Luke 11:29-12:11 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Light of a Lamp Shines On You
Comments for Study 23

Luke 11:29-12:12
Memory Verse: 11:36


I. The Sign of Jonah (29-32)

>1. How does Jesus' words about his generation indicate why the crowds around him were increasing? (29)

* Luke 11:29 "As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah."

* Jesus brought up the sign of Jonah more than once as Matthew 12:38-45 and Matthew 16:1-4 records.

* "As the crowds increased" -A prelude to 12:1 where Luke records, "a crowd of many thousands had gathered". See notes in section IV below.

* As Jesus performed more and more miracles word about him spread. Some came wanted to see a miracle.

* The average Jew had been told the Messiah would come soon. With the cruel Roman occupation many eagerly wanted him to come and remove them of the evil Romans and Herod. As news about Jesus' miracles spread they wondered if Jesus might be the Messiah.


* The art to the right is the prophet Jonah is thrown overboard, swallowed by a large fish, and vomited onto dry land. The city of Nineveh is depicted in the background. The artist, Virgil Solis (1514-1562), has placed his monogram in the lower left corner of the woodcut. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>Why might it be wicked to ask for a miraculous sign?

* "This is a wicked generation" -Jesus declares that asking for signs to prove that he is who he claims to be, that is the Messiah and the Son of God is wicked. Luke 11:16 brings out the fact that many, probably most of the religious leaders had been asking for a miraculous sign as a test. Here Luke records Jesus' response to asking for signs from heaven as proofs.

Jesus had preformed many miraculous signs. It is true that Jesus probably did not perform miracles every day. So anyone who was not a disciple and/or did not walk with Jesus for more than a few days might not have witnessed a miracle. Still the religious leaders must have been told about the miracles Jesus had been doing. They did not accept man's testimony. They wanted to witness a miracle themselves. For such people seeing is believing. They didn't want to walk with Jesus for more than a day or two. They wanted to see a miracle and then go on their way as quickly as possible.

Jesus does not operate this way. He did not perform any miracle because someone asked for it to prove who he was. He did perform miracles when someone asked for help. But he did not perform miracles so that someone could believe in him. Faith does not work that way. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1) I do not have faith because I see. Rather I see because I have faith.

* "a miraculous sign" -A miracle is an act performed at the command of a human that defies the known laws of nature. A sign is something that proves an assumption and points to a fact yet unrealized. A miraculous sign proves that someone is more than an human, someone special and even from God because they have the ability to control things that man cannot normally do; that is they have the ability to over-ride the laws of nature which were established by God.

* Some people say, "Put out the fleece," referring to Gilead's acts for God to prove something would be done as he had promised. (Judges 6:33-40) Often they confuse that passage and become like the religious leaders asking for Jesus to perform a miracle as a test. Gideon had the Spirit on him and had already acted in faith by blowing the trumpet. The religious leaders had shown no faith in Jesus when they asked for a sign.

>What is the only miracle Jesus promised to give them? (30)

* Luke 11:30 "For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation."

* Jonah is a Old Testament prophet who refused to obey God's command to preach to the Ninevites. He took a ship in the opposite direction of Nineveh. He was thrown off the ship and swallowed by a large fish. He was in the fish for three days where he confessed his sin and repented. Then the fish spit him out onto shore.

* "a sign to the Ninevites" -Jonah's appearance after being in a fish testified to the Ninevites that he was from God and should be listened to and obeyed.

* "so also will the Son of Man be" -Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man. He did not back away from their wicked request. However, he would do it in his own time and own way.

* We cannot and should not demand God to do anything. We can ask, but we should never demand as if we have authority over him. The difference between asking and demanding is heart attitude.

* God shows us all we need to know to make a proper decision about who Jesus is and what he has done for us. We need to accept it or reject it.

