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The No-Name God

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

13  Luke


A physician’s view of Jesus

 

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 13

 

 

Similar to Mark, Luke cites many of the same episodes as Matthew. Since we commented extensively on Matthew, we will not repeat the same comments here. We will examine and comment only on those portions which differ from Matthew’s account.

 

Earlier, we cited the beginning part of Luke describing the birth and ministry of John, the Baptist. Also, part of Luke was cited concerning the prophecies of the coming messiah. Therefore, this chapter will begin with Luke 6:13.

"And when it became day, he called his disciples to [him], and chose twelve out from them, whom he also named apostles."

 

The word apostles had been used three times previously, but this is the only place which says that the 12 apostles were chosen from among the other disciples.

 

Apostles means sent ones, usually with some kind of commission. These apostles were the sent ones with the great commission. Not all the disciples which followed Jesus were apostles, nor were they sent anywhere. They were followers of Jesus, and of his ministry, but they were not sent ones.

 

Luke 6:32-36 contains comments about lending that is seldom mentioned. Here is what Jesus taught his disciples about the subject.

"And if ye love those who love you, what thank is it to you? for even sinners love those who love them. And if ye do good to those who do good to you, what thank is it to you? for even sinners do the same. And if ye lend [to those] from whom ye hope to receive, what thank is it to you? for even sinners lend to sinners, that they may receive the like. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, again hoping for nothing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the highest, for he is good to the unthankful and wicked. Be ye therefore compassionate, as also your father is compassionate."

 

Jesus would certainly not get high marks among bankers. He was definitely setting heavenly rewards above earthly gain. He said that the true test of discipleship is whether we love god more than mammon, or the love of money. This was the point he made with the rich young ruler, and is still a valid rule that applies to followers today (see Matthew 6:24-25).

 

Jesus said that loving your enemies, doing good, and lending with no hope of repayment would be rewarded. The reward is being called "sons of the highest."

 

The word translated sons comes from whioi, and when used in this sense it means those who have grown mature enough to accept responsibility. In this particular scripture this also refers to those who will enter the next age, the kingdom of God, in a place of blessing.

 

Luke 7:16 describes the reaction of those who witnessed Jesus raising a young man from the dead.

"And fear seized all, and they glorified the god, saying, A great prophet has risen up amongst us, and the god has visited his people."

 

Here, again, is an instance where the phrase "the god" was referring to Jehovah, the god of Israel, the only god these people knew about. Jesus had not yet revealed the existence of the invisible god of heaven. That the people did not yet recognize Jesus as their god, Jehovah, in the flesh, is evident from the fact that they categorized him as a prophet.

 

Luke also presents his version of the story about the woman who anointed Jesus with expensive oil, which took place in the home of Simon, the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-48). Simon was thinking that if Jesus were really a prophet he would have known what a great sinner the woman was.

 

Jesus said to Simon,

"Seest thou this woman? I entered into thy house; thou gavest me not water for my feet, but she bedewed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me not a kiss, but she ceased not ardently kissing my feet from the time I came in. Thou didst not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. For which cause I say to thee, Her many sins have been forgiven, for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, little he loves." (Luke 7:44-47).

 

And to the woman, Jesus said,

"Thy sins have been forgiven." (Luke 7:48).

 

Luke’s version includes two different words, whose significance is easily overlooked: oil, elaioi, and ointment, muroi.  The oil used was usually rosate oil, a very cheap commodity, while the ointment was very expensive.

 

These two words show the depth of the rebuke to the Pharisee, and the depth of this woman’s spiritual love for Jesus. She had a much deeper respect for Jesus than did the Pharisee. While the Pharisee did not consider Jesus worthy of even water for his feet or cheap oil for his head, the woman probably spent all she owned for the expensive oil and ointment. It was not the difference in the price of the two that mattered, but the attitude expressed.

 

Jesus often inferred that he was Jehovah, the god of Israel, and Luke 8:38-39 reports that Jesus did something unusual.

"And the man from whom the demons had gone was begging him to be [taken] with him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thy house and relate all that the god has done for thee. And he departed, proclaiming through the whole city all that Jesus had done for him."

