Instructions of Jesus
- source for questions
Luke 12:1 through 19:27
- key verse for memorization
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Today’s lesson describes Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem before His crucifixion. After leaving Galilee, Jesus passed through Samaria where He healed ten lepers. He spent some time east of the Jordan River and then went on to Jericho where He healed the blind man. Our text concludes with the conversion of Zacchaeus and Jesus’ visit to his home.
In this portion of text, Luke’s focus is on Jesus’ compassion and the teaching of His principles. Many of Jesus’ most well-known parables are in this segment; in fact, Jesus taught almost half of His parables while traveling through the countryside on His way to Jerusalem. Included are the accounts of the rich but foolish farmer, the chief rooms, a great feast, the lost sheep, a lost coin, a prodigal son, an unjust judge, and an unjust steward.
Jesus also spoke of His imminent death and gave numerous warnings regarding being alert for His return to earth — an event that will take many by surprise. He emphasized the necessity of striving to enter into the Kingdom of God and the high cost of discipleship, but also promised that those who sacrifice in this life will be greatly rewarded both here and in eternity.
Luke records several instances in these chapters when Jesus was criticized by the religious leaders of the day who were more concerned with their traditions than with the law of love. They condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and eating with sinners, but Jesus knew their hearts and in each case responded with teachings that revealed their hypocrisy.
During this final journey, Luke highlighted the compassion of Jesus, noting how He gave special attention to the lowest in society: the women, the helpless, the poor, and the outcasts. He took time for little children and indicated by His teachings that He would go out of His way to find the lost. However, even though Luke portrayed Jesus as the Son of man — One who empathizes with humans — he also made it clear that Jesus was the divine Son of God.
- In Luke 12:13-21, Jesus gave the parable of the rich but foolish farmer who decided to tear down his barns and build greater ones to store his crops. What precipitated this discourse by Jesus, and what point was He making in this parable?
- After giving the parable of the rich farmer, Jesus went on to tell His followers that “life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment,” and to explain that there was no need to worry about the provision of their needs (verses 23-34). How can we reconcile this injunction with other Scriptural admonitions to labor industriously to provide for our own necessities and those of our families?
- In Luke 13:24, Jesus told the people to “strive to enter in at the strait gate,” the “gate” representing access into the Kingdom of God. What does it mean to “strive” to enter in, and why is this necessary?
- In the parable of the great supper (Luke 14:16-24), what did the invitation represent? What were some of the excuses given for not accepting the invitation?
- Verses 1-2 of chapter 15 set the scene for the three parables given in this chapter, all of which relate to seeking lost things. The Pharisees and scribes were upset about Jesus’ actions and communicated their displeasure by “murmuring.” What had Jesus done to cause their displeasure, and how did Jesus’ response in the parables relate to their attitude?
- When speaking of His future Kingdom on earth, Jesus said the coming of the Son of man will occur quickly and gave several warnings about being ready for that day. One of them was, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). What do you think Jesus meant by that warning?
- After relating the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow, Jesus said, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8). To “bear long” and to “avenge them speedily” could appear to be contradictory concepts. What was Jesus teaching by this parable?
- Jesus loved the little children. We read in Luke 18:15-17 that after the disciples tried to stop those in the crowd from bringing infants to Him, Jesus welcomed them to come to Him. He then told those present that one must “receive the kingdom of God as a little child.” How do children typically receive teaching about God?
- The account of Zacchaeus’ conversion is given in Luke 19:1-10. What evidence did Zacchaeus give of the transformation that had taken place in his life?
- In the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:12-27), a nobleman “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” In his absence, he gave his servants a certain number of pounds and instructed them, “Occupy till I come.” What did the word “occupy” infer, and what is the application of this parable to our day?
As Jesus neared the end of His time on earth, He taught His followers many vital principles. We would do well to pay close attention to His words and apply them to our own lives.