The King’s Triumph and Tears
Luke 19: 29-48.
Scripture to be committed, Luke 15: 24.
[* The 1881 translation.]
(Note changes in verses 31, 37, 40, 42, 43, 44, 46, 27, 48).
Luke 19: 29 And it came to pass, when he drew nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called the mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, Go your way into the village over against you; in the which as ye shall enter ye shall find a colt tied, whereon no man ever yet sat: loose him, and bring him. 31 And if any one ask you, Why do ye loose him? Thus shall ye say, The Lord hath need of him. 32 And they that were sent went away, and found even as he had said unto them. 33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him. 35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they threw their garments upon the colt, and set Jesus thereon. 36 And as he went, they spread their garments in the way. 37 And as he was now drawing nigh, even at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen: 38 saying, Blessed is the King that cometh in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said, I tell you that, if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.
41 And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, If thou hast known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee; when thine enemies shall cast up a bank about thee, and compass thee around, and keep thee in on every side, 44 and shall dash thee to the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
45 And he entered into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold, 46 saying unto them, It is written, And my house shall be a house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of robbers.
47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him: 48 and they could not find what they might do; for the people all hung upon him, listening.*
[* See Footnote on THE REVISED VERSION by M. D. CHITTY.]
THE SETTING OF THE LESSON
TIME – A.D. 30. The Sunday and Monday immediately before the Crucifixion.
PLACE. – Olivet and the
PARALLEL PASSAGES. – Matthew 21: 1-17; Mark 9: 1-19; John 12: 12-19.
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS. – Study the lesson’s teaching on 1) DIVINE KINGSHIP OF JESUS – certainty of His triumph – fulfilment of prophecy – what He needs for that triumph – His triumph yet to be – what He needs from us for it, etc. 2) DIVINE LOVE OF JESUS – He weeps for them about to crucify Him. 3) DIVINE WORK OF JESUS – Cleansing – Healing – Teaching.
PLAN OF THE LESSON
1. WELCOMED (29-40).
(a) JESUS AND DISCIPLES (29-36).
(b) JESUS AND THE MULTITUDE (37-40). The multitude. Their doings. Their cries. Pharisees Growl. Jesus’ Answer.
2. WEEPING (41-44).
3. WORKING (45-48).
Introduction. In the study of all our lessons for the rest of this year, with one exception, we shall be occupied with incidents, all of which happened in the week in which Jesus died and rose. “Christianity,” says Stalker, “has no more precious possession than the memory of Jesus during the week when He stood face to face with death. Unspeakably great as He always was, it may be reverently said that He never was so great as during those days of direst calamity. All that was grandest and all that was most tender, the most human and the most divine aspects of His character, were brought out as they had never been before.”
speaking the Parable of the Pounds, Jesus journeyed from
Hints for lesson study. Read the account of the events in the four
Gospels, and get a clear idea of them all in order. Find out what [is] omitted by Luke, what [is] recorded by
him alone. Form a mental picture or a
series of mental pictures, of the scenes in the lesson: Jesus sending disciples
– Jesus riding on the ass – crowds rejoicing, praising – the Pharisees growling
– Jesus as He beholds the city weeping aloud on Olivet – the next day in the
Was it not strange Jesus should act as He does in this lesson? He had shunned display – left the people who would make Him King – forbade His disciples to tell He was Messiah. Why act as He does here? What central truth in lesson? Is it found in verse 38 – Jesus a King? What about Him as King, about His Kingship, [about His millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20: 4, 6, about those who will reign with Him, (verse 5)], about the results of His reign: [what] do we learn?
What persons in the lesson? What do the multitude do? What did the multitude do before the end of the week? Were they the same persons? Why the change? What does the change teach? Think on the thoughts of the crowd and the thoughts of Jesus during the Entry; on what the crowds saw; on Jesus’ acts, His riding in triumph, His weeping, His cleansing, and what they teach about Himself, about sin, punishment, worship, &c.
Under what heads would you gather lesson’s truths so as to be easily remembered and easily told to others? Plan should keep central truth prominent. Can you think of a plan which will keep the Kingship of Jesus in the foreground?
Read over lesson and think into what sections you would break it up for teaching. Do this before reading any further in the notes. Get a firm grasp of the persons, deeds, facts, words spoken, truths taught in each of these sections.
We divide the lesson thus – verses 29-40; verses 41-44; verses 45-48.
THE KING WELCOMED. 1) JESUS’DISCIPLES.
a) ROYAL AUTHORITY (verses 29-31). Whom sent? Not told. For what? An ass’ colt. From Matthew we learn they brought the mother ass also. Ass in the East a nobler animal, held in high esteem, than with us – used by princes, judges. (Judges 5: 10, 10: 4, 12: 14; 1 Kings 1: 33). Horse the animal of war and pride, the ass of humility and peace. The colt never used before, therefore could be used for a sacred purpose –[i.e., Divine control and provision]. (Numbers 19: 2; Deuteronomy 21: 3). Ass Jesus rode on, as well as tomb He slept in [i.e., the tomb His body lay in], borrowed. Jesus’ instructions shew four things – 1) The King’s Authority; 2) The King’s Knowledge. Knows where the ass is; its owners, what they will do. Compare other instances of His knowledge, (Matthew 17: 27; Luke 22: 10-13; Luke 5: 4; John 21: 6. 3) The King’s claims. They are to take, not ask, the ass. Lets the owner know His wants; does not explain why, for what He takes. Does He do this still? 4) The King’s Need. Must borrow a donkey for His use the only time He rode. Does the Lord need anything we have? For His work in saving SOULS [ See Matthew 16: 25, 26. cf. Revelation 20: 4, 5; 1 Peter 1: 9-11, 13; Hebrews 10: 37-39, See, A.V, R.V. and Greek.]? For His riding in triumph through the nations? For His coming as King into human hearts? [For His Millennial Reign upon this earth?] Are we refusing to supply the Lord’s need? Owners learned His need how? From His own lips? No. From [His] disciples. We learn His need from His messengers [and followers]. He has sent His servants to me. What for? My heart, myself, my talents, my time, my money, etc. Have I given [and used it wisely]? He has a right. He is the real owner.
b) LOYAL OBEDIENCE (verses 32-35). Disciples go, find everything just as Jesus had said they would. If we were obedient we would find His words true. Owners send. They ask what? Disciples answer what? “Even as Jesus had commanded.” We are to repeat exactly the King’s message, not to alter it. We are to do as Jesus commands us. Christ’s servants going on Christ’s errands are sure to succeed if they do as He bids.
The owner honours Jesus by giving, the disciples by doing. The owner’s part to give, the disciples’ who get the gift, to see that the gift is brought to Jesus. Note lessons here for those who give for Christ’s cause, for those who receive the gifts. Was not the ass of more value when returned? We don’t lose by lending to Jesus – [Keep in mind: There is a just recompense of reward.] Our King needs and accepts little gifts. Little gifts help on His Kingdom. He took the ass, the garments, palm leaves, children’s praise, the barley loaves, the little fishes. But we are not to put Him off with little if we can five larger.
2) JESUS AND THE MULTITUDE (verses 37-40).
“Procession an object lesson setting forth the fact He is KING, His KINGDOM at hand, and also that His reign was a reign of peace, humility and meekness, because of love.” Procession has reached the summit of Olivet, where the first glimpse of the city is gained – the crowd shout with loud rejoicing. We note –
a) THE MULTITUDE. Why so many?
Jews from all nations present at Passover Feast in
b) THEIR DOINGS. Spread their garments in the way. We hang flags out the windows, along the streets in welcoming the king [or Queen].
the East they spread them as a carpet on the way. “Rejoicing, Praising.” Why? “For
all the mighty works.”
Two but lately.
[Blind (See 2 Corinthians
3: 4: ‘In whom the god of this world hath
blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the GLORY of Christ … should not dawn upon
them.” (R.V.)] Bartimeus
c) THEIR CRIES. See them in all four gospels. Taken from Psalm 118: 25-26, which was sung at Paschal Supper and the Feast of Tabernacles. This psalm was wont to be applied to Messiah. “In the hightest.” Invoke heaven to ratify their recognition of Jesus as Messiah. Compare the shouts of the multitude here with the angel’s song (Luke 2: 14). “there the voices spake of ‘peace on earth:’ here the multitude, prophesying unconsciously, speak of ‘peace in heaven.’” Jesus accepts this recognition of Him as Messiah now, refuses to rebuke them. Why? He would publically proclaim to all His Messiahship. No danger now when His death so near that His claim would be perverted for a political purpose.
