Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Twenty-four:   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Twenty-four:

Seventy sent - Conflict with religious Leaders - Good Samaritan Parable


             FEAST OF DEDICATION AND MANY THINGS
                   FROM THE GOSPEL OF LUKE


FEAST OF DEDICATION IN THE WINTER

     A few months or more had past and it was the heart of the
winter in Palestine. The word used by John in his gospel implies
that it was cold and inclement.
     Jesus was again in Jerusalem, this time for the feast of
"Dedication" or as more literal a translation "feast of renewing"
or "feast of renovation." Why it was so called will be seen from
the following history of how this feast came into being in the
Jewish calendar.

     The feast was instituted by Judaeus Maccabeus, in the year
164 before the birth of Christ. The Temple and city were taken
over by Antiochus Epiphanies in the year 167 B.C. He slew 40
thousand inhabitants, and sold 40 thousand more as slaves. In
addition to this, he sacrificed a sow on the altar of
bunt-offerings, and a broth being made of this he sprinkled it
all over the Temple. The city and Temple were brought back into
Jewish hands and domain three years later by Judaeus Maccabeus,
and the Temple was purified with great pomp and solemnity. The
ceremony of purification continued through 8 days, during which
Judaeus presented animal sacrifices, and celebrated the praise of
God with hymns and psalms (Josephus, Antiquities, book 12, c.11).

"They decked also the forefront of the Temple with crowns of
gold, and with shields, and the gates and the chambers they
RENEWED, and hanged doors upon them," 1 Mac. 4: 52-59. On this
account it was called the feast of RENOVATION or Dedication. Then
it is also known as the "feast of lights." Josephus the Jewish
Pharisee historian of the first century A.D. calls it such and
says the city of Jerusalem was illuminated, as expressive of joy.

The feast began on the 15th day of Chisleu, answering to about
the 15th day of December. The festival continued for 8 days with
festive joy (see Barnes' Notes on the NT, page 316, One volume
edition).

     This Jewish feast then can be known as "dedication" because
the Temple was re-dedicated to God in 164 B.C. It can be known as
the feast of "renovation" or "renewal" because much repair was
done to the Temple. And it can be known as the "feast of lights"
because Jerusalem was ablaze with many lights and great joy when
the rededicating of the Temple took place after Judaeus Maccabeus
and his men defeated the pagan armies  in 164 B.C. and retook the
Temple and Jerusalem for Jewish domain once more.

	Jesus was walking through the porch of Solomon when the Jews
gathered around Him and asked, "Just how long are you going to
keep us in suspense by the way you talk? If you are the Christ to
come, then just tell us plainly." Jesus replied, "Look, I've
already told you with some plain words, but you will not believe
them. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness
as to who I am, but you do not believe because you are not a part
of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they
follow me; and I give to them eternal life, and they will never
perish forever, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My
Father, who has given them to me, He is greater than everyone,
and on one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. And
what is more, I and my Father are ONE."

     Once more the Jews knew exactly what He was meaning by
saying that He and the Father were one. They knew He was meaning
that He was God. They picked up stones again, ready to throw at
Him. Jesus then said, "I have shown you many good works from the
Father: for which of these good works do you stone me?"
     "Oh, it's not for any works that you have done, that we are
ready to stone you to death, but because you are just a man, yet
you make yourself to be God," the Jews answered.
     "Well, look at your own law! Is it not written in the law of
Moses, 'I said, you are gods'? (Psalm 82: 6). So, if He called
them 'gods' unto whom the word of God was given, unto the people
in general (and the Scripture cannot be broken, it is ever true),
why do you say to Him that the Father has sent into this world,
that I blaspheme because I have said 'I am the Son of God'? "

     When Jesus was saying that He was God, He was not telling
them that He was the God being who was still in heaven at the
time, the one He referred to as the Father. He was not saying
that He was the supreme God being, but that being a Son of God,
He carried the same name, and attributes....He was Jesus God, we
might say, and the one in heaven was the Father God. Jesus showed
that their Old Testament Scriptures clearing taught that those
human being who had received the word of God - the Israelites,
could be literal sons and daughters of God Almighty, and hence
they also could carry the name of God. 
     Jesus was answering them from the very word of God itself
and what the Lord had said, that He Himself called those who had
been given His word.....gods. It was part of the plan of God to
created more offspring from Himself, people who belonged to God,
so were God's  children, and so would also carry God's name.

