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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Gospel of Luke - Chapters 11-16 Notes

Chapter 11

11:1-13

A transition takes place here in St. Luke. Jesus is praying and when He stops, the apostles ask to teach them to pray so He does and recites the Lord's Prayer. God as our Father is identified in "Our Father in heaven". "Thy/Your Kingdom come" shows us God's Kingdom is coming. The earthly-minded want it to be established. God's Kingdom however already exists in heaven and we pray it into existence on earth. Heaven and earth are promised one day to be united as one just as man and woman and God and mankind through the Incarnation become One. 

"Lead us not into temptation". Asking God to intercede for us. 

"Deliver us from the evil one" - from Satan. 

11:9-13

Even if this guy isn't your friend, your persistence will work. The context is that if you're persistent enough, people will often help so how much more so will God eventually answer and help you if you are persistent in your prayer to Him. He will give you what you need, not what you always want however. Jesus reminds the disciples here that they need Him.

11:14-15

Jesus casts out a demon and then some accuse Him of being possessed by Beezelbub, who is related to Baal, storm god of Canaan, a ruler of demons. They accuse Jesus of being possessed by a higher level demon who can tell other lower ranked demons to leave. They are also by calling Jesus Beezelbub, calling Jesus a piece of [expletive for poop] as Beezelbub is a made up name for Baal and means Lord of Dung-Flies. Just like Dagon means little fish. 

11:16-28

Other people sought Jesus and seek more signs from Him from heaven. They ask Him to show that He is from God. Jesus shows He is not a demoniac because their logic makes no sense. A devil could not drive out other demons out. Their own exorcists get it from God to cast out demons so Jesus asks if they are also demon-possessed. Obviously they aren't if they cast demons out. There's only one logical conclusion then. God casts out demons. Jesus is showing again that He is God Incarnate. 

If Jesus is stronger than Satan, then He overcomes Satan, sin, and death. Only God could do this. Jesus shows here He is about to strip Satan of His rule since Genesis 3 of humanity and earth. 

Jesus then continues His argument that if this man He just exorcised doesn't make changes toward God, he will be possessed again. We cannot be neutral. Then it happens that a woman yells, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You". Jesus responds to this blessing of Him and His Mother and says "More than that, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!"

11:29-32

Crowds gather and Jesus continues preaching. "This is an evil genos - a people group. He is talking about Israel and references Jonah and Ninevah. The sign of Jonah is the only sign that they'll see. Jesus compares Israel to the Assyrians/Ninevah. The Queen of Sheba is referenced here as well. She is referenced because they are not sure and she went thousands of miles to come and get information from King Solomon. Christ then shares a condemnation. Ninevah is better off than them because they repented while these apostate Israelites won't. 

 [take note: monolatrists - monolatry is what we would call Judaism and Christianity's belief in Yahweh being above the fallen angels who are worshipped as deities]. 

11:33-36

An example is used with a light and a lamp. Be the light, not the darkness. Bring light into your body, not darkness. Hear and do the Word.

11:37-54

A Pharisee asks Him to come to dinner with Him. Jesus doesn't wash His hands. The Pharisee freaks out over this so Jesus, knowing his thoughts, talks to him about how the Pharisees are so worried about the external and not the internal. IF you're clean on the outside but disgusting on the inside, you're in a bad spot. You need to be clean inside, then you wouldn't have to worry so much about the outside. He condemns the Pharisees with woes/curses. 

You Pharisees tithe and then pass by justice and the love of God. They focus on Torah but forget to be just and then forget God entirely in the process, missing the whole point of the Torah/Law. 

Jesus continues to blast them for their self righteousness. They are dead and they don't even realize it. Keep in mind that Jesus is in this Pharisees' home and is cursing them. The Pharisees' cronies are offended and tell Him so. Jesus curses the lawyers/experts too. They put rules on them and enforce them and then don't help anyone. They build little shrines to look great when their fathers are the ones who murdered the prophets and He says that they act just like them. 

Abel to Zechariah, genos - people again is used here. Zechariah is St. John the Baptist's father. St. John the Forerunner's father, who died when Herod murdered the children. The tradition the Pharisees follow here is actually that of Satan's. They have spent so long reading Torah and still do not get it. They attack Jesus and try to fight Him then afterwards. 