That procession typical illustration of Jesus’ triumphal progress. HE WILL YET BE KING OVER ALL THE WORLD. His coming triumph prophesied is certain. He uses men, the little gifts, the enthusiasm of His [enlightened] disciples to accomplish it.*
[* Always keep in mind: The fifth Kingdom (in the Book of Daniel) to rise on the ruins of all the rest (on this earth) is the MILLENNIAL Kingdom of Christ/Messiah in immediate and universal victory, and which (1) never has yet so risen, (2) never can, and (3) never will so rise, TILL THE SECOND COMING of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven, to put down all Gentile politics and power, and introduce His universal reign of righteousness and peace throughout this earth.]
too, of the multitude. Did not understand the meaning of their doings. Even disciples did not (John 12: 16).
In a few days other shouts would be heard in the city. To-day ‘Hosanna’;
to-morrow ‘Crucify’. Why the change? Mob always fickle – most are carried away by
the excitement of the moment. They
thought that Jesus would take the throne that day – [at
advent]. But He went back to
d) PHARISEES GROWLING (39). Had mingled with the crowd to see what was passing. Angry (see John 12: 19) – they sneer at the crowd; reprove Jesus. May, as Godet suggests, have pointed to the Roman garrison of Antonia as if this proclamation of Jesus as King would bring destruction upon the Jewish city.
e) JESUS’ ANSWER. Perhaps a Jewish proverb. See Habakkuk 2: 11. Means that Jesus will be praised whether men praise Him or no. His [past, present and future] Messiahship cannot be concealed.
2. THE KING WEEPING (41-44).
has reached the brow of Olivet, where the sight of the whole city bursts upon
the view. Jesus weeps aloud amid the
rejoicing throng. Why? Think what Jesus saw and what the crowd
saw. Multitude ate thinking of a
throne. Instead there is to be a cross
and a grave. That city
outside beautiful. Jesus sees the
wicked hearts – wicked deed of the coming Friday – the city doomed – that city
in a few years destroyed – the Roman legions gathered around it – encamped on
the very place where the procession was now passing over. His words literally fulfilled 40 years later
by the destruction of
Jesus’ tears show His love, the awful power of man to destroy himself, the terrible doom of sin.
As Jesus enters the city what happens? See Matthew 21: 10. The coming of Jesus stirs the city, the soul.
3. THE KING WORKING (45-48).
Two works mentioned by Luke. This on the following day. See Mark 6: 11-15.
1) HE CLEANSES THE
came to cleanse the temple of the human soul.
His cleansing of the
quotes from Isaiah 56: 7 and Jeremiah 7: 11.
We know from Mark that the cleansing of the
2) JESUS TEACHES (47-48). Having cleansed the
Matthew we learn that Jesus healed the blind and lame in the
1. Where was
1. What did Jesus say about the builders and rejected stone?
2. Where are the words from?
the apostle Paul wrote his first epistle to the church at
God’s future millennial inheritance (on this earth), is likened by Paul to the inheritance in the Land of Canaan which many of the Israelites, under the leadership of Moses, lost through disobedience to God’s command at Kadesh-Barnea, (Num. 14: 21-23). Let us read his account of Israel’s past history, and of his interpretation of the consequences of possible apostasy of some of the redeemed people of God:-
1 Cor. 10: 1, R.V: “For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, how that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and did all eat the same spiritual meat: 4 and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”* [* That is, they were overthrown on the right side of the lambs’ blood after leaving Egypt, but on the wrong side of entering into their earthly inheritance in the Promised Land.] 6 Now THESE THINGS WERE OUR EXAMPLES, to the intent WE should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 Neither be YE idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let US commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand, 9 Neither let US tempt the Lord, as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents. 10 Neither murmur YE as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. 11 NOW THESE THINGS HAPPENED UNTO THEM BY WAY OF EXAMPLE:* [* That is, they were types of us: and what happened to some of them (during their pilgrimage to the Promised Land), can also happen to some of us, if we are careless and disobedient to God.] “and they were written FOR OUR ADMONITION upon whom the ends of the ages are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth TAKE HEED LEST HE FALL.”
5: 20; 7: 21; 22: 14; 24: 48-51; Luke 10: 62; 12: 45-48; luke 18: 24, 25. cf. Luke 20:
35; 22: 28-30; John 12: 26; 13: 14, 15, 17; 15: 20;
THE REVISED VERSION TRANSLATION
This letter in a contemporary is an excellent answer to criticisms of the Revised Version. The master-purpose of a translator of Scripture should be to reproduce the exact meaning of the Holy Spirit: all else – language, style, literary appeal – though important, is strictly subordinate; and all that conduces to this master-purpose – textual criticism, correct grammar, exact language – should, for the translator, be supreme. Nothing is vital but to know exactly what God has said. – Ed.
Attacks on the Revised Version often appear to be based on a misconception of the central aim of that great body of scholars and divines known as “The Revision Committee”, who for eleven years devoted their skill, time and exact scholarship to the task set before them by the Convocation, which was to produce a version of the New Testament suited to their own times. They determined first of all to restore (so far as was then possible) the actual text of the words spoken by our Lord, and also of the history and letters written by His first followers to the earliest Churches. Purity of the English text was their main concern, not the production merely of a master-piece of English literature, such as everyone admits the Authorized Version to be, largely owing to the fortunate fact that earlier version (A.V.) of three centuries before the revisers’ day was written in an age which represents the high-water-mark of English literary prose. As Bishop Lightfoot pointed out … years ago, “It was the misfortune of the scholars from Tyndale downward, to whom we owe our English Bible, that the only text accessible to them was faulty and corrupt. All textual critics are substantially agreed on this point.”
The text on which the Authorized Version was based had been modified by glosses and notes, incorporated in its later versions, and also by deliberate alterations “influenced by the curious purposes of men, by the deeds and tastes of Churches, or by the scruples of scholars” (Canon Nairne). The revisers had the heavy task of purging the English text of these errors, and also of modernizing archaisms throughout. Thus, the search for truth and textual purity was their prime motive, yet they kept in mind also the beauty of diction and rhythm of the splendid ancient version, and spent many hours in dispute when the claims of strict accuracy conflicted with those of literary charm and deeply-loved passages.
It is also important to remember that the Revised Version of 1881 was largely based on the W. H. Greek text, the final result of 28 years’ continuous toil by Westcott and Hort. It is used to-day in all public schools, colleges, and clerical institutions of any distinction. Of the W. H. text the late Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge wrote … years ago:- “Since 1881 I have always used it and am satisfied that it is the best text we have, and in essentials represents the apostolic originals. Its true text constitutes the irrefragable claim of the Revised Version, which is also the best translation ever made of the New Testament into any modern language.”
Modern attacks on the Revised Version recall even fiercer attacks on the texts produced by Jerome, Erasmus, and the revisers who issued the cherished Authorized Version (New Testament), the vast number of copies sold in the last … years are sufficient proof, and this in spite of obvious defects in many minor points. For at least twenty-five years it has been on the lecterns of schools, colleges, and parish churches, wherever the desire for truth at all costs has prevailed over a pardonable clinging to tradition.
Finally, the use of the Revised Version in family life and public worship does not destroy the old and treasured Authorized Version, which certainly exists in most households to-day, a monument to the devotion of past scholars, a priceless example of English literature, and a great national possession.
M. D. CHITTY.
* * * * * * *
Christ’s Authority Questioned
And the Vineyard and its Keepers.
Luke 20: 1-19.
Scripture to be committed, Luke 15: 25. 26.
(Note changes [from the A.V.] in verses 1, 7, 9, 13, 14, 18.)
Luke 20: 1. And it came to pass, on one of the days, as he was teaching the people in the temple, and preaching the gospel, there came upon him the chief priests and the scribes with the elders; 2 and they spake, saying unto him. Tell us: By what authority doest thou these things? Or who is he that gave thee this authority? 3 And he answered and said unto them, I also will ask you a question; and tell me: 4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men? 5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, ‘Why did ye not believe him? 6 But if we shall say, From men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. 7 And they answered, that they knew not whence it was. 8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
9 And he began to speak unto the people this parable: A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country for a long time. 10 And at the season he sent unto the husbandman a servant, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: and the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. 11 And he sent yet another servant; and him also they beat, and handled him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12 And he sent yet a third: and him also they wounded, and cast him forth. 13 And the lord of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send by beloved son; it may be they will reverence him. 14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned one with another, saying, This is the heir: let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15 And they cast him forth out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 16 He will come and destroy these husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. 17 But he looked upon them, and said, What then is this that is written,
The stone which the builders rejected,
The same was made the head of the corner?
