his rewards from people and not from God.
It would be very much better to invite those people who cannot reward the kindness. The reason for such acts must not be for the reward. It must be from a genuine desire to help those people. But God will see it. He will reward such actions when good people rise from death.
At a future time, good people (that is, God’s people) will come back from death. Also, there will be a time when evil people will return from death. Then there will be the judgement day when God will be the judge of all people. He will decide whom to reward, and whom to punish.
Verse 15 Jesus had spoken of the future when God will raise people from death. The *Jews were familiar with the idea of a grand dinner in God’s *kingdom. They believed that the good people of the past would rise from death. And these good people would be guests at that dinner. Also as *Jews, they expected to be guests with them at the dinner. So, one of the guests replied to Jesus. He said that it would be a great honour to be at that grand dinner. It seems that this guest expected to be there. But in fact, some who expect to be there will not be there. Jesus would explain to him that many people are too busy to accept God’s invitation.
Verses 16-17 Jesus told them a story. It was about a man who invited many people to a great supper. None of the people whom he had invited had refused the invitation. The host expected them all to come. It took a long time to prepare for the great supper. When the supper was ready, the host sent his servant to fetch the guests. But they would not come to the supper.
It was the custom in some places to expect a second invitation. It may be that the servant took the second invitation to the guests. And they refused the second invitation. To refuse in this way was an insult to the host.
Verses 18-20 These guests made excuses. The first one had bought a field. He would have looked at it before he bought it. The field, of course, would still be there after the meal. Therefore, it was not necessary to view it at that time. It could wait until after the supper. It is plain that, really, this man did not want to come to the supper.
Another man had bought some *oxen. He would have been satisfied with them before he bought them. Now they were his *oxen and he could test them at any time. It could wait until after the supper. But he too did not want to go to the supper.
Another man had just married a wife. A marriage would not be a sudden affair. He would have known about it before he received the invitation to the supper. The invitation to these suppers would be to men only. He would have to leave his new wife at home while he went to the supper. The wives of the other guests would have to stay at home. As an excuse, he said that he could not go to the supper. If he had wanted to, he could have gone.
All three of these men knew about the supper before the servant came. All three made weak excuses as their reasons not to go to the supper.
Verses 21-24 The servant told his master what had happened. His master was angry. The guests that he had invited had insulted him. But he would not allow those excuses to spoil his supper. If the original guests would not come, he would invite other guests. He sent his servant to the poorer parts of the town. He told him to bring in poor people from there. He included those people who were sick or blind. And he included those people who could not walk.
The servant did what his master told him. But he did not bring in enough guests to satisfy his master. So, the master sent the servant to search wider and to urge people to come in. The servant went to the roads and paths outside the town. There he would find people who had no homes. Even these people, the servant must urge to come to the supper.
Even if the first guests came, the master would not allow them to come in. There would be no further chance for them. They had missed their opportunity.
Jesus told this story to show God’s desire to have a right relationship with people. The supper means a place in God’s *kingdom. He sent the *prophets to invite his people to come in. But very many of them would not accept that invitation. Now in Jesus, there is the invitation for all to come in. He sends Christians to bring in people from all nations. They must bring all types of people. No person is beyond the reach of God. The good news of Jesus is for all people. God will receive all who come to him. But when people refuse God’s invitation, that invitation may not remain open to them.
Verses 25-27 As Jesus travelled, crowds came to him. He taught them what it means to be his *disciples.
The Bible teaches us to love each other. We must not even hate our enemies. In fact, we must love them (Luke 6:27). Here ‘hate’ means to love less. Our love for Jesus must be first and greater than our love for each other (Matthew 10:37). Our love for Jesus must be so strong that, in contrast, our love for our family is like hate.
A *disciple must be loyal to Jesus first. All who want to follow Jesus must be ready to die on behalf of Jesus. It is as if the *disciple dies to himself each day. In other words, the true *disciple does not do what he wants. He lives for Jesus and he follows Jesus.
Verses 28-33 To be a *disciple of Jesus is not easy. The *disciple has to give up everything to follow Jesus. This is a heavy price to pay. A person ought to think about this before he becomes a *disciple. Jesus told two stories to teach this.
A man who wants to build a tall building must think first. He needs to be sure that he has the money to complete the building. If not, he may start to build but he may not be able to complete it. Then people will laugh at him. He was foolish because he did not have enough money to finish the job.
A king decides that he wants to fight against another king. He knows that the other king has more soldiers. So, he thinks hard about whether his 10 000 men can defeat the 20 000 men of his enemy. If his army can defeat the enemy then let them fight. But if not, then he must arrange a peace agreement with the other king.
In the first story, the builder has a choice to build or not to build. A person must think whether he can afford to be a *disciple. He can choose whether he will be a *disciple or not.
In the second story, the king must do something. Either he must fight or he must make a peace agreement. A person must decide whether he can afford to refuse the demands of Jesus.
Jesus does not want as *disciples those people who cannot continue with him. Instead, they should know what it means to be his *disciples. And they make the decision to give up everything for him. By this means, they give to Jesus the control of their lives.
However, Jesus does not expect his *disciples to do these things by means of their own strength. Every Christian would certainly fail if he depended on himself. People can only be strong enough to stand as *disciples of Christ if they depend completely on God. Because he supports his people, even the weakest Christian becomes strong enough to follow Christ.
Verses 34-35 Pure salt is a chemical that cannot lose its taste. The salt that they used was not at all pure. If the pure chemical part became less then the salt taste would be less. Then the salt would be no use.
Jesus expects his *disciples to continue to follow him. If they do not continue, they are of no use to him.
Verses 1-2 The men who collected taxes were unpopular because of their work. They helped the *Romans whom the people hated. And often they collected more money than they should from the people. In this way, many of them became wealthy.
Every person on earth has *sinned. Therefore, all of us are *sinners. But here it means those whom the people considered to be *sinners, for example *prostitutes.
The men who collected taxes and the *sinners came to listen to Jesus. And Jesus was happy to talk with them. He even ate with them. This disgusted the *Pharisees and teachers of the law. They refused to be friendly with such people. They would not even teach the law to these *sinners. It was much worse to eat with them. That would be to accept them and to be friends with them. But Jesus came on behalf of *sinners to save them from the judgement for their *sins. Therefore, he had to teach them how to enter the *kingdom of God.
Verses 3-7 Jesus replied to the *Pharisees and teachers of the law. He told them this story about a good *shepherd.
It was normal in that country for a *shepherd to look after about 100 sheep. Each evening the *shepherd counted the sheep to make sure that they were all there. If one sheep was missing, a good *shepherd would do as in the story.
