Is Hell a Real Place?

In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, in Luke chapter 16, there are actually two beggars. One begged in this life; the other begged in the next.

Christ’s teaching on hell verifies the extreme difference in eternity for the righteous and the ungodly. This teaching is not a condemnation of wealth; it is a condemnation of any person who rejects Jesus Christ.

Christ’s teaching also confirms that the believer’s before Calvary were carried by angels into Paradise. After Calvary the righteous go to heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21-24; Revelation 6:9-11).

Hell is a place of eternal torment. When the unsaved go to hell, they are in a conscious state (Luke 16:23-28; Deuteronomy 32:22; 2 Samuel 22:6; Isiah 14:9-11).

Hell is a place without mercy. It is a place with no escape. When a person chooses to go to hell by rejecting Jesus Christ, all the prayers of 10 thousand saints cannot save them.

Souls are immortal in hell and heaven (Luke 16:22-32; 1 Peter 3:4; Luke 20:38; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

Hell is located in “the lower parts of the earth” (Psalm 63:9; Ephesians 4:8-10; Matthew 12:40).

Hell was made for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

Hell is not to be confused with the lake of fire. In this life the ungodly die and go to hell, where they wait until they are brought to the Great White Throne for final judgment before God and sentenced to the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14, 15).

I hope this clears up any misconception whether hell is areal place or not. “Don’t choose to go there!” God is a Mighty God! He sent His only beloved Son to take the penalty for yours and my sins on a cross and then rose to sit on the right hand of the Father. He loves you more than you could ever image, choose life!

Luke – Chapter 16

Verse 1 – And He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him this man was wasting his goods.

Verse 2 – “So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’

A rich man would often employ a manager who handled all the business affairs of his estate. The charge that this manager had been that he had squandered the rich man’s possessions, either indicating neglect or criminal conduct. It must have been true.

Verse 3 – “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.

Verse 4 – ‘I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’

Since the steward was fired, he had to find another job. He said he was not able to do physical labor and was too ashamed to beg, so he focused on a way that other people would allow him to live with them.

Verse 5 – “So he called every one of his masters debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

Verse 6 – “And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’

Verse 7 – “Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’

At first glance, it seems that the steward is cheating the rich man. However, the steward was fired for mishandling his money and possessions, so evidently there was some crookedness going on with these charges for the goods in the first place. The steward was probably charging a commission for these transactions and simply made the bill what it should have been in the first place. This is exactly what the Pharisees would do when exchanging currency in the temple by overcharging people.

Verse 8 – “So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.

Verse 9 – “And I say to you, make friends for yourself by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

I always had a hard time figuring out exactly what these verses meant, but a little longer study makes it clear. The rich man is not God, because God doesn’t praise people for being an unjust steward. The landowner represents the world finances. He praised the steward for correcting the cheating that he had done in the first place, and therefore made friends with the debtors. The sons of this age are unbelievers, whereas the sons of light often fail to utilize their financial resources to win people to faith. Thus Jesus encouraged His followers to use their money shrewdly in order to advance God’s kingdom.

Verse 10 – “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

Verse 11 – “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (riches and wealth, blessings and gifts), who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Our integrity often meets its match in money matters. God calls us to be honest even in small rationalize away. Heavens riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth. Every believer is a steward of the gifts God has given. If we can not be trusted with what we already have, we would be a poor steward if more was entrusted to us of more value.

Verse 12 – “And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s who will give you what is your own?

Are we faithful and good stewards to what belong’s to God and others? If not, how can we expect to be faithful to what has been given to our ownership?

Verse 13 – “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Is Jesus talking about money? Yes, He is. Money has the power to take God’s place in people’s lives. Do you ever notice when talking to people who have no worries about money, because they are never in lack, never mention God in any conversation? They mention where they go, how much they spend, what they buy for their families, but not God being the one who has blessed them. They don’t seem to need anything from Him. I have found that people who are never in any kind of lack, are the hardest to talk to about Jesus. Their security all lies in their wealth. But talk to someone who has had to work hard and struggle, go through many hardships, and you will hear from them how good God has been, because He brought them through everything. I’d much rather live in a poor neighborhood than a rich one, because I can more than not, find people who need help!

