John Barnett here. Welcome to the 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible. You’re in week 28. If you grab your Bible, we’re going to be going through Luke chapter 10 and Luke chapter 15. It’s going to be a great study looking at the second installment of our life of Christ. First, we looked at Him in Matthew for the last several weeks, now we’re looking at Jesus Christ in the book of Luke. In front of you on the slides, this is the 28th week in a row that we’re studying through w trying to get through the whole Bible this year. If you just caught this, it dropped in your feed on YouTube and you say, what is this? This is a devotional study to master the complete cover to cover content of the scriptures. We’re doing that by looking at the key chapters, the most important chapters, the chapters that summarize all the key doctrines, all the key theology. The structure of the Bible, the scope of the Bible, all the different types of literature that are in the scriptures in the word of God.
I have my copy of the scriptures right here. I’ve already marked up my Bible and I encourage you to get your own copy. For this study, I use an electronic copy, but I also use tools that engage our minds by writing notes, and by underlining, circling, noting things in a paper Bible. I was reading in the New York Times, and they said that they’d been studying why there’s a diminishment in students’ learning. They said when they took handwriting out of the curriculum there’s some connection with our mind that handwriting had that keyboarding doesn’t do. I’d like you to get all the connections as we study together Luke 10 to 15.
The specific topic we’re looking at are parables and of course, our Lord Jesus Christ. This is an important connection, salvation, and judgment. Parables were launched by Jesus Christ specifically. He only used parables from Matthew 13 on because He said the people were not listening and they were not responding. It says from then on, He only spoke in parables. That’s because Jesus was presenting salvation, but He was bringing judgment on those who had rejected Him. That’s all going to be coming out in our study. The big question is why did Jesus use parables?
Let me explain our study. First of all, we’re surveying the whole Bible. We use the 52 Greatest Chapters and the specific method that I’m teaching you is called the devotional method. The devotional method is one of 12 different Bible study methods that have been recognized throughout the last two centuries of Christian literature. What it involves is looking at a personal title. You read the chapter in scripture and you get out your notebook. This is my notebook. Online in our Facebook group, you can download these materials that I have taped in the front of my notebook, just a plain notebook described in the description for this video. There are links to where you can find plain notebooks like this. Go to our Facebook page and you can download this descriptive overview of the devotional method and the 52 chapters right here. What I do within this notebook is I have a page for Luke chapter 10 then another page for Luke chapter 15.
This is what I have on the page. The title, after I read the passage through the first time, I summarize the whole chapter in one sentence, even a phrase. I’ll show you mine in just a second. I read through each passage once a day. As I read through each passage once a day, look at this, I look for lessons. On this day I noticed many lessons, and truths, and doctrines. By noting, you write down in your own words and I’ll show you my own words. It’s just what you’re learning at that moment. It’s not a polished paper you’re going to turn into some professor. This is your learning. It’s kind of a record of how you’re growing and understanding. The more of these weeks that you do, the easier it is for you to summarize to find more and more lessons.
If perhaps you’re in a hurry, you can find some kind of bigger overview lessons. The goal is not to discourage yourself. I’ve met many people who are the biggest problem of their own Bible study. They’re discouraging themselves. They try and do too much, or they get deflated if they don’t do as much as yesterday, this is not a competition. This is a pursuit of the Lord Jesus Christ. Like you’re dating Him and every day you see a different facet of His wonder, you write it down. You put as many of those lessons, truths, and doctrines as you can find.
I strongly encourage you, and you’ll see this in the description of this video, to get some tools. One of the tools is a good study Bible. This is not a study Bible. This is just a plain Bible that doesn’t have notes, but you need a thick, big Bible study overview in what is called a study Bible. My favorite is the MacArthur Study Bible. It’s got 25,000 study notes. They’re only 31,000 verses in the Bible so there’s almost a note on every verse in the Bible. It’s a very comprehensive overview of all every difficult passage, of all the themes of the books, of the mega themes as well as the minor themes, as well as a study, as I said, of the different types of literature showing how each book of the Bible fits in the big overview of all the scriptures. Plus, there’s a glossary of terms, a systematic theology guide in the back, all kinds of things. A study Bible is like a seminary education in one book. That’s actually what it was. I was on the faculty at the Master’s Seminary and I was a part of the group that began this writing of this study Bible. I would encourage you to get a study Bible that you refer to not just in this study, but all through your life.
Then, here’s the ultimate goal: application prayer. You write a prayer, in which you ask the Lord to unleash into your life one of those truths or lessons that you’ve found. I meet so many people that are studying the Bible to share with their wife, or to share with their husband, or share with their kids, or their employees that need to hear this or their friends that need to hear this. Did you know, the Bible is supposed to be a mirror that we look at and see ourselves reflected in? It’s God’s mirror and we see what God says we need to change. That’s what those lessons, and truths, and doctrines are all about. Once we see that the Bible says don’t merely be a hearer that sees the problem and merrily goes their way but be a doer of the word. That’s what this last part is. It’s praying and saying, God, I want You to unleash this truth in my life.