18 Every one that falleth on that stone shall be broken to pieces; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will scatter him as dust.
19 And the scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him in that very hour; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he spake this parable against them. 20 Ant they watched him, and sent forth spies, which feigned themselves to be righteous, that they might take hold of his speech, so as to deliver him up to the rule and to the authority of the governor. 21 And they asked him, saying, Master [Teacher], we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, and acceptest not the person of any, but of a truth teachest the way of God: 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, 24 Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? And they said, Caesar’s. 25 And he said unto them, Then render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. 26 And they were not able to take hold of the saying before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held they peace.
THE SETTING OF THE LESSON
TIME – A.D. 30. Tuesday before the Crucifixion.
PARALLEL PASSAGES. – Matthew 21: 23-46; Mark 11: 27 – 12: 12.
PLAN OF THE LESSON (1-8)
1. CHRIST’S AUTHORITY QUESTIONED.
1. QUESTION OF HIS ENEMIES (1-2).
2. ANSWER OF JESUS (3-4).
3. PUZZLED BY ADVERSARIES (5-7).
4. JESUS’ REPLY (8).
2. PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD AND ITS KEEPERS (9-19).
1. PRIVILEGE (9.) Owner plants, lets, leaves.
2. PLEADING (10-15). Owner sends. What for? When? Whom? Husbandmen. What they say? What they do?
3. PUNISHMENT (15-18). Lord of the vineyard will do two things. Exclamations of enemies. Answer of Jesus.
Introduction. Jesus on the Tuesday of the Crucifixion week, returning to Jerusalem, has taught the disciples as they looked on the withered fig tree the lesson on faith and prayer (Mark 11: 20-25), and is now teaching in the Temple, when opens the final conflict between Him and the religious leaders.
1. CHRIST’S AUTHORITY QUESTIONED (verses 1-8).
1) The Question of His Enemies (1-2). What? By what sort of authority He did “these things,” the deeds especially of the previous days, - and the source of His authority? Put evidently in the hope of finding ground for accusing Him – put in insincerity. Did they need to put it? Did not His life, “the works which the Father had given Him to finish bear witness of Him?” (John 5: 36, 37).
2) The Answer of Jesus (3-4). A counter-question. Not merely to put them in a difficulty. “It was not an evasion. If they decided whence John came, they would not be at a loss as to whence Jesus came.” – Maclaren.
3) Puzzled Adversaries (5-7). Their reasoning with one another given. Shews they were not guided by love of truth, but by what would suit their own designs [and false interpretations]. In refusing to answer they abdicate their authority. It was their business to know the answer.
4) Jesus’ Reply (8) He will not reply to the demands of unbelief and malice.* The spirit in which we come to Jesus determines the answer we get from Him. He portrays their spirit in the Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21: 28-32). Then He speaks the Parable of our Lesson.
[*‘They say; what say they? Let them say.’ – Quoted by Dr. David Clarke. ‘God will give the strength to resist any opposition that may come: it is forbearance when opposed that commends the truth professed’ - G. H. Lang].
2. THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD
AND ITS KEEPERS (verses 9-19).
Purpose of the Parable. They had asked His authority. He will show them His authority – who He is – show them, too, their respect for that authority, that it is unreal, that they, like their fathers [in the “wilderness” (Num. 14: 2-4)], disregard and rebel against God’s authority. He will show them themselves as in a glass – their present feelings towards Himself – the consequences of their rejection of Him – that He knows their hearts – that their treatment of Him proves him the Messiah.* Their past history, the outrage against Himself they were now determined on, their future fate, are all in the parable. By this last pleading He would warn, if He cannot win them for their crime.
[* They were looking for a ruling Messiah; and when He appeared to them at first - as God’s Prophets’ had described Him - (Isa. 53: 1-5, 7-10; Psa. 22: 1-21), they unknowingly fulfilled those prophecies themselves! But Messiah had to purchase our eternal salvation first! Afterwards - (at His second advent) - He will literally fulfil the remainder of the divine prophecies recorded in the same Psalm – 22: 22-31, and by the same prophet of God, Isa. 55: 11-13, etc.]
illustration would be familiar to His audience and was frequently used on the
Old Testament (Isaiah 5: 1-7; Jeremiah 2: 21; Psalm
80: 10). Our Lord used the figure
at least five times – Matthew 20: 1-15; 21: 28-32;
Luke 13: 6; 20: 9-19; John 15: 1.
The relations of God and
We put truths of Parable under three topics, Privilege, Pleading, Punishment.
1) Privilege – God giving –
a) He Plants, prepares the soil, puts in young vine plants. See Mark and Matthew. Hedge needed as a defence against wild animals, boars, foxes, jackals (See Cant. 2: 15; Psalm 80: 13) – might be a wall of stone Proverbs 24: 31), more frequently a hedge of thorn. “A ditch is dug along the outside of the ground selected, three or four feet in width, and two in depth, the earth being piled upon its inner edge. Into this pile stout posts are finally set, about four feet in height, and branches are twisted and woven among them, making a thick and solid fence.”
The Winefat, a hollow scooped out of the rock, or built of masonry, consisting of two parts, one below the other with an opening between them. Grapes were put into upper part, trodden, and the juice flowed into the lower. The tower for watchmen to guard the vineyard from thieves. Husbandmen sometimes lodged in it or the fruit stored in it. Was built often of stone, circular in shape, and from fifteen to twenty feet high, with a level platform on the top where the watchmen could sit and have a view of the entire vineyard. All these – hedge, winefat, tower – needful for securing produce from vineyard.
find, as some have sought, in each of these some special signification – e.g., the hedge, the law; the
watchtower, prophecy, etc., is simply fanciful.
The meaning is, God gave to
[* See, Matthew 13: 1-23. cf. 2 Timothy. 2: 6.]
b) He Lets. See Cant. 8: 11.
“Vineyards,” says Van Lennep, “were
often let out to husbandmen for one or several years. The price of hire was always paid in kind.” The owner in the parable denotes God; the
is the vineyard? In Isaiah 5. it is
[* See also Matt. 13: 21-23. cf. John 15: 5-10.]
c) Owner goes to another
country, for a long while. The husbandmen have control, independent of
the owner’s oversight. God does not
force His presence on us, stands out of sight, as it were, leaving us to our
own will in the use of His blessings. He
deals with us through His messengers.
2) Pleading – God Pleading
a) The Owner Sends. – Note three questions. What for? Fruit. What on part
Contrast spirit of Owner and spirit of husbandmen. He thinks of fruit – they of the honour and advantages of having the vineyard. Are Christians better who think simply of enjoying privileges and bring forth nothing of service to God or man?
When? “At the season” – “time of the fruit.” God not unreasonable – does not ask fruit when it cannot be, does not ask grapes when grapes could not have grown. When should we bring forth fruit? “God continually seeks for fruit.” Fruit all important thing. See Matthew 7: 19; Mark 11: 14; Luke 13: 9; John 15: 2, 8, 16; Romans 7: 4.
Whom? The servants. The prophets. Mark
and Luke both speak of three different servants sent. Mark adds, “many
others.” Notice the increasing
ill-treatment of these servants – “beaten, sent away empty,” “shamefully
entreated,” “wounded,” “killed” – showing
2) The Son. – Think of Jesus as He uttered this. They asked His authority – He is the one Son, well-beloved, distinct from and far superior to all the servants. Note Jesus’ claims here. Well-beloved, Jesus thinking of the love between Father and Him. Contrast value set upon the Son by the Father and by the husbandmen. What is the value we set upon Jesus? Is He our well-beloved? There is brought out, too, God’s great patient love – His desire for fruit. What would a mother give up her babe for? God gave His only Son (John 3: 16). It brings out the guilt of Jews. Bad to ill-treat the servants – but to kill the only Son!
“He sends Him last.” God has no other argument to use, no other means for saving after His Son.
Four things very prominent – Jesus’ claims – God’s patient love – man’s great guilt – rejection of Christ exhausts mercy.
