Like the books of Matthew and Mark, we learn from the Book of Luke the stories of the birth of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. Luke tells us that the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah, telling him that his wife Elizabeth, formerly barren, is pregnant. Soon afterward, Gabriel appears to Elizabeth’s relative, the Virgin Mary, telling her that she too is going to give birth to a child by the Power of the Holy Ghost.
Mary and Joseph travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem to pay taxes to Herod, it is in Bethlehem, in a manger, Jesus is born. Later in a younger age, Jesus was found instructing older men of great wisdom in the temple. Once Jesus grows to the age of about 30, He is baptized in the desert of Judea by John the Baptist. John is soon imprisoned by Herod, the ruler of the northern Galilee region.
We learn of Jesus’s genealogy, stretching back to the first man, Adam, who is said to be “… the son of God.” (Luke 3:38). We are told of Satan unsuccessfully testing Jesus for forty days in the wilderness. Upon returning from being tempted in the wilderness, Jesus begins his ministry. He is rejected in his hometown of Nazareth and takes to wandering throughout Galilee, where he works many miracles, including casting out devils.
• In Chapters 1-4: Luke writes a very detailed account of the birth of Jesus, a common Christmas story, yet always fascinating. He then explains John the Baptist’s preparation for the coming Messiah and the baptism of Jesus Christ.
• In Chapters 5-21: We learn of the ministry of Jesus. As Jesus travels, He teaches, preaches, heals the sick, and brings hope to the desperate and discouraged. He was also seeking those who were obedient and faithful, such as the Roman Centurion who sincerely pleads with Jesus to heal his servant from a far distance, “…say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.” (Luke 7:7). Jesus met many religious leaders who relentlessly opposed Him and constantly tried to trick and kill Him.
• In Chapters 22-24: Jesus is betrayed by one of His own (Judas). He was unlawfully convicted by a dishonest and hateful court, and sentenced to crucifixion. However, death could not hold Him and after three days He resurrected and arose from the grave, just as He had miraculously raised others during His ministry.
Early in the morning days after the death of Jesus Christ, some of His followers (including Mary Magdelene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James) came to His sepulchre [tomb] to anoint Him with spices. Upon approaching the tomb, they found the stone, which sealed the tomb was rolled back and when they went in, they did not find the body of Jesus Christ. The followers were confused, but they found two men who were wearing shining garments, who told them; “…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…” (Luke 24:5-6) The two men [or angels] reminded the followers that Jesus had told them exactly what would happen; “…The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Luke 24:7)
When the followers heard these words, they remembered. The followers left to tell the Eleven Apostles, but the Apostles thought they were listening to idle tales, and did not believe. Peter ran to the tomb to see for himself; but departed wondering what would happen.
Later, on the way down to a village named Emmaus two of the Apostles walked while discussing the things that had happened. While walking a man approached them and began to speak to them, this man was Jesus Christ, but the two Apostles did not know Him. Jesus asks them why they are sad, and what the reason is for their communication. The two Apostles are flabbergasted as to why this ‘man’ would ask them these questions, they begin to tell Him about the ministry of Jesus and how He was crucified. Jesus responds; “…O fools, and slow of heart to believe… Ought not Christ to have suffered these things…” (Luke 24:25-26) Jesus explains that He has further to walk, but with the evening approaching, the two Apostles invite this ‘man’ to stay with them for the night. While with them, He breaks bread and communes with them, after He is done breaking bread, he disappeared. Upon realizing that the ‘man’ who was with them was Jesus and He had now left after breaking bread with them, they were perplexed; “…Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened t us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32) Essentially the two Apostles were upset that they were so blind to not even see Jesus!
The two Apostles return to Jerusalem and proclaim to the other Apostles that Jesus had indeed Risen! While they were speaking, Jesus enters and says to them; “…Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39) While the Apostles were in shock and were wondering what they had just seen, Jesus asks them; “…Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24:41-43)
Here is an important Doctrinal Truth: Jesus Christ has a glorified body of flesh and bones, just like we have as humans. Jesus told His Apostles to touch Him for He had flesh and bones, and He even asked them for food, so that He could eat. Jesus then “…opened… their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures… Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day… that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:45-48) Jesus opens their understanding, so that the Apostles and all those who follow Him can understand the scriptures and know the truth. Jesus had told the people He would be persecuted to death and rise again on the third day, but even then when it happens the Apostles did not believe Him. Jesus explains that His death had to happen, in order to open the door to a remission of sins and the start of missionary work throughout the world, starting in Jerusalem.