Here’s our journey. This is today, we’re in Luke 10 to 15, week 28. We’re going to look at the parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son. Those are famous teachings of Christ. Next week we start into the Gospel by John. We’re in John chapter 1 for a week, chapter 3 for a week, chapter 10 for a week. Then the great climactic death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for a week in chapters 19 and 20. Then, after that in week 33, we’re going into the book of Acts. We’ll survey the whole book and especially look at the day of Pentecost. I can’t wait for that week because I’m going to help you do something I have marked right here in my Bible. You can see right in the front there, I have Romans 3:10, it’s called the Romans Road. I started marking the Romans Road in my Bible when I was a middle school student. The pastor of our church said, I want all of you to mark this in your Bible because someday you’re going to share the Gospel and you need to know how to lead someone to Christ.
I couldn’t believe it, I marked it in my Bible. Wouldn’t you know that within a few weeks one of the students on the school bus told me about their parents getting a divorce. Told me about all the problems they were having and their depression. I said, have you ever heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? That He will come into your life, that He will forgive you of all your sins, this load of sins you’re carrying. That He will change your mind, your heart. He’s the only one that can change you on the inside. He can take away fears and frustrations and anxieties. He’s the only one that can change us from the inside out. I remember my friend said, no, I’ve never gone to church. My parents don’t go to church. I’ve never been to church. They equated Christianity with church. I said let me show you and I had that marked in my Bible. That’s what we’ll look at when we’re in week 33 followed by the decline and fall of the human race in Romans 1.
We’re going into a new book so let me talk to you about the book of Luke. This is the most complete narrative of the life of Christ. There are 20 miracles that Luke records, six of them are unique to Luke, no one else records these miracles. He has 23 of the 39 parables Jesus taught. Almost half of all of Christ’s parables are found only in Luke. There are 18, just under half, of all of Christ’s parables are in Luke. Luke is big on the narrative, big on the miracles, and huge on Christ’s parables. He’s an authenticated historian and writer. In other words, the historical people and events that Luke mentions, history has verified. Of course, we know the Bible’s inspired, but what’s amazing for unsaved people, for people that aren’t Christians, is when they look at the Bible and find it’s verifiably historic. It amazes them because most people think it’s just a religious thing, but it’s actually in the true scientific sense, a record of history and an eyewitness account through Luke.
Luke was a Gentile. He’s also a physician. He wrote two volumes, the Gospel by Luke and what we call the book of Acts. It says in the book of Acts, that he was sponsored by someone named Theophilus. Theophilus is a name, a proper name, but it’s also a Greek word. Theo, which is God, philos which means lover, so a God-lover. Either that was a code name for some Roman that didn’t want his real name recorded because of the persecutions of Nero or else his parents named him a lover of the gods. I don’t know, but Theophilus sponsored Luke to write this. Here’s what I think. I think the book of Luke with the book of Acts where the attending documents when Paul had to go before Nero, because if you notice there are so many interesting things. Let me show you what I mean.
There are more mentions of Christ healing than Matthew and Mark together. Luke is really big on Jesus’ ministry of helping people, of healing them, of the most downtrodden, and needy, and helpless people. He uses more medical terms than Hippocrates. Do you know who Hippocrates is? He’s the father of medicine. Yet, in those two volumes, Luke and Acts, there are more different Greek medical terms than you can find in the writings of the father of medicine. Luke was a physician and a gifted one at that. He’s the only one that includes the obstetrical details, so the nativity. He probably treated Paul’s ophthalmic malady, remember Paul had a problem with his eyes. Here’s what I think happened: when Paul appeals at the end of the book of Acts, “I appealed to Caesar”, it was clicking off a calendar that within the next two years, he would have an audience with the emperor. Those two years, the waiting period, was for the gathering of the case.
What we call a jurisprudence legal system is all Roman to the core. Rome was very law-abiding. They had laws, and courts, and rules, and trials, and lawyers. When Paul made a legal appeal to Caesar, he had to have a brief to present that stated his case. What was the case? His case was Christianity. He was a proponent of Christianity that the emperor was being told was harmful to the empire. What do Luke and Acts show? They show Jesus Christ helping the poor, helping the needy, saying pay your taxes if a Roman soldier tells you to carry his backpack carry it two miles. Every time any Roman leader or official or soldier is referenced in Luke and Acts it’s very positive. What it showed is that Christianity was not any type of insurrection or rebellion against the rule of law. We already know that from Romans. Paul said to be subject to the rulers, but that’s what was presented. That’s why I think Luke has two volumes. That’s what I believe that the two-year waiting period was all about.
Now, my journal. If only you could see what I have written in my journal from this whole week of studying the same passages that you’re going to study this week. I give this to you on Sundays for you to start on the first day of the week and spend the whole week, through Saturday, mastering whatever the portion is. We’re studying in this 28th week. We’re mastering Luke 10 and Luke 15.