What owner says, “They will reverence.” Did God not know? Yes. But He sent. His pleading earnest, honest. God foreknows that men will reject, refuse. Yet His pleading with them is sincere, earnest, that they may turn. We know both true, His knowledge and His pleading. “Difficulty the same which meets us everywhere, that of the reconciliation of man’s freedom with God’s foreknowledge.” “That they are reconcilable we know, and that we cannot reconcile them we also know.” Little child knows not all about theist father’s plans, nor can we about the Heavenly Father’s. Humility, and reverence and trust become us.
b) The Husbandmen. 1) What they say.
Did the Jews know who Jesus was – the Heir of all things? (Hebrews 1-2.) They might have known. They sinned against light. There was a conviction within, but they
crushed it. Why were they so anxious
about securing His grave? (Matthew
27: 63.) Like Herod when he slew the
[* See Daniel 2: 35; 7: 14a; cf. Rev. 20: 4, 6b; 1 Cor. 15: 23, 24; Luke 22: 16, 28, etc.]
2) What they do. Three things. See
Mark. Prophecy of what occurred on the
third day afterwards. “They cast him out.” Judged Him unworthy to
[* In the future,
that is: “After
two days” - (i.e., after two thousand years [2 Peter 3: 8, 9]) – “will he revive us” (
All God’s messengers in the Old Testament and New, prophets, apostles, the Son Himself, have one and the same object, the getting fruit. Have we given it to Him? The sending of the Son, God’s crowning mercy. The Rejection of Jesus, [as the only Saviour (Acts 4: 11, 12); and this earth’s true Messiah, (Isaiah 52: 7-10) is] man’s damming sin. Parable spoken to bring out this.
3) Punishment. God Punishing –
Lord will do two things. What? Compare David’s answer to Nathan’s parable (2 Samuel 12: 5). Conscience sees punishment just. Christ repeats the verdict of their conscience. So at last men condemned will feel punishment just. The judge will ratify the judgment passed by conscience.
They said, “God forbid.” Men will shudder at punishment, will utter a prayer, “God forbid I shall be lost [or lose the millennial inheritance (Galatians 5: 21; Ephesians 5: 5, 6. cf. Colossians 3: 23-25; Revelation 20: 5 etc.]. “It can’t be true that God will do that to me.” But they will not abandon the sin which infallibly leads to punishment.
Christ’s Answer verses 17-18. What does Scripture say? That settles the question shows how it is possible to read with little profit. They were always reading. He goes to the Psalm used on the day of triumph (Psalm 118. [See also Psalm 72.]). They had been angry at its application to Him. He will show from it that their anger, their rejection of Him proves Him the Messiah; that not only will punishment be taken, but that He will take it. The stone rejected by them, - the builders (the husbandmen before) – becomes the head of the corner, and he that falls on it shall be broken, but he on whom if falls shall be crushed to powder. The Rabbis say that at the building of the Temple there was a stone examined, rejected, and laid aside by the builders as useless, which was afterwards found to be the top-stone needed for the completion and perfection of the building. This same Scripture is applied to Jesus in Acts 4: 11; 1 Peter 2: 7.
men treat Christ determines their doom.
Punishment came on the Jewish nation as a nation forty years after this
in the destruction of
Conscience and consciousness of sin made these rulers know the application of parable (19). Conviction is not salvation [nor is it ‘reward’ (2 Thessalonians 2: 14, 15; Matthew 16: 27; Hebrews 2: 2; Revelation 22: 12.]. It led to anger, not repentance. They would have put what He said about killing Him into execution, but kept from it by the fear of the crowd. Too many kept from sin by similar fear. It is an effectual barrier.
Truths Prominent in Lesson are:- God has given us everything needful for fruit. God expects fruit. Purpose of all His messages – of His sending Jesus, is to get fruit. The rejecting of Jesus is the greatest, the damning sin. God can do nothing else but punish those who reject [and disobey] the Son. Compare John 8: 24; 14: 6; Acts 4: 12. Jesus will be victorious in spite of His enemies.
The lesson a mirror in which we see: 1) God’s Grace; 2) Man’s sin; 3) Sin’s penalty.
1. What acts of Jesus since those of last lesson are we told of? 2. What question had been put to Him? 3. What question did He put to the chief priests and scribes? 4. What parable did He speak? 5. When, where, and to whom did Jesus speak the parable of this lesson? 6. What is a certain man represented as doing. 7. What three things is it said He will do? 8. Whom does He represent. 9. What does He ask from the husbandmen, and how? 10. What is meant by the vineyard? 11. The husbandmen? 12. Fruit? 13. The servants? 14. The Son? 15. What in the past history of the Jews is referred to in the treatment which the servants receive? 16. What plot against Himself does Jesus speak of under the treatment of the Son? 17. Find three prophecies in the parable. 18. How was each fulfilled? 19. What Scripture does Jesus quote? 20. What does it teach about Himself, and by whom else was it applied to Him? 21. What Apostle speaks of Jesus as the corner stone? 22. Explain what this figure means. 23. Why did the chief priests and scribes seek to arrest Jesus? 24. What prevented them? 25. Where in the parable are we taught a) that we are but stewards of the privileges God gives; b) the purpose for which God gives us privileges; c) the longsuffering of God; d) Jesus’ omniscience? 26. What is the greatest proof of the Divine love? 27. What is the greatest sin of man? 28. What determined the fate of the Jews? 29. What will determine ours? 30. What about the audience, not told by Luke, does Matthew tell us?
* * * * * * *
The Day of Questions
and the Widow’s Mites
Luke 20: 20 - 21: 4
Scripture to be committed, Luke 15: 27.
Luke 20: 20. And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which feigned themselves to be righteous, that they might take hold of his speech, so as to deliver him up to the rule and to the authority of the governor. 21 And they asked him, saying, Master [Or, Teacher], we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, and acceptest not the person of any, but of a truth teachest the way of God: 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, 24, Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? And they said, Caesar’s. 25 And he said unto them, Then render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. 26 And they were not able to take hold of the saying before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.
27 And there came to him certain of the Sadducees, they which say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him, 28 saying, Master [Teacher], Moses wrote unto us, that if a man’s brother die, having a wife, and he be childless, his brother should take a wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died childless; 30 and the second; 31 and the third took her; and likewise the seven also left no children, and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection therefore whose wife of them shall she be for the seven had her to wife. 34 And Jesus said unto them, The sons of this world [Or. Age] marry, and are given in marriage: but THEY THAT ARE ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ATTAIN TO THAT WORLD [AGE], AND THE RESURRECTION FROM [Gk. OUT OF] THE DEAD, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 for neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are SONS of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed in the place concerning the Bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. 39 And certain of the Scribes answering said Master [Teacher], thou hast well said. 40 For they durst not any more ask him any question.
41 And he said unto them, How say they that the Christ is David’s son? 42 For David himself saith in the book of Psalms,
The Lord said unto my Lord,
Sit thou on my right hand,
43 Till I make thine enemoes
The footstool of thy feet.
44 David therefore calleth him Lord, and how is he his son?
45 And in the hearing of all the people he said unto his disciples, 46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts; 47 which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater condemnation.
21: 1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men that were casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw a certain widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than they all: 4 for all these did of their superfluity cast in unto their gifts: but she of her want did cast in all the living that she had.
THE SETTING OF THE LESSON
TIME – Probably the Tuesday of the last week of the Lord’s earthly life. Three days before His Crucifixion.
– The Court at the
PARALLEL PASSAGES – Matthew 22: 15-33; Mark 12: 13-27; 12: 41-44.
PLAN OF THE LESSON
1. A POLITICAL QUESTION.
2. A THEOLOGICAL QUESTION.
3. A PERSONAL QUESTION.
4. A FININCIAL QUESTION.
1. A POLITICAL QUESTION – That of the Pharisees and the Herodians (verses 20-26).
This lesson is clearly linked with the preceding one. Verse 19 shows the connection between them.
The Chief Priests and Scribes perceiving that the Parable of the Vineyard was spoken against them, were greatly enraged at Jesus, and at once sought to have revenge. They would have had recourse to violence – have seized Him, and put Him to death, but they knew that popular feeling was against them. Jesus was as yet a general favourite, and the people counted Him, as they had counted John, a prophet.
There was another means, however, whereby they thought they could accomplish their purpose, more safely and easily. They would prepare a trap for Him. They would get Him to commit Himself to a principle and a policy which would lead certainly to His ruin. The plot which they hatched was a clever one.