Queen of Sheba

* The engraving to the right is by Otto Elliger found in a book by Martin, David (1639-1721). It shows the Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem. At the bottom left are jars of gold brought by the queen to Solomon. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>What was Jesus teaching about the difference between miracle seeking and believing in verses 31 and 32?

* Luke 11:31-32 "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here."

* "Queen of the South" -1 Kings 1:1-13 and 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 records the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon to listen to his wisdom.

* "will rise at the judgment" -Jesus is referring to the judgement of the saints when he comes again.

* "with the men of this generation and condemn them" -The people who can to Jesus during his life will rise when he comes again. They will be judged and found not worthy to live in his kingdom if they did not believe in him. They will be condemned to punishment.

* Jesus argued from the lesser to the greater. If the queen of Sheba responded positively to the wisdom of Solomon, and the men of Nineveh to the preaching of Jonah, how much more should the people of Jesus' day have responded to the ministry of Jesus, who is infinitely greater than Solomon or Jonah! (NIV Study Bible)

II. The Light (33-36)

>2. What does light have to do with the gospel and us? (33)

* Luke 11:33 "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light."

* Luke records a similar saying in Luke 8:16-18. Matthew 5:14-16 is the same as Luke 8. Matthew 6:22-23 in the Sermon on the Mount is the same as this passage. Mark 4:21-25 is also about a lamp used to light a room with a great explanation of what Jesus is saying when he uses such an illustration.

* "lights a lamp" -At the time lamps fuel with olive oil was common near the Mediterranean Sea.

* "may see it" -A lamp's purpose is to give light during dark times and in dark places. Jesus was a light in that he taught truth during a time when truth was seldom taught. Jesus witnessed to God in times that God was misunderstood and ridiculed.

* Do words concerning Jesus not spoken mean we are hiding him? Does silence concerning the gospel mean we are hiding it? Yes. Speak up. God did not light us with his Spirit so that we would not shine.

Candle maker

* The engraving to the right is called the candle maker. The candle maker dips candlewicks suspended on wooden poles into the melted wax in a four-wheel cart; an assistant with a metal dipper works next to him at the brick smelting oven. Finished candles are suspended from rods in a holder on the floor and from the rafters. The Dutch artist and poet, Jan Luiken (1649-1712), was responsible for drawing this emblem and for creating the motto and poem that follow. Jan Luiken and/or his son Casper Luiken (1672-1708) were responsible for its etching. The attendant scripture text is Luke 11:33-36. Motto: Lose the least, / For great profit. Poem: While the fire consumes the candle, /So the house is honored with light; / That was the purpose in the making: / Oh Earthly man of flesh and blood, /God wants the light from your heart, / Through the body's dying and forsaking. (Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker). Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>How can light in a person be darkness? (34-35)

* Luke 11:34-35 "Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness."

* Jesus speaks literally of a single eye versus a bad or evil one. A single eye normally meant a generous one. A bad eye in that culture could mean either a diseased one or a stingy one. Many people believed that light was emitted from the eye, enabling one to see, rather than that light was admitted through the eye; here it seems to be admitted through the eye.

* The Bible declares that God Himself is light. Psalm 27:1 says, "The Lord is my light." In Psalm 104:2, the psalmist testified of the Lord who covered himself in light. In John 8:12 Jesus, the God-man, said, "I am the light of the world." Such expressions make at least two things abundantly clear. First, the origin of light rests with God. Second, in some sense God Himself is the very essence of light. Such statements do not suppose that God is light and nothing more, but they do stress that God is the ultimate source of all knowing and understanding. To this end Psalm 119:105 informs us that God's Word is a "light" to one's path. Here the emphasis lies upon perception and understanding gained when darkness is dispelled and light revealed. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* This last concept becomes even clearer in John 3:19; people love darkness better than light, because their deeds are evil. Such statements reveal that the character of light is to reveal and to provide understanding and purity, while the opposite of light or darkness is designed to obscure, to deceive, and to harbor impurity. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* A small problem confronts the interpreter who discovers that Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 5:14, "Ye are the light of the world." Yet in John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." What appears to be a contradiction is not one at all. The moon provides light for the earth just as the sun does. Yet, the actual source of light for both the sun and the moon is the sun. The moon only reflects the light of the sun. By the same token, Jesus, the God-man, is the source of all light. His disciples become reflectors in a darkened world, transmitting through their lives the true light of the eternal Son of God. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* Lamps (lights) were used symbolically in the Old and New Testaments. Light depicted life in abundance, divine presence or life's direction versus death in darkness (compare Psalms 119:105; 1 John 1:5 with Job 18:5; Proverbs 13:9). Jesus is depicted often in John as the light of the world (John 1:4-5,7-9; 3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 11:9-10; 12:35-36,46). (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* What are you concentrating your attention to? Where do you spend your time? What do you do with the gifts God has given you through the Holy Spirit?

