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Form 2 CRE Notes On The Journey To Jerusalem
Grade/Class: Form 2
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TOPIC 4:THE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
THE MISSION OF THE SEVENTY TWO (LK. 10:1-24)
At the start of the journey to Jerusalem, Jesus chose 72 disciples and sent them on a mission to preach and heal. They were sent two by two.
They were sent before him to prepare the way. The mission of the seventy two would represent the preaching of the Gospel to the whole world. This also confirms that Jesus was a universal savior and that the Gospel was for all irrespective of the race or color.
The disciples would continue with the preaching after Jesus’ ascension to heaven. Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.
This implied that there are very many people who needed to hear the Good News but very few to preach to them.
Jesus said that he was sending his disciples as lambs between wolves. This meant that they would encounter dangers, hostility and rejection.
Jesus therefore, gave them the following instructions:
- They were not to carry money, food or clothing. They were to depend entirely on the hospitality of the people.
- They were to preach peace in the houses they entered.
- They were to heal the sick
- Preach the kingdom of God.
- To shake off the dust from their feet where they were rejected.
- Jesus stressed the idea that the kingdom of God had come and those who do not believe will suffer when judgment will be upon them.
- After their mission, the disciples returned and reported their success to Jesus. They reported that they were able to drive out demons in the Mighty name of Jesus.
Lessons learnt from the passages:
- Christians need to evangelize and ensure that the gospel reaches all the people.
- Christians need not to give up in evangelizing.
- Christians should not be proud of their achievement as Christians but should be more concerned with winning souls for the kingdom of God.
- Christians have a duty to take care of God’s servants. The 72 were expected to depend entirely on the people they were preaching to.
- The duty of a Christian is not only to evangelize but should also provide for the needs of the less fortunate.
- The word of God should be preached to all generations and to all the corners of the world as Jesus is a universal savior.
- Those who do not receive the word of God will suffer when judgment will be upon them.
- Christians are assured of God’s victory over Satan. Jesus told the disciples that he gave them the authority to overcome the power of the devil.
A COMMITTED FOLLOWER OF JESUS (LK. 10:25-11; 1-13)
The parable of the Good Samaritan
A teacher of the law came to Jesus to test his understanding of the Mosaic Law.
He asked Jesus, “What must I do to receive eternal life.”
Jesus responded by asking him what the law says and his interpretation of it. The lawyer answered. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind and your neighbor as yourself.”
This was a summary of all the commandments God gave to the Israelites through Moses.
Jesus replied, “You are right. Do this and you will be saved?”
The lawyer then asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In the Jewish understanding, a neighbor was a fellow Jew and other people were enemies. To explain the concept of a neighbor, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritans and the Jews were not in good terms.
In this parable, a man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked, beaten and left half dead by the robbers.
While still by the road side, a Jewish Priest came by, saw him and passed on the other side without helping him.
A Levite also came, saw him and passed by.
A Samaritan passed by and stopped to help the wounded man. He bandaged the wounds of the victim and took him to an inn and met all the expenses.
After telling the parable, Jesus asked the lawyer a question, “In your opinion, which one of these three acted like a neighbor towards the man?” The lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy on the Samaritan.” Jesus told him to go and do the same.
From the parable, Christians can learn that:
- A neighbor is anyone who needs our assistance regardless of their social status, race or colour.
- Christians need to show their love to all including their enemies.
- Christians should use their resources to help those in need just like the Samaritan used his resources to help the man who had been attacked.
- It is not merely knowing the commandments that is important, but the deeds.
- Christians should not look down upon others despised.
- The kingdom of God is for all and not only the Jews. Luke uses this illustration to show then universality of Jesus’ mission.
- A Christians need not to be restricted by cultural and religious practices in responding to the needy. The Levite and the priest feared that the wounded man was unclean.
JESUS VISITS MARY AND MARTHA (LK. 10:38-42)
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus visited Martha and Mary who were sisters. While Martha was busy preparing a meal, Mary sat the feet of Jesus listening to his teachings. Martha complained to Jesus that Mary had left her to do all the work. Jesus answered her by saying, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and troubles over so many things, but just one is needed. .Mary has chosen the right thing and it will not be taken away from her.
Lessons that Christians can learn from the Jesus’ visit to Mary and Martha
- Even women are welcomed in the kingdom of God. Women are therefore encouraged to participate in the Christian ministry.
- Christians should not be pre-occupied with material things but should give a lot of time to the word of God.
- A committed Christian therefore, needs to create time to listen to the word of God.
- Pastors, priests etc should make pastoral visits to the homes of their members.
- Christians should support the servants of God in their ministry by providing for their needs.
- Those who receive the word of God will be blessed and it will not be taken from them.
How are women involved in church ministries?
- Ordained as priests.
- Sing in the church.
- Others have decided to remain unmarried for the service of God.