If it isn't obvious, this accusation of Jesus being Beezelbub's servant is mentioned and then here is contrasted by the Pharisees who are actually serving Satan. 

Chapter 12

12:1-12

While this happened, a mob showed up so Jesus tells the disciples about leavened bread. The uncleanliness of the Pharisees' yeast expands just like their hypocrisy. The Pharisees are fake. He talks then about judgment by God here too and says to fear God, not the people who might hurt, kill, or persecute you. Follow God. He won't forget the animals and won't forget you. He knows all. Even the number of hairs of your head. Someone might not confess Christ so Jesus says do not fear for I will reward your faithfulness and I won't reject or forget you, oh faithful servent. 

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is what the Pharisees did when they said the spirit in Jesus was a demon, when in reality, it is the Holy Spirit and they are blaspheming God the Holy Spirit by calling God/Him Satan. 

12:13-34

Someone in the crowd tries to tell Jesus to get their brother to divide the inheritance with him. Jesus responds with "Why is this your concern? You just care about getting money that you didn't work for". Greed.

Jesus then tells a parable about a rich man who looks smart and successful and tries to tear down his grainyard and build a bigger one. God tells him that he is a fool because he is going to die tonight. The purpose of this parable is that we should focus on heavenly things, not earthly. You can be poor and blessed if you enter the Kingdom of God versus being earthly but rich and powerful and not enter because you focused on the earthly things. 

God feeds His creation and He will feed you. God will take care of you ultimately and you can trust Him. God wants to give us all His Kingdom. 

12:35-48

Continues with this discourse. He says not to be lazy and to be on guard and awaiting on the Master/Him. This wedding analogy is for a rich person. There is a weekly celebration and it is a family and friend and community event in context here. With that comes marriage, a party, and honeymoon essentially. 

While this rich man is gone, the servents must keep his estate going. If he gets back and they have been lazy he will be angry. The goal is to be busy and working. The servent that doesn't do so will find himself cursed. The Son of Man is coming at an hour that won't be expected. This is the 2nd Coming being referenced here. The 2nd Coming is also part of His plan - in the far future - not a determinate period of time. 

The "Son of Man is coming" is a phrase from Daniel. The Day of the Lord is in view here. A judgment and a visit from God where things will be sorted out. It is not going to be at the time that you expect it to be. The disciples do not get it and specifically fail to see that they are not going to be part of some earthly kingdom conquering Rome and Jerusalem. Peter even asks if it is him, them, or everyone who is the steward servant, the one servant in charge over servants. 

90% of the privately owned farmland was owned by the Pharisees and the Temple. The authorities did this, the ones who were supposed to be shepherding the people, and abused the people. They must have a sick confidence that Yahweh really is fake and isn't coming. This also applies to them and also the disciples because Jesus also doesn't want Peter and the disciples to be like these Jewish authorities obsessed with power. 

12:49-59

Jesus continues and says this isn't going to go like they all think. It will involve judgment. The "baptism" He refers to is His death. After His death and Resurrection, this will divide the Jewish people. It will be one side or the other, like a civil war basically for Judaism. Luke writing to Gentile converts is important here. They would have all experienced this hate and persecution and by following Christ also had to repudiate their former ways of life and would be and were persecuted for it. 

Jesus then says to the multitude of people that they are hypocrites because they cannot discern what time that they are in and what is going on. They are bringing judgment on themselves. 

When Christ visits, all the sin and injustice will be sorted out. Shouldn't you settle it before you ultimately have to face the judge? 

12:56 "this time" - the 1st Coming - Incarnation. 

Chapter 13

13:1-5

A story is told to Jesus about Pilate mingling blood with their sacrifices. Earlier Paschas there had been other "messiahs" and to keep order, as Governor of the Judaea Province, he had quashed these rebellions and crucified many to make a point to any wannabe rebels. These Galileans had been killed so Jesus asks them a philosophical question and asks: Do you suppose these guys were worse than any other Galilean? He answers them with a "no" and unless you repent, you will all likewise perish like they did. 