* We are darkened when we do not respond to and with the good gifts God has given us. It is like hiding or putting a light under a bowl. Do not shut out what God has given by not revealing Jesus and the gospel to others.

>What does Jesus conclude with his teaching about light? (36)

* Luke 11:36 "Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you."

* Jesus is warning his disciples to respond correctly to the gift of new life. We need to be active in our faith.

>What does this have to do with verses 29-32?

* Many people including the religious leaders heard the words of truth that Jesus' spoke. Jesus gave the words of God. It went to their brain via their ears. Jesus did the work of God. They saw it and thought about it. Still, they refused to believe it. They even tried to stop Jesus' preaching and work. They darkened the light that God was revealing to them.

III. Six Woes (37-54)

New Testament Jewish Sects

>3. Why would a Pharisee host be concerned about Jesus' hygiene? (37-38; Ex. 19:10-11)

* Luke 11:37-38 "When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised."

* Exodus 19:10-11 "And the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people."

* Matthew 23:1-39 records seven woes as the last teaching in the temple before he left for the Mount of Olives where he was arrested. Luke's record of six woes and Matthew's record of seven woes are not the same event, though they have some similarity.

* "a Pharisee invited him to eat with him" -The Pharisee's motive is not stated. Perhaps, it would have been considered rude for a rich person such as Pharisees to ignore a predominate travelling preacher's need to eat. Perhaps he wanted to share in Jesus' popularity by associating himself with him. Perhaps, though it seems unlikely he wanted to hear more of Jesus' teachings. We can deduce from his reaction to Jesus not washing that he may have considered Jesus somewhat of a kindred spiritual leader and a peer teacher.

* "so he went in and reclined at the table" -Jesus never rejecting an invitation from anyone.

* "Jesus did not first wash before the meal" -This washing was not to get the dirt off, but a ceremonial cleansing and part of the tradition of the Pharisees and elders. (Mark 7:3; Matthew 15:9) Exodus 19:10-11 records that the Lord required the Israelites to clean themselves before he appeared to them at Mount Sinai. The Pharisees took this farther, by ceremonially washing at many times throughout the day.

>What did Jesus try teach him about cleanliness? (39-40)

* Luke 11:39-40 "Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?"

* God wants us be be clean externally and in our hearts. Externally we can be unclean with dirt, grim, and many other things. Our hearts can be filled with wickedness and greed.

* "greed" - Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves with respect to material goods and wealth.

* The religious leaders of Jesus' day were concerned about what the outside ceremonial acts while ignoring moral needs.

* Following ceremonial rituals is so much easier than searching our soul and mind in order to stop sinning and live according to God's good perfect way.

>What did Jesus tell him to do and why? (41)

* Luke 11:41 "But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you."

* "give to the poor" -Giving to the poor is an outward act that should come from a heart full of love and compassion. Giving is the opposite of "greed and wickedness".

* Giving often takes faith in God's provision. Someone who gives from their wealth is not the same as someone who gives from their poverty and meager means.

* The rich are not wicked because of their wealth. However, wealth often is the mark of a stingy and selfish person.