They will put a question to Him, and ask Him to give them a plain and straight answer – Yes or No. If He [will] reply in the affirmative, He will have blackened His reputation in the eyes of [the] multitude. If in the negative, He will throw Himself into conflict with the civil authority. He will be between the horns of a dilemma, and is certain to be impaled on one or other.
a) The Questioners. Who? Not the Chief Priests and Scribes themselves. They hatched the plot, but put it into other hands to carry it out. They either did not which to be associated with the Herodians, or they feared to face Jesus, lest He would expose them. The Pharisees were sent. They were a sect of the Jews bitterly opposed to the Roman rule. They were the Nationalists of Palestine, and hated the foreign yoke. Along with them the Herodians. They were the first partisans of Herod the Great, and then of his family, in the Jewish community. They favoured the paying of tribute to Caesar.
Between these two there was the most bitter enmity. But they forgot their animosity in their mutual opposition to Christ. It was not the first time they had joined hands against Him (Mark 3: 6). Common hatred sometimes makes strange bedfellows.
“They feigned themselves just men” – pretended to be scrupulous persons – not only greatly exercised in their minds, but troubled in conscience about this tribute money difficulty. They wished to do right.
They looked at Him for guidance. They are sincere inquirers, willing to sit at His feet and receive His instruction. They pay Him the most lavish complements as to His character and capacity, as a Divine teacher (verse 21). This was all pretence. They wished to throw Jesus off His guard, so that He might open His mind freely to them, and commit Himself thoroughly.
b) The Question (verse 22). Having thus cleverly baited the hook, they cast it. “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or Not?” They want to know is it proper for them, as Jews, in accordance with the Law of Moses, to pay a foreign tax, to recognise a foreign ruler. “Can we acknowledge Caesar without disowning Jehovah?” If He answer, Yes, the Pharisees will have grip of Him. They will use His admission with the excited paschal crowds who, from being friendly, and looking up to Him as their Leader and Deliverer, will turn and rend Him. If He say, No, the Herodians will act – report Him to the civil authority, and have Him arrested as a rebel. He cannot escape. So they think.
c) The Answer (verses 23-25). Before replying directly, Jesus lets them know that He can read their hearts (verse 23). He rudely tears the mask from their face, and exposes their wicked duplicity. What a shock this would give His interrogators! Now He asks for a penny, and holding it up, and pointing to the stamp on it, He enquires, “Whose is this image and superscription?” Being told “Caesar’s,” He said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”
“The production of the denarius (the penny), with Caesar’s image and superscription, answered the question raised, so far at least as concerned persons who had no conscientious scruples as to using such money for ordinary purposes. They thereby admitted the fact of the Roman rule. The right to coin and the right to tax were inseparable. If the former were admitted, the latter could not be denied.” (Maclaren).
says to these Pharisees, You are using
2. A THEOLOGICAL QUESTION – that of the Sadducees (verses 27-40).
No sooner had the Pharisees and Herodians been silenced, than there came unto Him certain of the Sadducees. According to Matthew it was the same day (22: 23). The very same day on which He had been attacked by the Chief Priests and Scribes, He was set on by another sect who had no sympathy with either of the other two. All His enemies united their forces at last to crush Him if possible.
Sadducees – Who? They were a “liberal” materialistic, aristocratic party, showing
sympathy with foreign influences – a small but influential body confined
[* See also footnote on the Christians’ ‘hope’.]
was their aim at this time? “They were not in so murderous earnest as the Pharisees. Whichever way Jesus
answered their grotesque case He could not come into collision with
b) Their Question (verses 27-33). It bore on the doctrine of a future state – [i.e., immediately after death in Hades/Sheol (Luke 16: 22-31; 23: 43. cf. Matt. 16: 16); upon this earth, if ‘accounted worthy,’ after ‘the first resurrection’ in Christ’s millennial ‘kingdom’ (Rev. 20: 5. cf. Luke 22: 28-30); or afterwards in either ‘a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21: 1) or ‘the lake of fire’ (Rev. 20: 15)] – which they denied. They think they can expose the absurdity of such a doctrine by a concrete example. Take a case, they say. Here is a woman who has been married to seven brethren in succession. There are no children. According to the teaching of Moses she was lawfully wedded to each of them. Whose wife shall she be in the resurrection? This was their theological puzzle, and we may be sure it had done duty on many former occasions - [and, it would appear, on many latter and present occasions also!!] By making this doctrine thus appear ludicrous, as they thought, they fancied they had utterly demolished it.
c) Jesus’ Reply. He deals with their question with that grave seriousness which was characteristic of all His utterances. This is no matter of jest with Him. Matthew tells us (chapter 22: 29) that Jesus prefaces His reply by accusing them of ignorance of two things – the Scriptures and the power of God. He deals with that latter point first.
1) In the statement of their case they forget the power of God. They imagine that the other world - [i.e., the underworld, in the ‘heart of the earth,’ and after resurrection, conditions] - will be just like this one. He demolishes their position by declaring that in the spirit world, the conditions of existence, and the relation between individuals there [and then], will be altogether different from those which obtain here [and now]. There, - [in the underworld, and after resurrection] - they neither marry nor are given in marriage. Moreover corporeity then will be unlike corporeity now, in that it will not only be exempt from death, but incapable of it. There being no death, there will be no birth, nor any marriage in its physical aspect. Thus their argument fails utterly. It doesn’t really touch the point. They have forgotten the divine resources, the power of God.
2) Ignorance of the Scriptures. They based their case on the teaching of Moses. They claim that their position is Scriptural and therefore cannot be upset. Jesus shows that they don’t understand the Book which they pretend to quote. They have failed to find the doctrine of a future state in Moses. He bids them open that book again and read (Exodus 3: 6). “The Sadducees based their denial of the resurrection on the alleged silence of Scripture. Christ demolishes their premises by showing that the Scripture is not silent, but teaches the reality of existence after death.” Int. Crit. Com.
God proclaimed Himself to Moses as the “God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob.” These patriarchs have passed away [into the place of the dead.] Had they ceased to exist [in the intermediate place and state], God could not be said to be their God still, as He declares to Moses. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must therefore be [brought back from the place of the dead] alive, [at the time of resurrection] wherever they are. Had He said I was the God of Abraham, &c., the Sadducees would have had ground for their view. But His words are “I am (still) the God of Abraham.” This statement establishes the patriarch’s existence still. This proves the fact of a future life [in an immortal, glorified body upon this earth and for eternity], and subsequently of the RESURRECTION as the means to immortal life. The resurrection [of the dead] means the continued existence [of body and soul] beyond death - the bring into conscious living those who have died on earth.
[Note. “Scripture, in speaking of death, describes it as the time of the separation of body and soul [and spirit]. “It came to pass as her soul was departing, (for she died,) that she called his name Ben-oni:” Gen. 35: 18. Hence in the restoration of life, the soul (or spirit) [must] return again into their abode. The son of the woman of Sarepta dies. Elijah seeks to restore him again to life. He prays, “O Lord my God, let this child’s soul come into him again:” 1 Kings 17: 21. It had left the body: but God restored the lad to life. “The Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the soul of the child came into him again and he revived.” (22.) “See, thy son liveth.” Paul says of Eutychus, “His soul is in him:” Acts 20: 10. In the New Testament the departure [at the time of death] and return [to life] are sometimes spoken of as being that of the [animating] “spirit”. “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” is Stephen’s prayer [when dying]: Acts 7: 59. When Jesus raises the daughter of Jairus [back to life], He says, “Maid arise!” “And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway:” Luke 8: 54-55.
But our Lord traces for us the flight of the souls of both good and evil to the place prepared for them: “The beggar (poor man) died, and was carried (away) by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.” This refutes the assertion, that the soul is not the man. We call both the corpse and the soul, in common speech, ‘the man.’ So does God. This is seen in what follows. “The rich man also died, and was buried. And in Hadees (Greek) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.” This was evidently designed to refute just such unbelief as that manifested by Christadelphians:” (R. Govett.)]
3. A PERSONAL QUESTION. (verses 41-44).
Jesus now turns on His assailants and carries the war into the enemies camp.
What was Jesus’ object in throwing down this challenge to His adversaries? Was it to give difficulty to difficulty? “No; the similar question which He had put to them (verse 4) proves to us that Jesus was acting in a wholly different spirit. What then was His intention? He had just announced His death, and pointed out the authors of it (parable of the husbandmen). Now, He was not ignorant what the charge would be which they would use against Him. He would be condemned as a blasphemer, and that for calling Himself the Son of God (John 5: 18; 10: 33; Matthew 26: 65). And as He was not ignorant that before such a Tribunal it would be impossible for Him to plead His cause in peace, He demonstrates beforehand … the divinity of the Messiah, thus sweeping away the accusation of blasphemy which was to form the pretext of His condemnation.” (Goder). According to Matthew He asks the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ, whose Son is He?” According to Luke, “How is Christ David’s Son, and yet David, in one of his psalms, calls Him Lord?” They cannot reply for they do not understand. Jesus’ object clearly was to make them think – to lead them to see that the Messiah promised in Scripture was both divine and human. As to His human nature He was David’s Son. But as to His divine nature He was the Son of God.
