Luke 13 – Verse by Verse

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In this chapter, Jesus reminds us in various ways of the dangers of false or misguided religion.  Specifically, he will point out that a person can be very close to the kingdom of God without getting in.

Luke 13.pdf

Luke 13.mp3

Here is a link to the livestream video:  https://www.facebook.com/horizoncentral/videos/204064051025237/

A chance to repent – Luke 13:1-5

When extreme tragedy strikes, there is an almost universal tendency to see that the person somehow had it coming to them.  Call it karma, call it something else, the tendency has always been there.  The Bible has a version of this, memorably expressed by Paul in Galatians 6:7-8.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

At the same time, the Bible sees this principle as limited, at least in this life.  The story of Job is an excellent example.  A perfectly righteous man endures terrible hardship, while his friends try to make sense of it as best they can.  Perhaps inevitably, they resort to blaming Job for his own troubles.  They were wrong, but they add much insult to Job’s injury before they are forced to see it.  God sets all things right at the very end, but it took Job a long time and a lot of undeserved suffering to get there.

Jesus encountered this kind of thinking one day and answered it perfectly as always.  Let’s read it from Luke 13.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

The Galileans killed by Pilate and the victims of the fallen tower were no worse people than anyone else.  The twist in Christ’s version is not that they were especially innocent in God’s eyes, but that everyone else is comparably guilty.  This is the biblical view of sin.  It is the bad news that makes the good news of the gospel good.

We are all in need of repentance.  That is one of the earliest lessons that the Bible aims to teach us.  At some level, we are guilty before a perfectly holy God.  Sure, there may be mitigating factors to the particular level of our guilt.  A certain temptation was especially difficult.  Under the circumstances there were no good choices.  We have a natural tendency to do this or that.  Someone or something drove us to a point where we reacted, which was wrong.  But, in the end, we are wrong too.  We have sinned because we are fundamentally flawed members of a flawed race who eventually lived up – or maybe down – to our potential.  We sinned and fell short of perfect holiness, which is the standard of the one and only thoroughly holy God.

The solution is repentance.  We are not to hold onto our sin and cherish it.  We are to turn from it and turn our hearts toward our divinely provided Savior.  This is the point made by Jesus when he says, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

John 3:16 steers us directly to this principle.  We have a chance to repent right now.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Luke 2 – Verse by Verse

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Luke tells about the birth of Christ including details that probably came from Mary.  This chapter shows Jesus at the temple shortly after his birth and later, when he was twelve.

Luke 02.pdf

Luke 02.mp3

Luke 1 – Verse by Verse

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Luke approached the writing of his Gospel like a historian, doing research and seeking out sources.  He begins his story with two supernatural births, first of John the Baptist and then of Jesus Christ.

Luke 01.pdf

Luke 01.mp3

Mark 12 Verse by Verse

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Jesus is in Jerusalem.  It is the final week running up to his crucifixion.  He will criticize spiritual showiness while encouraging us to practice complete love and commitment to God.

Mark 12.pdf

Mark 12.mp3

Christ’s parable of the wedding feast – Matthew 22:1-14

The Parable of the Wedding Feast continues a string of parables that Jesus began in Matthew 21.  The full text of the parable is here.

The king represents God and his son is the Messiah.  The invited guests would be the nation of Israel up to the time of Jesus.  Their poor treatment of many prophets and messengers is well documented in the Old Testament and continued to the time of John the Baptist.

God’s response was to destroy their city, Jerusalem, and this happened more than once.  Jesus seems to be looking to what would be a future destruction from his own perspective.  

Since the invited guests refused to take part in the festivities, the king encourages anyone at all to come.  The point is that the wedding is going to take place with or without the originally invited guests.

In the ancient world, there were examples of kings who handed out special clothing to their guests.  One outcome of this was that everyone was on the same level — no pride for the wealthy and stylish, no shame for those who were poor.  All of them were honored guests of the king.  (See Gundry 1994).  

One man was wearing his own clothes, apparently thinking they were good enough.  He has no answer for the king when he is confronted.  He is thrown out immediately.

Here are a few things we should take to heart from this parable:  

  1. Not all those raised with a religious background accept God’s invitation to the royal wedding of his Son.
  2. For example, many of the Jews in Old Testament times or the time of Jesus refused.
  3. Many raised in the church today do the same, ignoring the invitation and belittling God’s messengers.  They believe they know better.
  4. Even if we say yes, we must remember that we are allowed in only on God’s terms not on our own. 
  5. The result is that many who are “bad” as well as those who are “good” (v.10) end up as guests in the wedding when the party starts. They all came in at God’s invitation and on his terms.  Those who refuse Christ’s offer or try to negotiate something other than entrance as a result of his free gift find themselves left out.