Jesus died for ALL of us, that we might be saved. In order to be truly saved, we must follow Jesus, and all His teachings. We cannot follow Him, if we do not follow His commandments and teachings. Jesus is lifted up into heaven and the Apostles rejoiced and worshipped Him in the temple.
Jesus saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury of the Temple, He also saw an old lady who cast in two mites. Jesus then tells those around Him that the old widow had donated more into the treasury then all the rich, because she had given everything she had!
Jesus then explains that Jerusalem and the Temple would soon be destroyed. Those who followed Him, asked Him when this might be. Jesus tells them; “…the time draweth near…when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified; for these things must first come to pass… nation shall rise against nation… great earthquakes…famines… pestilences… they shall… persecute you…for my name’s sake.” (Luke 21:8-12)
Jesus explains that the signs of the Second Coming will be when we hear of wars and see great natural disasters and the spread of disease. Jesus tells His followers to not worry, for these things are all part of the master plan. He calms them; “Settle it therefore in your hearts not to meditate before what ye shall answer. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist… In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:14-15,19) Jesus was basically saying that we don’t need to worry about what we need to do, because God will give us wisdom, to confound even our enemies. If we are patient, we will overcome.
Jesus continues to prophesy of the Last Days;
“…when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh… there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the starts; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear… And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:20; 25-27)
Right before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the world will show signs in the heavens, armies will fill the Middle East, the seas will be roaring and men’s hearts shall fail them as nations fall into distress. Then after all that, the world will see Jesus Christ return to the earth in His glory. Jesus advises His followers to “…pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things.” (Luke 21:36) Essentially, bad things will happen in the Last Days, but those who follow the Lord, follow
His commandments and pray always will escape the nightmares of the world in distress at His Second Coming.
(I have included a 3 part video: ‘Joy to the World’ to accompany the story of CHRISTmas) Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
Tis the season for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells and of course; Santa Claus! It is the season of bad traffic, great store sales and angry shoppers fighting over some “must have” electronic or gadget. During this HoliDAZE, we often forget the true meaning of Christmas, that is Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Savior of the World.
Since the beginning of time, Prophets have foretold of the coming of a Messiah, a Christ King who would be born in Bethlehem and suffer the sins of the world. The story of the Birth of our Savior begins when the Angel Gabriel visits Mary, and tells her of the coming of her son, Jesus Christ…
“…the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women… when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying… And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God… behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest…” (Luke 1:26-31)
“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee… that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35)
Mary was engaged to Joseph, and being a virgin she was confused as to how she could become pregnant and have a son. Angel Gabriel comforts her and tells her that the Son of God shall be born, and that she had been chosen, being highly favored of God to bring forth Jesus into this world. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
The Story of the Birth of Jesus Christ continues in the Bible;
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed… And all went out to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem… To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child [pregnant]… And so it was, that… the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1, 3-7)
It was part of the law in those days for every man to go to his village to pay taxes; Joseph went to Galilee, because that is where he needed to pay his taxes. Because of the great number of people there, they were unable to find a proper place to sleep, and were forced to deliver the baby in a manger. The Son of God was Born, His name; Jesus Christ!