The word for ‘desert’ here really means a country place where people did not live. It would not be an unsuitable place for the sheep to remain. And Jesus did not say that nobody guarded the 99 sheep. Probably the owner of the sheep would ask another *shepherd to look after his sheep. Then, he could give all his attention to look for the one sheep that he had lost. When he found it, he would be very happy.
Jesus is the good *shepherd. He came to earth to find and to save those who had gone away from God. The *Pharisees and teachers of the law thought that they were not *sinners. But the men who collected taxes and the *sinners knew it. They knew that they were *sinners.
The *shepherd had found the sheep that he had lost. Because of that, he had a party. So, there is joy in heaven whenever a *sinner *repents.
Jesus told this story of a woman who had lost one of her 10 silver coins. Each of these coins was worth about a day’s pay for a worker. The 10 coins may be all that the poor woman owned. The loss of one coin was a serious matter to her.
She lit a lamp. Her house would have no windows or very small ones. Even in the daytime, she would need to use a lamp.
Like the *shepherd, she shares her joy when she finds it. This story means the same as the previous one. *Sinners have gone away from God. Jesus came to find them. There is joy among the *angels when a *sinner *repents. Jesus has found that *sinner.
Verses 11-12 This story is about a son who went away from home. He lived a bad life in a foreign country. In the end, he came home to his father. The purpose of the story is to show the love of the father. He waited for his son to return. When the son came home, the father gave to him a warm welcome. They had a great party. This is to show how God the Father loves even the worst *sinner. There is joy in heaven over each *sinner who comes back to God.
Then there is the contrast between the father and the older brother. Perhaps this is to show the attitude of many of the *Pharisees and teachers of the law. The brother would not come in to the party. He would not forgive his brother.
When a man died, under the law the oldest son received a double share of his possessions (Deuteronomy 21:17). If this father had died, the older son would have received two thirds. The younger son would have received one third. While he was alive, the father could give gifts to his sons. There was no law about what he could give to each son.
In the story, the younger son asked for his share of the property. This was what he would receive on the death of the father. The father gave him his share. Probably this was one third of all his possessions. All that remained of the father’s property would pass to the oldest son.
Verses 13-20 When the younger son had his money, he left home. He went a long way to a foreign country. He had plenty of funds at first but he was not sensible with them. He was careless and he wasted all his money. It was his own fault that he became poor. He could not afford to buy food and he was hungry. This was partly because there was a severe lack of food in that country.
He had to get a job. The only work that he could find was to feed pigs. The *Jews do not eat pigs (Leviticus 11:7-8). In normal circumstances, a *Jew would refuse to work with pigs. But this young man was desperate.
Although he had a job, he could not afford to buy much food. Nobody gave him anything. So, he was very hungry. He saw the pig food and he even felt a strong desire to eat that food.
At last, he realised how foolish he had been. His father’s workers had plenty to eat. He was the father’s son and he was very hungry. He decided to go at once to his father. He was sorry for what he had done. He began to *repent of his actions and his attitudes. He should not have asked for his share of the father’s property. He should not have left his father to go to the distant country. He should not have spent all the money in the way that he did. In all of this, he had *sinned against God and against his father. *Sin is always against God even more than it is against anyone else. The son would ask his father to employ him as a worker. The son knew that he had no right to return as a son. And he could not expect his father to receive him as a son.
He went back to his father. The father had hoped that this son would return. All the time he had looked for his younger son. The father saw him while he was still a long way off. The father was so happy that he ran to him. He hugged his son and he kissed him.
Verses 21-24 The son started to say his speech but he did not complete it. Probably his father did not let him continue. The father had accepted him as his son.
Immediately the father ordered his servants to bring the best clothes, shoes and a ring. These things showed that the younger son now had authority as a son of the father.
Then the father ordered his servants to prepare a party. They must kill the best *calf because this was to be a special occasion. To the father it was as if his son had been dead. Now his son was alive again.
Verses 25-32 It seems strange that the older son was not there at the start of the party. But this is just a story. He knew nothing about it until he heard the sound from the party. There was music and people were dancing. He asked a young servant what the noise meant. The young man told him. Then the older son was so angry that he would not go into the house.
The father came out to urge him to come in. The son thought himself to be superior. He had not done anything wrong. But the father had not rewarded him in any way. He would not even call the other son his brother. Instead, he described the younger son as a son of his father (verse 30). That son had spent the father’s money on *prostitutes. The older son supposed that his brother had used the money in that way. Yet, for him the father had killed the special *calf.
The father was gentle with his older son. He loved both his sons. All that the father possessed would belong to this son. His brother had come back. Therefore, it was right and necessary to be happy and to have a party.
In this story of the younger son, Jesus taught that God our Father accepts *sinners. He is ready to forgive them when they turn to him. The attitude of the older brother is like that of many of the *Pharisees and their *disciples. They were angry that Jesus did not agree with their traditions. He did not do what they thought to be right and proper. Jesus gave a welcome to *sinners whom they considered too bad.
Verses 1-2 Jesus told this story to his *disciples. The *disciples here probably included those people who followed Jesus and not just the 12 *disciples. Jesus spoke about a rich man who had a manager. A manager was often a slave but here this manager was not a slave. He was responsible for all the financial affairs of his master. He had the authority to make legal agreements on behalf of his master.
Someone told the master that his manager was wasting the rich man’s possessions. The master took the job from the manager before he looked at the evidence. The manager may not have been guilty but he could not defend himself. But he had time to act while he prepared the accounts.
Verses 3-4 There was no hope of another job like this one. He was not strong enough for hard labour. He would not ask people for money. He had to find another way to live. He decided to get friends who would provide for him.
Verses 5-7 The manager spoke to each person who owed money to the master. He told them to bring the records of their debts. Then he told them to reduce the amounts. He was able to do this because he still had the authority as the manager.
A bath was about 5 gallons (22 litres) of liquid goods. A cor was about 220 litres of dry goods.
In those days people returned kindness because of any kindness that they had received. In this act, the manager obliged these persons to do something for him. When he left his job, they would receive him into their homes.
Verse 8-9 The manager was not an honest man. The word for ‘not honest’ could mean ‘of this world’. The manager was a man of the world and not one who believed in Jesus.
Maybe the manager should not have changed the agreements. Perhaps in this, he had done what was wrong. He had reduced the amount that the master expected to receive. But the master praised him because he had been wise.
Clearly, the master had lost money. He did not praise the manager because of this. He praised him because he had been clever. People would imagine that the master was a generous man. And they would consider the manager to be their friend.