Verse 14 – Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all things, and they derided Him.

This was evident in Matthew 23:4, when they would take widow’s houses and then recite long prayers for them.

Verse 15 – And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

The Pharisees scoffed at Jesus, because they thought it possible to love God and money. But their admiration from the people was an abomination to God.

Verse 17 – “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.

John the Baptist ministry was the dividing line between the Old and the New Testament. All the precepts, promises, types, figures and prophecies, had their full accomplishments in the person, miracles, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ, Matthew 5:18.

Christ Teaches On Divorce

Verse 18 – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Most religious leaders of Jesus day permitted a man to divorce his wife for nearly any reason. Jesus teaching about divorce went beyond Moses. Divorce may be legal, according to the law, but in God’s eyes it is still adultery. Remarriage is legitimate in cases where the former marriage was dissolved due to sexual immorality.

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Verse 19 – “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.

Verse 20 – “But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,

Verse 21 – “desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.

This rich man certainly didn’t use his wealth to help the poor.

Verse 22 – “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.

Verse 23 – “And being in torment in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

The circumstances were reversed when these two men died. Lazarus was in comfort and the rich man was in torment. The rich man’s eyes were blinded to the things of God while he lived , but after death he sees his mistake.

Verse 24 – “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.

Verse 25 – “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

Hades or hell, is not a place of unconsciousness. They are fully aware of the darkness that surrounds them. The rich man didn’t go to hell because he was rich. He went to hell for being selfish of the riches and blessings that had been given him, and he used them all for himself, self-centered and self-righteousness.

Verse 26 – ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you, cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

Before and after death, there is a huge divide between believers and non-believers. While living, there is still time for the non-believer to become a believer. After death there is no second chance. There is “No state of purgatory!” This is a man-made belief that there is a place after death that the soul is purified and then they pass on to heaven. It is part of the Roman Catholic doctrine and in no way is it scriptural. We have two choices while living and breathing on this earth, “Heaven or hell!”

Verse 27 – “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,

Verse 28 – ‘for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’

Did you notice that the rich man is not sorry for ignoring Christ, only that he didn’t want his brothers to come there. It’s not real concern for his brothers, it’s still a selfish response.

Verse 29 – “Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’

Verse 30 – “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will not repent.’

Did they not have the same opportunities to listen to what Moses had written or what the prophets had said concerning the coming of Christ?

Verse 31 – “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

If people won’t hear the gospel and repent, they are not going to believe even with someone being raised from the dead. How much more today will people be held accountable for ignoring the gospel, with it so available to us all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke – Chapter 15

Parable of the Lost Sheep

Verse 1 – Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near Him to hear Him.

Verse 2 – And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Verse 3 – So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

Verse 4 – “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

Verse 5 – “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Verse 6 – “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’

Verse 7 – “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

Before we came to Christ, we were that one lost sheep. Christ looked for us and sought us out. He was controlling the circumstances that lined everything up to bring us in His path. You didn’t by chance, just happened to go to  church “that day,” or wherever you were when you were born-again. It was a divine plan to bring you into the fold – the family of God.

Notice another thing in these verses: When the shepherd found the lost sheep, “he placed him on his shoulders.” He did not put it on its own legs to go alone; there was no rebuke of “Why did you run off?” The shepherd bears their weight and their weakness, to safety. They are no longer in danger and he carries them as if a trophy and great victory.

All of heaven celebrates when one sinner repents, shouldn’t we do the same? Are you still interested in seeing the lost saved, or have you lost your zeal of what it’s like to be forgiven?

Verse 8 – “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she finds it?

Verse 9 – “And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’

Verse 10 – “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

All of God’s creation is precious and valuable to Him. He grieves over every loss and rejoices whenever a child is brought into the kingdom. Perhaps we would have more joy in our churches if we shared Jesus’ love and concern for the lost!

