Luke 15

Luke 15: The Lost Sheep

                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!

Luke 13

Luke 13: Repent or Perish

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) 

Mark 12

Mark 12: Taxes, Celestial Marriage, Two Great Commandments

Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees and the Scribes, tells them of the Parable of the Husbandmen;

“…A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to the husbandmen, and went into a far country.” (Mark 12:1)

Jesus explains that God built the world; the ‘vineyard’ and left people to tend it.

“And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed and many others; beating some, and killing some.” (Mark 12:2-5)

Jesus explains that God Prophets to the world; the ‘servants’ to receive the fruit of the ‘vineyard’. However, every time that God sent someone to the people of His world, they rejected them. Some of the prophets were wounded, beaten or killed.

Finally God sends His ONLY BEGOTTEN, His Son. “…he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.” (Mark 12:6-9)

God, after having sent all His servants, sent His Son, Jesus Christ to the world. However, the people rejected Jesus as well. Therefore when God returns to His vineyard, He will destroy those who do wickedly.

After hearing this; the Scribes and Pharisees knew that Jesus spoke of them in that Parable, and they feared the reaction of the people. Instead they decided they would try and catch Jesus in His words. They come to Jesus to tempt Him; “…Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” (Mark 12:14)

                Jesus, being frustrated, asks them why they tempt Him and commands them to bring Him a penny. After they brought Him the coin, He asked them; “…Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s…” (Mark 12:16-17) They were astonished by His teaching.

The Sadducees then came to Jesus to ask Him about Resurrection; “Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.” (Mark 12:19) They go on to explain that the wife ends up marrying all 7 brothers, never raising any children. They ask him, when the wife finally dies, whose wife will she be? After all she had been married to all of them, right? Jesus responds to them; “…Do ye therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24) Jesus goes on to explain that marriage will not be given in the next life, because God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

One of the scribes, perceiving that Jesus had answered very well, desired to know which of all the commandments was the greatest? Jesus responds; “… thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and will all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

                While Jesus sat and discussed these doctrines, a poor woman came into the treasury of the temple and cast two mites, which made a farthing into the treasury. Jesus stood up and said; “…Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did was cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:43-44) We too should give more than just our ‘abundance’, but be generous in helping others and giving beyond what we are expected.

Mark 4

Mark 4: Parable of the Sower

Jesus gives his Apostles the Parable of the Sower:

“…there went out a sower to sow: …as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up… some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth [dirt]… when the sun was up it was scorched… because it had no root… some fell among thorns…and choked it, and it yielded no fruit…other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” (Mark 4:3-8)

After Jesus was done explaining the Parable, the Apostles asked Jesus why He speaks in Parables. Jesus explains to them; “…Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of God: but unto them that are without [the keys of the priesthood, or Gospel knowledge], all these things are done in Parables. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear and not understand…” (Mark 4:11-12) Essentially those who are not in God’s presence or have priesthood keys or knowledge would need Parables to help them understand the things of God.

Jesus goes on to clarify what the Parable of the Sower meant:

For those who fall by the wayside and have little ground to root in, these are the same people that hear the word; “…but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” (Mark 4:15) These are the people who hear the Gospel and accept it with gladness and “…so endure for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” (Mark 4:17) Often times people will accept the truth, but when things get difficult or the trials that God has given to them are too much, they give up and blame all their bad on the church or on the Gospel of Jesus Christ without realizing that it is actually their own fault or their own unwillingness to accept the trials that God has so graciously and out of love put into our lives.

Those who fall into good soil, accept the Gospel and even live it for a while in their lives. But without care for what they have surrounding them, they slowly let the garden of thorns and snares grow and surround them. Eventually the thorns and snares of the world take hold of their foundation and being, slowly choking them; “…the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19)

Then there are those who fall into good soil, accept the Gospel and live it in their lives and do not let their garden be surrounded by thorns and snares. They stay clean and bring forth much fruit.

So what do we compare to the Kingdom of God? “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: but when it is sown, it growth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out many branches…” (Mark 4:31-32)

After Jesus was done explaining His Parable of the Sower, they all depart and get on ship. But there arose a great storm…

“And he [Jesus] was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awaken him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the sear, Peace, be still, And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How it is that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40)

Again the Apostles failed to understand the great power and authority of Jesus and even ask amongst themselves; “…What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41)

Matthew 25

Matthew 25:

Parable of the 10 Virgins 

Jesus relates the Parable of the 10 Virgins;

“…the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” (Matthew 25:1-4)

While the bridegroom [Jesus] was approaching, the ten virgins slept. At midnight there was a loud cry made, that the bridegroom would shortly be arriving. Upon hearing this news, the ten virgins awoke and prepared for their journey to accompany Jesus. They prepared by getting their lamps ready, but those who were foolish finally realized that they did not have enough oil for their journeys and turned to those who had planned a head, saying; “…Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered… Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you…” (Matthew 25:8-9) The wise virgins suggest that those who did not bring ample oil, leave to go and buy the oil. But while there were out buying the oil; “…the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:10) When the foolish virgins finally got enough oil and made it to the marriage, they knocked on the door, and said; “…Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Matthew 25:11-12) 

                  This Parable teaches us that we do not know when the Lord will come, and that we need to be ready at all times. We need to prepare ourselves in the last days for the arrival of the bridegroom [Jesus Christ], we need to be like the wise virgins. We need to stay clean, following all of God’s commandments. We need to be self-reliant and ensure that we have enough savings, enough food storage, etc. This will help us get through the storms that await us in life.