During this time, a star was seen in the east, and shepherds abiding in their fields saw that Jesus Christ had been born…
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men… as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass… And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-16)
The Shepherds had surely heard the words of the Prophets of old, and their prophecy of the coming of the Son of God, upon seeing the Multitude of Heavenly Hosts, sing “Glory to God in the highest” they knew that the Lord had been born and immediately went to see their King. The Star in the East could be seen, round about the world…
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem Judaea… there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled…And he sent them [the wise men] to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word… that I may come and worship him also… they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced…And when they were come…they saw the young child with Mary…and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gift; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:1-3; 8-11)
The Wise Men, in most accounts are referred to ask the “Three Wise Men”, most likely because of the three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) that are given to Jesus. However the scriptures never tell us how man wise men there were. Nevertheless, the wise men are warned in a dream to depart and not to return unto Herod, for he had other plans…
“And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country…when they departed, behold the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt… for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” (Matthew 2:12-13)
“…Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and inall the coasts thereof, from two years and under…” (Matthew 2:16)
Herod, fearing that the Son of God had been born, attempts a cowardly action of killing all children age 2 and below. However, God the Father had other plans and protected His Only Begotten Son, so that He might go among the world and die for everyone and their sins, to enable us to return again one day to Our Heavenly Father…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn not the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
God knew of the divine plan of His Son, and allowed Him to grow strong in the spirit. For God was with Him; “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40)
The Bible teaches clearly that Jesus is the Christ and that through Him we might be saved, and given the opportunity to return to live with God. However, it is important to note that the Star in the East was seen throughout the World! The Ancient Inhabitants of the Americas saw the Star too, and their account is written in the Book of Mormon, which also testifies of Christ and His divine mission. A Book of Mormon Prophet named Alma, testified of Jesus Christ…
“…I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgression of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it. For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish… yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.” (Alma 34:8-10, The Book of Mormon)
What Does the Book of Mormon Say?
Shortly before the Birth of Jesus Christ, people lived in Ancient Americas, where God also called Prophets to guide His children. One of these Prophets was named Samuel, and Samuel testified of Christ and His coming into this world. However, there was a great division of believers and non-believers. Those who did not believe, decided that that time of preaching Christ’s coming was to come to an end…
“…it came to pass that… the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there were greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people. But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken of by Samuel, the Lamanite. And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled therefore your joy and your faith concerning this things hath been vain… and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful…But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if it were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been in vain.” (3 Nephi 1:4-8, Book of Mormon)
Samuel the Lamanite (A Prophet in Ancient America) had told his believers that the sign of Christ’s birth would come when the sun would go down, but no darkness would come. The unbelievers grew impatient and set a date to which the sign must be accomplished for them to “believe”…
“…it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet… when Nephi… saw this wickedness… he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people… and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into this world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouths of the prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world … and this night shall the sign be given.” (3 Nephi 1:9-14, The Book of Mormon)
Nephi, seeing the wickedness and disbelief of the people bowed humbly in prayer before his maker, and was heard! The Lord told him to be of good cheer, for he would soon come into the world, to fulfill all that was prophesied by prophets of old…
“And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled… at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came. And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth… for they knew… they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear… and it came to pass that there was no darkness in all the night… the son did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given…. A new star did appear…” (3 Nephi 1:15-21, The Book of Mormon)
When the evening came, and then the night, the sun did not go down. This made many who believed and disbelieved to fall to the earth in fear. However, the sign had been given, fulfilled and a new star did appear. The announcement of the coming of Jesus Christ did not just come unto the people of the old world, in the Middle East. Rather, God the Father made the announcement to ALL His Children, in ALL parts of the world. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ teaches of His divine mission, and anyone who thoughtfully and prayerfully reads it will come closer to Him.
This Christmas, remember CHRISTmas, for Jesus Christ came unto the world, to be rejected and die for all the sins of mankind so that we might be given the gift of Salvation and Eternal Life.
Jesus entered and passed through Jericho, and while there a man named Zachhaeus, who was chief among the publicans desired to see Him. Zaachaeus was a very wealthy man, but short and had to climb up a sycamore tree to get the attention of Jesus, otherwise he would have been hidden in the great crowd gathered for Jesus. While passing by the tree, Jesus tells Zaachaeus to come down, for He needed to use his house. Zaachaeus, being fearful of the Lord told Him that he had given half of his wealth to the needy and always gave 4x back to anyone who he wronged. Jesus tells him that he doesn’t need to worry about his sins, for He came to “…save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Jesus then gives the Parable of the Pounds;
“…A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return… he called his ten servants, and delivered to them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us… when he was returned, having received the kingdom…commanded these servants to be called unto him… that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said… Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord. Behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept…” (Luke 19:12-20)
All ten servants were given one pound each, the first made nine pounds and the second four pounds. The last servant made nothing, for he feared the man and did not want to lose the pound, so he did nothing with it. This Parable is similar to the Parable of the Talents, we should make the best out of our situation and never bury or hide something, we have endless opportunities and possibilities as mankind… make the best of it!