We don’t live unto ourselves. We are to live our lives as an example to a lost and dying world, so that they too can have eternal life with the King of Kings.

Verse 11 – Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.

Verse 12 – “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me,’ So he divided to them his livelihood.

It was not unusual for a father to disburse the estate before his death. The oldest son – first-born, would receive  a double portion, so this son asking for his portion received one-third of the inheritance. This son showed his arrogance and disregard for his father’s authority and head of the family, by initiating the division of the estate.

Verse 13  – “And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

This sets the state for which a sinner is in; away from the family, away from God, and away from any feeling of guilt for how he is living.

Verse 14 – “But when he has spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.

Sin brings man to a starving and famishing condition. They have no desire for the word of God, but despise it. A regrettable person is in “want” of everything that is good; wisdom, knowledge, grace, holiness, all the necessaries of life, because sin is the beginning of “want.”

Verse 15 – “Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

This young man had hit “rock-bottom.” To feed and tend to pigs was humiliating and degrading. Self-righteousness can be compared to swine because of selfishness; doing all they do for themselves, and not for God and His glory. They prefer dung over pearls.

Verse 16 – “And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

Is not this the place most of us found ourselves before coming to our senses and turning towards Christ? All must come to a place in their lives where we realize, “This ain’t working!” That is where this young man was. He had nothing and no one was helping him with anything. Alone, we can do nothing about a situation.

Verse 17 – “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Verse 18 – ‘I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,

Verse 19 – and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ‘

True repentance has to be a realization of wrong living. A rebellious heart leads to sinful actions. One must come to the conclusion, “There is a better life.” This young man had to admit to himself first that he had sinned! If you can’t admit that you’ve sinned, then you won’t truly repent.

Verse 20 – “And he arose and came to his father. But 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.

Once a person realizes they have been living in sin, then they have to do something about it! They come to the Father. Like the father in this story, God waits patiently for us to come to our senses.

verse 21 – “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

The son didn’t finish by saying, “Make me a servant,” because a son is still a son. Galatians 4:6, 7 – And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba Father!” (Verse 7 ) Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Verse 22 – “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.

When a sinner repents, God doesn’t beat them up with their past! He gives forgiveness, grace, and love! Most people know their past sins, and they don’t need to be reminded how bad they’ve lived. Our God is not a God of the past. He creates in us a new heart, a new way of thinking, and a new way to love. That’s what this father did for his son by celebrating to the fullest all the love he had for him.

Verse 23 – ‘And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;

Verse 24 – ‘for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

We are considered dead in spirit until we are born-again. Colossians 2:13 – and you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,…

Verse 25 – “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.

Verse 26 – “So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.

Verse 27 – “And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.

Verse 28 – “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.

This older brother represents the Pharisees attitude toward sinners. New converts need the support and love of the body of Christ so that they will continue to grow in Christ. This older brother was a scathing rebuke of the Pharisees self-righteousness.

Verse 29 – “So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandments at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.

Verse 30 – ‘But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

Verse 31 – “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.

Unforgiveness will breed bitterness. Envy of someone’s blessing will only cause strife. Learn to forgive others as the Father has forgiven you.

Verse 32 – ‘It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive, and was lost and is found.

Don’t ever be resentful when sinners are welcomed into the kingdom, no matter what their past is. Remember, we were one too. How easy it is for some to resent God’s gracious forgiveness of others whom we consider to be far worse sinners than ourselves. But when our self-righteousness gets in the way of rejoicing when others come to Jesus, we are no better than the Pharisees.

 

 

 

 

Luke – Chapter 14

Verse 1 – Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely.

Verse 2 – And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy.

Dropsy is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in body tissue and cavities.

Verse 3 – And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

Verse 4 – But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go.

Jesus had been invited to a Pharisee’s house before and had ridiculed them mercilessly. This time the invite was to trap Him into doing something unlawful on the Sabbath. None of them answered Jesus’ question because He had humiliated others when they had tried to answer.

Verse 5 – Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”

Verse 6 – And they could not answer Him regarding these things.

