The Gospel of Luke - Part 82
Worshiping the King — Luke 19:29-48

May 13, 2007
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

We are in chapter 19 of Luke, where we are Confronted by The King.
We are broke this chapter into:

  A.   Welcoming The King
  B.   Working For The King
  C.   Worshiping The King

Welcoming the King was the story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector.
Working for the King was the parable that Jesus told about the nobleman who gave three servants some money to invest.
Last week we started into Worshipping the King as Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. By our calendar of the last week of the life of Jesus, we were up to Sunday.

Saturday & Sunday - Jesus in Bethany
Sunday - triumphal entry by Jesus into Jerusalem

  —
Monday - Jesus’ cleansing of the temple
Tuesday - confrontation with the Jewish religious leaders
Wednesday - Jesus teaching His followers
Thursday - preparation for the Passover
Friday - Jesus’ trial and crucifixion
Saturday - Jesus’ body in the tomb
Sunday - Jesus’ resurrection

We saw the king mount a donkey colt to ride into Jerusalem, as the Old testament had prophesied. Not exactly what the crowd had expected. But they did lay coats down as a path and waved palm fronds and praised His arrival.

As He topped the Mount of Olives and looked down on Jerusalem, He wept for His city and His people and bemoaned what was about to happen to them, their destruction. He said:

For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation. —Luke 19:43-44
The Holman Bible Dictionary tells us:
The prophetic words of Jesus spoken here were fulfilled within the lifetime of most of those who were then alive. “This Jerusalem in which Jesus walked was destroyed by the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70 after zealous Jews revolted against Rome. [An estimated 600,000 Jews were killed.] Not one stone of the Temple building remained standing on another [see v.44], and widespread destruction engulfed the city”.
This morning, in our lesson, it is Monday, and it is wash day, the day to clean out the Temple.

Saturday & Sunday - Jesus in Bethany
Sunday - triumphal entry by Jesus into Jerusalem
  —
Monday - Jesus’ cleansing of the temple

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words. —Luke 19:45-48
What stands out to you as you read these verses?
And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold... —Luke 19:45
Apparently Jesus “cleansed” the temple on two different occasions — here, and at the very beginning of His ministry:
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. —John 2:13-22
Why do you think Jesus was so upset by what He saw happening in the temple?  There may have been a number of reasons:

Jesus “yelled” at them (I think)
“It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” —Luke 19:46
It is clear to Jesus that the temple was not serving the purpose God intended. In explaining His actions, Jesus quotes two different passages of Scripture:
These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” —Isaiah 56:7

Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD. —Jeremiah 7:11
The Bible Knowledge Commentary tells us that: Mark adds that the buyers and money changers were also driven out, as well as people who were apparently taking shortcuts through the temple compound in their business dealings.
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. —Mark 11:15-16
Money changing was done because only certain coinage was then accepted in the temple from those who bought animals for sacrifices. The religious leaders made money off the system of buying and selling animals for sacrifice (thus making the temple a den of robbers). [Bible Knowledge Commentary]

Instead of a place of prayer and worship, Jesus finds large numbers of various animals for sacrifice, people buying and selling in the Temple courts. — Imagine the smell, the mess, the noise!

Warren Wiersbe observed that, “Instead of praying for the people, the priests were preying on the people!” He went to quote another Bible scholar who observed that a “den of thieves” is a place where thieves go to hide. In the same way, the religious leaders were using the rituals of the temple to hide their own sinful desires (e.g. greed).

God wants people to come to His “house” — whether it's the temple or the church building — to seek Him and to worship Him:   The religious leaders had lost sight of the real purpose of coming to God's house. They lacked a real heart for God. What a contrast between their attitude toward God and that of the people.

And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words. —Luke 19:47-48
When Jesus cleansed the temple it was to help the Jews understand the cleansing that needed to take place in their hearts.

In closing our study of this chapter, let's look in more detail at one of the passages Jesus quoted:

A lot of people today think that just going to church somehow will deliver them from God's judgment. You may have prayed a prayer, you may have even been baptized but if Christ is really in your heart then repentance and a changed life will be the result.

These Jews thought they were God's people because they went to the temple. But they had no real relationship with Him.

Maybe now is the time for you to face up to your sin and turn to the Lord.
Luke 20 — Questions and Answers

How would you like to be able to sit down with Jesus and ask Him any question you wanted?

One of the amazing truths about Jesus’ time on earth was that people, both disciples and opponents, had the incredible privilege and opportunity of asking Jesus any question they wanted!

In this chapter, we read about nine different questions: three that the religious leaders asked Jesus and six that Jesus asked them. The danger with asking Jesus questions is that sometimes we get answers that we may not like!