- Women take part in church services eg collecting of church offerings, singing etc.
- Women are involved in certain church programmes such as women ministries – take care of the young children in …
- Women are employed in church organizations.
- Help in the distribution of Holy Communion. They also prepare the Holy Communion.
- They hold position in the church-Sabbath School Leaders.
- They clean or decorate the church.
- Act as ushers.
- Participate in choosing church leaders.
JESUS’ TEACHING ON PRAYER (LK. 11:1-13)
Prayer is a conversation we have with our God which is aimed at requesting for something we desire.
Why do Christians pray?
- To give thanks to God for his many blessings and his many gifts to us eg protection and life.
- To ask God to continue blessing us.
- To ask God for forgiveness as all have sinned.
- To give them strength to overcome temptations.
- Christians can pray for others who may not have the chance to pray for themselves at a particular time like the sick or those travelling.
Jesus had finished praying when his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.
He told them, “When you pray, say:
Our Father who at in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,
Give us our daily bread,
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,
Lead us not into temptations…”
This is what has been referred to as the Lord’s Prayer.
Lessons that Christians learn from the Lord’s Prayer
- Christians should always refer to God as Our Father during pray and give him honour.
- Christians should always pray for the needs of others and not just themselves.
- Should pray to God to give us our daily needs.
- We should pray so that our sins are forgiven.
- Christians should also pray so that they are not led into temptations but to be delivered from evil.
THE PARABLE OF A FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT (LK.11:5-13)
After teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus went on to give further teachings on prayer.
He told t hem of a parable of a friend at midnight. A man went to his friend to ask for three loaves so that he could feed a friend who had visited him at night. Although it was late at night, the man woke up and gave something to the friend to get rid of him. The man responded due to the persistence of the man.
Jesus concludes by saying, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.”
He concludes his teaching on prayer by comparing how an earthly father treats his children with how God responds to those who pray to him.
From the parable of the friend at midnight Christians can learn that:
- Christians should .pray all the time without losing hope (persistent in prayer)
- Christians should not be afraid of approaching God for what they need.
- God is ready to give whatever we ask from him.
When prayers were offered in the traditional African Societies
- In the traditional African society prayers were offered to God through ancestors.
- They said prayers through privately and communally.
- Public prayers were conducted by religious leaders for example diviners. Such prayers were accompanied with sacrifices.
- Private prayers were the most cases con ducted among the family members.
- Prayers could be conducted during times of difficulties such as during famine, locust inversion.
- Prayers were also said when a woman got pregnant. This was .meant to give the woman and the child protection.
- Could also be offered in times of victories in wars.
- During good harvest
Jesus accused of using the power of Belzebul (11:14-23)
The people watched the people cast out a demon that was dumb. When the demon came out of the man he began to speak and the crowd was amazed at what Jesus had done.
However, some doubted his power and accused him of using the power of Belzebul.
Other people wanted to trap Jesus asked him to perform a miracle to prove he was using God’s power to drive out demons. Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “A kingdom divided against itself is laid and a divided house falls” He asked them how possible for Satan to cast out demons.
He said that war between Jesus and Satan was like a woman guarding a house. If someone stronger comes, the guard could be defeated and all his possessions taken away. The house should be occupied by something good.
He gives them the sign of Jonah who was sent by God to call the people of Nineveh to repentance. The people of Nineveh repented while the people of Jesus’ time had not repented.
Lastly, people should make Jesus their spiritual light. He says those who hear the word of God and keep are more blessed than his relatives by birth.
From this incident Christians can learn that
- Christians should not just accuse one falsely
- Christians need to work together for a house divided between itself cannot stand.
- Christians should not rely on other signs but only Christ Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is the only sign to Christians.
- Jesus’ power is stronger than Stan’s power. He came to destroy Satan’s kingdom.
- The heart of man should be occupied by the Holy Spirit before Satan destroys him completely.
- Jesus uses the illustration of Jonah being sent to the people of Nineveh who were not Jews. (Gentiles). This meant that if the Jews do not accept God’s words then the Kingdom of God would be given to\ to the Gentiles.
- Christians should be the light to the world.
Jesus’ warning on hypocrisy (Lk. 11:37, 12:1-12)
The word hypocrisy means being insincere, dishonest or pretending to be something different from what one is. A hypocrite, therefore, is someone who says one thing band does another.
Jesus warned his disciples against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. One day a Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him in his house. As they sat down for the meal, the Pharisee was astonished to see that Jesus did not wash before eating.
And Jesus said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cap and of the dish but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness.” By this Jesus .meant that they were more concerned with the outward observance of the law instead of practicing of the law genuinely from the heart.
He criticized the Pharisees and called them hypocrites because:
- They considered themselves self-righteous. It was not important merely to observe the law but to show by acts or charity.
- The Pharisees taxed the people heavily and rejected justice and the love of God.