Have you ever met people who it seems it’s their mission to find fault with others ministry work? Jesus had thousands that would come to hear Him teach and be healed by Him, but these Pharisees and scribes only looked for Him breaking one of their laws. That’s what happens when someone has a critical spirit. They are blinded of the actual miracles that take place and only want to criticize when or how a person did it.

Verse 7 – So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:

Verse 8 – “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than yo be invited by him;

Verse 9 – “and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.

Verse 10 – “But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher! Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you.

Verse 11 – “For whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The best seat would be sitting beside the host, as if to say, “Look at me! I’m a close friend of the host, so give me honor also.”

People do the same thing in the church. They have to always be close with the pastor, but if you met them in a hallway, they couldn’t even say hi. If you exalt yourself, you will be humbled, and sometimes that can be embarrassing.

Verse 12 – Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.

Verse 13 – “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.

Verse 14 – “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

Service is more important in God’s kingdom than status. God’s kingdom is open to everyone, not just the one who can return a favor.

P arable of the Great supper

Verse 15 – Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

Verse 16 – Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,

Verse 17 – “and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’

Verse 18 – “But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask to have me excused.’

Verse 19 – “And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’

Verse 20 – “Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”

Verse 21 – “So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to the servant, ‘Go out quickly into streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’

Verse 22 – “And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’

Verse 23 – “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

Verse 24 – ‘For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.

In Jesus story, many turned down the invitation to the banquet because the timing was inconvenient. The Gospel was first preached to the Jew, but because of the hardness of their hearts, it was then offered to the Gentile.

How many excuses did you give at first as to why you rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ? We all had excuses, until that time when something broke through our hardness, and we came to realized we may not have another opportunity. People give all kinds of excuses, but a time will come when the door to the Supper of the Lamb will be closed forever. Today is the day to make that choice.

Christ Teaches on Discipleship

Verse 25 – And great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,

Verse 26 – “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

Hate his own expresses the same principle found in Matthew 10:37, where Jesus says, “The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Disciples must love Jesus more than they love their own family members. Sometimes that means, going with Christ, and leaving those behind who are the dearest to them.

Verse 27 – “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Jesus is talking about total submission to Him which will include, reproach, affliction, persecutions, and even death to some. Are you willing to be mocked and ridiculed for your faith in Christ?

Verse 28 – “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it –

Verse 29 – “lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him,

So many start out with great enthusiasm, but then fizzle out because they realize their old ways are not going to cut it with the “New life.” When people try to “straddle the fence,” they will soon find out, Christianity is all or nothing!

Verse 30 – “saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

Verse 31 – “Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

Verse 32 – “Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.

Verse 33 – “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Verse 34 – “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?

Verse 35 – “It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

So many forget: “It’s how you end your walk of faith the matters.” We may fall along the way, but Christ will help you stand again. The one’s who will be left behind are the one’s who quit. The concept is: “If you finish!”

 

 

 

 

 

Luke – Chapter 13

Christ Teaches On Repentance

Verse 1 – There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

Verse 2 – And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffer such things?

Verse 3 – “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

Verse 4 – “Or those eighteen on whom them, do you think they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?

Verse 5 – “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

It is not known why Pontius Pilate killed these 18 Galileans, but they were killed in the temple area. The widespread opinion was that these men were punished for some specific sins. Jesus was telling them that these men’s sins were no greater than their own. He switched the focus to repentance, because He knew, not very far in the future, people listening to His voice, would perish in the destruction of the entire city of Jerusalem by the Roman army. They needed to be ready by repenting when it happened. Disaster comes to the just and the unjust. Where we spend eternity is a decision we need to make while living.

Verse 6 – He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.

Verse 7 – “Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; ‘Why does it use up the ground?’

This may refer to Jesus three years of ministry to the Jewish people. He had traveled throughout the country, and very few were followers. So the owner of the vineyard wanted this fig to be cut down to the ground. It was only sucking up the nutrients of the earth and producing nothing, just like the people.

Verse 8 – “But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year fertilize it.