After telling the Parable, Jesus tells His Apostles to fetch Him a Colt that would be tied to door in a nearby village. So the Apostles go and grab the Colt, so that Jesus can ride it into Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem Jesus cleanses the Temple of evil, where the men have turned the house of prayer into “…a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46)
“…There was in a city a judge, which feared no God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while…Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by here continual coming she weary me.” (Luke 18:2-6) Jesus points out that a man who doesn’t fear God or other men, yet still granted the widows petition because she had been persistent. God, of course, will avenge His people even more.
Jesus then tells about two men who go to the Temple to pray; O
One man being a Pharisee and the other a Publican: The Pharisee stood and prayed; “…God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” (Luke 17:11) While the Publican put his head down in shame and offered a prayer; “…God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 17:13) Jesus explained that because the Publican offered a simple, humble and HONEST prayer he would be exalted. We should never glorify or exalt ourselves.
Some of those gathered tried to bring their children to be blessed by Jesus, but the Apostles tried to stop them from approaching Jesus; Jesus responded: “…Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 17:16) – Little Children are the Kingdom of God… we should humble ourselves like little children.
A man comes to Jesus and asks Him how to obtain Eternal Life, He calls Jesus “Good Master”, which Jesus first responds; “…Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.” (Luke 17:19) – It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God the Father is the Father of Jesus. They are TWO SEPARATE and INDIVIDUAL Beings, Yes they are ONE in PURPOSE, but still SEPARATE. Jesus tells the man that he needs to sell all that he has and follow Him. The man was saddened for he had lots of material things. Jesus then explains that we need to be rich in spirit, but not rich in material things. Note, it is OK to have money in this life! But it is when we value money more than God that it is bad.
Jesus then tells His Apostles of his suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus also heals a blind man, whom he tells; “…thy faith hath saved thee.” (Luke 19:42)
Jesus explains to His Apostles that anyone who offends the children, by doing anything against them; “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:2) Essentially, children are precious and should never be abused or have anything bad done to them. Those who go against this will face harsh punishment.
Jesus explains that we should always be forgiving, for if our brother does something to us seven times in one day and he repents seven times, we need to forgive. What if someone does this eight times in one day? The same applies, Jesus used the number seven to get the point across… forgive always.
Jesus enters into a village where He is met by ten lepers, they speak out to Jesus; “…have mercy on us.” (Luke 17:13) Jesus heals all ten of the lepers, but only one returns to give Him thanks, and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asks the man; “…Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger…. Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:17-19)
The Pharisees that were gathered asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come, and Jesus responds; “…The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” (Luke 17:20) Essentially Jesus says that you can’t try and figure out when it will come, it will come when God decides it is the right time. Jesus however, warns of the end times. The signs of the times will come in the form of Moral corruption, similar to the days of Noah or in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. We should learn to not be attached to things of the world, like the wife of Lot (see Genesis 19)
Jesus explains that those who “…shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his lift shall preserve it.” (Luke 17:33) In the last days, when the time comes; “Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (Luke 17:36) This is what many Christians refer to as the “Rapture”. Whatever is believed about this day, it is important to understand the message Jesus has left, and that is… Don’t wait until the last day to repent! Line your life on the path of Jesus now, and then when the last day comes you will be raised up into good Judgment.
Jesus gathers the Publicans and the sinners to hear Him, while the Pharisees and Scribes murmur that He is eating with sinners.
Jesus tells the Parable of the Lost Sheep;
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth no leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friend and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:4-7)
Why is it important to rejoice over the Lost Sheep? Because you don’t want anyone to perish! We should have compassion on everyone! The other 99 sheep, why not worry about them? Well, they have not run away or slipped off the path from the rest. The 99 are just as important, but they are not in as much need as the ones who are Lost. Either way you should celebrate when someone or something has been found.
Jesus tells the Parable of the Lost Coin (piece of silver);
“…what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I lost. Likewise… there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:8-10)
This is the same thing as the Parable of the Lost Sheep, we should value everyone. If everyone is on the path and is not lost, great! However, those who have fallen off the path and are Lost, have need to be found!