- Jesus also accused the Pharisees against showing off- they go for the best seats in the synagogues and demand salutation in the market places.
- They followed Jesus with the intention of finding faults.
- They despised others.
-He also criticized the teachers of the law and the scribes for knowing what a person was expected to do but failed to make the people to understand the true interpretation of the law.
-Jesus accused the teachers of the law of behaving like their ancestors who killed the prophets of God.
-The lawyers prevented the people from entering the kingdom of God by making too many human rules.
-They altered the Law of Moses to suit their interests.
-They knew the commandment of God but did not apply them appropriately
Jesus therefore, warned his disciples against hypocrisy.
- He told them that nothing was covered up that will not be known.
Jesus told his disciples not to fear persecution. That they should not fear those who kill the body.
He went on to say that every sin is forgivable except the sin against the Holy Spirit.(Blasphemy)
The disciples should not fear when brought before authorities for the Holy Spirit would teach them what to say.
Everyone who acknowledges Jesus would also be acknowledged in the Kingdom of God.
From the passage Christians can learn that:
- Christians should not just be concerned about their upward behavior but should be righteous in their hearts.
- Christians should live according to the will of God.
- Christians need not to fear persecution for they would be guided by the Holy Spirit.
- Christians should not be proud of themselves. They should not exalt themselves. They should be aware that all sins are can be forgiven except blasphemy sin against the Holy Spirit.
- Christians should strive to live a Christ like life since nothing can be hidden from God (they need to practice honesty)
- They should be ready to stand for Jesus and confess their loyalty to him publically.
JESUS’ TEACHING ON MATERIAL POSSESSIONS (LK. 12: 13-34)
One time, someone asked Jesus to divide the inheritance between him and his brother. Jesus warned him that no one had ever made him judge over their property.
In the Jewish context wealth was seen in terms of large herds of livestock, food and large tracks of land and children.
Jesus used the parable of the rich farmer to illustrate correct attitude towards wealth (earthly possessions).
THE PARABLE OF THE RICH FARMER (THE RICH FOOL) Lk.12;16-24
That once there was a rich farmer who had land that bore good crops. The farmer began to think to himself. He had nowhere to keep the harvest .He said that he was going to pull down the barns that he had and would build bigger ones, where he would store the grains and the other goods. “Then I will sit down and merry”. But God said to him. “You fool this very night I will take your life ;then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself. Jesus concluded by saying “this is how it is with those who pile riches for themselves and are not rich in God’s sight.
From this context Jesus taught that:
- That all that we have including ourselves belong to God.
- That material possession is not permanent and God can take them away at any time.
- People should not be pre-occupied with what they will eat or drink or because God in heaven knows that they need these things.
- Jesus did not condemn wealth but warns that people should be cautious on how they utilize this wealth.
- Christians should not put all their energies and efforts into the acquisition of wealth.
- Christians should store their riches in heaven by using them to help the poor.
- The parable also teaches that material wealth can give fault security.
- Christians should give part of their wealth in alms. By doing so they are rendering service to God.
How a Christian can make good use of his wealth
- Helping the poor and the less fortunate members of the society.
- To give in form of alms or thanksgiving to God.
- To help his family members.
- To enable him meet his basic needs of life such as food, shelter and clothing.
- To evangelize or help in spreading the word of God.
- Paying of taxes as a sign of respect to the state and the authority.
- For the general wellbeing of the society.
JESUS’ TEACHING ON WATCHFULNESS AND READINESS (LK 12: 35-59)
To be watchful is to be alert or on the lookout. Readiness on the other hand refers to the state of being prepared.
Jesus used several illustrations to show how it is important to be watchful and ready.
Jesus gave an example of the watchful servants who stayed ready waiting for their mater’s return. That the servants should be ready properly dressed and with their lamps lit.
This is because the son of man will come at an hour when people are not expecting him.
He also gives an illustration of faithful and unfaithful servants. The faithful servant is the on e who acts responsibly. When the master returns and finds him doing the right thing, he will be happy and promote him.
Jesus further warns that his coming may be associated with division. The division may be based on whether one accepts Jesus or rejects him. This will cause suffering in families. The disciples were cautioned to watch out for the divisions that would arise.
Jesus finally talks about the signs just like people know the signs of the weather. So are the signs of God’s kingdom.
This means that a person should repent before the judgment day.
The relevance of the teachings of Jesus on watchfulness and readiness to Christiana today
- Christians should be ready all the time for the coming of Christ.
- The judgment day will come at a time people are not expecting.
- Christians should be responsible for whatever God has given them. They should be stewards of God’s kingdom.
- Christians should realize that commitment to Christ can bring division among them.
- Christ will be happy with those who do the right thing and they will be rewarded.
- A Christian needs to repent before the Day of Judgment
- Christians need to be watch full for signs of the kingdom of God.
- There will be punishment for those who do not act responsibly
- They should help the needy and less fortunate members of the society
- Taking part in the Holy Communion.