 

This time, instead of admonishing the man to say nothing, he told him to tell people what had been done for him. The Greek manuscript shows that Jesus used the words "the god," which was a double entendre. Jesus knew he was referring to The God, but the man would have thought he meant Jehovah, the god of Israel. Jesus no doubt meant both, but no one realized it at that time.

 

Luke 9:1-2 says,

"And having called together the twelve disciples of him, he gave to them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases, and sent them to proclaim the kingdom of the god, and to heal those being sick."

 

Note carefully what gospel it was that Jesus sent the 12 apostles to proclaim. It was the "kingdom of the god."  It had nothing to do with going to "heaven."   This was the same message proclaimed earlier by John, the Baptist, and by Jesus, himself. It is absolutely amazing how organized religion has strayed so far from what Jesus taught, while still maintaining that they are being faithful to what he taught.

 

The gospel of the kingdom is not about accepting Jesus as your savior so you can go to heaven when you die. That amounts to little more than a spiritual lottery ticket. The gospel of the kingdom is the message that salvation has already been granted to everyone, but that it can be wasted, and lost.

 

Luke 9:11 confirms what Jesus taught.

"But the crowds having known [it] followed him; and having received them, he spoke to them concerning the kingdom of the god, and those having need of healing he cured."

 

He did not tell them how to be saved so they could go to heaven; he taught about the kingdom of God. Furthermore, heaven is not the same as the kingdom of God, in spite of what many people believe.  [See our book, What Scripture Says About Salvation, for further discussion of this point.]

 

Luke 10:22 includes a statement about why those with Jesus often had a difficult time understanding what he said.

"And having turned to the disciples he said, All things were delivered to me by my father, and no one knows who is the son except the father, and who is the father except the son, and he to whomsoever the son may will to reveal [him]."

 

Not only was this statement true at that time, it is still true today. The scriptures must be searched diligently to discover the depths of what they have to offer. The casual seeker will find facts, which by themselves often lead only to confusion. The deeper truths of the scriptures are spiritually discerned; they simply cannot be comprehended by the carnal mind.

 

Those who lack depth of understanding often use Luke 11:13 to "prove" that only those who ask shall ever be given holy spirit.

"If therefore ye, being evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the father who [is] of heaven give holy spirit to those that ask him?"

 

There are several issues here worthy of comment. First, Jesus was speaking to his disciples when he said "if ye then, being evil," which was a reference to their carnal nature. Their natural inclination was to evil, not to righteousness.

 

Second, the holy spirit had not yet been poured out. That will occur after Jesus has ascended to the Father.

 

Although the definite article appears in the KJV, it is not in the Greek manuscript. It is not "the holy spirit" which the Father will give to those who ask, but "holy spirit."  When the definite article is missing, the emphasis is placed upon a quality or characteristic of the holy spirit, rather than the entirety of holy spirit which would be implied if the definite article had been used.

 

No man except Jesus has been given "the holy spirit;" all others have received only a portion, or quality, of holy spirit.

 

The third point from Luke 11:13 is that at the time Jesus was speaking, the Father was still dispensing holy spirit since Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father and been given control of the holy spirit.

 

Jehovah, of the Old Testament, had previously given holy spirit to a few chosen people. However, Jehovah could no longer dispense holy spirit because he was now a man who, himself, had to submit to the guidance of the portion of holy spirit given to him. When Jesus returned to the Father as a glorified man, the authority to dispense holy spirit was restored to him.

 

Luke 12:15 contains a strong statement which is largely lost in our materialistic era.

"And he said to them, See, and keep yourselves from covetousness; for to anyone his life is not in the abundance of that which he possesses."

 

So many people today seek riches rather than "the life," or spiritual life, of which Jesus spoke.

 

Jesus, while still in a human body, knew about the fullness of the invisible god’s grace. Luke 12:32 says,

"Fear not, little flock, for your father took delight in giving you the kingdom."

 

Jesus spoke in the past tense. The kingdom was something which the invisible god had already given them. At the time, they would probably understand this to mean that Jehovah, the god of Israel, had done this for them. Only later would they understand that Jehovah was a god, but not the invisible god whom Jesus came to reveal. The kingdom was not a payment for following Jesus, but a gift from the invisible god to all mankind.