Jesus tells the Parable of the Prodigal Son;
“…A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me of the portion of goods that falleth to me [inheritance]. And he divided unto them his living…the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living [being rebellious and irresponsible]….when he spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land: and he began to be in want… he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine…. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:11-15;17-19)
So, this son goes to his father and asks for his inheritance now. The father agrees and the son wastes the money, and is forced to find employment with a man who apparently does not pay him enough to eat properly and he hungers. So he decides to return home to his father, where he plans on becoming one of the hired servants.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” (Luke 15:20-21)
The son was embarrassed and told his father that he had sinned by wasting his money and that he was no longer worthy to be his son. But the father reacts in a rather unexpected manner…
“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:22-23)
Instead of scolding his son, the father was so happy to see him that he wanted to put on a huge feast in celebration of his return. The older son, when he hears about this is angered. So the father comes out to find the older brother to talk about why he was angry. The older son claims that he had worked hard, without transgression and yet the younger son sinned and wasted away the fathers money on all manner of sin. The father responds to the elder son; “… Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:31-32)
Essentially the father reminds the older son, that everything the father has is still his. He is not going to lose his inheritance, but that they should still celebrate the homecoming of the younger son. We need to remember this, that just because a sinner is being celebrated for getting back on the right path, does not mean that a good person who never sins doesn’t get a big feast. For that time will come!
Jesus goes into the home of the Chief Pharisee, to eat bread on the Sabbath day. There was a man who had dropsy; which was an old term for the swelling of soft tissue due to the accumulation of water. Today however, this might mean edema, due to congestive heart failure. Jesus heals the man and let him go. The Pharisees held their peace and did not say anything to Jesus for having cured the man on the Sabbath. Even though the Pharisees held their peace, Jesus knew that they were questioning Him for having done this great miracle.
Even though none of them questioned Jesus, Jesus knew the desires of their hearts and asks them; “…Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?” (Luke 14:5) Jesus then tells them that they should not sit down at a wedding in the highest room, without starting at the lowest. He explains that you want to start at the lowest place and have the host or someone more honorable than you to invite you to come to a higher room; “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased [degraded or have your dignity or self-esteem lowered]; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:11) In other words Jesus is telling them that they should humble themselves and they will be lifted up and honored. But those who try and make themselves great will only be degraded and lowered. Moral of the story, be humble!
“…When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours… But when thou makest a feat, call the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14)
Jesus then puts forth a Parable of the Great Supper…
“…A certain man made a great supper, and bade many [he invited many]: And he sent his servant at supper time to say… all things are no ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse [one by one they made excuses and left (18-20)]… that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets… of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt [lame], and the blind… And the lord said unto the servant… none of those men which were bidden [invited] shall taste of my supper…” (Luke 14:16-24)
Jesus uses this Parable to explain, that those who are invited, that choose not to come unto the Lord will not taste of his supper. He says; “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and even his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) In order to follow Jesus Christ, we cannot have excuses, we must be able to follow Him at all times and sacrifice everything, if necessary for Him. Jesus says we must hate ourselves and everyone around us. What did He mean? He meant that we need to put Him first, then our families second. This does not mean that we don’t love our families, but we need to remember that God is Almighty, and He needs to be first in our lives.
For if we don’t put Him first we are like salt that has lost its flavor, if this be, what good are we?
Jesus tells us that the Galileans who were killed by Pilate at a sacrifice, or the eighteen people who were killed by a falling tower at Siloam, were not worse sinners than anyone else. He says; “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)
He speaks of the Parable of the Fig Tree;
“…A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sough fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find non: cut it down…. he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear fruit, well: and if it not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” (Luke 13:7-9) Essentially the certain man was God, and He was coming to remove any fruit that did not produce good fruit, while the dresser of the vineyard, Prophets, Apostles and other men on earth plead with the Lord to give that tree or person another year to produce good fruit. If it were not for the dressers of the vineyard, the bad plants would have been cut and burned.
While teaching in the Synagogue a woman who had a problem with her spine came in and was healed and straightened out by the Lord. The ruler of the synagogue was displeased by this action on the Sabbath, and Jesus responds; “…Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?” (Luke 13:15) The man was a complete hypocrite and did not allow for a woman to be healed, but could lead his animals to drink.
Jesus then explains that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, and leaven. The Mustard seed is the smallest of all the seeds, yet is one of the biggest when fully grown. We must strive to enter through the narrow gate to salvation, which will eventually be shut, causing wailing and gnashing of teeth, for Jesus will say; “… I know you not…” (Luke 13:27) Jesus laments for Jerusalem and its unwillingness, saying; “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather he brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34)