- A Christian should be steadfast in his prayer.
- Accepting baptism with water in preparation for baptism with the Holy Spirit.
- Forgiving those who wrong them so that they can also be forgiven.
- Praising God through songs and dances.
THE GROWTH OF GOD’S KINGDOM (LK 13:1-35)
The term kingdom of God refers to God’s rule or authority. The teaching of Jesus was focused mostly on the kingdom of God. Jesus declared that the kingdom of God was already present in his own person and ministry. He illustrated some of the parables that Jesus used had specific teachings about the kingdom of God e.g. the parable of the mastered seed, the yeast, the sower.
THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE (LK 13:6-9)
Jesus told his audience the parable of a fig tree. A man had a fig tree that grew in the vine yard. For three years. The fig tree remained unproductive. The man told his gardener to cut it down. The gardener pleaded with the master not to cut it down but to give it a chance for one more year.
The gardener promised to dig around the fig tree and put some fertilizer.
Significance of the parable
- That Christians have been given more time to repent.
- Jesus is the gardener who is pleading with God to give Christians time to repent.
- Jesus is working hard to make Christians productive
- Jesus followers are expected to work hard and be productive so as to be accepted in God’s kingdom
- The growth of god’s kingdom is gradual
- Christians should be productive in their spiritual life through their deeds
- Christians who do not bear good fruits will be destroyed.
JESUS HEALS A CRIPPLED WOMAN ON THE SABBATH (Luke. 13: 10-17)
- One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. There was a woman who had an evil spirit that had kept her sick for 18 years.
- When Jesus saw her, he called out and said “woman, you are free from your illness” Jesus placed his hands on her and she was healed.
- This raised a lot of critics from the Pharisees, who believed that no work should e done on the Sabbath unless life was in danger.
- However, Jesus criticized them saying that they made laws that catered for their own interests
- They took care of the animals on the Sabbath but did not bother about those suffering.
Significance of the miracle
- Jesus shows that he had come to liberate people from power of the Satan.
- That human life is more important than that of animals
- Christians should not apply double standards
- That saving life was more important than mere observance of the Sabbath,
- The miracle showed the numerical expansion of the church. The people rejoiced over all wonderful things he had done.
- Jesus had power over spirits.
THE PARABLE OF THE MASTERED SEED AND THE YEAST
Jesus used the parable of the mustard seed to illustrate the growth of the Kingdom of God.
A mustard seed is the smallest seed in the world.
He said that when a man plants a mustard seed in his field, it grows and becomes a big tree and birds make nests on its branches.
Jesus told this parable to show that
- The kingdom of god has a small beginning and expands to all corners of the earth.
- It also attracts many people
- All the nations of the world get shelter on the Kingdom of god.
- The church accepts all people to find spiritual shelter
- The kingdom of God transforms those who merit it.
In the parable of the yeast, Jesus says that the kingdom of God is like a leaven which a woman took and hid in the three measures of flour, till it was all leaven.
In this parable, Jesus wanted to illustrate that the kingdom of God works in an unseen manner.
Jesus was also cautioning his disciples to be aware of corruption and bad influence from k the Pharisees.
The works of God spreads slowly to cover many nations in the world.
THE NARROW DOOR (LK. 13:22-35)
Jesus went through the towns and villages teaching towards Jerusalem. Some people asked him if those who would be saved will be few.
He told them to strive to enter through the narrow door.That many people try to go in but they will not be able because the master of the house will shut the door .those who will knock on the door will be turned down. The master will say. “I do not know you”.
People will give excuses to enter but the master will disown them .Those who have been rejected will grind their teeth when they see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets enter the kingdom of God .
By saying that people will come from all directions confirms the universality of the kingdom of God.
Significance the parable
- To enter the kingdom of God, one must make a lot of efforts/sacrifices.
- It is also important to make the right decision before time is over.
- The Jews contact with God is not a guarantee to enter the kingdom of God.
- Peopled from all corners of the world (including t he Gentiles) will be present at the Messiah’s banquet.
- Those who refuse to walk in God’s way will be punished at the end of times.
- Those who receive Christ will be blessed.
- Those who have received God’s salvation must remain in that state.
- Everyone will give an account of their deeds.
A GREAT FEAST FOR ALL WHO ARE PREPARED
The uninvited guests (Lk. 14:1-14)
One Sabbath day, one of the leading Pharisees invited Jesus to his house for a meal. And the Pharisees watched closely to see what he would do.
As they were eating they were interrupted by a sick .man who was suffering from dropsy.
On seeing the man, Jesus asked, “Does our law allow healing on Sabbath or not?” But they didn’t answer him.
Jesus took hold of the man, healed him and sent him away.
Jesus wanted to show that he was concerned with human suffering.
He also wanted to show that mere observance of the law was not important.
Human life is more important than the animals’.