Let’s see where we are now in the timeline of the last weeks of the life of Jesus.

Saturday & Sunday - Jesus in Bethany
Sunday - triumphal entry by Jesus into Jerusalem
Monday - Jesus’ cleansing of the temple
  —
Tuesday - confrontation with the Jewish religious leaders
Wednesday - Jesus teaching His followers

Scholars believe the events of Luke 20 occurred on Tuesday or Wednesday of the week Jesus was crucified.  The first verse gives us the context of this verse:

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel... —Luke 20:1
Jesus spent much of His time over these last days teaching. He taught His disciples and the people publicly “in the temple courts” and then spent more time teaching the Twelve privately.

As we see from the six questions Jesus asks in this chapter, asking questions was an important part of the way Jesus taught. Sometimes, as we will see here, Jesus even answered a question with a question!

Why do you think Jesus asked so many questions?

Someone has observed that “telling is not necessarily teaching” and “listening is not necessarily learning”. Jesus’ goal was not just to talk, but to teach. And He used questions as a powerful teaching tool. Here are just some of the questions Jesus asked that are recorded in the Gospel of Luke.

Questions Jesus Asked:

Remember that when Jesus was a boy and the family had come from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the Passover, they headed home and found that Jesus was missing. They went back to find Him and He was in the Temple.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. —Luke 2:46

And he said to them [his parents], “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” —Luke 2:49
After Jesus delivered the sermon on the mount and the Beatitudes:
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? ... Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? —Luke 6:39,41
After that parable He asked the Disciples:
Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? —Luke 6:46
Leading up to the Parable of The Good Samaritan, he said:
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” —Luke 10:25-26
After telling the story of The Good Samaritan, Jesus asked:
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” —Luke 10:35
After teaching the Disciples how to Pray, what we call The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus asks:
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! —Luke 11:13
And then, teaching the disciples to depend of God, He asks:
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? —Luke 12:25-26
In describing the Kingdom of God, He asks a rhetorical question:
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? —Luke 13:18
In describing the cost of being a disciple, He asks:
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? —Luke 14:28
In the parable of the Dishonest Manager, He asks:
If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? Luke 16:11-12
In the parable of the Persistent Widow, He asks:
I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” —Luke 18:8
When Jesus was arrested in The Garden:
While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” —Luke 22:47-48
After His resurrection, walking on the Road to Emmaus:
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” —Luke 24:25-26
What are some benefits/values of asking questions when discussing spiritual issues? Good questions point people in the right direction. They get them thinking about the issues that really matter. That’s what we see Jesus continually doing. He used questions to redirect the conversation onto the more important topics.

Consider this question as you study this chapter: What can we learn from how Jesus responded to the questions of the Pharisees?

Someone said: “Asking good questions may be the world's most under-appreciated talent.”

Here are some tips for Asking Good Questions

  1.   Ask open-ended questions, not yes or no questions. Those will get a one-word response and give you little information. They close off the conversation rather than helping the person to think.

  2.   Use phrases like: “tell me all you can”, “describe as completely as you can”' “what were your feelings?”

  3.   Ask just one question at a time. If you ask two or more part questions, you will probably only get the answer to one part.

  4.   Don't interrupt, put words in the person's mouth, or anticipate their answers. You may be wrong, and even if you are right it will be dis-empowering.

  5.   Use common vocabulary. Don't talk over the person's head, and don't talk down to them.

You’ll see, as you read through this Chapter 20, that the questions all relate to a common theme. And that theme is authority. Who has authority over us? How are we to relate to those in authority?

Notice, also, the attitudes of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They didn't really want to know what Jesus taught. They weren't even really interested in the truth. They were just looking for a way to trip Jesus up so they could publicly condemn Him. Maybe the root issue for them was authority as well — their unwillingness to accept the authority of Jesus as the Messiah over them.

Hudson Taylor suggests: “How few of the Lord's people have practically recognized the truth that Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all! ... If He is Lord, let us treat Him as such. Jesus asked -‘Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?’”.

We live in a culture that is suspicious of all authority and all those in authority. But Jesus’ authority is not a threat but a hope; not a burden but a blessing.

Diogenes Allen, in “Quest: The Search for Meaning through Christ” writes: “The Latin root of “authority” and “authentic” means “that which allows growth and life.” Our resentment of the authority of God in Christ is, therefore, foolish.”

That's the reason so many people reject Jesus and the Bible today — because they don't really want to acknowledge and submit to God’s authority over them. They are just looking for ways to justify their own behavior. Let's not be like these religious people. Let's “listen” to the answers God gives to our questions in His Word.

We will learn a lot about talking to non-Christians by examining Jesus' responses to these questions in this chapter. We will dive into the text next week. Read Luke 20 to prepare.