Of course, really the master did not approve of these reductions. However, he could not now complain. Because of these reductions, people thought well of him; he would not want to change that. He would seem very foolish if anyone discovered the truth about this matter. For that reason, it would now be very hard for him to remove the manager from his job.
People who do not believe in Jesus use their possessions for their own benefit. With wisdom, they try to increase their wealth. They seem to be more eager to achieve their purpose than Christians are to achieve theirs.
God’s people should use their resources better to bring people into the *kingdom of God. At death, a Christian will lose whatever wealth he has in this world. But he will receive a warm welcome to his *eternal home in heaven. That welcome may be from those people whom he had helped into the *kingdom.
Verses 10-13 A person who is honest in small matters will be honest in large matters. You would not give responsibility for large matters to a person who is not honest. Jesus contrasts this world’s wealth with ‘true wealth’, in other words, the wealth of heaven that only God can give. God expects his people to be responsible with the money that he has given to them in this world. If they want God to give them responsibility for great things, they must first be responsible with small things. They must be responsible in the use of their money and other possessions.
We may think that we own our possessions. But all that we have is as a loan from God (1 Chronicles 29:14). We are like managers of what God has put in our care. When we die, we can take nothing with us. Then God will give rewards to those people who trust in him.
Those people to whom wealth is of first importance in effect make wealth their god. It has become their master. Nobody can be the servant of two masters. He will serve one master better than he serves the other master. Although we may have both God and money, we cannot serve them both.
Verses 14-15 The *Pharisees heard what Jesus had said. They laughed at it because it was true about them. They appeared to be loyal to God and to serve him. But many *Pharisees loved money. The love of money is a cause of much evil (1 Timothy 6:10). They tried to serve both money and God.
We see the outside of a person but God knows the heart. Much that people consider important, God hates.
Verses 16-17 Until the time of John the *Baptist, God spoke to his people by the law and the *prophets. The law and the *prophets mean the whole of the *Old Testament. But from that time, God has spoken by Jesus who is his Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus *preached about the *kingdom of God. The good news is that, by belief and trust in Christ, people can enter the *kingdom. The *kingdom is the rule of God in the lives of those people who believe.
Crowds of people were eager to hear Jesus. They tried to get into the *kingdom by various means. The *Pharisees tried to stop them because the *Pharisees opposed the good news. They thought that Jesus *preached against the law and the *prophets.
Jesus told them that every detail of the law was permanent. The whole law was as permanent as the earth and heaven. What Jesus taught was in no way against the law.
Verses 18 God introduced marriage so that the man and the woman should become as one. God intended marriage to be a union for life.
The law allowed men to divorce their wives because of some causes (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). The causes are where the woman has not been loyal to the marriage (Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:8-9). The *Pharisees and their traditions made it much easier to divorce a wife. They had many small reasons that they accepted for divorce.
The man, who divorced his wife, should not marry again. If he did, he would be guilty of *adultery. If a man marries a woman after her divorce, he is also guilty of *adultery.
Verses 19-26 Jesus told this story of a rich man and a poor man. The rich man lived in luxury. The poor man lay at the gate of the rich man. The rich man had more than enough. The poor man had nothing. He was starving and he had many sore places on his body.
The poor man’s name was Lazarus. Lazarus means ‘God has helped’. It was a common name. Probably Jesus used it in this story because of what it meant.
Both of these men died. The people buried the rich man probably in his own special grave. There would have been a great funeral for him. The story does not say that anyone buried Lazarus. If he did have a funeral, it would have been very poor. *Angels took Lazarus to be with Abraham. But the rich man went to hell.
By ‘hell’, Jesus meant the place of punishment. He described a place where the fire burned like the valley called Gehenna. Gehenna was where people burned the rubbish outside Jerusalem.
From that place of punishment, the rich man could see Abraham and Lazarus. They were a long way off. Lazarus lay close to Abraham. This could mean that they were eating a meal together. The rich man called out to Abraham. He called Abraham ‘father’. He supposed that as a *Jew he belonged to the family of Abraham. He asked Abraham to pity him. But he did not pity Lazarus when they were on earth. Then he asked Abraham to send Lazarus with a drop of water to cool his tongue.
Abraham would not do what the rich man had requested. He gave to him two reasons. The rich man had so much wealth when he was alive on earth. But he had been a proud and selfish man. He had not been a good manager of his wealth; he did not use his money responsibly. The second reason was that there was a gap between the two places. It was not possible for anyone to cross over that gap. As for Lazarus, he had a poor experience while he was alive on earth. Now he was happy with Abraham in the best place.
The rich man did not suffer because he was rich. Abraham too was a rich man. The difference was in their attitude to God and to other people.
Verses 27-31 The rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his 5 brothers. But Abraham would not do it. All that they needed to warn them was in Moses and the *prophets. They should listen to and they should obey the words of the *Old Testament. Even if some dead person came to live again, they would not believe.
Jesus told this story to the people and especially to the *Pharisees. Many of the *Pharisees were showing the same attitudes as the rich man’s brothers in the story. They believed in life after death and in a future judgement. They thought that as the family of Abraham, they would be safe. They had the *Old Testament but they did not obey it. They loved money and they loved to receive honour from the people. They would not help the poor people. Even when Jesus came to life again after his death, many *Pharisees would not believe in him.
Verses 1-4 The things of this world will tempt even the *disciples of Jesus. Often the fault is the *disciple’s own natural desires. But sometimes other people will tempt them to *sin. God will punish those people who cause his people to *sin. Jesus does not say what that punishment will be. However, he did explain that God considers this to be a very severe matter.
The large stone would have been part of a mill. It would be very heavy. It would hold the person down so that he would drown. The person who causes even the weakest *disciple to *sin deserves an even worse punishment than that. However, God can forgive the person that caused the *disciple to *sin. But that person must first *repent. God cannot forgive anyone who refuses to *repent.
God hates *sin. Therefore, Christians must be careful not to *sin. And they must be careful not to cause other people to *sin. If a Christian does *sin, other Christians must show him his error. They must not do this as if they were judges. They must do it because they care about him. If he *repents, they must forgive him. The number 7 here does not mean only 7 times. It means ‘however many times he *sins’.
Verses 5-6 The *apostles wanted more *faith. But it was not a question of quantity. The amount of *faith was not important but the kind of *faith was. A little real *faith could do great things.
The mustard seed was very small. The mulberry tree is a tree that has very firm roots. So, to move a mulberry tree would be difficult. A small *faith would be enough for a *disciple to tell the tree to lift itself out of the ground. By this, Jesus taught that nothing is impossible to real *faith.