The invited guests (Lk. 14:7-14)
While Jesus was in the house of the Pharisee, he noticed that some guests were choosing the best places at the table.
Jesus wanted to teach the importance of humility.
In response to this, Jesus used the parable of “choosing places at table”.
He used this observation to teach them that when invited to a wedding they should not take seats of honor.
Instead, they should sit in the lowest places so that when the host comes he may take them to higher places.
Jesus wanted to teach the importance of humility. That the humble would be exalted and honoured. But who exalt themselves would be humbled.
This indicated that the kingdom of God was not for the Jews only. They would not be given preferential treatment.
About those who are to be invited for a feast, Jesus taught that one should not only invite our relatives, neighbors or the rich for they are likely to invite them back.
Jesus wanted to teach on the need to give without expecting to be repaid.
Such peopled have their rewards in heaven.
Jesus wanted to show his concern for the poor.
God’s kingdom is for all.
THE PARABLE OF THE GREAT FEAST (LK. 14:15-24)
Jesus told the parable in response to a man’s observation .The man said. “How happy are those who will sit down at the feast in God’s Kingdom”. Jesus told them of a parable of a man who held a feast and invited some important people to attend .When the feast was ready ,the host sent his servant to inform the guests that the celebration was ready .The invited guests sent apologies and began to give excuses. The first one said that he had just bought a field and must see it .The other said that he had just bought five pairs of oxen and he wanted to go and try them .Yet another said that he had just got married and for that reason he was unable to attend. The host was so furious for this let down and was determined to have the feast on.
He sent his servants to go to the streets and alleys of the town to invite the poor ,the crippled and the blind but the room was still not full .the master then his servants again to the country roads and lanes to call more people to the feast yet the room was still not full. Jesus concludes by saying that. “I tell you all that none of those who were invited will taste my dinner”.
Significance of the parable
- From the parable, the master represents God while the guests represent the Jews. There will be a great feast in the kingdom of God.
- The poor people from the street represent tax collectors and other sinners who welcomed Jesus.
- The people gathered from the roads and the lanes represent the Gentiles from whom there was still room for at the feast.
- The Jews had excuses for not attending the feast. This meant that the Jews who were initially invited rejected Jesus.
- Because the Jews rejected Jesus therefore, the Gentiles would be invited into the kingdom of God.
The cost of discipleship (Lk. 14:25-35)
- Jesus emphasized that entering the kingdom of God demanded a committed discipleship. To be a disciple of Jesus one has to:
- Detach from his family and property. These can prevent people from becoming Jesus’ disciples.
- His disciples were required to make great sacrifices.
- “Carry their own crosses” and follow Jesus.
- Carrying one’s cross means self-denial and readiness to suffer for the sake of Christ.
- One had to think and plan the cost of being a disciple. Like one who wants to build a house.
- Give up everything and follow Christ.
RETRIEVING THE LOST (LK.15:1-32)
One day the Pharisees and the teachers of the law noticed that many tax collectors and outcasts came to listen to Jesus’ teaching. They started grumbling and said, “This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them.” According to them the tax collectors were despised and people were not allowed to associate with. Jesus knew their thoughts and responded by telling them three parables about those that were lost. He uses the parable of the:
- Lost sheep
- Lost coin
- Lost son
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SHEEP (LK. 15:3-7)
Jesus told a parable of a shepherd who had a hundred sheep but lost one.
The shepherd then left behind the rest of the flock in the open country to search for the lost one. When he found it, he was very joyful. He went on and called his friends and neighbors together so that they could rejoice over his finding.
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST COIN (LK. 15:8-10)
Jesus gives an illustration of a woman who has ten silver coins and loses one of them. He said that a woman would light a lamp and sweep her house .looking carefully in the whole house until she finds it. She would call her friends and neighbors to celebrate.
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SON (PRODIGAL SON) (LK. 15:11-32)
Then Jesus told a parable of a man who had two sons. The younger son asked for his inheritance. He then left home for a far country where he squandered all the wealth.
A severe famine then arose, he began to regret because he had spent everything he had.
He sought employment and got a job of feeding pigs. He was so desperate that he ate the food that the pigs ate. He began to regret leaving his father’s home. He decided to go back home instead of starving and apologize to his father and say, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son, treat me as one of your hired workers.”
When he got there, his father received him with joy and ordered the servants to dress him with the best clothes available.
He also slaughtered the best calf for all to celebrate.
His elder son learned of what happening at home and was quiet unhappy.
His father explained to him why he had to hold a feast for his brother. “For this son of mine was dead, but, now alive, he was lost but now he has been found.”
Importance of the parable to modern Christians
- God is searching for sinners.
- God loves all his children including sinners and outcasts.
- God accepts those who come back to him.
- Those who belong to the kingdom including the angels rejoice when a sinner repents.
- Christians should be willing to repent k regardless of the magnitude of sin.