 

Luke, as well as Matthew and Mark, relates a progression of the messages and ministrations of Jesus to those who were in need of healing. Luke differs little from the other two gospels in the main theme of how Jesus revealed himself and his father. However, he does offer some different insights into what Jesus taught.

 

For example, Luke 13:27-30 says,

"And he [the master of the house] will say, I tell you, I do not know you whence you are; depart from me, all the workers of unrightouesness. There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth when ye see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of the god, but yourselves being cast out. And they shall come from east and west, and from north and south, and shall recline in the kingdom of the god. And, lo, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last."

 

Jesus was talking about who will enter the kingdom of God. The unbelieving religious crowd were still following him and often attempting to trap him into saying something so they could condemn him. Many of the Jews had been following him for what they could gain, such as healing, or food.

 

Now, Jesus was telling them that their chances of entering the kingdom of god were very slight. He said they would be cast out of the kingdom while those from the east, west, south, and north—in other words, the Gentiles—would inherit the kingdom. Because they were the first ones chosen to represent Jehovah does not mean that they will automatically be the first to enter the kingdom of God; they may be last to enter.

 

Please keep in mind that to these Jews, "the kingdom of the god," a term used by Jesus, meant to them the kingdom of their god, Jehovah, the god of Israel. Later, with more revelation, they will understand that Jesus was using the term in two senses: one they understood now, and one they would understand later.

 

As he neared Jerusalem, and his death, Jesus’ parables clearly indicated that the Jews were in a perilous position. They had been denying him and his authentic offer of the kingdom for which they had supposedly longed.

 

Luke 14:15-24 relates the parable of the man who had prepared a great supper and invited his friends, who all made excuses for why they could not attend. This angered the man, and he sent his servant out into the byways and streets to invite whomever he found to attend the feast. Then the master of the house said.

"For I say to you, that not one of those men who have been invited shall taste of my supper." (Luke 14:24).

 

The friends were the Jewish people. Those in the byways and streets were the Gentile people. The master of the house was the king of the kingdom of God.

 

The words "my supper" are important. Exactly what supper was represented here? When Jesus was celebrating the last supper with his disciples he told them that he would not drink of the fruit of the vine again until he returned (Matthew 26:29). That is the supper represented here, the one in which Jesus will participate. It will be celebrated when the kingdom is inaugurated.

 

No one who has despised Jesus and his message will enter the kingdom in a place of blessing. Many people who think they are going to "heaven" will greatly be surprised when they are not allowed entry into the kingdom.

 

Luke 15:11-32 contains the parable of the so-called prodigal son, who asked his father to give him his inheritance. The father gave it to him, and the son promptly wasted all of it on riotous living. He then found himself tending hogs, the lowest possible condition for a Jew. He even had to eat the hog’s food. He returned to his father and confessed that he had sinned, whereupon the father gave a great party to welcome his son back.

 

When the other son, who had stayed at home and obeyed the father, asked why his father was giving this great party, he was informed that his brother had come home, and was being welcomed by his father. The other son then accosted his father and asked why a fatted calf had never been killed for him? The father explained that the party was because his brother had been lost, but now had been found, and they were rejoicing.

 

He also told the obedient son,

"Child, thou art always with me, and all that [is] mine is thine." (Luke 15:31).

 

The moral of this story is that people may waste their inheritance, or their right to enter into the next age in a place of blessing. They will receive no more inheritance than that already given to them, even though they become reconciled to the Father. However, those who continue to serve the heavenly father in love and obedience will inherit all that he has.

 

The prodigal will have reconciliation, but no inheritance. The obedient son retained his inheritance, or entrance into the kingdom in a place of blessing. Jesus was warning the Jews, to whom he had been sent, that he will turn to the Gentiles.

 

Luke 16:14-15 tells how the Pharisees reacted to this warning.

"And all the Pharisees also heard these things, and being covetous, they derided him. And he said to them, Ye are they who justify themselves before men, but the god knows your hearts; for that highly thought of among men is an abomination before the god."

 

This message should cause all "christians" to pause and consider their own condition. Much that the church esteems today is an abomination to The God. Although the organized church always presumes to speak for God, it is many times only an empty boast.

 

Luke 17:20-21 is one of the most misunderstood and most misused scriptures.