In the Bible, *faith means belief and trust in God. Jesus was telling the *disciples simply to believe and trust in God. If they did that, God would do great things in and through their lives. He would even do things that seemed impossible.
Verses 7-10 A servant had worked hard all day. When he came in, his master expected him to prepare a meal. After the master had eaten then the servant could feed himself. That was normal. That was the job of the servant. He had done nothing more than he ought to have done. The master would not thank him especially because of what he had done.
Suppose that we obey God. And we do all that God wants us to do. That is our duty because we are his servants. We have only done what we ought to have done. We have done nothing special.
Verses 11-14 Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. Here he was on the border between Samaria and Galilee. The exact route that Jesus took is not clear to us. He started the journey on the road through Samaria (9:51-56), which was the shorter route. But the last part of his journey seems to have been through Perea (Matthew 19:1, Mark 10:1). Perea is on the east side of the river Jordan. From there, he went through Jericho (19:1). The most likely explanation is that Luke did not put these events in order of time.
*Lepers had to keep at a distance from other people. So, these 10 *lepers had to cry out with loud voices. They asked Jesus to pity them. They may have expected to receive a gift of food or money. They did not ask him to cure them. But that is probably what they hoped.
Jesus told them to go to the priests. The priests would examine the *lepers. The priests would decide whether the disease had gone or not (Leviticus chapter 14). The *lepers obeyed Jesus and they went. That showed that they were trusting Jesus to cure them. Then as they went, Jesus cured them of the disease.
Verses 15-19 One of the *lepers came back to thank Jesus. He did not first go to the priest to check that he was free of the disease. He knew that Jesus had cured him. He praised God in a loud voice. The other 9 did not come back.
This man was a *Samaritan. In normal circumstances the *Jews and the *Samaritans would stay away from each other. But this *Samaritan *leper was with *Jewish *lepers. Unlike them, he could not go to the *Jewish priests. So instead this *Samaritan returned to give honour and thanks to Jesus, a *Jew. He was the last one that we would expect to thank Jesus. But he was the only one.
Jesus expressed surprise that only this foreigner had returned to give God thanks. God had cured 10 men; they all should be very grateful to God. But the other 9 men were not praising God for the wonderful thing that he had done for them.
Jesus told the *Samaritan to get up and to go on his way. The other *lepers had believed and Jesus had cured them. But Jesus told the *Samaritan that his *faith had made him well. This must mean more than what the other *lepers had received. Jesus had cured their bodies. But Jesus made this man whole. Maybe this man received the *salvation that Jesus *preached.
Verses 20-21 Much of what Jesus taught was about God’s *kingdom. The *Pharisees asked him when this *kingdom would come. Jesus told them that it would come. But this *kingdom was different to their idea of a *kingdom. They thought of the *kingdom as a king in *Israel who would defeat the *Romans. However, Jesus said that they could not see God’s *kingdom. People cannot say that the *kingdom is here or there. It has no physical place on the earth.
The words ‘with you’ could mean ‘inside you’ or ‘among you’. ‘Among you’ would seem to be the right translation. Jesus would not tell the *Pharisees that the *kingdom was inside them. The *kingdom cannot be where people refuse Jesus.
The *kingdom was there among them in the person of Jesus. They could not see it. Those people who believe in Jesus enter into the *kingdom. They belong in the *kingdom. Jesus rules in their lives. Where he rules, that is God’s *kingdom.
Verses 22-25 It is not clear what ‘one of the days of the Son of Man’ means. It could mean that the *disciples would remember the past. They would wish that Jesus were still with them on earth. But ‘the days of the Son of Man’ appear to be in the future. They refer to the time when Jesus will come again. That will be the start of this *kingdom on the earth. But the *disciples will not yet see those days.
People will say that the *Christ has come again. They will say that he has come in secret. They will ask the *disciples to come and see him. Jesus said that this is false. He will not come in secret. When he comes, all the people will know it. They will see it as clearly as they see the lightning in the sky.
Before he comes again, Jesus must suffer. The people will refuse to accept him as the *Christ. And they will kill him.
Verses 26-29 Until Jesus comes again, life will continue as usual. It was the same in the time of Noah. Then the people lived their ordinary lives. They did not believe what Noah told them. They did not obey God or trust in him. So, they were not ready when the flood came. They all died in the flood.
It was the same in the days of Lot. Then the people lived their ordinary lives. Lot was a good man but the people of Sodom were wicked people (Genesis 13:13). They did not obey God or trust in him. So, they were not ready when God destroyed their city. All the people died in the fire and the sulphur. Sulphur is a yellow chemical that burns.
Verses 30-36 When Jesus comes, people will be living their ordinary lives. Most of them will not believe in Jesus. They will not know that Jesus will come. They will not expect him to come. They will not be ready for him when he comes.
This is not about the year *AD 70, when the *Romans destroyed Jerusalem. It is about when Jesus comes back. That time is still in the future.
Jesus will come suddenly. Then the situation will be urgent. There will be no time to gather up material possessions. People must give their whole attention to the Son of Man. Those people who try to keep their way of life will lose their lives. Only those people who have handed their lives over to God will be ready to lose their lives (Mark 8:34-35). But the result will be, in fact, that they will save their lives. Lot’s wife was almost safe but she looked back (Genesis 19:26). She was unwilling to leave her old life.
People will be either for Jesus or against him. Jesus will take those people who are for him. He will leave those people who are not for him. Jesus does not explain what he means. But Paul wrote about the time when Jesus will come (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). At that time those people who believe in Jesus, he will take up from the earth. Those people who remain will have to come in front of God. He will be their judge and he will punish them. Those people who belong to Jesus will escape that fate.
In that country, houses usually had flat roofs. There would be steps up the outside of the house. The roof was part of the living space.
Some Bibles have verse 36. This is in some old texts but it is not in the best texts.
Verse 37 The *disciples wanted to know where all this will happen. Jesus did not directly answer their question. Vultures are large birds that eat dead animals. So, a dead body in the desert will attract vultures. So you can know that it is there because of the vultures.
People who do not believe in Jesus are dead in God’s opinion. Wherever they are at that time, the *Lord will be their judge. They will not escape the punishment for their evil deeds. As a dead body attracts vultures, so they will have brought about their own punishment.
Verses 1-6 Jesus had spoken about the time when he will come again. Nobody knows when that time will be. In the meantime, those people who believe in Jesus should pray. The *Jews would pray every day and up to three times a day. But Christians can pray at any time and as often as they want. They should pray often and they should not stop. Christians must pray until Jesus comes. And they should never give up hope.