- Christians should not discriminate against sinners in the society.
- All need repentance including the righteous and the unrighteous.
- Christians learn not to put a lot of attachment to wealth and earthly things.
- Christians should not be jealous of others as the brother was to the man.
- Christians should avoid careless living and spending.
From the parables of Jesus Christians can learn the following about God’s Kingdom:
- It is God who establishes his Kingdom. He is like a sower.
- God gives life to the kingdom so that it grows from within like a seed and it spreads out irresistibly like yeast permeates the dough.
- The kingdom of God is present/has already come.
- The kingdom of God is universal. Sinners, outcasts and even Gentiles are welcome if they accept the word of God.
- The kingdom of God is for the chosen few. This is illustrated by the parable of the narrow door.
- It has a small beginning and it grows to cover all the corners of the world like a mustered seed.
- There will be judgment in the kingdom of God.
- The kingdom of God is for the righteous.
- There will be rejoicing in the kingdom of God. (The parable of the Lost Coin, Sheep and Son)
- God is continuously searching for the .lost to bring them to the kingdom.
JESUS’ TEACHING ON WEALTH AND POVERTY
THE PARABLE OF THE SHREWD MANAGER (LK. 16:1-13)
Jesus also said to his disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward.
His master was informed that he was wasting his wealth.
The master called him to give an account of his master’s possession for he was to be sacked.
The manager (steward) thought of what he could do, for he was not strong enough to dig and he was ashamed to beg.
He thought very quickly of what he could do so that the people may receive him in their houses when he is finally sacked.
He summoned his master’s debtors one by one.
He said to the first, “How much do you owe my master?”
He said, “A hundred measures of oil.” He told him to sit down quickly and write fifty. Then he asked another .And you, how much do you owe? “A thousand sacks of wheat “he answered. “Here is your account”. The manager told him “write eight hundred” The master commended the steward for his shrewdness.
The significance of the parable
- Jesus praised him because he acted promptly and wisely in a moment of crisis. Christians, therefore, should be bold and make quick decisions because the kingdom of God is at hand.
- Those who have should be willing to share what they have with others.
- Wealth should be used to secure eternal life.
- Jesus also taught on the need for Christians be honest in their dealings.
- He also reminded them that it is not possible to serve both God and money.
- That God does not value earthly wealth. What people think is of great value is valueless in the eyed of God.
- He also gave further teachings on the Law of Moses. He laid emphasis on faithfulness in marriage. He cautions the Pharisees against allowing divorce.
THE PARABLE OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS (LK. 16:19-31)
Jesus also used the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to teach about correct attitude towards wealth.
He gives a parable of a rich man who lives lavishly every day. At his gate was a poor man named Lazarus full of sores.
Lazarus desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his wounds.
The poor man died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom.
The rich man also died and was buried and was in great agony. He lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom.
He cried to Abraham to have mercy on him and send Lazarus to deep his finger into water and cool his tongue.
Abraham reminded him of how he received good things when he was alive and never bothered about Lazarus who is now comfortable. “More between us and you there is a big valley that nobody is able to cross from there to us.”
The rich man then urged Abraham to take information to his five brothers so that they may not come to such a place of suffering.
Abraham told him that they had Moses and the prophets to listen to.
The rich man told Abraham that if someone comes from the dead then they would repent.
Abraham told him that if they cannot hear Moses and the prophets then they will not be convinced even if someone should arise from the dead.
Significance of the parable
- That Christians use their wealth to serve the poor.
- The rich should not love their riches more than the love of God. It can bring ruin to people’s lives.
- Christians should use their wealth to glorify God.
- Christians should seek spiritual wealth than material wealth.
- Christians should be careful about the dangers of wealth.
- Judgment is awaiting those who do not share their resources with the needy.
- This parable brings out the belief in life after death. Abraham is presented as being alive and talking to people.
- There will be judgment at the end of times. The righteous will go to heaven and the unrighteous will go to hell.
- People should listen to God’s messengers when there is still time.
- There is no repentance after death.
THE POWER OF FAITH (LK. 17:1-37)
Faith is complete trust in somebody or something. From the biblical point of view, faith is seen as a complete trust and obedience to God.
In the bible a number of people demonstrated their faith in God. Such included Abraham.
Jesus warned his disciples against leading weaker believers to sin. He says it would be better for such a person be thrown into the sea.
Jesus also advised his disciples to forgive those who wrong them constantly.
A Christian must be willing to forgive as many times as possible.
For them to forgive those who sin against them require strong faith.
He also tells them of the power of faith. It makes even the impossible possible.
He gives an illustration of the mastered seed. He says, “If you had faith as a grain of mastered seed, you could say to this sycamore tree: Be rooted up... and it would obey.”
The disciples were being reminded that they were servants of God. They should not expect to receive thanks from God for performing God-given duties.