* God gave his one and only Son, Jesus so that we many be spiritually rich. God's children give as their Father does.

>4. What was the first woe that Jesus spoke against the Pharisees?

* Luke 11:42 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."

* "give God a tenth" -Giving 10 percent back to God is seen in Genesis. Cain and Able gave an offering to God as did Noah and Abraham. God instructed Israel on offerings in the four books that follow Genesis. (Leviticus 27:30-33; Deuteronomy 14:22-29) The Pharisees made sure they gave a tenth in even the smallest things like spices. They were meticulous in their religious following the law.

* "garden herbs" -The law for Israel does not specifically say that dry garden herbs needed to be divided so that a tenth could be given to the Lord. The Pharisees considered garden herbs as food and so decided it was to be as any other food and tithed.

* "neglect" -neglect means to pay little or no attention to.

* "justice" -Jesus is referring to justice towards others. The Pharisees were responsible for teaching and especially enforcing the law that God gave Israel in the Bible. Justice is a quality of being fair towards what is right.

* "love of God" -We should practice love of God by loving others practically. Jesus said, "As I have love you so you must love one another." And, "If you love me you will obey my commandments." And when asked what are the greatest commandments he answered, "Love the Lord God with all your mind, heart and soul; and love your neighbor as yourself."

* "practiced the latter without leaving the former undone" -Jesus did not say that their tithing was wrong. Rather it meant nothing because they ignored what was more important. They are like singers who bellows a tune out of key and off beat. They followed the letter of the law while missing its point.

Israel herb garden

* The picture to the right is a herb garden in modern Jerusalem.

>What did he teach about rituals even if they were based on the word of God? (Mal. 3:6-12; Hos. 6:6)

* Malachi 3:6-12 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?' "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty."

* Hosea 6:6 "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings."

* Rituals are easier that practising love. We were designed to learn something and through repetition it becomes a habit. There are good habits and bad habits. Smoking is a bad habit. Showing kindness is a good habit.

* We, the fallen human race seek to follow religious rituals rather than living in a love based relationship with God. Search your heart and look into your actions and see if you obey God's words as found in the Bible by faith. Or do you give up on God when the things get tough. The Lord cause the Israelites to hunger and then sent manna every morning to the Israelites so that they would learn that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the father. (Deuteronomy 8:3) The prodigal son and his brother loved the father's wealth more than they loved their father and each other. (Luke 15:11-32)

>What does seeking important seats indicate? (43; 1 Peter 5:5-7)

* Luke 11:43 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces."

* 1 Peter 5:5-7 "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

* Pride seeks others recognizing our self perceived greatness. Pride often do many things to be recognized as greater and more blessed than others. The Pharisees loved a high opinion from others. Marketplaces then in no different than a companies organization chart today. The synagogue in Jesus' day is the same as social groups today, especially those of the religious nature.

* "greetings in the marketplaces" -Jesus is not rebuking them down because of friendships. Rather he rebuked them for enjoying their power, influence, and wealth being recognized by others.

* Do you want people to love and respect you because of your power and goods? Or do you want to love others whether or not they have power and wealth?

* Matthew 23:12 adds to a parallel preaching, "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

>Why would walking over a grave be unwanted to the Jews? (44; Num. 19:11)

* Luke 11:44 "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it."

* Numbers 5:1-4 "The LORD said to Moses, "Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone who has an infectious skin disease or a discharge of any kind, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body. Send away male and female alike; send them outside the camp so they will not defile their camp, where I dwell among them." The Israelites did this; they sent them outside the camp. They did just as the LORD had instructed Moses."

* Numbers 19:11 "Whoever touches the dead body of anyone will be unclean for seven days."

* The Lord instructed the Israelites to avoid dead bodies for health reasons more than anything else. That is why they would be unclean for only seven days. The Jews of Jesus' day probably didn't understand that deseases and infections can result from touching dead bodies. They believed that some kind of evil force would migrate from a dead body to anything it touches. So even the ground it touches was full of an evil force that would not go away. Thus, superstition caused some to fear walking on an unmarked grave.