Here’s what I found in my journal. First of all, in my journal at the top, I write the week number and what chapter I’m studying. Then as soon as I read it the first time, I write down my title. It was the Parables – The Good Samaritan, that’s in chapter 10, The Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, and Lost Son. Which, by the way, did you know that when Jesus tells this parable He doesn’t say parables? He doesn’t say there are three parables there: the lost sheep parable, the lost coin parable, and the lost son parable. He calls it one parable that emphasizes a lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son. Just a fascinating insight.
Here’s what I found. The first lesson I found is in Luke 10. Take your Bible and follow along because I’m giving you an overview. If you’re going to spend all week long studying, let me show you how you can find things. In verses 1 and 2 it says, “After these things the Lord appointed 70.” There are different groups in Christ’s ministry. First of all, there was the crowd, I’ll just write that. Then out of the crowd, there were these 70. These were people that out of the crowd had said we want to follow You. Then Jesus picked 12 more specifically called the disciples. Then within the 12, Jesus picked three that were the inner circle. They witnessed the transfiguration, they witnessed Jesus as He went out into Gethsemane away from the rest and was praying, they witnessed these key events. Then of course there was the one that was closest to Christ. He’s called the disciple whom Jesus loved. There’s the big crowd… Then, there’s the 70… Then, there’s the 12… Then, there’s the 3… Then, there’s the 1. Like concentric circles. This is the outer band here, the 70. Jesus prays for laborers for the harvest.
The lesson I had there and that I wrote down is prayer precedes ministry. “After these things the Lord appointed 70 others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers'”. Prayer precedes ministry. That’s what is being lost in our generation. Martin Luther said I can’t do anything unless I spend the first two hours of the day in prayer. Most people wouldn’t know what to pray for one hour. We live in the times of instant, fast, on the go, do, do, do. Jesus said pray before you go out in ministry. That’s a real lesson.
Verses 3 to 5. The disciples were to get the cities ready for Christ’s coming by demonstrating Christ’s humility, selflessness, and kindness. You can read in here He tells them how to behave so they reflect Him. Starting in verse 6 the disciples are to show gratitude, contentment, and not always seeking financial advancement. I remember that principle when I was with a group of evangelists when I was in college. The leader of the group said you’ll learn something right away. We used to be evangelists and we’d speak every night at the church for seven days in a row. When you get to a church to minister for a week, when you first get there, nobody will know you very well. The person that invites you to dinner at their house or says, do you have a place to stay, do you want to stay with our family?” That person usually has the gift of hospitality.
Do you know what we found? What it says in Luke 10, they’re not very well off. You’ll find most generous people are poor, a lot of them, but they’re very generous. Jesus said, “And in whatever house you enter first, say peace to this house.” In other words, what he’s saying later in verse 7 is don’t go from house to house. What we found is about Wednesday of the week of ministry, usually, the people that have the huge homes and all the toys say, hey, you know what? You’re over at the Smith’s and they don’t have a very big house. Why don’t you come to our house? Do you know what the Lord said? The principle is, don’t move up and get a better deal. The first one that invites you to stay, stay with them, and bless them. Just a little rule that Jesus gave His disciples.
Then, here’s number four, starting in verse 9. Disciples served in the power of God. They made every city responsible for either accepting or rejecting Christ’s message. In chapter 10, verse 12 He said, “I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.” Wow. Did you know Jesus said there are degrees of punishment? That’s something to think about as you study this week.
Here’s a quick map because most Bibles in the back have these maps, see there’s a map in the back of my Bible. Here’s one for you to see. Jesus is sent out to 70 from Capernaum right here. He’s going down through Samaria through Perea on His way to Jerusalem. He’s rejected in chapter 9 by the Samaritans. Then, He travels through Perea to Jerusalem. Then, He’s in Jerusalem for all this time. In chapter 10 verse 13 Jesus starts talking about where He came from. Jesus, I’m going to show you this on the map, spent a majority of His ministry in three cities. More than half of all his recorded miracle ministry was in a little triangle of three cities.
First, I’ll read it. “Woe to you, Chorazin!” Verse 13. “Woe to you Bethsaida! If the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.” Stop. Jesus not only knows what happened. Jesus knows what could happen. That’s what being God is. See, God is omniscient. That means God never discovers anything. He’s never surprised by anything. He never counts anything. Remember who Jesus is. Jesus is God the Son, the second person of the trinity, one God three persons, Father, Son, Spirit. He knows the future, but He also knows what could have happened.
In theology, there’s a whole division of theology and it’s very complex. The only thing we need to know is that Jesus knows all things and He is God the Son. Watch what He says in verse 14, “It will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.” Verse 15, “And for you, Capernaum.” There’s the third city. Jesus poured himself into Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, that’s the sacred triangle. Look at this, here’s a map. This is just the Holy Land map that I carry with me every time I lead a group over there. There’s Chorazin, here is Kfar Nakhum, Capernaum, and here is Bethsaida. Look at this, see that’s a triangle. That’s on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. 60% of Christ’s miracles took place in those three cities. Here’s a better map showing you that. The dark spot is the water of the sea of Galilee, the mountains that surround it, there’s Chorazin, there’s Capernaum, there’s Bethsaida. I call that the sacred triangle.
