Samuel Abatte

Week 40: Luke 14-24; Acts 1-4

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We are going to continue our study of the book of Luke by again focusing on the material that is unique to this Gospel. It contains some of the most familiar and important parables and teaching of Jesus.

Rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31): Jesus uses this parable to teach about what happened to people after they died — prior to His resurrection. It also demonstrates why signs and wonders are not effective in convincing people of the truth of God’s word. We learn that those that died trusting in Yehovah were taken to the “bosom of Abraham” where they were at peace. Nonbelievers went to a place of torment as punishment for their sins. While they were separated they could see each other but could not reach each other. When the rich man asks to be resurrected to warn his family he is told that if people will not listen to scripture they will not be convinced even if the dead were to arise. This is proven by the resurrection of another Lazarus in John 11. The reaction by the Pharisees was to plot to kill both Jesus and Lazarus! Faith and truth are based on God’s word not “signs and wonders.”

Pharisee and Tax Collector (18:9-14): Jesus uses this parable to contrast self-righteous religion with genuine repentance. The Pharisee starts his prayer thanking God that he is not like other people — sinners. He then reminds God of the ways He is obedient. The tax collector comes with a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17 and Isaiah 66:2). The tax collector is the one God describes as being justified, not the self-righteous. “For everyone that exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (18:14).

Cleansing of Ten Lepers (17:11-19): The ability to heal leprosy was an ability the coming Messiah was expected to demonstrate. In this account Jesus cures ten men simultaneously. The disease had not yet left their bodies when they departed to present themselves to the priests, but became apparent along the way. When it occurred, only one man, a Samaritan, returned to thank Jesus. The lack of response on the part of the others, was symbolic of how the Jewish leadership did not perceive or appreciate who and what Jesus was — their Messiah. Also note, that like in the story of the Good Samaritan, it is a social outcast that has the right response. Clearly God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) but welcomes all people equally.

Jesus on the Road to Emmaus (24:14-35): Jesus shows how the entire Old Testament (the Law, the Prophets and the Writings) pointed to His death and resurrection as God’s plan of salvation through the coming Messiah. The disciples only had the Old Testament to demonstrate Jesus was Messiah, and they did so effectively. Jesus said that the “volume of the book speaks of me (Psalm 40:7; Hebrews 10:7). Could you lead someone to faith in Jesus using only the Old Testament? I pray you can.

Dr. Samuel Abatte is a physician practicing in Wasilla, Alaska. This column first appeared in the Frontiersman, a Wick newspaper serving the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of Alaska.