After all we have been taught, may we not hear Him asking us, “What think YE of Christ?” This is most vital of all questions. It is a question for the conscience, penetrating to the roots of individual character. A question of faith only to be solved, not merely by the light of revelation, but by the inner illumination of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12: 3).
His name implies that He is the Great Prophet, the true High Priest, the Eternal King. What do WE think of Him? Some do not think of Him at all. Others have low, unworthy views of Him. But to those who believe He is precious (1 Peter 2: 7).
What do we think of Him? Of His Person? Of His Offices? Of His Life? Of His Death? Of His Resurrection, Ascension, Intercession at God’s right hand? Do we think of Him that we love Him, trust Him, obey Him, serve Him, copy Him? Can we truly say, He is my Redeemer, my Saviour, my Teacher, my Shepherd and my Friend? Shouldn’t we be able to say this in view of all we have heard about Him?
The chapter closes with a scathing indictment (verses 45-47). Openly, in the audience of all the people, He bids His disciples beware of these Scribes. “They ought to be guides and examples to you, but they are rather enemies to be watched and dreaded.”
He expresses their emptiness, hypocrisy, and wickedness, and warns His disciples to be on their guard against them.
There are three counts in the charge which He brings.
1) They are proud and haughty. He paints them to the life – walking abroad in their long robes, bowing and smiling, to salutations in the marketplace – perching themselves on the high seats in the synagogue, where they could see and be seen – appropriating the chief rooms at feasts, where, we may suppose, they would be likely to get the largest share of the good things served. We see vanity and selfishness stamped on every feature of their portrait, as drawn by His unerring hand.
2) Rapacious cruelty is characteristic of them too. “They devour widow’s houses.” Widows are the most defenceless class of Oriental poor, but these sharks had no pity in their hearts for them. The more defenceless they were, they were the easier prey.
3) The blackest feature in the picture is the last. All this is done in the garb of religion. “For a show they make long prayers.” “With the widows (Matthew Henry suggests) when they were in sorrow, as if they had not only a piteous but a pious concern for them, and thus endeavoured to ingratiate themselves with them, and get their money and effects into their hands.”
Such, Jesus declares, “shall receive greater damnation.”
4. A FINANCIAL QUESTION – a money matter. The Widow’s mites (21: 1-4).
there any connection with the foregoing?
Jesus had just denounced the barbarity of the Scribes, who devoured poor
widows. He here shows how He regards
them, and He points out that they were the most liberal contributors to the
Three or four lessons may be drawn from this interesting passage.
Jesus watches our ways and doings. He took up His position in the vestibule of
Giving to religious objects is a Christian duty, and has the Divine approval. There was a
treasury chest in the
c) In estimating our gifts, Jesus regards not merely what we give, but what we have – the proportion our offering bears to what we keep for ourselves. Very few ever give such a large contribution as the Widow’s Mites. To do that we would require to give all that we have.
1. What enraged the chief priests and Scribes against Jesus? 2. What would they have done? 3. What prevented them? 4. What means did they then take to attack Him? 5. Show the craftiness of their question? 6. How did Jesus answer them? 7. Who were the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians? 8. What question did the Sadducees put to Jesus? 9. What was their object? 10. Of what did Jesus accuse them? 11. How did he prove from Moses that the patriarchs are still living [in the underworld]? 12. What question did Jesus now put to His enemies? 13. What was His object? 14. How can we show what we think of Christ? 15. Of what did Jesus accuse the Scribes? 16. How does He show that the poor widow gave more than the rich men?
EDITOR’S FOOTNOTE ON THE CHRISTIANS’ ‘HOPE’
To hope for something which God says we already have (‘by grace,’ i.e., our eternal salvation, Eph. 2: 8, 9), is unbelief; and to assume that we will, if we die ‘in the Lord,’ receive what we must ‘attain’ (i.e., a share in ‘the resurrection out from the dead,’ Phil. 3: 11, Gk.), by being judged worthy ‘to receive (as overcomers) an inheritance from the Lord as a reward,’ (Col. 3: 22), is also unbelief.
During the past year’s attendance at local Presbyterian Churches, I have not heard the adjective ‘millennial’ mentioned once! Not just by those placed in the pulpit, and well paid to teach the Lord’s redeemed people about running the race of the faith to ‘get the Prize’ (1 Cor. 9: 24), and the ‘Crown’ (1 Tim. 2: 19; James 1: 12; 2 Tim. 4: 8), but not even from amongst any redeemed member in their congregations!
Such a deliberate silence and a glossing over of divine warnings to regenerate believers against the loss of their ‘inheritance’ during the millennial reign with Messiah Jesus in ‘the kingdom of God,’ (1 Cor. 6: 9; Gal. 5: 21; Eph. 5: 5) as a ‘reward’ according to ‘works’ (Col. 3: 25. cf. Heb. 10: 35, 36); and a future salvation, ‘ready to be revealed in the last time’ – ‘the salvation of souls’ (1 Pet. 1: 5, 9) - from the underworld presumably, (Matt. 16: 8. cf. Luke 16: 19-31; Rev. 6: 9-11) - “as we WAIT EAGERLY FOR OUR ADOPTION AS SONS” – (Note. Our adoption as sons has not yet taken place, as some suppose!) – “the redemption of our bodies. For in THIS HOPE WE ARE SAVED. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what HE ALREADY HAS? But if we HOPE FOR WHAT WE DO NOT YET HAVE, we wait for it patiently” (Rom. 8: 23-25): and that future ‘salvation’ and ‘hope’ will be revealed at the time of the ‘redemption of our bodies’ from corruption; and that cannot occur until the Son of Man returns to this earth to raise the dead and establish His millennial Kingdom! 1 Thess. 4: 16; 1 Cor. 15: 23, 25; Luke 20: 35. cf. Heb. 11: 39, 40; Rev. 3: 21; Rev. 6: 9-11; Rev. 20: 4-6.
It is a major doctrinal mistake for anyone to neglect the divine warnings of God’s righteous judgment on His saints’ behaviour; or to undermine, suggest, or teach His redeemed people that ‘the resurrection is past already’ (2 Tim. 2: 18)! It destroys a desire to please Him each and every day of our lives, in order to win the ‘Prize’ and the ‘Crown’ - (not our eternal salvation which Christ purchased upon the cross, and paid the price in full for us) - which He will give to all who are prepared suffer with Him, and for the doctrines He and His apostles taught His disciples, (Matt. 5: 20; 7: 21; 2 Tim. 2: 12, 13; Luke 20: 35; 22: 28-30; Rev. 3: 21; Rom. 8: 17b; etc.).
May Jesus our Lord and Saviour, through the Holy Spirit’s strength and enlightenment, give us a greater understanding of these truths, and the necessary boldness and courage to proclaim the whole counsel of God – no matter what the personal cost such action may bring. Acts 19: 8, 9; 20: 32. cf. Acts 24: 21; 26: 6, 7; 18b; Col. 3: 24, 25; Heb. 11: 35b.
It may be fashionable for multitudes of Bible Teachers today to be conservative – (i.e., ‘liking established ways and opposed to change’) - with the beliefs and teachings of the majority within their denominational parties. By their refusal to disclose certain unpopular teachings of Christ to His disciples - the Judgment Seat of Christ (and before the time of resurrection) must take effect; and the consequences of such actions today, and the divine warnings of the loss of the firstborn’s inheritance – (i.e., a double inheritance and rulership within the family.), must take effect upon all such as behave today as Esau did of old: “Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing,” when he wanted to receive the blessing which he bartered away to Jacob to satisfy his natural hunger, “HE WAS REJECTED. He could not bring about on change of mind” – on the part of his father – “thought he sought the blessing with tears.” … “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they” – Israel of old presumably – “did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will WE, if WE TURN AWAY FROM HIM WHO WARNS US FROM HEAVEN:” (Heb. 12: 17, 25. cf. 1 Cor. 9: 24- 10: 10 with Num. 14: 20-23).
apostle Paul, could not threaten the disobedient and carnal Christians at
* * * * * * *
Doom of the
And the Coming of the Son of
Luke 21: 5-38.