>What was Jesus saying?

* People did not realize that the religious leaders, the Pharisees were not teaching God's will and way. Instead they were teaching death. Those who listened to their false teaching had no idea that they were hearing death. The Pharisees told them Jesus was a heritic and many believed it to their eternal ruin.

* People then and today need to decide if Jesus is who he says he is on their own, by studying the Bible and doing it.

>5. Who were experts in the law that were be offended by Jesus? (45)

* Luke 11:45 "One of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also."

* "Experts in the law" -Experts in the law were an authoritative interpreter of the Mosaic law. Characterization of the lawyers is especially harsh in Luke's Gospel: they rejected God's purpose for themselves by refusing John's baptism (7:30); they burdened others without offering any relief (11:45-46); they not only refused God's offer of salvation but hindered others from accepting it (11:52); they refused to answer Jesus' question concerning the legality of Sabbath healing (14:3). Lawyer is used in the general sense of a jurist at Titus 3:13. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "law" -The law refers to the Mosaic law, the law that the Lord God gave Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai until they entered the promised land. Moses wrote the first five books in the Bible. The main teachings of the Mosaic law is found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and repeated in Deuteronomy.

* "insult" -Many today have an image of Jesus that does not fall in line with the fact that he insulted many. This expert knew Jesus insulted the Pharisees and pointed out that Jesus was insulting him to. The truth is an insult to those who reject it and healing to those who accept it. The truth is the truth. Our response to it does not change the fact that it is truth.

* Jesus' teaching offended the experts in the law. Jesus had rebuked the Pharisees and stated three woes to the Pharisees. These concerned false religion, pride, and deceptive teaching. So the experts were offended because they were just like the Pharisees in God's eyes.

* We have dual personalities. We know what it right and good, but when it comes to doing them we chose not to most of the time. When we do practice righteousness we are proud of ourselves thinking we are so great. Doing right once in a while doesn't make us right because one wrong makes us wrong completely. To be right we must do right all the time. The only one who has ever done right all the days of his life was Jesus.

Our dual personalities are also shown in that we know our sins, faults and weakness but we want to believe we are good so we rationalize and minimize them instead of admitting to them and ask for God's forgiveness and help. We believe we are victims of others and state our innocence when we ill-treat others.

* The expert was not concerned that Jesus insulted the Pharisees because the experts in the law didn't love the Pharisees. They believed the Pharisees deserved to be rebuked and/or they believed that if Jesus criticized the Pharisees the people would look down on the Pharisees and up to them. He became concerned only when Jesus offended him. He had seen Jesus on his side against the Pharisees until he was offended by Jesus.

>What two things did Jesus speak out against them in verse 46?

* Luke 11:46 "Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."

* "load people down with burdens" -The experts in the law wrote their own laws that they said were based on the Mosaic law. This is called the Talmud. The Talmud is a collection of ancient Rabbinic writings consisting of the Mishnah and the Gemara. They considered these writings, sometimes called "the teaching of the elders" as equal to the Mosaic law. Some Orthodox Jews follow these teachings to this day.

* "you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them" -They did nothing to help people keep the law. They did not get involved in others' lives.

>How can we be guilty of the same thing? (Col. 2:16-17)

* Colossians 2:16-17 "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."

* 1 Corinthians 10:23-26 "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."

* Speaking from personal experience there is a temptation to teaching without getting involved in others lives. Also speaking from experience it is easier to leave religious things to set times and places rather than practising love and justice all the time and everywhere.

* Some Christian congregations have a law that goes something like this, "We are not under the law, therefore everyone in our church is free to do what they want." Then if someone comes along that says there are good practices and bad practices, or they teach Jesus' teachings that are actually commandments to the church, they are shunned and looked down upon. They believe that living free of the law means being free of principles that God established including, "Go into the world and preach the good news to all creation". (Mark 16:15)

* Some Christian congregations say they are returning to the church's Jewish roots by observing the Feasts found in the Old Testament and shunning Christmas and Easter. Many in these congregations look down upon churches that do not do and believe as they do. Is this any different than Paul's day? Is it any different than what Jesus taught the expert in the law?