Do you know what the problem is? Those people were overly familiar with Christ. He was just Jesus. He lived just down the road there. He lived down the road in Capernaum. Yeah, we’ve met His family. Yeah, oh, He does miracles. Oh, He teaches these long sermons. The people were over familiar and untouched by Jesus. Jesus said woe to you, it will be better for Sodom and Gomorrah, and Tyre and Sidon, than for you. The pagans will have less punishment than you religious people that heard Jesus day in and day out, week in and week out, and saw Him do so many miracles. There’s a danger of growing up in the church in a Christian home, in a Christian environment where you get over-familiar and unmoved, untouched by the things of God.
Verse 21, after you get through that section. In verse 21, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit,” you can read that. He talks about how there is salvation and it’s just beautiful what it says. Jesus rejoices in ministry and in God’s sovereign overseeing. See God is watching over our sharing of the Gospel. I was just riding the car talking to one of my children and I told him that I had the most fascinating note on YouTube. I was teaching a class like I’m teaching you. Only you were actually on the other side of the camera. I am sitting at a table thinking I’m at a coffee shop doing this Bible study with you when it’s just me and my Bible, and everything. Bonnie is over there running the cameras and the lights and capturing all this. In one of the classes, when I was writing on the marker board, I told the story about sharing the Gospel. I used to train teenagers in how to witness when I was a youth pastor. I showed them how to go door to door at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.
We would knock on all the dorm room doors, but when all the students were out on Friday nights at football games, there was no one there. I said, come on, I’m going to show you how to witness in laundromats. We just would go talk to people that were folding their clothes. I went up and talked to this fellow that was folding his laundry. I said, hey, can I talk to you and share something with you? He said, sure, I have nothing else to do. I’m doing my laundry. I said, great. I went through the Gospel with him. Then, I took out a Gospel track and handed it to him. I said, what would keep you tonight from receiving the Lord Jesus Christ? I explained to him, he was lost and a sinner. I was lost, but I had met Jesus Christ. He’d forgiven my sins and He would forgive his sins. When I got all done, he said, not interested. I said, okay, but you should keep this little Gospel track and I handed it to him. I prayed and I left.
Did you know, 30 years later, I got a note through YouTube. I told that story, this person wrote and said, in 1979 in Athens, Georgia I was doing my laundry when this college student came up and talked to me while I was folding my clothes. They gave me a Gospel tract. He told me that he came every week and did this. I told him I wasn’t interested. I went home and read that track. I got down in my dorm and I received Christ, became a Christian. For 30 plus years, 40 years now it is, I’ve been looking to meet him. He said, is that you? I wrote back and I said probably. A lot of people were witnessing back then, but I do remember someone that was folding their clothes and said no. I gave him a track. He said, then the Lord answered my prayer. He said, I want you to know I’m a Christian and serving the Lord in the local church. Look what number six says, our ministry is sovereignly overseen by God. God is the one that will make the seed of the word we sow to bear fruit. Always pray, remember that was the first point. Pray before outreach. Pray for the Lord to open hearts, pray for the Lord to lead you then share the Gospel.
We’re going to get into the parables, or we’ll never get this Bible study over. Luke 10, starting in verse 25, says, “Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and said, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'” Here’s the lesson. All parables are about salvation. They’re not strange, deep, mystical, secret knowledge, all parables have something to do with salvation. That’s why Jesus told them. He was telling all about salvation and the responsibility to respond to what you hear, and the judgment if you don’t. The good Samaritan is a wonderful story about helping people in need. However, if you read what Jesus said, no one is like the good Samaritan. That Samaritan was a mortal enemy of the Jews, that Samaritan was not supposed to be on that road. They would have been driven off that road. They were on the main drag where every Jew walked up to Jerusalem on their way to the temple, that’s why a priest and a Levite went by them. The whole story shocked the listeners because what Jesus was telling them is that the behavior of the good Samaritan is like salvation. You can’t act the way the good Samaritan acted.
It’s okay for people to have good Samaritan ministries and for people to be a good Samaritan. It’s on some trucks and everything. It’s great. That’s compassion and Christ-likeness, but that’s not the purpose of the parable. The purpose of the parable is to show that only God can make someone love like the good Samaritan loved, give as the good Samaritan gave, follow up like the good Samaritan followed up, go against culture as he went. That’s only supernaturally possible and I’ll show you that as we go through it.
Here’s what I wrote: in the good Samaritan parable Jesus relates eternal life to a compassionate heart. Only God can make our hearts compassionate. Only God gives to us who know Him. It’s not position, but practical action. A lot of people think that they have a role. When I talk to people they say, I serve here or I help there, I’m a volunteer here. That’s not compassion. Compassion is not a position, it’s when we practically sacrifice because Christ prompts us to.