Scripture to be committed, Luke 15: 28.
(Note changes in verses 8, 9, 11, 12, 19, 20, 21, 34, 36).
Luke 21: 5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and offerings, he said, 6 As for these stones which ye behold, the days will come, in which there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 7 And they asked him, saying, Master [or, Teacher], when therefore shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when these things are about to come to pass? 8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not led astray: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am he: and, The time is at hand: go ye not after them. 9 And when ye shall hear of wars and tumults, be not terrified: for these things must needs come to pass first; but the end is not immediately.
10 Then he said unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: 11 and there shall be great earthquakes, and in divers places famines and pestilences; and there shall be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they shall lay their hands on you, and shall persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 It shall turn unto you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate beforehand how to answer: 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to withstand or to gainsay. 16 But ye shall be delivered up even by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. 18 And not a hair of your head shall perish. 19 In your patience [perseverance] ye shall win your souls.
20 But when ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know
that her desolation is at hand. 21
Then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains; and let them that are
in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter
therein. 22 For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are
written may be fulfilled. 23
Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! for there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath
upon this people. 24
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all
the nations: and
And he spake to them a parable: Behold the fig tree, and all the trees: 30
when they now shoot forth, ye see it and know of your own selves that the
summer is now nigh. 31
Even so ye also, when ye see these things coming to pass, know ye THE THE
34 But take heed to yourselves, lest haply your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you suddenly as a snare: 35 for so shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of all the earth. 36 But watch ye at every season. Making supplication, THAT YE MAY PREVAIL TO ESCAPE all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
37 And every day he was teaching in the temple; and every night he went out, and lodged in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. 38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, to hear him.
THE SETTING OF THE LESSON
TIME. – A.D. 30, Tuesday of the Crucifixion Week.
PLACE. – Olivet.
PARALLEL PASSAGES. – Matthew 24: 1-45; Mark 13: 1-37. See also Luke 17: 20-37.
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS. – Many curious and puzzling questions might arise in connection with this lesson. Teachers should, however, avoid dwelling on these, and fix attention on the Certainties in regard to the coming of Christ, the [conditional] Promises given by Jesus, and the Duties enjoined by Him on us in view of that Coming.
PLAN OF THE LESSON
DOOM OF THE
2. DISCOURSE ON OLIVET. Disciples’ Questions. Jesus’ answer (7).
1. EVENTS FORETOLD.
Dangers before Fall of
c) Coming of the Son of Man (25-33). Signs; Manner of; Work for Christ.
2. DELIVERANCES OR [CONDITIONSAL] PROMISES (13, 14, 18, 19).
3. DUTIES. Beware, Endure, Watch, Pray.
Introduction. After the incident of the last
lesson, of Jesus watching the people casting in of their gifts into the
treasury, some Greeks approach desiring to see Him (John
12: 20-36). Jesus predicts His death, receives the
approval of a voice from heaven, speaks a few last words to the people, and
1. - DOOM OF THE
was dear to Him, it spake of Him. He the true
What stones! What buildings! Built of white marble exquisitely chiselled, with huge stones some thirty feet, some over sixty feet long by twelve feet thick and twenty broad; its roof and turrets overlaid with gold, nine of its gates overlaid with silver and gold and one of solid Corinthian brass, as it shone in the evening sunlight it must have seemed to the disciples the very embodiment of strength and beauty. Shall all that strength and beauty perish?
Very improbable then. World at peace, yet within forty years, not withstanding the strength and glory of that House, Jesus’ words literally fulfilled. His words certain. See verse 33. Christ rejected, ruin certain. And the fairer and more beautiful the house – temple of human body beautiful – the ruin the sadder.* Temple was destroyed, 1) because its rulers rejected the Lord of the Temple; 2) because when the true Temple, “the One greater than the Temple,” came, the type must pass away; 3) because it was needful that it should perish in order to the upbuilding of the Spiritual Temple, formed of all true [regenerate and obedient] believers (Eph. 2: 20-22; [See also Rev. 3: 1b.]). The destruction of the temple served an important purpose in the growth of Christianity.
[* See John 15: 6; 1 Cor. 5: 32b. cf. Judges 16: 20; 1 Sam. 16: 14, etc.]
2. THE DISCOURSE ON OLIVET (verses 7-36). The Disciples’ Question (7).
Four of the disciples. Who? See Mark 13: 3. Troubled at Jesus’ words. Want to know three things. See Matthew 24: 3. 1)
When “these things” – the destruction of the
Jesus Answer. The Discourse.
See also Matthew 24., Mark 13. His answer very practical – does not fix the dates, does not tell “the when.” God never does lift the veil of the future. It would be for our hurt. See Acts 1: 7. Jesus does not satisfy curiosity. He teaches what is needful for daily life. We might put the teaching of the discourse under the topics, Events Foretold. Deliverances or Promises, Duties.
1. Events Foretold. a) Dangers before the Temple’s Fall (verses 8-19). 1) From False Christs and False Prophets (8). Danger of being led astray, deceived by them. In the years after Christ died, many appeared claiming to be the Christ. We find reference to these impostors in the New Testament. See 1 John 2: 18, Acts 21: 38. Josephus tells us many such impostors arose and deceived many. We, too, are in danger of being led astray by false teaching, false example. “The warning of Jesus is that ye take heed that no man lead you astray, in doctrine or morals, through holding up a false standard of conduct, or a false interpretation of God’s Word.”
2. From Political and Physical Commotions (verses 9-11). Danger of being led from these to suppose the
end of all things was at hand (Compare 2 Thess. 2: 2).
Danger of neglecting duty, work through excited expectations that the
end of the world had come. “Be not terrified,”
“the end is not
immediately.” Perhaps, too, danger of being troubled, as if everything were going to
ruin. Jesus would have them calm,
tranquil, trustful. The period between
the crucifixion and the destruction of
3) From Persecution (verses 12-18). a) By Enemies (12) Peter, John, Stephen, before the Sanhedrin. Acts 4: 7, 7: 12. Paul, Acts 22: 30. Paul before Felix, Lysias, Agrippa, Nero. Acts 16: 23, 2 Cor. 11: 24. b) By Kinsfolk (16). The Gospel received excites the greatest love; rejected the greatest hate. Converts in heathen lands still experience the fulfilment of this prophecy. “Hated by all men.” See the reason given by Jesus in John 15: 18, 19.
b) Doom of
c) Coming of the Son of Man
(verses 25-33). He came to the Jews, to the men of that
generation at the destruction of
Signs Preceding His Coming (verses 25, 26).
What are we to understand by these?
Are we to take them literally of figuratively? May express in prophetic
imagery the terrible calamities, disasters, sufferings which shall precede the
coming of the Son of Man. Compare
the similar figurative representations in Isaiah
34: 4 about Idumea; in Ezekiel 32: 7, 8 about
signs will show His coming near (verses 28-31).
Possibly Jesus pointed to a fig-tree close beside Him with its first
tender shoots. These shoots show summer
near. These signs are like the fig-tree
buds they will show the nearness of the coming of the Son of Man – that He is “at the doors”
(Mark) as if He was knocking for entrance, that “the
3) His Coming Certain (33). “Heaven and earth, &c.”
4) His Coming Sudden. Unknown (verses 34-35). Shall come as the flood came, as the thief comes. (Matthew 24: 37-43), come as the lord returning to his servants (Mark 13: 35, 36), shall come as a snare (Luke 21: 35). Who does Jesus say knew not the time? The time of His coming is not even His as Son of Man to reveal. It was no part of His mission to reveal it. Note the bearing of this on the calculations of those who would fix the date of the millennium or of the end of the world. “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
5) The Manner of His Coming (26). “The clouds – fitting symbols at once of the impending crisis and the impenetrable mystery that surrounds the throne of Him who rules over it, - will be, as it were, the sublime drapery of His presence, illuminated with the brightness of His coming.” See 2 Thess. 2: 8, Psalm 97: 2, 104: 3. The Son of Man once despised shall come [to rule in righteousness and peace] in ineffable glory and might.
6) Work for which He shall Come. See Mark 13: 27. Doubtless this refers to His final coming. “There shall be no disciple so obscure or too far off to be sent for. The shepherd knows his sheep by name. No dusky heathen disciple [judged worthy to rule with Him (Rom. 8: 17b; 2 Tim. 2: 12; Luke 20: 35; 2 Thess. 1: 4, 5, etc.] to be left out.” He will come as the Master of the house to reckon with His servants. Serious consequences, reward or punishment, await us when Christ comes. How important then [for us] to be ready! (See Mark 24: 45 – 25: 13.