>6. Why might they build tombs for the prophets? (47-48)

* Luke 11:47-48 "Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs."

* "because you build tombs for the prophets" -They turned the places were prophets were reported to have been buried into monuments. They did this to give the appearance that they agreed with the prophets.

* "So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did" -They did not accept the Messiah as the prophets had wrote. They rejected the Messiah and therefore what the prophets wrote about him. They were no different than their forefathers. They lived is opposition to the teachings of the prophets, just as their forefathers had done.

* "they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs" -They finished what their forefathers started.

* Outward religious appearance cannot be the judge of someone's faith.

>What is the result of such actions? (49-51)

* Luke 11:49-51 "Because of this, God in his wisdom said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.' Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all."

* "Because of this" -Their agreeing and finishing their forefathers work was the reason why Jesus pronounced what would happen to the generation he lived with and why it would happen.

* "God in his wisdom said" -Jesus is not quoting from what we have in the modern Bible. Nor is he quoting from a non-canonical book because "apostles" was not used by anyone except Jesus. Rather, Jesus is putting into words the meaning behind the actions of God towards the generation before him.

* "prophets and apostles" -The generation that Jesus was with had the prophets writings and would also hear the apostles testimony about Jesus. There is no acceptable excuse to reject Jesus with such witnesses.

* "Abel" -Abel's words are not recorded. (Genesis 4:8) However, he must have testified about God.

* "Zechariah" -Zechariah in the normal Hebrew order of the Old Testament was the last recorded death of a prophet. (2 Chronicles 24:21)

* "responsible for all" -They shared in and culminated the thoughts of those who killed the prophets. More than that they were rejecting the Messiah and thus directly hearing God's words when he spoke.

Zechariah tomb

* The picture of the monument to the right is in Jerusalem and is reported to be Zechariah's tomb. It dates back to the time before Jesus and would have been seen by Jesus and the apostles.

>How were the teachers taking away the key to knowledge? (52)

* Luke 11:52 "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering."

* Job 42:3 "You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know."

* Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

* Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

* Ecclesiastes 2:26 "To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."

* John 1:17 "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

* Making up rules and calling them God's rules and then not even following them or God's commandments takes away the ability for someone to know the truth. They made seeking the truth so complicated and confusing that no one had the ability to know, understand, and accept the truth.

>How is their response to Jesus to be expected? (53-54)

* Luke 11:53-54 "When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say."

* They had a choice to accept and repent, or reject and try to cover up. They chose the later.

* "oppose him fiercely" -When someone rejects the truth when it is made plain to them they become aggressive to anyone or anything that still shows and gives the truth.

* "besiege him with questions" -They continued to do this until days before they arrested and killed him. They stopped questioning him because even their best and brightest could not trap him. (Luke 20:40)

IV. Warnings and Encouragements (12:1-12)

Jesus' Late-Ministry Travels

>7. Who did Jesus speak the next lesson to? (1) See what Jesus calls them in verse 4.

* Luke 12:1 "Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."

* Matthew 16:6 and Mark 8:15 records Jesus' warning about the yeast of the Pharisees.

* "Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another" -This phrase is perhaps Luke's only reference to the feeding of the four thousand, except Mark and Matthew put that before Peter's confession of Jesus is the Messiah. Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-15, Mark 6:30-44 and Matthew 14:13-21 contains the feeding of the 5,000. Mark 8:1-13 and Matthew 15:29-39 contains the feeding of the 4,000. Matthew, Mark, and Luke have the religious leaders asking for a sign and Jesus' teaching on the sign of Jonah happening right after the feeding of the four thousand.