     Jesus continued, "If I do not the works of my Father, then
you have a right not to believe me. But, on the other hand, if I
do God's works, then although you don't believe the words that I
speak about the matter, believe the works: that you might know,
and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in Him."

     All this made the Jews more angry, and were more determined
to stone Him, but it was not time for Jesus to be killed, not
yet, so He escaped out of their hands. He went for a while beyond
Jordan into the place where John the Baptist first baptized, and
He abode there for a while.  Many people came to Him there
because they said, "John did not perform one single miracle; but
all that he ever spoke about this man has been the truth."
     It was while in this area that many more believed on Jesus
(John 10: 22-42).

THREE PEOPLE THOUGHT THEY COULD BE DISCIPLES

     The days were fast drawing near for Him to offer Himself up
for the sins of the world. It was time again to go back to the
city of Jerusalem. He would be going through the area of the
Samaritans, and sent messengers ahead to people in a certain
village where He thought He would pass through on His way to
Jerusalem, but they would not receive Him because He was only
passing through and not stopping with them. They were hoping He
would stop and teach and work the works of God among them, but
because He was setting His mind on going to Jerusalem, they got
offended and would not allow Him and His disciples to stay
overnight in their village.
     James and John, when they heard about this from the
returning messengers, said to Jesus, with righteous indignation
in their voices, "Lord, how about us calling for fire from
heaven, to come down and consume them?" Jesus rebuked them for
such evil thoughts and words. And they went to another village
that was happy to receive them all for whatever length of time.

     As they were making there way to this village and walking
the dusty road, a man came up to Jesus and said, "I will follow
you wherever you go." He was probably taken up with way too much
emotion and not enough thinking about the cold facts of reality
as to what his words to follow Jesus anywhere, would really mean.
Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have
nests, but the Son of man has no permanent home. Often He does
not know where He is going to lay His head down to sleep. It is a
life of wandering around, always on the go."
     The account does not say if the man continued to follow
Jesus after he heard those words.

     Then, Jesus Himself said to another man, " Follow me," but
the man replied, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father who
has just died." 
     "Oh, you need to let the dead bury the dead; but as for you,
go and proclaim the Kingdom of God," was Christ's answer to the
man. We are not told if he listened and obeyed Jesus' directives
to him. There are times when we need to let the unconverted,
spiritual dead, take care of physical matters, and we need to be
about doing God's work, if God calls and if God has other
priorities He thinks we should be doing first, other than running
around over physical matters.
      
     Then yet another fellow along the way, said to Jesus, "I
will surely follow you, but let me first say farewell to those at
my home."
     The reply Jesus gave may not have sat too well with him. "No
one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the
Kingdom of God."

     Jesus knew the heart of this man. It was not that it is
always wrong to say "good bye" to loved ones before going off to
do the work of God, that is not wrong of itself, or under certain
situations. Yet it is obvious Jesus thought there were some
situations where it would only be used as an excuse to
procrastinate, to put off, and to reject, the calling of God. If
you are called to go and do the work of God as a special disciple
of Christ (as these three men were called to be and to do), then
no physical thing should be allowed to stand in your way. This
calling is not for everyone, but it is a reminder from Jesus that
with such a calling, He and God's work must come first, and
physical things are to come second, even sometimes having to
leave off some physical things that are not wrong in and of
themselves, under a different situation. Jesus reminds those so
called in this special way for His work, that it is not always
easy to follow, as far as the physical is concerned (Luke 9:
51-62).

SEVENTY ARE SENT OUT TO DO GOD'S WORK

     Jesus called seventy of His disciples together and sent them
out two by two to every town and village that He was planning to
go visit. They were to go ahead of Him and teach the Kingdom of
God and heal the sick. This was very much like what He had
told the twelve to do earlier. Luke records and mentions a few
things that was either not recorded or not specified when He sent
out the twelve in an earlier Gospel preaching mission.
     They were not to go "from house to house."  If people
received them, they were receiving Him, and in turn receiving the
Father. Again, it was a woe to the cities that did not receive
them. 
     Then the seventy returned with joy, telling Jesus how even
the demons were subject to them through His name. He then told
them that He saw Satan one day in the distant past, fall from
heaven like lightning. This was probably at the time Satan
rebelled and took one third of the angels with him in that
rebellion, to fight God in heaven, but was defeated and cast down
to the earth (see Revelation chapter 12). All of that took place
before mankind was created, for when we read Genesis chapters one
and two, Satan or the Devil, is already there in the garden of
Eden, ready to temp Adam and Eve. Two other parts of the
Scriptures that talk about who Satan was at the beginning and
what entered his heart, is found in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.