Jesus did not teach that God was like the bad judge. God is not like that in any way. However, even the bad judge did what was right in the end. God loves his people. He always does what is best for them. The story is all about the widow. She continued to ask the judge to make a decision on her behalf. If she had not done so, the judge would not have made that decision.
The bad judge did what seemed best for him. He did not bother about right or fair decisions. He did not respect God and he was not afraid of God. Maybe he had accepted money from a rich enemy of the widow. It was much easier to refuse this widow’s appeal. But she would not accept that. She continued to come to him. And she continued to ask him to act for her benefit. In the end, he had to make the right decision on her behalf and against her enemy.
The bad judge made the right decision because the widow insisted on an answer. God is good. He will always do what is right. He hears his people as they cry out to him day and night. They realise that they need God’s help. They know that their only hope is in God. God does not always answer immediately. But he will not delay the answers. He will act on their behalf at the proper time.
Jesus said, ‘I am coming soon’ (Revelation 22:20). The *apostle John replied, ‘Come, *Lord Jesus.’ But maybe he will not find many who pray with *faith. Perhaps there will be just a few Christians who are praying with *faith for his return.
Verses 9-14 Luke does not say who the people in verse 9 were. Many people think that they are good enough to get to heaven. They trust more in themselves than they do in God. But this is a serious mistake. The Bible tells us that all have *sinned (Romans 3:23). Therefore, nobody can get to heaven by what he has done. Many people think that they are superior to other people. They consider that those other people are greater *sinners. But this attitude is not a good one. God hates all *sin, whether in our opinion it is a great *sin or a small *sin.
Jesus told this story about two men. One was a *Pharisee. The *Pharisees tried to obey all the rules and traditions of their religion. Many of them were proud. They thought that they were better than other people. The other man collected taxes. Most people hated the men who did this work. That was because they worked for the *Romans. Many of them collected more taxes than were due. In this, many of them robbed the people and they became rich. These two men came into the *temple to pray.
The *Pharisee stood to pray. This was the normal way to pray in the *temple or in the *synagogue (Mark 11:25). However, he prayed with an attitude of pride. He thanked God that he was better than other people. He thanked God that he was not a *sinner like the other man. He spoke of the bad things that he did not do. Then he told the *Lord of the good things that he did. What the *Pharisee said about himself was true. He chose not to eat frequently, in fact, more often than God’s law orders the *Jews to do. He gave a 10th of more than the law said (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). But he prayed with a wrong attitude. He was not humble. He showed no sense of *sin in himself. He did not express his need for help from God. He expected God to *bless him as a reward because of his good deeds.
The man who collected taxes had a completely different attitude. He knew that he was a *sinner. He stood at the back of this area of the *temple. It would have been normal to look up to pray. But this man would not look up. He was so aware of his *sins. He was so sorry that he beat his upper body. (It was the custom to do that when people felt very sad and desperate.) His prayer was short and simple. He did not tell God how good he was. He just said how bad a *sinner he was. He asked God to pity him and to forgive him.
God accepted the prayer of the man who collected taxes. God answered his prayer and God forgave his *sin. The prayer of the *Pharisee did not need an answer. He received nothing from God.
Jesus told this story to teach that God hates pride. God opposes those people who are proud. Those people who make themselves important, God will refuse. But God accepts those people who are humble. To them, God will give honour.
Verses 15-17 People, probably parents, brought their babies and little children to Jesus (Mark 10:13). They wanted Jesus to put his hands on them and to bless them. The *disciples tried to stop them. Maybe the *disciples thought that Jesus was too busy or too tired. Maybe they thought that little children were not important. But Jesus considered the little children to be very important. He wanted them to come to him. He told the *disciples not to stop them.
Jesus took the little children in his arms. He put his hands on them and he blessed them (Mark 10:16).
Little children have simple trust in their parents. The *kingdom of God is open to people who have such simple trust in Jesus. In this way, people need to become as little children to enter the *kingdom of God. The way in is not by deeds but by *faith. Without this simple trust in Jesus, there is no way into the *kingdom.
Verses 18-21 A ruler came to Jesus. He was a young man and he was wealthy (Matthew 19:22). We do not know what he ruled. He could have been an official in the government or in a *synagogue. But he was probably too young to be a *synagogue ruler.
He called Jesus the good teacher. It was very unusual to call any man ‘good teacher’. Jesus replied that nobody was good except God. Jesus did not say that he was not good. In effect, the young man gave to Jesus a name that belonged to God. What the young man had said was important. Maybe he did not think about what he said. But perhaps he did recognise Jesus as the Son of God.
The ruler asked Jesus what he must do to have *eternal life. He thought that somehow he could earn *eternal life. Jesus said that nobody is good except God. Therefore, nobody can achieve *eternal life because nobody is good enough.
Jesus answered the question about what the man should do. He referred to 5 of God’s 10 commands (Exodus chapter 20, Deuteronomy chapter 5). These 5 commands are about our duty to other people. The young man thought that he had obeyed these commands from childhood. If he had thought more about it, he would not have been so sure. He would have realised that he had neglected to obey even these 5 commands. To other people he may have seemed without blame in the law. But in himself, he could not have been perfect to the standard that these commands declare to be necessary. (See James 2:10-11.)
On this occasion, Jesus did not mention those commands that are about our duty to God.
Verses 22-25 The young ruler thought that he had obeyed the commands of God. But he was wealthy and his wealth had become his god. In other words, he trusted in his wealth rather than in God. The first command is that we must *worship the real God only. So, Jesus told him to sell all that he had. He should give the money to poor people. Then he would have no wealth on earth but he would be rich in heaven. Then he should follow Jesus.
This action was special to that man. It is not a general rule for all people. The principle for everyone is that nothing should take the place of God in our lives. We cannot trust in wealth or anything else.
The young man did not want to give away his money in order to serve God. Luke does not tell us that he refused to obey Jesus. But at that time he went away very sad because he was very wealthy.
It is hard for rich people to enter the *kingdom of God. They seem to have sufficient for all that they need. They trust in what they have. They feel no need for God’s help. So, it is very difficult for them to realise that they do need God.
It would be impossible for a camel to go through a *needle’s eye. It is impossible for a rich person to buy his way into heaven. But God can do what is not possible for men.
Verses 26-30 People thought that it was good to be rich. It showed that God had *blessed that person. So, a rich person should have the best opportunity for life after death. So, if it is so difficult for them, it must be worse for other people. If rich people cannot achieve *salvation, then nobody else can. That is true. Nobody can achieve *salvation. But what is impossible for people is possible with God. *Salvation for rich people and for poor people is by the kindness of God. *Eternal life is a gift from God that no person can earn.