* "Jesus began to speak first to his disciples" -Luke records here he is speaking to his disciples and in verse 4 that Jesus calls them his "friends".

>What is the yeast of the Pharisees?

* "yeast" -Yeast is any of various small, single-celled fungi of the phylum Ascomycota that reproduce by fission or budding, the daughter cells often remaining attached, and that are capable of fermenting carbohydrates into alcohol and carbon dioxide. More simply yeast is something that causes ferment or agitation.

* "yeast of the Pharisees" -Yeast affects and changes the whole bread. Yeast is used to illustrate sin in the Bible. Unleavened bread represented bread without sin. (Exodus 12:15-20; 23:15-18 34:18-25) Add just a little sin and the flour is completely changed. The batch puffs up and is full of air.

* The Pharisees were full of hypocrisy and thus are the symbol of spiritual danger. They had hard hearts from the beginning. Their faith system was not dynamic, it was habitual. They had no learning heart and no repentance.

* "be on your guard" -We have to actively check our hearts and thinking. Where is our priority and affection? Where is our hope? Our affection is for God. Our hope is not in this world, but in the kingdom of God. Not only are we to examine ourselves, but if we have spiritual influence we need to follow Jesus' instructions to Peter, "Take care of my sheep." (John 21:16)

* We are to be careful. Although they believed and experienced Jesus' work now, they could change in the future.

>What truth about themselves were the Pharisees trying to hide? (2-3)

* Luke 12:2-3 "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs."

* Luke 8:17 also records Jesus saying this. There it was during him teaching about lighting a lamp and putting it out in the open.

* Matthew 10:26 also records Jesus saying this. There it was after he told the disciples not to be afraid of those who oppose them.

* The Pharisees tried to hid their duplicity. Jesus exposed them. All sins will be exposed by the light of truth sooner or later.

* The day of judgement will surely come when all will be exposed.

>8. Why would the Pharisees produce fear in others that is unwarranted? (4-5)

* Luke 12:4-5 "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."

* "my friends" -The disciples are Jesus' friends.

* "do not be afraid" -Even though we are Jesus' friends we still have the ability to fear. We can fear many things. Jesus tells us what not to fear and what to fear.

* "kill the body and after that can do no more" -Jesus here implies that the physical body ceasing to live is not the end of our existence. He also implies that his friends may be harmed by those who do not believe. Many of Jesus' friends have been wrongly killed starting from Cain killing Abel. Some preachers proclaim prosperity and well being after we become a believer in Jesus. This is clearly not what Jesus is implying here. Some have been and still will be murdered.

* The apostles would be hunted down, persecuted and even killed after Jesus ascended to heaven. They would be tempted to fear these people. They would be tempted to believe that God is not in control and what they have believed in only brings suffering, shame, and pain. Jesus here warns and corrects.

>Why is fear of the Lord warranted?

* "I will show you whom you should fear" -Jesus clearly teaches that we should fear God. This is not all he teaches about our response to and with God. We are to love him too. We are to admire and respect him. We are to be in awe of him too. Some want to exclude fear from the list of emotions to have towards God. They cannot understand how we can fear a loving God. Fear should not drive us away from God. Fear should drive us to God knowing he is full of grace and mercy. This kind of fear of God is good and right.

* Fear is the beginning and a part of a proper relationship with God. Fear of God is respecting his authority, stand in awe of his majesty, and trust him.

* Fear of God is brought about by an awareness and acceptance of our imperfection that is cause and a part of the sin we have in us and we have committed.

* Without knowing, acknowledging, and accepting our sin and the effects of sin we cannot be saved. The proper emotion in between these two states can only be fear.

* Fear of God is also important when we are tempted. When tempted we can respond with enough love for God and say no to sin. We can also respond with fear of God and say no to sin. Both have the same outcome and neither is considered wrong by God. However, love is greater than fear. Fear will not remain when we are changed as Jesus' coming. Faith, hope and love will remain.