Let me just show you on this map. Here’s Jerusalem. Here is Jericho down here. This is the road. This is the road from Jericho to Jerusalem that Jesus walked on while He’s telling the story about the good Samaritan. Remember that map I showed you? Jesus came down from Capernaum, went over to Perea, then went down to Jericho, and then came up to Jerusalem. Look how steep that road is. It goes from west to east, and it’s a drop, look, of 800 feet of elevation. It’s a very steep road. This is an aerial view from an airplane flying over. This is the deep gorge called Wadi Qilt. Next to it if you can see, now my wonderful wife tells me, you draw so much in those pictures, honey, they can’t see. I’ll just say right here I’m going to draw on top of it. You can see a road that’s called the Ascent of Adumim. It goes from Jericho in Herod’s palace following along the Wadi Qilt to Jerusalem. Here’s a different view from the north. This is Tel Jericho the one that Joshua was near in the battle of Jericho. These are Herod’s palaces.
Jesus would have come up the Jordan River, right by Herod’s palace, and followed this ridge right here, up to Jerusalem, next to that deep gorge called the Wadi. Qilt. The deep gorge, Wadi Qilt, the road next to it is the road the good Samaritan finds the waylaid man beset upon by the robbers. Here’s another area. Herod’s palace is built here. Here’s the Wadi Qilt. He had a bridge over that and right next to it is the Ascent of Adumim, following just like that up to Jerusalem right along this canyon. Jesus walked right by here telling this story. Amazing how He used the surroundings. This is just another view of how Jesus would have walked right beside Herod’s palace going up this road. The actual Wadi Qilt is a drainage ditch and it flowed between the two palaces with this bridge over it. Jesus walked beside it. Isn’t that interesting that Jesus would have walked right next to the monument of the man that tried to kill Him at His birth? Can you imagine all the thoughts He had about Herod?
That’s Luke 10, but let’s not stop there. Look at verse 38. By the way, you say aren’t you going to tell us more about the good Samaritan? You’re supposed to spend all week long studying it. If you read your study Bible many notes explain the impossibility of that Good Samaritan’s behavior that only God could prompt. You do that. There’s a big, long article about that in your study Bible and much you can learn. Let’s read Luke 10:38 about Mary and Martha. “It happened as they went that He entered a certain village.” The village it’s called Bethany. I’ll show it to you on the map in just a minute. “And a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him” verse 38 “into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at His feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted.” Look what I wrote. Mary sat at Christ’s feet before she served. Worship kept her from burnout. See, Martha got burned out. She said, how come someone won’t help me? It’s because she didn’t have time to do the most important thing to pause and get focused on Christ before she went out and did all the work. There’s a great lesson you can spend this week working on.
Once more, the Wadi Qilt from Jerusalem, which is at 3,300 feet, it’s 14 miles or 22 kilometers down here to the municipality of Jericho, which is 800 feet lower in elevation. This is an incredible drop. This is plus 3,300 feet and Jericho is minus 800 feet because it’s below sea level because it’s right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. It’s a 4,100-foot decline in elevation because we go below sea level. Sea level is, I think, right about here. This is sea level. Jericho is below sea level 800 feet. That’s just for you to know. That was very graphic.
Chapter 15. Go from chapter 10 to 15, keep going on in your Bible. Let me show you some more things to find. I encourage you to mark your Bibles. I’m reading this through every day. This morning I found something different. I had to look for a pen. I had to get a pen that was small enough that I could underline one word that stood out in the sentence. Mark your Bibles, I encourage you. On to chapter 15, verses 1 and 2. Jesus had a message people wanted to hear, and it says, verse 1, “All the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes complained. And they said, ‘This Man’s receiving sinners and eating with them.’ So He spoke this parable.” Singular, three parts: the lost son, the lost coin, the lost sheep. All three of them are part of the singular parable.
Verses 3 to 7 this is what I saw. Jesus seeks like the lost sheep, finds like the lost coin, carries like the lost sheep, and rejoices over the lost son as the father did. All these elements are talking about God the Savior, remember all of these parables are about salvation. The lost sheep, verse 4, in the wilderness speaks of us wandering out there and Jesus is the Good Shepherd looking for us. The lost coin is a real picture of a coin. You know how a coin falls down between the rocks of the floor and into the dirt and it gets buried? People are like that coin. They get lost, they get buried in life, in their struggles or problems, their weaknesses, their pains, their sins, but Jesus is searching.
By the way, each member of the trinity is profiled in three parts. In the lost sheep, it’s Jesus, He’s the Good Shepherd. In the lost coin, it’s the Holy Spirit, He’s like the lamp where the woman is searching for the coin. In the lost son, He’s the father who’s standing with his arms out. God the Father receives the lost son, God the Holy Spirit searches for the lost coin, and God the Son, Jesus Christ, is the shepherd looking for his lost sheep. God seeks, finds, carries, rejoices over lost sheep and sinners who repent.
I love this, look in verses 8 to 10. God seeks and finds. The angels who always face Him, witness His rejoicing when one sinner repents. Notice what it says in verse 10. “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God.” Wait a minute. Who’s rejoicing? God. See, here’s God and the angels surround Him. They’re looking on in wonder that God is cheering every time a sinner repents and comes to salvation. The angels rejoice too, but the emphasis of this verse is not the angels rejoicing. It’s God who rejoices. Do you want to be a part of what is really huge to the heart of God? Get involved in sharing the Gospel. Make God rejoice when you take someone with you to Heaven. That’s the only thing we can take with us to Heaven are people that we share the Gospel with. That’s one of the greatest joys in life.