Peter said that the *disciples had left everything. And they had followed Jesus.
In his reply, Jesus showed that God could not be in debt to anyone. So, if a person gives up anything for God’s *kingdom, God will give more. He will give to him in this life and in the life to come. But the promise of reward cannot be the purpose of the person’s action. It must be on behalf of God’s *kingdom and in the purposes of God.
Verses 31-34 There are many *prophecies in the *Old Testament that tell about the *Christ’s death. Jesus told the *disciples that these *prophecies were about him. He would die in Jerusalem. This was part of God’s purposes for him and for our *salvation.
The *Jewish leaders would hand him over to the *Romans. They would make fun of him and they would insult him. They would *spit on him. They would hurt him with whips and they would kill him. But death could not defeat Jesus; Jesus would defeat the power of death. On the third day after his death, Jesus would rise to life again.
Jesus had spoken about his death several times before. But the *disciples still did not understand about his death. They could not understand that Jesus would come back to life again. Perhaps their hopes about him made it especially difficult for them to think about his death. They hoped that he would lead the *Jews to defeat the *Romans. By that means, they expected him to become the king of the *Jews.
Verses 35-37 On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus crossed the river Jordan. As he approached Jericho, a blind man sat by the road. The blind man heard the noise of the crowd that followed Jesus. He learned from the people that Jesus from Nazareth was there.
In Matthew, there were two blind men. In that incident, Jesus was leaving Jericho. Jesus cured both of them (Matthew 20:29-34). In Mark, as Jesus was leaving Jericho, there was a blind man called Bartimaeus. And Jesus cured him (Mark 10:46-52). It seems that the accounts from Matthew and Mark are the same. If so, Bartimaeus had a companion whom Mark does not mention. Perhaps Bartimaeus was the one who first cried out to Jesus. The account in Luke seems to be different because Jesus had not yet arrived in Jericho. So, Luke is describing a third blind man whom Jesus cured during this visit to Jericho.
The blind man had heard about Jesus, the *prophet from Nazareth. Jesus had become famous. The blind man had heard stories of how Jesus cured people. He believed that Jesus could cure him.
Verses 38-39 He cried out to Jesus. The people near to the man told him to be quiet. But he continued to cry out. He shouted out even louder to Jesus. He asked Jesus to pity him.
He called Jesus ‘the Son of David’. The Son of David was the *Christ whom, in the *Old Testament, God had promised to send. It seems that, on this occasion, Jesus accepted the title ‘Son of David’. If so, then here he agreed that he was the *Christ.
Verses 40-43 Jesus stood still and he asked the people to bring the blind man to him. Then Jesus asked the man what he wanted. The man had asked Jesus to pity him. Now the man replied to Jesus that he wanted to see. He believed that Jesus could cure his sight.
Jesus told the man to see again. The means by which the man could see was his *faith. He believed and immediately he received his sight. He followed Jesus and he praised God. Also, the people saw this and they praised God.
Verses 1-4 Jesus was going through Jericho. Jericho is a city with a long history. It is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is in the Jordan plain at about 700 feet (250 metres) below sea level. The plain was and still is very good for agriculture. Jericho means the city of *palm trees. Jerusalem is about 17 miles (25 kilometres) away. The first mention of Jericho in the Bible was when the *Israelites camped by the river Jordan opposite Jericho (Numbers 22:1). Later they attacked Jericho and they destroyed it (Joshua 5:13-6:27). Joshua cursed (declared a terrible punishment for) anyone who built Jericho again (Joshua 6:26). A man called Hiel did so. And as Joshua had said, Hiel’s first son and his youngest son died (1 Kings 16:34).
Zacchaeus lived in Jericho. He was a *Jew; his name is *Jewish. He was a chief of the men who collected taxes. So probably, he was responsible for the men who collected the taxes in that region. Perhaps it was his job to pass on the taxes to the *Romans. He was a rich man but not all of his wealth came from honest deeds.
Zacchaeus had heard about Jesus. And he wanted to see Jesus. But he was a small man and he could not see over the heads of the crowd. So, he climbed a tree on the route that Jesus would take. Then he was in a good position to see Jesus as he came along.
Verses 5-8 Zacchaeus hid in a tree but Jesus saw him there. Jesus knew who Zacchaeus was. Jesus spoke to him by name. He did not ask if he could stay at Zacchaeus’s house. Jesus told him that he must stay with him. Perhaps that was because Jesus wanted to speak with him in private. Zacchaeus was happy with this.
In the opinion of most of the people, the men who collected taxes were the lowest in society. They were *sinners. Jesus had gone to stay with such a person.
The visit of Jesus had a great effect on Zacchaeus. He promised to give half of his wealth to the poor people. He promised to pay 4 times as much to anyone that he had cheated. The law ordered a person to pay the original sum plus a 5th (Leviticus 6:4-5, Numbers 5:5-7). The word ‘give’ is in the present tense. This was not a promise for some future date but for actions now. This showed that he had changed.
Verses 9-10 Zacchaeus was a *Jew. The *Jews came from the family of Abraham. But not all *Jews shared the *faith that Abraham had. Jesus said that Zacchaeus was a *descendant of Abraham. This must mean that Zacchaeus had that *faith. In other words, he now believed and trusted in God. *Salvation had come to that house by *faith and not because of the good deeds that Zacchaeus did. Probably Jesus said this about Zacchaeus to the crowd that followed him.
*Salvation came to that house. The ‘house’ would mean those persons who live in that house. This could mean that other family members also had *faith.
Jesus came to find *lost people. *Lost people are those people who have not yet put their trust in God. Zacchaeus was one of those that Jesus came to save.
Verses 11-14 The crowd came near to Jerusalem. They expected that the *kingdom of God would come. Maybe they expected Jesus to declare that he was the king. Therefore, Jesus told this story about an important man. The man went to a country a long way from home. He went to receive a *kingdom.
The idea for this story may have come from the history of Archelaus. When Herod died, he left a part of his *kingdom to his son Archelaus. But the *Romans controlled the whole *kingdom. So, Archelaus had to go to Rome to ask Caesar Augustus to make him king over Judea. Many *Jews in Judea did not like Archelaus. They sent men to Rome to try to persuade Caesar Augustus that Archelaus should not be their king.
Jesus would soon go away by means of his death. But he will return in the future. He will have received his *kingdom. And he will come back to rule. In the meantime, many people do not want Jesus to be their king.
The man gave to each of 10 servants a sum of money. He told them to trade with this money while he was away. This was a test to see whether he could trust them with larger tasks.
A mina was about the wages that a worker would earn in three months.
