The Chronological Gospel –

More of Luke’s Research

John 10:40-42; Luke 13:22-35, Jesus leaves Jerusalem; more results of Luke’s research
Luke 14:1-24, At dinner with a Pharisee
Luke 14:25-35, Three parables
Luke 15:1-10, Two parables of lost things
Luke 15:11-32, Parable of the Lost Son
Luke 16:1-13, Parable of the Shrewd Steward
Luke 16:14-31, Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man
Luke 17:1-10, Teaching on forgiveness
Luke 17:11-19, Healing of the ten lepers
Luke 17:20-37, On the coming of the Kingdom
Luke 18:1-14, Parables of the Importunate Widow and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

More of The Chronological Gospel

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Lazarus and the Rich Man, by Gustave Doré. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
John 10:40-42; Luke 13:22-35, Jesus leaves Jerusalem; more results of Luke’s research (7/7/14)

I’ve known for decades that the Gospels don’t allow us to put together a certain chronology of Jesus’ activities. As a result of this study, I’m beginning to think that about all we can do is “early, middle, late.” This part of Luke feels middle-to-late to me, which is cool because that’s where Luke and Dr. Daniel are putting it. Not only is Jesus heading toward Jerusalem, which we assume is for the last time, but the parables are getting darker. Pharisees – not all of them were Jesus’ antagonists – are warning Jesus that Herod has put a price on his head. And instead of preaching to Jerusalem, Jesus prophesies against Jerusalem.


Luke 14:1-24, At dinner with a Pharisee (7/8/14)

Lots of stuff is going on in today’s passage, much of which I never noticed before. I need to read more carefully.

Jesus had gotten a reputation for “working” on the Sabbath by healing, so the Pharisees are watching carefully to see if he will dare to do such a thing right in front of them. He does, and then he immediately confronts them with their own hypocrisy: they would naturally rescue a child or animal who has fallen into the water on the Sabbath, and now they are offended that he has rescued a man with dropsy – that is, edema, or the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water – on the Sabbath.

Then he pays them a backhanded compliment. The Pharisees (unlike the Sadducees and probably some others) were firm believers in the Resurrection (and of course they believed that they were among the righteous; don’t we all?). Jesus says, in effect, when you get there, here’s how to get extra credit. Notice that he affirms their belief and encourages them to improve their behavior, all in one shot.

Finally comes another one of those dark parables I mentioned before. What lame excuses the invited guests give! Would you buy land without seeing it? Would you buy a car without driving it? If you were a newlywed, would you refuse to celebrate a friend’s marriage? Whatever your excuse, too bad, they won’t hold the feast for you.


Luke 14:25-35, Three parables (7/9/14)

The vast crowds following Jesus sometimes had difficulty in understanding what he was saying, primarily because what he said was so new and so contrary to what everyone else was saying. It can be even more difficult for us, because we’re trying to understand it in a different language!

Matthew 10:37-38 has “Any one who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and any one who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and any one who does not take up his cross and follow where I lead is not worthy of me.” Love/hate is an idiom in Hebrew that almost always means love more/love less, which is how Matthew reports what Jesus said and has to be what Jesus meant. Would Jesus have told us to hate our families? I don’t think so. Can I love Jesus more than I love my family? Hmm, that’s a more difficult question.


Luke 15:1-10, Two parables of lost things (7/10/14)

It’s probably fair to say that the scribes and Pharisees were at the center of the first-century Jewish community of faith. They were the ones who studied the Law of Moses most diligently and kept it most closely. Tax-gatherers and notorious sinners stood in stark contrast to them; they were the outsiders. Jesus told the story of the lost sheep on more than one occasion. Luke reports the story as it was told to the Pharisees and scribes, and Matthew reports it as told to the disciples in Matthew 18:12-14. While Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and scribes, he adds two other stories about lost things: the lost coin, and the lost son. I wonder if Luke, as a Gentile, felt especially touched by Jesus’ concern for those who were outside the traditional community of God’s people?