Verses 11 to 16 have that next parable, the prodigal son who took his father’s hard-earned money and wasted it. The prodigal reflected on his father’s kind consistent character and was willing to humbly repent and serve. Let me show you something you may never have thought of. This is the Sea of Galilee right there. This is Tiberias, Magdala, Gennesaret, Capernaum, Chorazin (Korazin), Bethsaida. Look what’s right here. Do you see this dotted line right here? See this area? See the name of it. The Decapolis. Deca, Polis. Deca is 10, Polis is cities. This is an area of 10 Greek cities that were pagan, non-Jewish, and raised pork. Remember over here where the Jews lived? No pigs, no pork. Over here where the Gentiles lived there were herds of pigs. Do you realize what the prodigal son did? He went from the good Jewish side, the Western side of the lake, and went across the lake. He got himself over here where the party was. It’s where they were eating and drinking, and making merry, and eating pork, and living with no rules, and living for pleasure. He wasted all his father’s money. Do you see how to the Jews, he went to the far country, this area on the other side?
Let me show you a better map of it. Here are Kursi and Hippos. That is the Decapolis right there where they raise pigs, right to the Jordan river area. This was the Jewish side. This was the Gentile side. He went to a far country, left his country, and went to sin country. That’s the setting for the prodigal son. The father was watching and waiting for the repenting son. This is the 12th time in Luke that we see the compassion of the father. Look what it says in verse 20, “He rose and came to his father. When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” The compassion of God the Son and God the Father. The gracious father forgives, clothes, restores, and celebrates. The older son is jealous, callous. The father pleads with him, but he’s unmoved. Look at verse 32. God is a savior who rejoices to seek, find, forgive, and restore any repentant sinner. His love has no limit. His grace has no measure, and He loves us to the uttermost. He seeks and saves that which was lost.
When there are two chapters, I write two prayers. Let me pray these for you, this is my application. Remember, you should find someone to share this with, I’m sharing it with you. I look at all of you who are in this small group as my prayer partners. By the way, thank you. I just got a note from one of you this week. You said, I pray every day for you because I’m in the 52 chapter study. You said from the coffee shop we’re in your small group and so I’m praying for you. I watch on Facebook every time you move to a new place and I’m praying. Thank you for praying. Here is where I am to be accountable to you with what the Lord’s working on in my heart as I studied that this week. I wrote, Lord, from Luke 10, send me with Your power as Your representative, just like You did with the 70. Help me to reflect You well to all who see me. Keep me from being overfamiliar and complacent, like those cities in the sacred triangle. Fill my heart with Your compassion each time as I pause to ask You to clothe me with Your heart for those in need.
I’ll stop my prayer for a second. I found in my studies that in Colossians 3:12, one of the prayers Paul said that the Colossian believers should pray is for the Lord to not only clothe them with humility, but with compassion too. You see this shirt; this is not the shirt I was wearing today. When I got done with this day of work, I got ready to record this, this is after work. When I came here to sit down, my wonderful wife, Bonnie said, you can’t wear that shirt. It’s an old t-shirt you worked in all day long. I was studying, preparing, and doing everything that I do. She said you’ve got to change your shirt. That instantly made me think about Colossians 3:12. It says, put on like clothing, compassion.
Did you know in your spiritual closet there’s a compassion garment? There’s a humility garment. There’s a patience garment. All those things in Colossians 3, 12 to 14, you ought to read about it. You have to choose to put them on. The Christian life is a whole bunch of small, little incremental choices. For what? When I look in the mirror of the word of God and I see I’m not compassionate like Christ, I stop right then and I say, Lord, help me. I want to have Your compassion. I want to be like Jesus Christ. I want to reflect Him well. Back to this prayer. Clothe me with Your heart for those in need. Remind me, like Mary did, to bow and worship before serving so I don’t burn out as Martha did. Amen. That was Luke 10.
Then from the second chapter, I said, Lord, thanks for being a God of love. Thank You for seeking, watching, and waiting for me whenever I waste my life in sin. You always forgive when I repent. You rejoice, celebrate, and welcome me back. I love You, dear Lord. Amen. See how simple that is. You don’t have to be eloquent, flowery. You just have to be sincere and reflect the truths you’re finding in that passage as we master the scope of the Bible.
Where are we in the life of Christ? There’s another resource you can find on our website at both Discover the Book as well as at our page on Facebook. Either discoverthebook.org or the 52 Greatest Chapters Facebook page, you’ll find these resources. This one is called The 250 Key Events. Actually, 250 plus key events in the life of Christ. Here they are right here. This is the numbering of the events. This is Luke. Remember it’s all the events in the life of Christ in chronological order, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in order. In this whole stretch, none of this is recorded in Matthew. None of this was recorded in Mark. Look, this is Luke 10 and it’s right after all these events in John. Look where these events are. See this? This is the temple, this is Gethsemane. Temple, where’s that? It’s the Jerusalem temple. He talks about back home, the sacred triangle, but He is on His way walking around Jerusalem.