Does a parent want their children to love or fear them? A proper parent wants both responses from their children as long as we live in this body which has the sinful nature. Parents should emotionally and practically love their children and children emotionally and practically love their parents. Parents should fear their children doing something that will harm them or others and children should fear their parents will respond with discipline if their do wrong. The modern generation that says there is no right or wrong ignores the consequences of both.

* Exodus 20:20 At Mount Sinai "Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."

* 1 John 4:16-18 "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

* "power to through you into hell" -The original Greek word for hell is "he(h)enna", not to be confused with Hades, the general name for the place of the dead. In the New Testament gehenna is used only in Matthew, Mark, James 3:6, and here. Jesus taught about hell. Hell is a real place created by God as a place to put fallen angels (aka demons and evil spirits). God alone has this the power to put someone in hell.


>What does verses 4 and 5 have to do with God's love mentioned in verses 6 and 7?

* Luke 12:6-7 "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

* Jesus just mentioned fearing God. Here Jesus said, "Don't be afraid." He used a simile to press upon us that God loves us. He knows all about us. He knows why we do what we do and how to save us from ourselves and others.

* "sparrows" -The cheapest animal sold in Palestine in that time. Though men didn't consider them highly God does.

* God loves us. Yet we should not be so casual in our relationship as to not show respect for him and his position.

* "pennies" -Three words used for Roman coins are "denarius" (Matthew 18:28), "assarin" (Matthew 10:29, and "kodrantes" (Matthew 5:26). They are very loosely related to each other as are a 50-cent piece, nickel and penny. The coins here are "assaria", so the transaction would be be something like five birds for two nickels. (NIV Study Bible)

>9. What does Jesus promise in verses 8 and 9?

* Luke 12:8-9 "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.""

* "acknowledges me before men" -Jesus is continuing his teaching that we should not fear men. A common fear is to not mention Jesus and his love to others because we fear rejection and persecution.

* When a person tells others that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the creator Jesus acknowledges that they are his.

* "the Son of Man" -A title Jesus often used to refer to himself.

* "before the angels of God" -Jesus promises to brag about us, showing great pride in our witnessing.

* "disown" -Jesus will say we are not his if we disown him. If you have done this turn to him. Remember Peter denied knowing Jesus three times on the night Jesus was arrested and tried. Yet Jesus forgave him and accepted him into his family.

>What does this have to do with fear and love?

* Fear of men can keep us from witnessing about Jesus. Fear of God can lead us to witness about Jesus.

* Love of self can keep us from witnessing about Jesus. Love of God can lead us to witness about Jesus.

* Fear and love are very strong emotions. Jesus is instructing us the proper reaction to men and God.

* What and/or who do you fear? What and/or who do you love? How does your actions or lack of action reflect your heart?

>What does it mean to "blasphemes against the Holy Spirit"?

* Luke 12:10 "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."

* This is also recorded in Matthew 12:32 and Mark 3:29.

* Blasphemy is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning literally "to speak harm." In the biblical context, blasphemy is an attitude of disrespect that finds expression in an act directed against the character of God. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "blasphemes against the Holy Spirit" -Blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is a state of hardness in which one consciously and willfully resists God's saving power and grace. It is a desperate condition that is beyond the situation of forgiveness because one is not able to recognize and repent of sin. Thus one wanting to repent of blasphemy against the Spirit cannot have committed the sin. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* Do not resist the Holy Spirit continually work to bring you close to Jesus.

>10. What promise does Jesus give in verses 11-12?

* Luke 12:11-12 "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

* Jesus promises us that not only will he with us when we witness and are thus persecuted. He also promises to give us the right words to say at the right time.

>What can be applied to our lives from the teaching of fear and love found in this study?

* Fear and love are emotions that result in actions or lack of actions. Our actions can reflect love. Our love always reflect actions. Can acting as if we love be the same as acting because we love? No. Can actions lead to love? Perhaps. Can love lead to actions? Always.


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