     Jesus had given the seventy authority over serpents, and
scorpions, over the powers of the enemy, so that nothing was to
hurt them. But He told them that they needed to rejoice not in
having such authority and power of the evil one and danger, but
that they should rejoice that their names were written in the
book of life in heaven. And that is the important thing, for this
authority Jesus had given them was for that particular time and
event He sent them out on. Later times showed that Christ's
disciples did not always have protection from harm or danger or
loosing their lives in His service. The book of Acts will show us
all this when we go through it.
     The important thing is as Jesus said, to know that whatever
this physical life may hand out to us in a physical way, we have
our names written in heaven, that we are God's children, and will
be in His family Kingdom.
     
     Jesus at that time when the seventy returned to Him, gave
thanks to the Father in heaven, that these wonderful truths had
been revealed to them by Him, that they had been hid from many of
the wise and prudent of this world, and revealed to babes so to
speak, ones who had simple belief and faith.
     He reminded them again that they were blessed for many
prophets of old had desired to see these days that they were
seeing and to hear the words they were hearing (Luke 10: 1-24).

WAY TO LIFE AND GOOD SAMARITAN PARABLE

     A lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test. He asked Him
this question, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal
life?"
     Jesus answered, "What is written in the law? how do you
understand it all?"
     The lawyer answered, "I understand it as saying, that you
are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all
your life, and with all your strength, and with all your
mind; and you are to love your neighbor as yourself." 
     "You have answered correctly, do this, and you shall live,"
Jesus told him.

     But, the lawyer was not fully satisfied, he then asked Jesus
who his neighbor was, and Jesus gave this reply:

     "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho (Jerusalem
is on a higher ground level that Jericho - Keith Hunt), and
robbers beat him up and stole his money, leaving him half-dead.
Now by chance a priest came along the same road; and when he
saw him, he just passed by on the other side. So likewise a
Levite, when he came to the place and saw him lying there, he
passed by also on the other side. Then a Samaritan as he
journeyed by, came upon the man lying there half-dead, but when
he saw him he had compassion upon him. He went over to him and
bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he sat him
upon his own beast of burden and brought him to an Inn, and took
care of him there. The next day he took out of his pocket his own
money and gave it to the Inn-keeper, saying, 'Take care of him;
and whatever more you need to heal his recovery, spend it on him,
and when I come back this way on my return home, I will repay
you.' Now, which of these three do you think proved to be
neighbor to the man who fell among robbers?"
     The lawyer answered, "Why, of course, the one who showed
kindness and mercy to the man."
     "Yes, indeed. Go and do you likewise to anyone," Jesus told
him and all who were present there.

     Being a neighbor in the full sense of the overall law of God
as taught by the whole Old Testament, is doing unto any other, no
matter what race, religion, education etc. what you would like
them to do to you, especially if in dire circumstances as the man
in Jesus' parable. That is what God teaches and expects, for one
half of the conditions to receiving and inheriting eternal life.
The other half is to love God with everything you have, your
mind, your life, your all. This we have seen explained and
amplified in Jesus' Gospel work and teaching, in past chapters.

PUTTING PRIORITIES IN THE RIGHT PLACE
AT THE RIGHT TIME

     Jesus and His disciples had over the time they had been
travelling up and down the country-side, preaching and healing,
made many friends in many towns and villages. They were coming to
such a village where lived two sister, Mary and Martha. They
received them into their house. Mary sat at Jesus' feet hanging
on to every word He spoke, listening intently. But Martha was
working her fingers to the bone in the kitchen, just consumed
with all the material things that she thought needed to be done
to look after the physical needs of them all. She finally had had
enough of doing it all by herself. "Lord, do you not care that my
sister Mary has left me alone to do all this physical work?"
she said to Jesus with some exasperation in her voice.
     But the Lord answered her saying, "Martha, Martha, you are
anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful at
this time from you. Mary has chosen the correct good priority
here, which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10: 38-42).