Christ mentions another event when the tower of Siloam fell and killed 18 people. Were they worse? No. He tells them to repent pointing to the Final Judgment that we all will go through. 

13:6-9

He then tells a parable about a man who plants a fig tree in his vineyard which grew no fruit. The man orders his keeper to chop it all down for it hasn't produced for 3 years. The keeper answers back to him to please let it be so he can try and fertilize it. If it doesn't produce fruit after this, then he agrees to cut it all down. This parable is about us but also the people of Israel. God planted them there to produce fruit. For years they have not produced fruit. The keeper is Christ. He gives everything, even His life for this tree/nation. If it produces no fruit after this, it can't be helped and must be chopped down (judgment). The fruit is not good deeds and rewards or merit; it is repentance that is the fruit. 

[Note: On the correct view of Scripture: The Holy Spirit is active and we know He dwells in the Orthodox Church. Christ says He has two witnesses: The Holy Spirit and the Apostles. The NT is the memories of the Apostles. Two witnesses will give identical testimonies. You cannot separate Scripture from Tradition because they are two witnesses. You cannot truly understand Scripture in its fullness without the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is with the Church. The OT is about Christ ultimately.]

13:10-17

A break is done here. New section. A woman comes to Jesus on the Sabbath when He is teaching at a Synagogue. She has lived with a hunchback for 18 years so He heals her. The ruler of the synagogue gets mad and tells the crowd not to get healed on a Sabbath, meaning he believes it is a "work" being done. You have to have the heart of the Torah, not the letter. Christ brings this up that they are allowed to un-loose an animal to get water so why should He not loose woman and fellow Jew for that matter, from Satan and help her? They become ashamed and the multitude then rejoice. 

13:18-21

Jesus raises a question. What is the Kingdom of God like? It is like a mustard seed (tiny). It must "die" in the soil to be buried and life comes out of it, it then grows and if done correctly, it becomes a big tree (kingdom). Faith works this way. If cultivated, it becomes strong and has roots and produces offspring - more life. 

13:22-30

Transition. Someone asks "Is there an elite group? Are the saved few?" Jesus responds to: try and do it. Many will try and fail. Is the reason they fail because they didn't try long enough? No. They can't enter the door because it is closed but while it is open, go in now! These people make excuses, "we ate and drank with you!" - a communion and preaching reference is made here. 

The saints from all over the world will be in the Kingdom of God. Do not let it be you that is found outside like the Pharisees who claim they are saved and fine will be if they don't repent. 

13:31-35

The Pharisees try and scare Jesus off by telling Him that Herod wants to kill Him. Jesus tells them to go to Herod and tell him he's a fox and about all He has done. He references His death and resurrection. "Every prophet dies in Jerusalem". It is not Herod that will kill Me. It will be them, the Pharisees. God keeps sending messengers and now He sends Himself, out of love, and they will still murder Him like they did them. 

"How often I wanted to gather your children (the Jews). They weren't willing". The people chose Herod, Pharisees, and chief priests instead of God, just like in 1 and 2 Samuel when they demanded a king instead of God. 

13:35 

This is about the events of 70 AD. They will have nothing after the Temple is destroyed. It is also about the bar Kochba Revolt in 115-132 AD when Herod lost Jerusalem and his kingdom. It is also about the Final Judgment as well here. 

Chapter 14

14:1-6

The Pharisees invite Jesus to eat bread on Sabbath and watch Him. A man there had dropsy, a skin disease, so Jesus asks them "is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath"? They keep silent and Jesus heals the man. Then He speaks more and asks "would you not help your animal out of a pit if it fell into it?" They could not and do not respond. This is a transition because they are silent. Jesus is pressing them and calling them here to repent and change and really try to understand the Torah. This is also an example of tough love from Christ for the Pharisees because He really does love them. He condemns them to try and bring them to repentance. He doesn't want them shut out of the Kingdom of God.

[Casual indifference is worse often than hate is because at least hate means that you care]

"He who knows good and doesn't do it, has sinned" - Apostle John. 