2) Deliverances or Promises. a) Their being brought before kings would be a testimony for the Gospel [of the Kingdom] (13). So it was in the case of Paul before Felix Agrippa. See Phil. 1: 12-20; [also, 3: 10, 11, 14]). b) The [Holy] Spirit’s help in their need when brought before tribunals (14). Jesus had given this promise before Luke 12: 11. For the fulfilment of it see Acts 4: 13, 6: 10. It was meant to preserve from disquietude, and to give them calmness in danger. c) The certainty of FINAL SALVATION (18-19). They shall win, WIN THE PRIZE OF THEIR SOULS, their lives. THROUGH ENDURANCE AND TRIALS [EVEN THROUGH DEATH ITSELF] they shall gain their lives. “The graces of the true [overcoming] Christian hold out in all sorts of weather, in winter and summer, in prosperity and adversity.”
3) Duties. “The four moral keynotes of this discussion on the Last
Things are Beware, Watch, Endure, Pray”
– Farrar. Find out where each of these is
required. Beware of being led astray (8), of being troubled, losing your faith,
calmness (9, 14, 34; see also Mark). Endure (19). Watch. How often
repeated by Jesus? What does the
repetition teach? What the words “Take heed”? Look to it.
See that ye watch. Temptations to neglect watching many and great. Hard to keep awake. This implied in the word to watch. Watch “at every season.”
Temptations to spiritual sleep many.
Great danger in being found asleep, yet we are prone to it. The influence of the world seductive. How are the temptations put in verse 34?
Sinful pleasures and cares. What are the temptations to which the evil
servant in Matthew 24. yields? What is sleeping seem
to be in these cases? In
the case of the foolish virgins? False
security, worldliness, self-indulgence
is sleep. What is it to
watch? Not straining the eyes to see the
first sign of His coming: but active,
wakeful, doing of every duty. The
house should be in such order, and we to be so employed, that as the porter
when he hears the knock opens immediately to his master, so we would be glad to let our Lord
in (Matthew 13: 34-35; [see also Rev.3: 14-20.
cf. Acts 5: 32b.]) We ought to take care of our Lord’s
interests, so do our Lord’s work, that His coming would not be unwelcome, that
we would not have to keep Him standing outside until we would get things in
order for Him to see. To neglect our
work, and stand gazing to catch a glimpse of our Lord’s return, is not what He
requires. It is working watchfulness. Servants not
to stand outside looking for their master, but to be busy at his work left them
– that [is]
true watching. “Suppose
you were to die at twelve o’clock to-morrow night,” said a lady once to John Wesley, “how
would you employ the intervening time?”
“Why just as I intend to spend it now,” [came Wesley’s answer.] Why
watch? Lord may come at any time, will
come suddenly, we know not when He comes, and when He comes [at the end of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24: 29, 30. cf. Luke 13: 35.] – what then?
We should always be like Count
“A messenger rapped loudly at his door late at night, announcing that
Pray. Watch, but also pray. We [“who are left unto the coming of the Lord” (1 Thess. 4: 15, R.V.)] need Divine help [and strength]. “Watchfulness is like the hands of the clock that point; prayer is the weight that keeps the machinery in motion.”
REVIEW THE BLACKBOARD.
1. What incidents have taken place since those of the last lesson? 2.
Where is Jesus in this? 3. What did the disciples say to Jesus
as He left the
* * * * * * *
The Teacher and His Recompense
1. THE TEACHER’S PERSONALITY.
“It is not so much what you study: the question is, With whom you study.” Such was the counsel given by Ralph Waldo Emerson to his daughter when she was leaving home to attend a famous school. In this he rightly estimated the value of the personal element in the make up of the teacher. “Never man spake like this Man,” was the testimony given regarding Him who “taught with authority.” Was it not that the uniqueness of His teaching came largely from the strength and beauty of the personality of the Teacher? His teaching was Himself. He was “the Word made flesh” – truth personified.
The primary concern in education is its power over conduct. What the child can do rather than what he knows, is the thing that counts. Especially should religious education aim at developing capacity for behaviour. It derives its great value from its directive and impelling power. If it does not influence conduct and become a guiding force in controlling the life, it sadly fails of its object.
The personality of the teacher largely determines the dynamic effect of his teaching. Words may be received and may be retained in the memory with little or no apprehension of their meaning. Ideals even may exist in the mind simply as abstract truth, without any notion of their relation to practical life. As the head of the woodman’s axe gives effectiveness to the keenness of the edge, so it is the man or woman behind the Teacher that emphasizes the [His] teaching and [He, i.e., the Holy Spirit,] gives it power to influence the conduct and mould the character of the learner.
Personality is a complex thing. In part it is character, but it is more than character. It comprises all the various personal elements of the man or woman, physical, intellectual, emotional, moral, and whatever else makes up the individual. It is a subtle force. It goes from the person, not as part of a plan or purpose, but as an undersigned and unconscious influence, pervasive and irresistible. Children are generally keenly sensitive and impressionable. They instinctively feel where they cannot reason. They yield to this force of personality as a lower animal surrenders to the fascinating eye of the charmer.
Personality is the man or the woman. Hence it is not a thing that can be put on or off at will like a garment. Yet it does not follow that the individual self is inflexible, or unyielding to modify influences. It is quite practicable for one to become something very different in character and personality from what he is to-day.
Sunday-school teachers desire a large measure of the forcefulness and winsomeness of the great Teacher. External manifestation is not the thing to be concerned about. We should give heed rather to the enrichment of the sources that lie back of the power of personality, and the power will then take care of itself. Let us cultivate in ourselves the spirit of Christ, and strive to mould our inner life from His image. The teacher, who, like the great Teacher, is earnest, patient, and ready to subordinate self to the well-being of others, will approach most closely to the ideal of excellence. “Take heed to thyself.”
2 WHEN TO BE POSITIVE
The true teacher will always remember that in teaching there is a time and a place for positiveness. The Great Teacher spoke out as one having authority. A prime qualification for successful teaching is the conviction that there are truths about which no question of doubt can be entertained, and that these are to be declared clearly, firmly, without hesitation. This is of special importance in dealing with [adults as well as] children. A tone of doubt is sure to be detected by them. If you would have them hold the truth never let them question whether you believe it yourself. This, of course, does not mean that one is to be positive and dogmatic in regard to everything. In the interpretation of Scripture and regulation of conduct there may often be room for difference of opinion, and to make positive affirmations which cannot be maintained is to run the risk of forfeiting the confidence of those we would instruct. But it is what one can lay down as certainly true, divinely authoritative, which will produce conviction in their minds. And the highest things lie outside the region of peradventure. Faith in God and in the right, loyalty to Jesus Christ, the imperativeness of duty, the beauty of unselfishness, the obligation of fidelity to purity and truth, be the results what they may – positiveness on such matters as these always means power; doubt here spells defeat.
3. HOW TO QUESTION.
A question should be brief. It has been said that brevity is the soul of wit; it might be said that brevity is the soul of the question, giving it its vital spark. The short, snappy question wakes up the mind of the class like an electric shock. The slow, long-drawn, involved question winds a kind of cocoon about the mind of a class, and tends to make it inert. Teachers talk too much, and let their pupils talk too little. This is probably the besetting sin of the profession. A part of this too much talking is taking too much time in stating the question. The well-aimed, quick blow tells. It is evident that brevity also assists clearness.
- The Messanger.
What shall we have who toiled all night through the tempest,
At nets let down in vain, or labouring oar?
Yonder, the morn breaks, and, beyond the breaking,
A Watcher and a welcome on the shore!
What shall we have whose little hoard of twilight
Came nearest to the light of others’ day?
God gave to all the blue dome of His building –
Only earth’s clouds between were sometimes gray.
What shall we have who missed life’s loveliest meanings –
Who bore the burden of the incomplete?
There is a wider room for our probation,
And we shall know our missed things when we meet!
What shall we have on whom Time laid for guerdon
The pricking brier and the grieving thorn?
How many an earthly trial of piercing shadow
Hedged up in bud a heavenly rose unborn!
What shall we have whose ghostly galleons foundered,
No man may know in what unfathomed seas?
All seas give up the dead things in their keeping;
Even our ships of dream? Yea, even these!