Verses 15-19 The man got his *kingdom and he came back home. He told his servants to give to him an account of what they had done. The first one had gained 10 more *minas. The second one had gained 5 more *minas. The king gave them control over cities in his *kingdom.
Verses 20-23 The third servant out of the 10 gave his account. We do not know what happened to the other 7 servants. The third servant gave to the king the *mina that he had kept safe. He had done nothing with it. He did not trade with it, as his master had ordered him to do. He hid it because he was afraid of his master. He was afraid that he might lose his master’s *mina.
The servant’s explanation was that his master was a very severe man. His master took profit where he had not earned it.
The master used what the servant had said against him. The servant knew what kind of man the master was. Therefore, he should at least have put the money in the bank. There it would have earned profit.
The master had told the servants to trade. He expected them to take that risk. The third servant did not obey his master, so the master was angry with him.
Verses 24-27 The master took the *mina from the third servant. He gave it to the servant who had 10 *minas. The servant with 10 *minas had proved that he was loyal and responsible. So, his master could trust him with much greater responsibility. The servant who returned his *mina did not trade with it. He had neglected to use it as his master had ordered. He had shown that he was neither loyal nor responsible.
So, the one who has will receive more. The one who does not have will lose everything.
God has given gifts to his people. For example, he has given them skills and opportunities to serve him. If they do not use those gifts, they will lose them. If they use the gifts well, then they will receive greater gifts.
The king killed those people who did not want him to be their king. Jesus will come as the king. He will be the judge of those people who will not have him as their king. Our attitude to Jesus is a matter of life or death, and the results of that will be *eternal.
Verses 28-34 The chief priests and the *Pharisees in Jerusalem wanted to arrest Jesus. They did not know where he was. Jesus was not yet in Jerusalem. But they gave orders to the people about him. If they found Jesus, they must tell the leaders of the people (John 11:55-57). Although there was this danger, Jesus came openly toward Jerusalem. He was not afraid of these enemies. While the crowd was with him, the leaders would not arrest him. Jesus knew what would happen soon. He knew that he would die in Jerusalem. He went to Jerusalem for that purpose.
Jesus came to the hill called the *Mount of Olives, near to Bethphage and Bethany. Bethany was a village about two miles from Jerusalem on the east slopes of the *Mount of Olives. Bethany was where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived (John 11:1). Bethphage was near to Bethany but we do not know exactly where. The name Bethphage means ‘house of *figs’.
Jesus sent two *disciples to go into a village. The village could have been Bethphage. From there, he told them to fetch a young *donkey for him to ride. Nobody had ever ridden on this animal. Nobody had trained it to carry a rider. However, it was tame when Jesus rode on it. It was as if the young *donkey was familiar with its rider.
Jesus gave careful instructions to the two *disciples before they went to fetch the *donkey. Someone may ask them what they were doing with it. If so, Jesus told them what to say. They must reply that its *Lord needs it. It happened as Jesus had told the *disciples. We may ask whether Jesus arranged this in advance. Otherwise, the owners would not have let the *disciples take the young *donkey. However, maybe Jesus had not arranged it. He knew that the animal was there. And he knew that the owners were ready for the *Lord to ask for it. Perhaps Jesus knew these things by the power of the *Holy Spirit.
The *prophecy in Zechariah and the account in Matthew show that there were two animals. There was a *donkey and a young *donkey (Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21:1-7). The Books of Mark and Luke refer only to the young *donkey as probably Jesus rode on that animal (Mark 11:1-7).
Verses 35-38 The *disciples brought the young *donkey to Jesus. They put some of their coats on the *donkey instead of a saddle. Then they lifted Jesus onto the *donkey. Other people spread their coats on the road in front of Jesus. Matthew, Mark and John tell us that the people cut down branches from trees. They spread these branches on the road (Matthew 21:8, Mark 11:8, John 12:13). John writes that the branches were from *palm trees.
By tradition, we now call the Sunday before Easter ‘*Palm Sunday’.
Jesus rode down the hill called the *Mount of Olives to go into Jerusalem. The crowds of *disciples were excited and they praised God. They praised God because of all the great things that they had seen. They saw Jesus as the king whom God had sent to them. They believed that their king was coming to his capital city. He was coming to receive his *kingdom. Matthew and John refer to the *prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Look. Your king comes to you. He is gentle and he rides on a *donkey, a young *donkey.” ’
In that *prophecy, the *Christ would come as the prince of peace (see Isaiah 9:6). So, the crowds spoke about peace in heaven and *glory in the highest places.
Verses 39-40 There were some *Pharisees in the crowd. They did not like what the *disciples said. They could not accept Jesus as the king or as the *Christ. They came to Jesus. They asked him to tell his *disciple not to say these things.
Jesus would not do as the *Pharisees wanted. Instead he answered them with words similar to Habakkuk 2:11. If the *disciples were quiet, the stones would cry out.
Verses 41-44 From the hill called the *Mount of Olives, there was a magnificent view of the entire city. In the middle of that view across the Kidron Valley, there was Herod’s *temple. The sight was impressive. But Jesus saw into the future. He wept when he saw the city. He wept because the people had not put their trust in God. If they had done so, God would have brought peace to Jerusalem. Jesus could see the terrible events that would happen there. But the people could not see it.
Jesus knew that the *Romans would attack the city. And they would destroy it. They would not leave one stone on top of another stone. The people who remained in the city would not be able to escape.
All this happened. In 70 *AD, the *Roman army came; its leader was an officer called Titus. The army surrounded the city. And then they destroyed the *temple and the city. They killed most of the people. They sent away those people who remained alive into foreign countries.
Most of the people in Jerusalem had refused to believe in Jesus. God had sent Jesus as the *Christ. But the people did not recognise the *Christ when he came to them.
AD ~ years after Christ.
adultery ~ sex with a person who is not one’s wife or husband.
altar ~ the special table where priests burned animals and other gifts that they offered to God.
ancestors ~ people in history from whom your family has come.
angel ~ a special servant of God from heaven. God made angels to serve him and to take his messages. So, angels are God’s servants from heaven. But there are evil angels who opposed God. These evil angels now serve the devil.
apostle ~ someone whom God sends; especially one of the 12 men whom Jesus chose to be his helpers.
assaria ~ a very small *Roman coin that was worth a 16th of a *denarius.
BC ~ years before Christ.
baptism ~ a ceremony that uses water to show that God has forgiven (washed away) a person’s *sin. Jesus also used baptism as a word-picture for how he would suffer.