Where did this event take place? It takes place between Jesus giving this I am the light of the world discourse at the temple and Jesus performing the great sign of healing the man born blind at the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem in chapter 9 of John. This is John, so this section we’re looking at takes place between John 8 and John 9.
I’ll show you the next part of the chart. This one left off at 149 and here’s 149 going to more events. Jesus is in chapters 9 & 10 and look where our next chapter is. There’s Luke 15. This is Luke right here. This is the lost sheep, coin, son parable. This is the good Samaritan parable. That chapter and this chapter, right there, are both sandwiched when Jesus is in Bethany and Jerusalem. That makes a total difference. That’s why he’s talking about the Wadi Qilt and the Ascent of Adumim. Jesus taught from what people were seeing in the crowd. He talked about a sower and the seed. He talked about the lilies of the field. Here he’s talking about that treacherous steep road with the good Samaritan. Just for you to know again, up here, this is the bottom part of the sea of Galilee. This is the Jordan rift coming across from Jordan to Jericho and up that steep road to Jerusalem. There’s the Decapolis. You’re starting to understand where this is on maps.
This is what the temple looked like. Today a little tiny bit of this wall is known as the Wailing Wall. Have you ever heard of the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem? It’s just a tiny piece of this. This, if you’ve ever heard of, it’s called the Eastern Gate in Jerusalem. This whole area right here was a 40-acre platform. This is 40 acres. Huge. That was called the Temple Mount. This little building is the Temple. This is the Temple Mount. I’ll explain to you why that’s so important. This is what it looks like today. What’s that right there? That’s called the Dome of the Rock. What’s this right here? Al-Aqsa. If you saw in the news back in May, there were huge riots. Then there was this war in June between Israel and the Gaza strip. This area was on the news all over the world. That, God says, is the focal point for the end of the world. That’s what it looks like today.
This is the Jaffa Gate right here, the Citadel of David. This is the Old Wall of the Old City. It goes all the way around like this. See this right here. You’ve probably heard of Gethsemane, it’s right there. This is the Mount of Olives, but this is that 40-acre platform, right there and that’s called the temple mount. By the way, if you want the best Bible geography, it’s at that website, bibleplaces.com. I have purchased every slide that they have. I don’t have any aerial shots so whenever I have an aerial shot it’s from them. His name is Todd Bolen, Dr. Todd Bolen, a wonderful believer, a Christian friend of mine.
Back to the temple. This is the Southern steps area that we’ll cover when we get to the book of Acts, it’s probably the site of the Day of Pentecost. This is again, the temple. In the book of Acts, this whole area here is called Solomon’s Portico and that’s where the early church met. Why am I telling you this? If you remember in all those events in the life of Christ, it said that He was at the temple, He was at the temple, He was at the temple. Jesus taught John chapter 10 here or here. He was here or over here. He was walking around, and He’d stop in this vast area. A crowd would form, and He would teach John chapter 10. John chapter 9 is actually right down these stairs at the pool of Siloam. This is the setting for Luke 10 and 15. I just want you to have that in your mind.
What are parables? Scripture records about 40 parables, 39 plus parables, there’s a little disagreement on whether some of them are parables. They’re simple stories that Christ spoke in the latter part of His public ministry. The parables are all about the Gospel and nothing but the Gospel. You can understand all the parables. As soon as you understand they somehow connect to the sharing of the Gospel. The sower and the seed, the fish in the net, searching for the coin, the lost son, the lost sheep. All of them are attached somehow to salvation. What’s interesting is the 40 parables are only in the synoptic Gospels. They’re only confined to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Why? Because Matthew 13 says they’re an act of divine judgment. Jesus began to veil His teaching when the people rejected Him. He began to tell parables they couldn’t understand. That’s why every time He told a parable the disciples said, what does that one mean? They wanted to understand, and He explained. We’re listening to Jesus our Savior explain salvation, which only He can render.
Here are the 39 parables. Here are the stats. Seven are in all of the Synoptics, three are in just Matthew and Luke. Matthew has 10 only in Matthew. Mark has two only in Mark. Luke has 17 only in Luke. You can see the names of them, the workers in the vineyard, the two sons, the vinedressers, the wedding feast, the fig tree. You’ve heard of all of them, wise and foolish virgins, all that, the lost coin, the lost son, the unjust steward. This is one that there’s great discussion whether it’s a parable or not. No parable has anybody named except for number 35. That parable has the name of someone. It’s very likely it wasn’t a parable, but it was actually a parable that went beyond just a parable and describes the abode of the dead. You can see all the rest of them there.