"And having been asked by the Pharisees, when is coming the kingdom of the god, he answered them, and said, The kingdom of the god comes not with observation; nor shall they say, Lo here, or Lo there; for lo, the kingdom of the god is in the midst of you."

 

Unfortunately, the KJV translated the Greek word entos as within. Entos is a combination of the words en and tos.  When en is used with a collective, or plural, it should be translated as among. This means that the correct translation should be, "the kingdom of god is among you, or in the midst of you."

 

Another source of confusion which leads to misuse of this verse is that while the word "you" is plural in the Greek manuscript, that is not obvious in the KJV translation. Therefore, failing to study the Greek grammar of this sentence can lead to the wrong conclusion that the kingdom of God is inside each person.

 

The kingdom of God is the next age in which the rule of The God will prevail over the entire earth when his son, Jesus, rules as king. The kingdom of God is not some kind of supernatural power that people supposedly have within themselves personally, that they may use to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

 

We have holy spirit, or power, upon us, but not in us. We are to be used by holy spirit, but we are not to use holy spirit!  [See out book, What Scripture Says About Salvation, for further discussion of this point.] When Jesus said that "the kingdom is in the midst of you," he was referring to himself as the representative of that kingdom, or the very epitome of it.

 

As Jesus came closer to Jerusalem, and his death, he told his disciples what to expect. Luke 18:31-34 says,

"And having taken the twelve to [him] he said to them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which have been written by the prophets about the son of the man; for he will be delivered up to the gentiles, and will be mocked, and will be insulted, and will be spit upon. And having scourged, they will kill him; and on the third day he will rise again. And they understood nothing of these things, and this saying was hid from them, and they knew not that which was said."

 

The Gentiles spoken of here were the Roman rulers. The 12 disciples did not understand because they could not conceive that Jesus, whom they believed to be the messiah who would deliver them from Roman rule, would die before this was accomplished.

 

Luke 19:1-10 describes the meeting between Jesus and Zachaeus, the hated tax collector. After meeting and entertaining Jesus, Zachaeus said he would give half of his wealth to the poor, and correct his misdeeds. When Jesus heard this he commented,

"Today salvation is come to this house, inasmuch as he is also a son of Abraham, for the son of the man came to seek and to save that which has been lost." (Luke 19:9-10).

 

Zachaeus, a Jew, realized who Jesus was, and repented, or changed his mind, as demonstrated by his actions. He fulfilled the requirement preached by John, the Baptist, of repenting, or changing the mind, about the person of Jesus, the messiah.

 

Luke 19:37-44, tells more than Matthew did of the story about Jesus entering Jerusalem. As Jesus looked over Jerusalem, he began to weep.

"If thou hadst known, even thou, even at least in this thy day, the things for thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes. For days shall come upon thee that thine enemies shall cast a rampart about thee, and shall close around thee, and keep thee in on every side; and shall level thee with the ground and thy children in thee, and shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, because thou knewest not the season of thy visitation." (Luke 19:42-44).

 

They did not recognize what was about to happen to them. We know now that Jerusalem would be besieged about 60 A. D. This would be a horrible time, with people starving for lack of food. Stone would not be left on stone because Jerusalem would be razed to the ground, and the temple of Jehovah would be destroyed. This was in fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isaiah 29.

 

Shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus warned his disciples that many would come in his name saying that the kingdom is here, or the kingdom is there. He told them not to go after any of them because there would be unmistakable signs from heaven indicating his coming. He also informed them that they would be called before kings and governors for his name’s sake.

 

Luke 21:14-15 reports how he told them to proceed when that happened.

"Settle therefore in your hearts not to premeditate to make a defense; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all those opposing you shall not be able to reply to, nor to resist."

 

How could this be if Jesus had been crucified? Jesus was looking forward to the time when he would ascend to the Father, receive the holy spirit, and pour some of it out upon all flesh. That portion of spirit would put the words in the mouths of the disciples, and they were to give it no forethought at all. Imagine the faith that would be required from these common, uneducated men!

 

The rest of the chapter relates how Jesus continued to tell them of future events that would come to pass before his return.