14:7-11

He tells a parable and notes how everyone is trying to find the best spot. Jesus says "When invited to a wedding do not sit right next to the groom because someone better may be (the best man) needing to be there. He is saying here to be humble and not exalt yourself. For whoever humbles themself will not be on their high horse and fall. If you go low, you will always rise. Be humble. Do not think so highly of yourself. 

14:12-14

Continues and say to the host, do not invite rich people in hopes that they will invite you and make you rich and exalt you. Instead, invite the outcasts that can't repay you. You will be blessed for it because God rewards those who won't be blessed in this life. "You shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15, 25; 1 Cor 15). 

14:15-24

Someone sits at the table with Jesus after Jesus says, "Blessed is he who will eat bread in God's Kingdom". This guy sort of gets it and wants to be one. Jesus responds continuing the parable talking about how a man gave a great supper, inviting many, and gathered everyone except people who make excuses. The servant brings the people who would want to eat this amazing meal. He first invites Jews and they reject it. Gentiles are invited and accept. They are ahead of the Pharisees and they are closed off when the gates are shut. 

14:25-35

Travels again to Jerusalem. A large group follows so He talks to them. To be His disciple, you will be hated. Your allegiance must be to Christ and not others. It costs a lot of sacrifices to be His follower. This group is large but will all run when Jesus is crucified. He says to count the cost and consider "are you really committed"? Christ makes many more examples like building a tower, one about a king and war, and salt staying salty. Be true and stay committed. 

If you are unwilling to be crucified (torture and a curse; also seen like we in modern day would see a noose on a hanging tree) you should turn back. 

Chapter 15

15:1:10

All the outcasts and sinners come to Jesus. The Pharisees and Scribes want the Messiah to drive out impurity and those they deem unworthy and evil so Jesus gives a lesson through parable about a lost sheep. You would go find your lost sheep and be happy if you found it. This is how we should treat anyone who has wandered off and found repentance. If the Pharisees were really good, godly, and righteous, they would have been overjoyed that a sinner repents, but they are not. 

Jesus makes the same point next with a lost coin example. The Pharisees think that they are valuable and Jesus shows them that He thinks everyone is, even sinners. 

15:11-31 [The Prodigal Son - The Lost Son]

This parable is next told. A man asks for his inheritance and gets it and leaves his father. The other son gets it too (inheritance). 

The son runs out of money and is in a famine and now works herding swine (in a Jewish community that is bad and unclean). He is working with Gentiles and is outside shepherding pigs and living with them. He is low status and has gone from rich to poor. 

The son believes he should just eat pig slop in his current condition. These illustrations Jesus uses are for the sinners and the tax collectors. 

The prodigal son goes back to his father to become a lowly servant because they are treated better than how he is being treated right now in his current state. Note that Jesus' problem with the Pharisees isn't that they hate sin. Sin makes humanity less than animals. It's the state of their heart towards sinners that makes them the problem. They are in sin too and in a lowly state.

The lost son comes to his senses; an illustration for repentance. The son had it all with his father and blew it all. He doesn't deserve anything but maybe by repenting and begging for mercy, he might be able to be a slave to his father. 

The father sees him and immediately takes him back. Christ did not wait to give mercy and is willing and would now for the Pharisees. The Pharisees thought that they would be the ones that could bring God here and the Messiah if they could just make Jerusalem pure for even one day. However, they were wrong. God meets us where we are at, and where they are at. The son is totally repentant and shows it. 

Instead of getting slave status or scolded, the Father has his servants get him the best robes and a ring and sandals for his feet. He gives him a ring as well which is a symbol of authority. They have a feast and he has a fat calf slaughtered and given for a feast. 

"My son was dead but is alive again" - we see echoes of Jacob and Joseph here. 

The son who was here the whole time shows up and learns what has gone on and learns his brother is back. Nothing the lost son does hurts his brother at all but harmed his father. The son is upset with the lost son and how the father is treating the lost son's return. 

[The son who stayed is like the Pharisees are acting when Jesus forgives sinners]

The son says "where's my party?" since he has been here this whole time while his brother left and squandered his inheritance on earthly pleasures, etc. 