Verse 9 – “And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”

This parable refers to Israel’s last chance  before judgment. If they rejected Jesus’ message and miracles, the time for patience would be ended. However, a future hope for Israel remains, Romans 11. Look how important an intercessor is; Moses interceded for the people because God was ready to wipe them all out, but relented.

Verse 10 – Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.

Verse 11 – And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.

This infirmity was brought upon this woman by an evil spirit-Satan (Luke 13:16), who by divine power of inflicting diseases on mankind, as evident from Job.

Verse 12 – But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”

Verse 13 – And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

Verse 14 – But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”

Verse 15 – The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?

Verse 16 – “So ought this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound-think of it-for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?

If the farm animals were loosed to get water on the Sabbath, should not this woman also be loosed from Satan’s bondage on the Sabbath? If they could show mercy to the animals, should not more mercy be shown to this woman?

Verse 17 – And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

The Mustard Seed

Verse 18 – Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?

Verse 19 – “It is like a mustard seed, which man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”

The smallest of seeds is planted, just as the gospel being started with a few, was nourished and grew. The church, body of believers, was given the grace of God, which begins to grow and mature just as the mustard seed grows into a huge tree. As the grace of God gets stronger and stronger in a person, faith matures and grows also. Just as the huge mustard trees provide nesting places for many birds, so is this Gospel a place of refuge to a lost and dying world!

Verse 20 – And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?

Verse 21 – “It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of mill till it was all leavened.”

While it is true that leaven, or yeast, often symbolizes evil in the Bible, this passage is a clear exception. Here leaven is used positively and calls to mind the potency of Jesus message and works on behalf of humanity.

The Way to the Kingdom

Verse 22 – And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

Verse 23 – Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

Verse 24 – “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Do you know how many people sit in church Sunday after Sunday thinking they are saved and going to heaven, who are actually not saved at all? They talk the talk, but nowhere is there a changed life or a relationship with Christ. They go though the motions, but never truly submitted to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. These are those who Jesus refers to when He says: “Many will seek to enter and will not be able.

Verse 25 – “When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’

By this illustration of making it to the “door,” it shows how close some will come, but not quite fully committed. They had only called Him Lord, but never had they truly and heartily yielded to obedience to Him. When the Master of the house says, “I do not know you,” it means, “They are not His,” they are strangers, not sheep of His fold.

Verse 26 – “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ (We went to church every Sunday.)

Verse 27 – “But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.

Although many people know about God, only a few have acknowledged their sins and accepted His forgiveness. Just listening to sermons and hearing about His works are not enough. You have to turn from sin and place your faith and trust in God through the blood of Jesus Christ!

Verse 28 – “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

So many Jews thought that because they were descendants of Abraham Isaac, and Jacob, they were entitled to enter heaven automatically, but Jesus tells them otherwise. We are not saved just because our parents are.

Verse 29 – “They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.

Verse 30 – “And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”

“Last who will be first” – Though the Gentiles were historically not part of God’s covenant people, Israel became the first to receive the Messiah. “First will be last”  – By contrast the Jews were chronologically first in God’s plan, but they became spiritually last since the majority rejected Christ. Jews will only receive Christ widely near the end of the age (Romans 11:25-27).

Christ Mourns Over Jerusalem

Verse 31 – On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”

Verse 32 – And He said to them, “Go tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’

Verse 33 – “Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.

Verse 34 – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

Verse 35 – “See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ ”

It is doubtful that these Pharisees wanted to protect Jesus by telling Him Herod wanted to kill Him. They just wanted Him out of their region because they were jealous of Him. By verse 32,  it makes it clear, Jesus stayed another three days. Jerusalem had repeatedly rejected God’s compassionate outreach as pictured as a mother hen wanting to protect her babies. “Your house has left you desolate,” refers to the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army in 70 A.D.

“He who comes in the name of the Lord,” is quoted in Psalm 118:26, and was later shouted out at Jesus’ triumphant entry. However, here it looks beyond that to the second coming of Christ (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7).