 

Jesus also returned to his temple, or the one built for Jehovah, of the Old Testament. Later, his presence at the temple would take on more significance, once they realized that he was the word of the Old Testament, Jehovah, who had become flesh, and named Jesus. But, this was yet in the future.

 

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples a number of times. Luke 24:45-53 describes the last message he gave to his disciples.

"Then he opened their understanding to understand the scriptures, and said to them, Thus it has been written, and thus it behooved the christ to suffer, and to rise from among [the] dead the third day; And repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, lo, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but ye remain in the city of Jerusalem till ye be clothed with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and having lifted up his hands, he blessed them. And it came to pass as he was blessing them, he was separated from them, and was carried up into the heaven. And having worshiped him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing the god. Amen."

 

When Jesus told them he would send "the promise of the father" upon them, what promise did he mean? It was that portion of holy spirit which was soon to be poured out upon all flesh, and it would empower each to fulfill the purpose of The God in their lives. Without this, the disciples would have no real power to witness as he commanded.

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 13

 

# The 12 apostles were chosen from among the other disciples.

 

# Apostles means sent ones, usually with some kind of commission. These

     apostles were the sent ones with the great commission. Not all the

     disciples which followed Jesus were apostles, nor were they sent

     anywhere.

 

# The true test of discipleship is whether we love God more than

     mammon, or the love of money.

 

# Jesus said that loving your enemies, doing good, and lending with no

     hope of repayment would be rewarded. The reward is being called

     "sons of the highest."

 

# Note carefully what gospel it was that Jesus sent the 12 apostles to

     proclaim. It was the "kingdom of the god." It had nothing to do with

     going to "heaven."  This was the same message proclaimed earlier by

     John, the Baptist, and by Jesus, himself. It is absolutely amazing how

     organized religion has strayed so far from what Jesus taught, while still

     maintaining that they are being faithful to what he taught.

 

# The gospel of the kingdom is not about accepting Jesus as your savior

     so you can go to heaven when you die. That amounts to little more

     than a spiritual lottery ticket. The gospel of the kingdom is the message

     that salvation has already been granted to everyone, but that it can be

     wasted, and lost.

 

# Heaven is not the same as the kingdom of God, despite what many

     people believe.

 

#  The scriptures must be searched diligently to discover the depths of

     what they have to offer. The casual seeker will find facts, which by

     themselves often lead only to confusion. The deeper truths of the

     scriptures are spiritually discerned; they simply cannot be

     comprehended by the carnal mind.

 

# It is not "the holy spirit" which the Father will give to those who ask,

     but "holy spirit."  When the definite article is missing, the emphasis is

     placed upon a quality or characteristic of the holy spirit, rather than

     the entirety of holy spirit which would be implied if the definite article

     had been used.  No man except Jesus has been given "the holy spirit;"

     all others have received only a portion, or quality, of holy spirit.

 

# Jehovah could no longer dispense holy spirit because he was now a

     man who, himself, had to submit to the guidance of the portion of holy

     spirit given to him. When Jesus returned to the Father as a glorified

     man, the authority to dispense holy spirit was restored to him.

 

# The kingdom was not a payment for following Jesus, but a gift from

     the invisible god to all mankind.

 

# No one who has despised Jesus and his message will enter the kingdom

     in a place of blessing. Many people who think they are going to

     "heaven" will greatly be surprised when they are not allowed entry into

     the kingdom.

 

# The moral of the story about the prodigal son is that people may waste

     their inheritance, or their right to enter into the next age in a place of

     blessing. They will receive no more inheritance than that already given

     to them, even though they become reconciled to the Father. However,

     those who continue to serve the heavenly father in love and obedience

     will inherit all that he has.

 

# Much that the church esteems today is an abomination to The God.

     Although the organized church always presumes to speak for God, it is

     many times only an empty boast.

 

# We have holy spirit, or power, upon us, but not in us. We are to be

     used by holy spirit, but we are not to use holy spirit!

 

# When Jesus told them he would send "the promise of the father" upon

     them, what promise did he mean? It was that portion of holy spirit

     which was soon to be poured out upon all flesh, and it would empower

     each to fulfill the purpose of The God in their lives. Without this, the

     disciples would have no real power to witness as he commanded.

 

 

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October 2009

 

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