Study Notes

Luke 13:22-14:35

13:22-30 Just a Few Being Saved?

Remember that the Jews thought that they had exclusivity on God. After all, they were the chosen people. They were the ones to whom God had given His Word. They believed that gentiles were created to fan the fires of hell. But as Jesus' preaching and healing extended to include the gentiles, this concern arose: "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?"

It's an interesting question, because as Christians, we have much the same view - it is only those who believe in Christ that are saved, right? People ask us, "Aren't all the 'good' people of the world going to heaven? Isn't every religion really the same?" Jesus said, "No." In Matthew 7 He said,

Matt. 7:13-14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it."

So very few actually find the way to God, to heaven, to eternal life. Jesus also said

John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."

So do all roads lead to God? Actually, yes. The problem is, which direction you go once you get to Him. You see, if you have received the forgiveness that Jesus Christ offers, then you will get to God your works will be judged, and He will give you your reward. But if you haven't received the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, you will also meet God. But the book of Revelation describes that meeting as follows:

Rev. 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is {the book} of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

"Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" Absolutely. You don't want to be one of those to whom God says, "Depart from me, I never knew you."


Now notice that Jesus says in verse 24, "Strive to enter by the narrow door". Strive in Greek is "agoniso", so Jesus is saying, strive to enter, agonize over it. Paul the apostle said,

1Cor. 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

Paul never took grace for granted. He constantly wanted to be sure that his salvation, his conversion, his walk with God, was real. He told the Philippians,

Phil. 2:12 ...Work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

What a horrible thing, to live a life of compromise, thinking you're okay with God, but all the while being deceived. May we all be ones who strive and agonize to enter through the narrow door, making our calling and election sure.

13:31-33 The Folly of Fear

They told Jesus, "Herod wants to kill you - You should leave town." They were banking on Him being afraid. This is the same thing that the enemies of Nehemiah did when he was rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Sanballat the Horonite was furious that the wall was being rebuilt. He sent a letter to Nehemiah saying,

Neh. 6:6-7 "It is reported... that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, 'A king is in Judah!' And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports."

Intimidation. Instilling fear in a man's heart is a good way to manipulate a man. As the proverb says,

Prov. 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

But Nehemiah sent word back to Sanballat the Horonite and said, "You're making this stuff up to frighten us into stopping - it's a lie and you know it." Then he prayed,

Neh. 6:9 "But now, O God, strengthen my hands."

Nehemiah refused to be caught in the fear of man. So did Jesus - He says, "You go tell that fox..." This is the single harshest thing that Jesus says of any man. Herod was cunning and cruel, and interestingly enough, the word "fox" that He uses is literally "vixen", or "she-fox". What He's implying with that, I have no idea, but I know that whatever it was, He was justified in doing so.

13:34-35 Jerusalem Desolate Until...

Jesus showing His great sadness for the people of Jerusalem. He wanted to protect them from judgment, like a hen protecting her chicks from the heat of the sun, yet they would not allow it. So they were given over to judgment, to their hardness of heart, until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled. But the day will come that the Jews will collectively cry out the Messianic words of Psalm 118, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"

14:1-6 Healing on the Sabbath

He asked them right out if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath, but they kept silent. They knew that it was a no-win situation for them. If they said it was lawful, they'd have nothing to accuse Jesus of. If they said it was not lawful, then they would be have to explain why not, and be forced to debate with Him. (And no one ever won a debate with Jesus!)

14:7-11 Places of Honor

Too many times, we scramble to get to the front of the line, to the top of the heap, to be king of the mountain. But Jesus came and taught us to be servants, to esteem others higher than we do ourselves, to look out for others' interests instead of our own.

14:12-14 Who to Invite?

Everything we do has an ulterior motive, doesn't it? Whether it's a dinner party or donating our time to some good cause, or whatever, our flesh is thinking, "It'll make me feel fulfilled, I'll get something in return, I'll look good doing it, people will like me more, etc." But Jesus says to do the opposite of what your flesh wants. And when you do good things, do them secretly, so that no one finds out.