JESUS HEALS THE TEN LEAPERS (LK. 17:11-19)
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. He passed along between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village he was met by ten lepers, who were standing at a distance. This is probably due to the fact that lepers were considered unclean and were not to mix with the other people.
They lifted up their voices (cried) and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
Jesus then told them to go and show themselves to the priests to examine them.
They went and were cleansed. When one of them saw that he was healed, he went back praising God with a loud voice. He fell on Jesus’ feet and gave him thanks.
Luke reminds us that the one who came back to give thanks was a Samaritan.
Probably there is a reason why the author wants to emphasize on his being a Samaritan.
Jesus then asked him, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?”
Jesus told him to rise and go for his faith had made him well.
Significance of the parable
- It showed the need for thanksgiving. Only one of the ten leapers came to say thanks to Jesus. Christians therefore should thank God for whatever God has done to them.
- Jesus told the leapers to go the priest to examine them, an indication that Jesus respected the religious beliefs of the Jews. Christians therefore need to respect the laws of God.
- The Samaritans had a lot of faith for Jesus told him to get up and go, for his faith had made him well. Likewise we are supposed to have a lot of faith in Jesus
- This incident is used to show that outcasts like Samaritans are ready to appreciate Jesus’ mission than the Jews. An indication that salvation is for all and not only the Jews.
- Jesus had the power to heal. Christians should trust in God to heal them from whatever form of sickness.
- It shows the compassionate nature of Jesus. Christians should be concerned with the suffering of others.
THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM (LK. 17:20-37)
Some Pharisees once asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. The Pharisees had different expectations on the Messiah.
In response, Jesus told them that the kingdom of God had already come in the form of Jesus Christ.
But the little faith of the Pharisees could not make them realize it.
Those who accepted Jesus and his teachings had already received this kingdom.
Therefore, faith is necessary to discover the power of God’s kingdom.
Jesus also told his disciples that a time would come when they would wish to see one of the days of the son of man. But they would not see it.
Before the day of the son of man, he must suffer and be rejected.
He linked it to the times of Noah and Lot when the people did not mind about the impending danger.
There will be trials and during these times they require strong faith until t he second coming of Jesus. V 33: Whoever tries to save his own life will lose it. Whoever loses his life will save it.
The second coming of Jesus is not known and it will come when people are still pre-occupied with their ordinary activities.
“One who is in the field will not turn back. The righteous will be separated from the sinners (V. 34). There will be two in one bed, one will be taken and the other left.”
Importance of faith to Christians
- Strong faith enables Christians to serve God well.
- Faith is the foundation of salvation.
Christians are assured of inheriting eternal life.
- Christians also need strong faith to overcome temptations and evil.
- Christians need to listen to God’s messengers.
- Faith enables Christians to observe the commandments of God.
- Faith enables Christians to receive God’s blessings.
- Faith makes Christians to make the right choices as God guides Christians in making their choices.
- It enables Christians to share what they have with the less fortunate members of the society.
PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER (LK. 18:1-14)
Jesus told his disciples two parables to teach them on how to pray. These are the parables of the widow and unjust judge and the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.
THE PARABLE OF THE WIDOW AND THE UNJUST JUDGE (Lk.18:1-8)
Jesus told them of a parable of a judge who was in a certain town and he neither feared God nor respected people. In the same town there was a widow who kept coming to the Judge pleading for her rights against her opponent .For a long time the Judge refused to act but because the woman was persistent he accepted to help her get her rights for if he didn’t the woman would keep coming and would wear him out.
Jesus goes ahead to say that the lord will have mercy on those who keep on crying to him.
THE PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR (Lk.18:9-14)
To those who were sure of their own goodness and despised others, Jesus told them of a parable a Pharisee and a tax collector .Both went to the Temple pray .The Pharisee prayed to God saying that he was righteous . “I thank God am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else”. He compares himself to the tax collector and says he is not like him. “I fast two days a week, and give a tenth of my income”.
But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven .The tax collector confessed that him, he was a sinner and asked God to have mercy on him .The tax collector was in the right with God. Jesus concludes by saying that those who make themselves great will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be made great.
Lessons from the parables
- Christians need to be persistent in prayer as the widow was.
- Christians should be humble in their prayer. Should avoid self pride.
- They should not look down upon others as the Pharisees looked down upon the tax collector.
- They should be honest and confess their sins as they pray.
- They should accept their failures and ask for forgiveness. The tax collector said .“Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.” (Lk. 18:13)
- Christians should be patient and be faithful in prayer knowing that God will answer their prayers.
- Should condemn corruption so that justice is done to the needy and the oppressed.
- Prayer should be short and to the point.
THE WAY TO SALVATION (LK.18:15-19:1-27)
This refers to what is expected of followers of Jesus Christ in order to attain eternal life.
Jesus blesses little children
Many people brought children to Jesus so that he might touch them and the disciples rebuked them.