Luke 15:11-32, Parable of the Lost Son (7/11/14)

I was surprised to discover that one of the most famous parables of all, the Parable of Prodigal Son, is only reported to us by Luke. It really should be called the “Parable of the Lost Son,” because as we saw yesterday it’s one of a trio of stories about lost things (us) and about God’s happiness when we are found. Remember that Jesus is still talking to the scribes and Pharisees. You can always get a good discussion going about who the older brother and the younger brother represent. Clearly the waiting father, who loves both his children, represents God. So am I the clueless and profligate younger brother who leaves home and gets into trouble, or am I the dependable but judgmental and crabby older brother? Probably.


Luke 16:1-13, Parable of the Shrewd Steward (7/14/14)

Here’s another parable that we have only from Luke. The Parable of the Shrewd Steward isn’t a call to chicanery, but rather to using our money and our talents in such a way that we will have a secure future in heaven. Jesus goes on to make some other comments about integrity in our financial dealings. Love God, not money, and you won’t go wrong.

Luke 16:14-31, Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (7/15/14)

In Old Testament times, there was (as there still is) a strongly held view that if you were healthy and wealthy, you must have the blessing of God. And if you have the blessing of God, all is right with the world and you can be proud. So when Jesus told people that the best attitude you can have toward money is a disinterested and scrupulous honesty, the reception he got ranged from cool to hostile.

In response, Jesus tells yet another of what I call the “dark parables.” The poor man is comforted in Heaven, and the rich man is tortured in Hades. It’s my impression that he ended up in Hades not so much for being rich as for ignoring the suffering of the poor man on his front step. “So far, so good,” we all think. “They deserved what they got.” But then it turns dark. Abraham refuses even to send Lazarus proselytize the rich man’s brothers, on the grounds that if they don’t believe Moses, they won’t believe someone who has been resurrected. They’re doomed.


Luke 17:1-10, Teaching on forgiveness (7/16/14)

The main reason I tell you to read the Bible for yourself and not to take my word for anything is that it’s important that you read the scripture and see for yourself how much God loves you. The second reason, of course, is that if I lead you astray, I’m in big trouble.


Luke 17:11-19, Healing of the ten lepers (7/17/14)

Samaritans were foreigners, and “dirty foreigners” at that. Jesus points this out to whoever was listening – the only person to thank God for his cure was the Samaritan. So who is the foreigner to God?


Luke 17:20-37, On the coming of the Kingdom (7/18/14)

I hate taking naps; I’m concerned that I’ll miss something. For some reason, people have always been interested – and still are interested – in “end times.” Each one of us is absolutely going to have a personal “end time” within the century, because no one in the human race lives longer than 120 years or so. Most of us will die before that. Some of us may die this year, or this week. So why all the emphasis on “end times”? I think it’s because we can’t stand the idea that we’ll miss it!

Jesus says a couple of important things here. One is that when the real end times come, you won’t be able to miss it, so don’t worry about this “sign” or that “sign.” And the other is that you need to be ready at all times!


Luke 18:1-14, Parables of the Importunate Widow and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (7/21/14)

Today we reach the conclusion of a long section in which Luke compiles the results of his own research. I noticed a couple of things during this study that I hadn’t paid attention to before. First, Luke collected quite a bit of unique material, especially parables. Second, many of these parables are grim, talking about servants who are unready when the master comes home, unscrupulous or unfruitful with the master’s goods, ungrateful for the master’s gifts. Since I suspect I’m the servant in question, I’m grateful that Luke chose to end with two stories demonstrating God’s constant mercy, even to me.


More of The Chronological Gospel

Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
Sabbath Controversies
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and Teachings
To Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
Light
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1, Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2, Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1, Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2, More Trials
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost

Copyright 2014 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. "Lazarus and the Rich Man" by Gustave Doré is from the Gartin family Bible, now in the private collection of Regina Hunter. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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