     Under this situation where Jesus was wanting to teach and
expound the truths of the Kingdom of God, it was the correct
thing to do, as Mary was doing, to sit and listen and drink in
the spiritual truths being taught. The physical could wait, when
it was time for the physical then it was time, and many would
then pitch in and help look after that physical need. But at this
moment the priority was to listen to the Son of God teaching
the word of God.
     So it is with us, we have to develop the sense and ability
to know what priorities must come first and when they should come
first.

TEACHING ON PRAYER

     Jesus was praying in a certain place and after He had
finished one of His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray
even as John taught his disciples to pray.
     He then took the opportunity once more to repeat much of
what He had taught early on in His ministry, which we covered
under the chapters on Jesus' sermon on the mount.
     Jesus did add something new this time:

     "Which of you who has a friend and will go to him at
midnight and say to him, 'Friend, please lend me three loaves of
bread, for another friend of mine had arrived on a long journey,
and I have no bread to offer him'; and he will answer, 'Do not
bother me; the door is shut, and my children and I have gone to
bed; I cannot get up and give anything to you.' I tell you,
though in his mind he does not want to get up and give him
anything, he will rise and give him whatever he desires, because
of his continual importunity, asking and asking, and not giving
up."

     Jesus was teaching us that we also must ask, keep on asking,
and not give up until our Father in heaven answers us.

DOING GOD'S WORK THROUGH THE DEVIL?

     Once again when casting out a demon Jesus was accused of
doing it by the prince of demons. It was a repeat of a similar
incident that occurred earlier and that we have covered. A woman
did this time cry out from the crowd, "Blessed is the womb that
bore you, and the breasts that you have sucked!" Jesus once more
took the opportunity to tell people what was really blessed and
important, "Blessed rather are those that hear the word of God
and obey and keep it!"

     He again told the people that in the main this was an evil
generation that they all lived in, and the only sign He would
give them was the sign of Jonah to the men of Nineveh. He at this
time, did not go into the part about the three days and three
nights He would be in the grave.
     He told them that many from the past who were not given
salvation and offered repentance, would rise in the great
judgment period with many of that generation who could see all
that He was doing, and would condemn it to shame, for they will
readily repent while those around Him at that time, were
hard-hearted and unbelieving.
     He went through again the parable about the body, making
sure that it was full of light, and setting that light upon a
stand that all would see the light of your life.

PLAIN TALK WHILE DINING WITH A PHARISEE

     And while He was speaking and teaching, a certain Pharisee
pleaded with him to come to his home and dine with him. So Jesus
went and sat down to eat. The Pharisee marvelled that He had not
washed before sitting to eat.
     Jesus knew of course what the Pharisees taught and practiced
as a ritual before eating any meal, and we covered all that
before. It was time for Jesus to lay the cards on the table and
be very frank about this and other such things that were
relatively small, but what the Pharisees made into a huge
production of "spiritual importance." Jesus said:

     "Now, you Pharisees make clean to a fault, the outside of
the cup and the plate; but your inward parts and motives and
attitudes are full of extortions and wickedness. You fools, is it
not that He which made the outside made also the inside? But give
to the needy what you greedily posses, and you will be clean all
over. But it will be terrible for you. Woe to you Pharisees! For
you are so careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income
and produce, but you completely forget and ignore true justice
and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but you should not
leave undone the more important things. 
Woe to you Pharisees! For how you revel in respectful greetings
from everyone as you walk through the market place, and how you
love to have the seats of honor in the synagogues. Yes, how
terrible it will be for you all. For you are like the hidden
graves in a field. People walk over them without knowing the
clandestine corruption they are stepping into and getting
involved in."
     "Well Teacher," spoke up an expert in religious law, "you
have insulted us, too, in what you have said."
     "Yes," replied Jesus, "that is very true. Woe to you also,
you lawyers of religious law. For you burden and crush people
under impossible religious demands, and you never lift a finger
to ease their burden. It will be terrible for you also, for you
build graves  and tombs for the very prophets your ancestors
killed ages ago, so sanctioning them and their deeds.  Murderers!
You are then actually agreeing with your ancestors that what
they did was correct. You would have done the same if you had
been in their boots so long ago. And this is what God had said in
His wisdom about you, 'I will send prophets and apostles to them,
and they will kill some, and persecute the others.'  And you of
this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all
God's prophets from the creation of the world - from the murder
of Abel to the murder of Zechariah who was killed between
the altar and the sanctuary (2 Chron.24: 20,21). Yes, because
your attitude is the same as past murderers, it will surely be
charged against you. Yes, woe to you experts in religious law!
For you hide the keys to true knowledge from the people. You will
not enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from
also entering."