Jesus, however, called the children to himself saying, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Jesus went on to tell his disciples that in order to enter the kingdom of God, they must be like children.
Jesus uses this incident to teach that those who want to inherit the kingdom of God must humble themselves. Children are always innocent.
THE RICH YOUNG RULER (LK. 18:18-30)
A rich man once came to Jesus wanting to know what he must do to receive eternal life. He addressed Jesus as ‘Good Teacher’.
Jesus asked him why he was referring to him as ‘Good’. According to Jesus only God was good. Jesus responded by reminding him of the commandments as stated in Exodus 20:12-16). The man said he had kept all these ever since he was young. Jesus then told him to go and sell everything he had, give to the poor and follow him.
When the rich man heard this, he became sad.
Jesus uses this incident to teach the dangers attached to riches.
This implies that it is impossible for people who value wealth more than God to go to heaven.
Jesus did not condemn wealth but its poor use.
The people who heard Jesus wondered who then could be saved, because the Jews believed that wealth was a sign of God’s blessing.
Peter then asked what they as disciples will receive since they left home to follow him.
Jesus acknowledged this and emphasized that those who have made a decision to follow him will receive salvation in the present life and the age to come.
Jesus took his disciples aside and told them that they were going to Jerusalem where everything written about him was going to happen.
He talked about his coming suffering for the third time. But Jesus Messiah ship was hidden to the disciples.
THE HEALING OF THE BLIND BEGGAR (Lk.18:35-43)
As they drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. The name of the blind beggar is not given in Luke’s gospel but Mark refers to him as Bartimaeus the son of Timeous (Mk.10:46-52)
When he heard the crowd passing, he wanted to know what was happening.
The people told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. He shouted to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
And the people rebuked him, telling him to be quiet. But he cried out the more. Jesus stopped and asked him what he wanted and he responded by saying, he wanted to see again.
Jesus told him, “Then see. Your faith has made you well.” He then followed Jesus giving thanks to God.
Significance of this miracle
- The blind beggar referred to Jesus as son of David meaning that he was the promised Messiah.
- The physical blindness is not a hindrance to spiritual understanding who Jesus is.
- It also shows the importance of faith. The blind man got his sight because of his faith.
- Jesus was empathetic to those who were suffering.
- Jesus was able to give people spiritual sight.
- Christians need to thank God for whatever God has given them. The blind beggar thanked Jesus for what he had done to him.
- Christians should not give up/fear to ask for God’s assistance. The blind man did not shy a way even when he was being rebuked by the crowd.
- Those who have received God’s blessing should follow Christ.
- Those who want to come to the Lord should not be prevented.
JESUS AND ZACHEAUS (LK. 19:1-12)
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. There was a rich tax collector called Zacheaus.
He wanted to see Jesus but he was short. He ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree.
When Jesus reached where Zacheaus was, he looked up and told him to come down for he was going to stay at his house that day. So he came down and received Jesus joyfully.
The people who witnessed what was happening murmured. This was because they Zacheaus as a sinner.
Zacheau stood up and told Jesus that he was going to give half of his wealth to the poor. He also declared that he would pay back four times to anybody he had defrauded.
Jesus was pleased with him and told him that salvation had come to him as a descendant of Abraham. From this episode Christians can learn that:
- Riches do not hinder one from entering the kingdom of God.
- God is continuously looking for the lost souls.
- Sinners should make a step to put right what was wrong.
- Jesus loves all categories of people including sinners.
- The rich should share their wealth with the poor.
THE PARABLE OF THE POUNDS (LK. 19:11-27)
The parable is referred also as the parable of the gold coins or talents.
Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem and his disciples thought that the kingdom was to appear immediately.
He told them a parable of a nobleman who went into afar country to receive a kingdom and then return. Before he left, he called his 10 servants and gave them each a gold coin.
He asked them to trade with the coins.
But his citizens hated him.
When he returned, he ordered his servants to come before him to say how much they had earned with the gold coins.
The first one said he had made a profit of ten more and he was rewarded.
He was put in charge of ten cities.
The second one had earned five gold coins .He was put in charge of five cities.
When the third servant came he said that “Lord here is your pound which I kept laid away in napkin, for I was afraid of you, you take up what you did not lay down, and reap where you did not saw.
The master was very annoyed with this servant. The Master ordered that the one gold coin be taken away from and be given to one who had ten gold coins.
He went ahead to say that whoever has even more would be added but he who has nothing, even the little he has will be taken.
The significance of the parable
- God has given people different abilities or talents.
- People need to use their God given talents to serve Him.
- Christians should share the knowledge they have of God with others.
- When Jesus returns the servants will be rewarded according to their performances.
- Those who use their talents well will receive great reward.
- One day Christians will give an account of how they have been using their talents and abilities.
- God will be angry with those who do not use their talents well
- Those who do not use their God given talents well receive punishment.