If Jesus is using parables to talk about salvation how did Jesus describe salvation? Let me just show you in the book of Luke 11. He said, when you get saved, God becomes your Heavenly Father and I become your Savior. God the Father is your Heavenly Father and God the Son is your Savior. Look what happens. You start talking to God as your Father, you start hallowing His name. That means, Christian’s worship God. You say Your kingdom come, Your will be done, you begin to submit to Him. Forgive us and provide, that’s depending on Him. Forgive everyone who’s indebted to us, that’s loving others. Don’t lead us into temptation, deliver us from the evil one. That’s seeking His holiness. That’s the evidence of what a Christian looks like. Jesus is describing even in the Lord’s prayer what a Christian looks like.
Here’s another one in Luke 11. “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Saved people keep the word of God. They’re full of light, it says there in verse 34. It also says lost people are inwardly full of evil. There’s a contrast. Jesus said a Christian has been changed, remember what I said at the beginning, from the inside out. Here’s another one. Jesus describes those heading to Heaven as repenting of sin. What’s repenting? Repenting is a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior. When you say I was wrong, God You were right. I’m a sinner. You’re holy. I can’t save myself. Only You can save me. Help. That’s what repentance is. Help. I can’t do this to myself. I need You. I no longer am self-reliant. Those who are heading to Heaven are sin repenting, fruit-bearing, gate entering, God knowing, and righteousness doing. You say, where’d you get that? From chapter 13.
Jesus said, unless you repent, you will perish. Then He told about the fig tree. He said He went to look for fruit on it but didn’t find any and that was bad. He said believers enter through the narrow door. That’s chapter 13 verses 24 to 27. Many will be outside knocking, and He says, I don’t know you. Salvation is knowing the Lord. People that don’t know the Lord have an unbroken longing and doing evil. Longing for evil and doing evil. Saved people, we still struggle with our wrong desires, but we don’t want to do it. It’s like the difference, I tell people, between a sheep and a pig. You drop a pig in mud and it goes, wow, it settles in. You drop a little lamb, a sheep in mud and they don’t like it. They will rub against something trying to get it off. They don’t like dirt and mud. Pigs love it. That’s the difference between the saved and lost.
How else did Jesus describe salvation? It’s impossible. He said, if you come to Me, you’ll love me so much it’ll appear that you hate your father and mother, even your own life. You want to carry your cross and follow Me. You’re willing to give up everything. Does anybody want to give up everything and hate everybody? No, that’s not humanly possible. However, when we get saved God changes everything within us and we begin to love Him more than anything else. Genuine Christians are sin repenting. Remember in our parable? God rejoices over one sinner who repents. That’s how Jesus describes salvation.
A couple of reminders. Beware of overfamiliarity with the wonders of Christ. Some of you are taking this course because you’re just loving Bible study and you’ve been studying the Bible since you were knee-high to a grasshopper, you go to every Christian meeting and everything. Be careful. You don’t become complacently over-familiar with Christ-like Bethsaida, Chorazin, and Capernaum. Number two, we need to keep asking for a fresh dose of Christ’s compassion. There’s the reference right there. Just like Bonnie made me change my shirt, you and I need to say every day, Lord clothe me with humility, with compassion, with longsuffering,
Real quick, some final challenges. I just did it, now you study this week and then find someone you can share your findings and application prayer with. I just got a note from Alberta, Canada. I looked up Alberta and it’s shaped like this. It’s like a rectangle on its side. Right in the center, I found on Google maps, was this group. They said, we’re doing the 52 chapters study. I thought, praise the Lord, you’ve heard my final challenge and now you banded together. They are sharing what they find and allowed praying, for God to change them. That’s the essence of what God wants us to do.
A second challenge, invest in a plan to memorize scripture. I usually get up at 5:30 am or 6:00 am. I went out for a walk in the beautiful early morning. Do you know what I worked on? My verses. Why? Because the Bible says that when the word of Christ richly dwells in us, God transforms us. John 17:17 says, and I’ll write it down for you, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” I like to meditate on the scripture, but I can’t walk around reading my Bible or I’ll trip and fall, or get run over, or whatever. You record it ahead of time in your mind. That’s what scripture memory is. Then as you walk through the day you chew on it; you meditate on it. You know what happens? God changes us to look like him.
Number one, find a small group. Number two, start memorizing scripture as you study. Number three, pray for us. This month, Bonnie and I are preparing for our next overseas journey. We’re going to be teaching one of the best classes that we’ve ever had. There are almost 300 that are already registered in this class, and we’re going to be teaching them through the doctrines of the scripture. We’re especially emphasizing biblical prophecy, so pray for us. It’s an international class and we’re going to be spending six weeks teaching them and I can’t wait. Pray for us because we’re equipping and mobilizing partners. These are lay people and career people who are sharing the Gospel all around the world. Trying to reach the least-reached peoples of Asia, Europe, and Africa with the Gospel. That’s my challenge to you.
Next week, when we come back, we’re starting the Gospel by John. It’s going to be amazing, about the deity of Christ. This week, each day, get into Luke 10, Luke, 15. Everything that you find, write it down in your journal. Every day apply something you found in that application prayer. Let the Lord change you more and more as He clothes us with His compassion to look like Jesus Christ so we can represent Him. Thanks for joining us. Have a great week in the Lord, God bless you.
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