                  Jesus relates the Parable of Talents;

“…the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods… unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability…” (Matthew 25:14-15)

After the man had given his talents to his three servants, he departed for a time. While the man was gone the servants took their talents and did with them as they pleased.

  • The servant, who was given one talent, took his talent and buried it into the earth.
  • The servant, who was given two talents, took his talents and made two more talents.
  • The servant, who was given five talents, took his talents and made five more talents.

When the man returned from his journey he asked the servants what they had done with their talents. The first explained that he had made five talents, with the five that the master had given him. He now had 10 talents, the response from the master? “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the lord.” (Matthew 25:21) The other servant, who had made two talents off of the two he had been given, was also given the same praise.

But, the servant who buried his talent, explained to the master that he “…was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth… His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant… Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have an abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath…” (Matthew 25:26,28-29)

Jesus ends his speaking in this chapter, by saying;

“…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

We need to treat each other with respect and kindness. We need to help the needy, and feed the hungry, just as we would if Jesus himself was in our presence.

Matthew 20

Matthew 20:

Parable of the Laborers 

                  Jesus addresses his disciples and gives them the Parable of the Laborers:

The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man that hired laborers, who he agreed to pay 1 penny per day. Three hours after the original laborers had started the work, he found more idle workers in the market place and agreed to pay them 1 penny per day for their labor. Into the 6th hour he finds more laborers and gives them the offer for 1 penny per day for their labor. Then finally in the 11th hour he finds more laborers and offers them the same deal, 1 penny per day for their labor.

At the end of the day the man tells the steward to call the laborers and give them their pay for their labors of that day, from last to the first. Each laborer received 1 penny for their laborers, which caused the laborers who had worked longer to murmur against the man of the house. The man of the house explains to one of the murmuring laborers; “…Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?” (Matthew 20:13)

Even though the workers were murmuring the man of the house had made a deal with them and was being fair according to the deal that he made with each individual laborer.  The man of the vineyard asks the laborer who was murmuring; “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:15-16)

                  Jesus then addresses the group gathered and foretells about his crucifixion and resurrection. “…the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

Matthew 13

Matthew 13:

Parable of Seeds 

Jesus sat by the sea on a ship and a great multitude was gathered around him on the shore to hear of his words. Jesus tells us about the Parable of the Sower; “…Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:3-8)

What does the Parable of the Sower or Parable of Seeds tell us? If we don’t plant ourselves in good soil, we will not produce anything. If we are given opportunities in life and we decided not to plant ourselves in good soil… when the sun comes out we will be scorched. If we plant ourselves among evil people, the thorns will choke us. We need to be around good influences and do good always.

After telling this Parable, one of the Apostles asks Jesus why He uses Parables; “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand… For this people’s heart is waxed gross… their ears are dull of hearing… their eyes they have closed…” (Matthew 13:11-13,15) The people do not understand truths, even when they can see them with their own eyes or hear with their own ears. Parables help people, who “…understand with their heart…” (Matthew 13:15)

Jesus expounds on the Parable of Seeds, by explaining; that those who hear the words and understand them are the same people who will root themselves into good soil and thrive. Those who hear the word, but choose not to root themselves in the good will eventually be scorched of the sun because he will be offended by the word. Those who hear the word and root themselves among the thorns of life (riches, fame, etc.) and choose not to root out the evils are those who will eventually be choked by the evils of the word and will lose their root, causing themselves to shrivel and die.

Jesus continues his preaching with a number of parables, the Parable of the Tares among the Wheat, and the Parable of Mustard Seed.

Parable of the Tares: “…The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat… when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said… Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? He said unto them An enemy hath done this… Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? … he said, Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.” (Matthew 13:24-29)

Jesus explains that a man planted good seed in his field, but by night the enemy came and planted tares among the wheat. Once this was discovered the men of the field asked the master what they should do, should they rip up the tares? The master responded that they should wait to rip up the tares until harvest, for fear of de-rooting the good wheat. Jesus explains that this is like the world today, the field is the world and we are the wheat, in the last days reapers (angels) shall come and rip up the tares and burn them, this is the harvest.

Parable of the Mustard Seed: “…The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all the seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” (Matthew 13:31-32)

Jesus explains that even the smallest, and what seems to be the least important of seeds, can actually be one of the biggest and most important. Those of us who feel unimportant or little, need to understand that if we root ourselves in good soil we can become a large tree, where we can provide support for others.

“…the kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” (Matthew 13:44) Would that not be the wise thing to do? We too need to search for the treasure in the field, the spiritual treasure that all can access.

The people who were gathered there to listen and see the miracles Jesus was performing were questioning His power; “Is not this the carpenter’s on? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” (Matthew 13:55) The people were confused as to why a carpenter’s son, with no formal education, could have such amazing insight. Jesus tells them that a prophet is never accepted in his own country. Jesus would also be rejected.

*One interesting note, in Matthew 13:55 it mentions that Jesus not only has a mother, but also siblings, meaning that Mary and Joseph continued to have kids.