     The attitude of mind for many of these so-called "religious
lawyers" or experts of the law of the Old Testament was no
different that the mindset of others who had in the past, even
from the beginning, killed God's honest and faithful people. So
in that respect they accumulated all their sins into their minds.
Jesus had shown them that their deeds  with the people was like
killing them, ruling and governing them in such a heavy handed
way that they might just as well have taken a sword and killed
them. The power that religious leaders have used over the
centuries to burden and chain up people, emotionally,
spiritually, and even sometimes physically, is all over the
history books for all centuries of the past ages.
     Such people who have ruled others in this religious way, are
ones who have found the many clever and deceitful ways to lock
away the true keys of knowledge and are able to keep others under
a kind of spell, we might say. They are what is known today as
"cult" leaders. They often exhibit profound technical "letter of
the law" knowledge of God's word, being able to remember and
recite whole chapters of the Bible. And because it has been and
still is so prevalent in the 20th century, many books have been
written on either escaping from cults or how not to get involved
with them in the first place. It is not only the cults we need to
be careful with, even many in so-called "orthodox" Christianity,
with their PhD's in religion, have it wrong and have entrapped
millions with their false theology. They also are guilty of not
lifting a finger to undo the chains from the people. They also
are guilty of keeping the keys of the Kingdom locked away from
the common person in the darkness of false ideas and false
traditions. 
     But the bottom line is always "buyer be ware" - it is up to
the individual to obey Isaiah 8: 20, no matter who comes to you
in religious clothes, even if they are recognized by the world of
Christian religion as "experts in their field" because their
field may be full of weeds and thistles.

     As Jesus spoke these things the Pharisees and teachers of
the religious law were furious. And from that time on they
continued to hound Him with hostile questions, trying to trap
Him, and hoping He would say something they could use against
Him, in the eyes of the people and the governing secular
authorities of the land (Luke 11: 37-54). 

TRUST AND WATCHFULNESS

     The crowds of people were so multiplied that they were
falling over each other and  even trampling on one another under
foot. It was a good time for Jesus to warn His disciples about
the "leaven of the Pharisees" which He had done on an earlier
occasion. This time He used a slightly different metaphor,
saying, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is
hypocrisy, mere play acting, pretending to be godly when they are
anything but. Nothing is covered up that will not be finally
revealed and shown to be what it really is, or hidden away from
people that will not be seen openly. Whatever you have
said in the dark and behind closed doors will be heard in broad
daylight, and what you have whispered in private rooms behind
closed doors, shall be proclaimed upon the housetops with loud
speakers."

     The truth can be known. People do not have to "pull the wool
over your eyes" or keep you brain washed from the truthful
reality and righteousness of the Lord. Jesus had said in His
sermon on the mount that they who hunger and thirst after
righteousness shall be filled. Those in Acts 17 who heard Paul
preach and teach the word of God, did not allow themselves to be
psychologically manipulated to where they stopped thinking,
reasoning, and searching the Scriptures daily, for themselves, to
see if what Paul taught was from the word of God, or just his own
man made ideas.
     It is the responsibility of each individual to prove all
things and to hold fast to that which is good, as the apostle
Paul taught should be done by each person for themselves (1 Thes.
5: 21).

     Jesus went on to tell His followers once more who they
should really fear. Not men who cannot kill you forever, but Him
who can destroy you forever in the fires of the second death.  He
told them again that they were dearly beloved of the Father. And
that everyone who would stand tall and strong in not denying Him
before men, would not be denied by Him. He told them once more
about the unpardonable sin, a refusal to repent when the Holy
Spirit was leading you to acknowledge sin and to turn from it.
And finished this discourse with not worrying about what words to
speak if brought before the courts of men because of your
religious faith in Him and the Father. He promised that the Holy
Spirit would, at that time, inspire you to speak what you would
need to say.

                 ..........................

Written October 2002


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