Baptist ~ the title that we use for John, whom God sent to prepare people for the *Christ’s arrival.
bath ~ a liquid measurement equal to about 5 gallons (22 litres).
blasphemy ~ a very serious *sin where a person chooses on purpose to oppose God.
bless ~ to show kindness to someone.
calf ~ a young cow up to one year old.
chicks ~ very young birds.
Christ ~ the Christ is the name for the person whom God would send to be the *Saviour of his people. Jesus is the Christ and he was called Christ.
cor ~ a dry measurement equal to about 50 gallons (220 litres).
demons ~ evil *angels that serve the devil.
denarius ~ a coin. The plural is denarii. A denarius was the amount that a workman would earn for one day’s work.
descendant ~ a future member of a family or nation.
disciple ~ a person who follows a leader, especially the 12 men that Jesus chose to be with him.
donkey ~ an animal with long ears. It is like a small horse. People use donkeys to ride on or to carry goods.
dough ~ a mixture, mainly of flour and water, from which people make bread.
eternal ~ something that will always be and will never end.
eternal life ~ life of a new quality for those people who believe in Jesus. This new life will be with Jesus always.
faith ~ trust in someone or something; belief and trust in God and in Jesus Christ his Son.
feast ~ a time to eat and drink. The special times of many *Jewish ceremonies are feasts.
figs ~ a kind of sweet fruit.
glory ~ great honour and beauty.
gospel ~ the good news that God saves people from *sin because of Jesus Christ.
Greek ~ the language in which the authors wrote the *New Testament.
Hebrew ~ the language of the *Jews and of the *Old Testament.
herbs ~ plants that people grow for a useful purpose, for example as medicine or to add flavour to food.
Holy Spirit ~ God’s Spirit whom Jesus sent to help his people. It is another name for God, also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the comforter. The Holy Spirit is a person but not human. He lives and works for God, he is God, equal with God the Father and with God the Son.
hypocrisy ~ when a person pretends in order to give a false impression.
hypocrite ~ someone who pretends in order to give a false impression.
Israel ~ the country of the *Jews.
Israelites ~ *Jewish people.
Jewish ~ people or things that are from the *Jews.
Jews ~ people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the families of their children.
kingdom ~ the place or territory where a king rules. In the *New Testament, this is nearly always the people over whom the king rules and not a territory on earth.
leper ~ a man with a serious skin disease called *leprosy.
leprosy ~ serious disease of the skin.
Levite ~ A person from the family of Levi. The Levites helped the priests in the *temple.
lily ~ a kind of flower that is very beautiful. The plural is lilies.
Lord ~ a title for God, or Jesus, to show that he is over all people and things. In the *Old Testament, *LORD was a special name for God.
lost ~ a description of someone or something that has wandered away from its owner or is not in its proper place.
mina ~ a sum of money that was worth the same as a workmen could earn in three months.
mint ~ a *herb.
miracle ~ a powerful deed that seems to be against the normal laws of nature. Miracles showed God’s power.
moth ~ a kind of insect. Some moths eat clothes.
Mount of Olives ~ a hill near Jerusalem. The word ‘mount’ means a mountain or hill. Olives are a type of oily fruit that grow on trees. Those trees grew on the hill near Jerusalem called the Mount of Olives.
mustard ~ a kind of *herb or *spice which grows quickly from a very small seed.
needle’s eye ~ the tiny hole in a needle.
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus on earth.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the holy things that the writers wrote before Jesus’ birth.
ox ~ an animal of a similar kind to a cow. The plural is oxen.
palm ~ a type of tree.
Passover ~ annual ceremony (*feast) to remember God’s rescue of the *Jews from Egypt.
peace ~ the calm and content attitude that is the result of a right relationship with God.
persecute ~ to attack and to hurt people because of what they believe.
Pharisees ~ a group of *Jews who tried to obey all God’s rules. Many of them did not approve of Jesus.
preach ~ to speak out the message from God and to teach his word.
prophecy ~ a message from God; a gift of the *Holy Spirit.
prophet ~ person who speaks on behalf of God. A prophet can sometimes say what will happen in the future.
prostitute ~ a woman who sells her body to men for sex.
raven ~ a large black bird.
repent / repentance ~ to change one’s mind and heart. To turn away from *sin and turn to God. To turn one’s mind and heart away from *sin is to repent.
Roman ~ Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time. Anything that belonged to Rome was Roman.
Sabbath ~ the 7th day of the week (Saturday), which is special to the *Jews as a holy day.
sacrifice ~ a gift to God to ask him to forgive *sins or to thank him for something. To sacrifice means to make a sacrifice.
salvation ~ the result when God saves us from *sin and punishment; the new life that God gives to those people who believe in the *Lord Jesus.
Samaritan ~ Samaria was a region to the north of Judea. Samaritans are people from Samaria.
Satan ~ the name of the devil.
Saviour ~ a title for Jesus, who saves his people from their *sins.
scorpion ~ A scorpion is an animal up to 4 inches (10 centimetres) in length. At the end of the tail is its sting. Its sting is extremely poisonous, and sometimes it can kill a person.
shepherd ~ someone who takes care of sheep.
sin ~ sin is the wrong things that we do. To sin is to do wrong, bad or evil deeds and not to obey God.
sinners ~ people who *sin.
soul ~ the part of a person that we cannot see. It is in us during our life. And it continues to live after we die. It is our inner life (not the body).
sparrow ~ a kind of small bird.
spices ~ a sweet substance or a substance with a strong smell.
spit ~ to force liquid from the mouth.
sulphur ~ a yellow chemical that burns.
sycamore ~ a type of tree.
synagogue ~ a building where *Jews gather for prayer; a meeting place for *Jews.
temple ~ a special building for the *worship of God. The *Jews had a temple in Jerusalem for the *worship of the real God. But at other temples, people *worshipped false gods.
tempt ~ to persuade someone that they should do wrong things.
tower ~ a tall building.
vineyard ~ a farm or large garden where people grow the fruit to produce wine.
vulture ~ a large bird that eats dead animals.
weapon ~ a tool of war that people use to attack or to defend themselves.
wolves ~ wild animals that look like large dogs.
worship ~ the act when someone gives honour to God. Someone who worships, praises God. That person thanks God. And that person respects God.
yeast ~ a substance that makes bread rise before someone bakes the bread.
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
Joseph A Fitzmyer ~ The Gospel According to Luke ~ The Anchor Bible
I. Howard Marshall ~ Commentary on Luke ~ New International Greek Testament Commentary
Walter L. Liefeld ~ The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
Leon Morris ~ Luke ~ The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
Bibles: NIV, ASV, CEV, TEV, GW, ISV, KJV, LITV, MKJV, RV
A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek New Testament
© 2013, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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