The next time you have a social dinner, invite someone who isn't socially acceptable. You may not get any dinner invitations after that, but you'll certainly have a good seat at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

14:15-24 Look Who's Coming to Dinner

Jesus continues His teaching about dinner arrangements and dinner parties. But this is a special dinner - it is parabolic of the invitation that God gave to the Jews. But when Jesus arrived, when the time came for them to accept the invitation, there were only excuses. The first man said, "I've got to go look at my new land". He was more concerned about his investment than the invitation. He had bought a piece of the world, and it kept him from a piece of heaven. Jesus said,

Mark 8:36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?"

The second man said he had to try out his new oxen. He was more concerned about his occupation than the invitation. His job was more important to him than his eternal destiny. Remember that Jesus had called his disciples away from their jobs to follow Him - so He certainly wouldn't buy that excuse! The third man said that he couldn't come since he had gotten married. He was more concerned with his family obligations than the invitation. Paul the apostle wrote,

1Cor. 7:32-34 ...One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided.

These three excuses betrayed the fact that they were too wrapped up in the things of the world to be concerned with the things of God. As a result, God called us, the Gentiles, the scum of the earth, to attend His dinner. May we never begin to make the same excuses they did - our possessions, occupations, or obligations keeping us from Him.

14:25-33 Count the Cost

Jesus is saying, "I require a total, 110% commitment from you. Before you say, 'Sure, I'll tag along, Jesus', make sure that you've considered what it is you're committing to." Would you be willing to be a Christian knowing that many in your family will hate you for it? They will. Would you be willing to be a Christian if you knew that you will suffer pain and public humiliation for it? You will.

Calculate the cost. Being a Christian will cost you everything. Your possessions are no longer yours, they're His. And often He'll tell you to give them to someone else. Your money is no longer yours, but His. And often He'll tell you to give it to someone else. Are you willing to give up everything to follow Him? Paul wrote,

Phil. 3:7-9 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him...

In the Old Testament law, God made a provision that Hebrew slaves were to be set free after 6 years of servitude. But sometimes, working for your master was a better prospect than being out in the world. Exodus 21 says of that situation,

Exod. 21:5-6 "But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master... I will not go out as a free man,' then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

Then this servant became a bond-servant - someone who willingly commits to serve his master for life. The apostles called themselves "bond-servants" of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is that where you're at today? Are you willing to be a servant of God for the rest of your life? I've seen that the freedom I have in the world doesn't even compare with getting to serve the Lord forever. But have you made that conscious decision? Have you calculated the cost? Are you willing to allow this Master to pierce your flesh and rule over you for the rest of our life? Sit down and calculate the cost - don't go into Christianity with blinders on - it's going to cost you everything.

14:34-35 Salt

Jesus told us in Matthew 5,

Matt. 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth..."

Salt is a preservative - it keeps meat from rotting. Salt also makes you thirsty. If you are the salt of the earth, you are the earth's preservative - you're keeping the world from rotting away into total moral decay. You're also supposed to make people thirsty for the Living Water of Jesus Christ, and the Water of the Word of God.

But what happens if Jesus says, "You're salt", but you're not salty? You're not preserving the earth from moral decay, maybe you're even contributing to it. You're not making people thirsty for the Water of the Word of God, maybe you're not even thirsty for it yourself. What then? Jesus said,

Luke 14:35 "It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

We end this morning on a somber note - Jesus has said "Calculate the cost of following me. There are no half-commitments." Remember that Jesus said back in chapter 9,

Luke 9:62 "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Therefore, if you're not salty - preserving and making others thirsty - what good are you doing in the kingdom of God? It is high time for a change. For a total commitment to Jesus Christ. To a total commitment of being salt to this world and those around you. To truly do as Jesus has said, "Carry your own cross, come after me, calculate the cost, commit to Me everything that is yours."