(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
29. THE LATER PEREAN MINISTRIES
1. The Withdrawal From Jerusalem To Perea
The Lord Jesus escaping the “grasp of the Pharisees who tried to seize Him” went back to east of the Jordan River to the region of Perea where John had been baptizing at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
“…all that John said about this man was true. And in that place many believed in Jesus.”A great testimony to the man who introduced the Christ at the start of His earthly ministry, and a great testimony to the followers of the Lord Jesus who, today, by their lifestyle display to their world that Jesus is the Christ; this is the way that the Kingdom will increase.
2. While Journeying Toward Jerusalem, A Discussion On Who Will Be Saved
As the Lord Jesus went from one town to another on His way to Jerusalem, He was asked if only a few people would be saved, to which He responded “Make every effort” to enter the kingdom before the door is closed. “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading….”. The Lord Jesus is comparing the Kingdom to a house where once the owner has closed the door, no one else will be allowed to enter. “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.”– would be the cry as they plead with the owner to open the door, but the owner’s response will be, “I don’t know you or where you come from.”The reply of the owner is very straightforward as he restrains the “evil doers”.
The Lord Jesus concludes the discussion by adding, “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.” There will be those on the outside watching and agonizing that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets will be included in the kingdom and they will be excluded, even though they claimed Abraham as their father, but rejected the words of the prophets, stoning and killing the messengers of God.
On being reminded that Herod and the Pharisees were waiting to kill Him, the Lord Jesus sends a message to Herod that He will continue His ministry of healing “and on the third day I will reach my goal.” His goal being the redemption of mankind through His death, burial and resurrection , adding that “no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!”, since Jerusalem was noted for killing and stoning those prophets that were sent to them. The Lord Jesus then ends the discussion by expressing His sorrow for Jerusalem because of the rejection of God’s messengers; as a result, they would not see Him again (God’s final messenger to Jerusalem ) until they say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
3. A Meal At A Pharisee’s House On The Sabbath – Healing A Man Of Dropsy – Parables Of A Luncheon or Dinner And A Banquet
There are seven miracles of the Lord Jesus performed on the Sabbath, Luke records five , and John records two .
On this occasion it is recorded that, “he was being carefully watched.”Because of this our Lord asked the question, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” Luke writes that they all remained silent. The Lord Jesus then heals the man suffering from dropsy and sends him away, further commenting on the fact that if a son or an ox had fallen into a well on the Sabbath the father or owner would immediately go to the rescue. Here, our Lord is making reference to the Mosaic Law concerning no work on the Sabbath, for which two reasons were given for its observance: first, God’s creation took six days and He rested on the seventh; second, they were to remember their slavery in Egypt and cease from any work so that they and their workers could enjoy a day of rest .
“When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table….”Our Lord then told a parable to the guests that ‘Humility is better than Humiliation’. He said “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor… But when you are invited, take the lowest place…” In this way you can be honoured when your host invites you to take a better place, a place of honour, at the table. Humility is the character of the child of God, and we are encouraged to be humble in all that we do so that God can exalt us .
Our Lord then gives a parable to His host; He says, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors…” It is better to be “blessed” by the poor rather than to be “repaid” by the rich; God will repay us “at the resurrection of the righteous” for our hospitality to those who are not able to afford the cost of attending such a function.
In a second parable to the guests our Lord speaks of “a great banquet” where those who had been invited were told, “Come, for everything is now ready”. They all began to excuse themselves finding something more important to them for not attending; whereupon, the host told his servants to go out and bring in the poor, crippled, lame and blind, adding that, “not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.” This, no doubt, was a reference to the Jews; Pharisees, Sadducees, and other religious leaders, including all people who reject our Lord’s invitation to “come to Him and find rest for their souls”and enjoy the good things of His kingdom. Only those who willingly accept His invitation will enjoy participating in His “great banquet”.
“Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”.