The father replies with "you've been here with me this whole time". He got his full share of the inheritance as well and can use it any way he desires. His brother found repentance through dark times. 

God has gifted you, Pharisees, with gifts after gifts, and you hate that these worldy sinners repent and get back to the Father. They don't understand what they've received and so, are unhappy and jealous and envious for what the others have received. He tells this parable to the Pharisees.

Chapter 16

16:1-13

Continues but focuses on His disciples now. He tells them a story about a steward who was accused of cheating the rich man he worked for. The accusation turns out to be true. The steward hatches a plan and calls all his masters' debtors. He halves everyone's debt and takes off debts. This unbelieving man is shrewd. The disciples aren't. The Master finds out he has done this and commends him; is impressed. Jesus is not saying to be unjust here. The money doesn't belong to the steward. It is the Master's. This steward was a non-believer and was interested only in saving his own skin. 

The things we have belong to God so what are we going to do with it? Use it to our advantage and do good with it, even giving it up if need be.

16:13

No servant can serve two masters. This is St. Luke's passage on what to do if you are rich and a Christian. Use it and your influence to do good and spread the Kingdom and help people. Even the wicked don't squander their opportunities to do evil so you shouldn't either when it's to use it to do good. It is not wealth that is evil. It is serving the wealth and wasting your life when you could use it to serve God. 

16:14-18

When the Pharisees heard this, they get pissed because they like money. Jesus has called them out for serving money and worldly things instead of God. God knows in the end who we all are. The one with a bad reputation may be a saint and the one with a good one, the sinner. The law and prophets were until John. Since then, the Kingdom has been preached. It is easier for heaven and earth to pass before the Torah will fail. It is a qualification here being given. Jesus is not criticizing the Torah. He is critiquing those who interpret the Torah the way they are doing. 

We don't toss out the Torah. The Old Covenant is still here. St. Luke is doing a lot of shorthand in this passage and this is why it does not flow great in Greek nor in English here.

God doesn't care for divorce. 

16:19-31

Next is a parable about a rich man and Lazarus, a beggar. This is not a true story, it is a parable. Luke 10 does something similar as it starts out the same way. A rich guy is clothed in purple (expensive lifestyle) and fine linen. He is very wealthy and has plenty to spare. He feasts every day. There is a beggar meanwhile outside his home named Lazarus who has nothing. He is homeless and sick. The dogs lick his sores (this was medical back then as dog saliva was seen as a disinfectent). The rich man is not giving even crumbs while the wild animals have more compassion on Lazarus and lick him. Both men in the parable die. There is no direct communication but clearly the rich man did not care. An angel takes Lazarus to where Abraham and the righteous went to. The rich man is buried in the ground like an animal. The man is in Hades, the ground, and is in torment. These people in the parable are spirits in the story. 

The rich man sees Abraham and Lazarus and recognizes who they both are and that they are both in a good place and cries asking Fr. Abraham to have mercy on him and send Lazarus to come give him some water to cool his tongue for he is tormented in a flame. Their lives both we find continue in the trajectories they both lived in back then. 

[Recall that Jesus is still talking to the Pharisees about their love of money here]

In this next life, this rich man is begging for mercy and still is unrepentant. He doesn't ask Lazarus for help. He asks Abraham, someone he sees of value, to send Lazarus who he sees as lesser than. He does not see Lazarus as his peer or his equal but he does Abraham. This is still who he is, a moron and spiritually dead. Abraham responds, "you got what you wanted. You got riches on earth while Lazarus gets treasures in heaven now". 

The Pharisees will get rich now but they will sacrifice getting to be in the Kingdom of God. Abraham tells them they can't get there. The rich man had his chance to repent and have compassion and squandered all of it on his wealth and stupid stuff.

The rich man then begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his father's house to help spare his five brothers. "I didn't know!" Abraham responds with "God told you through Moses and the Torah. You chose your path and knew". There is no excuse. The rich man protests. They will know if someone raises from the dead surely! 

Abraham responds that they still won't listen. 

The Pharisees are the same way. They will not repent even if/when Jesus raises from the grave and they will face judgment for it. Here Jesus is giving a clear call for repentance because He does not want them to end up like the rich man. 

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