(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
30 JESUS’ LAST JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
1 The Healing Of The Ten Lepers
On His way to Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus was met by ten leprous men outside of a village, who cried out to Him to have pity on them. The Law of Moses had stipulated that a leper had to be banished from the community to live outside the camp so as not to spread this contagious disease. If, and when they were cleansed, they were to be examined by the priest and an offering was to be presented to God for their ceremonial cleansing, before they were allowed back into the community . So here our Lord instructed them to show themselves to the priest as part of their cleansing, “And as they went, they were cleansed.” Only one of them, however, when he saw that he was cleansed, returned to thank the Lord Jesus. “One of them…. came back, praising God….. and he was a Samaritan.” Although a Jew would not associate with a Samaritan, here we find that they were all together in their misfortune, and although the Jew should have recognized the hand of God in his healing, and thus give praise and thanksgiving to God, only the Samaritan “came back, praising God in a loud voice.” So here we find that the Samaritan not only received healing from his leprosy, he also received the gift of salvation from his sins as the Lord Jesus said to him “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Or another rendering of this statement could be “your faith has saved you”.
2. The Coming Kingdom Explained To The Pharisees And Disciples
Having been asked by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God would come, our Lord replied; “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation…. the kingdom of God is within you.” The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, “within you”, it is internal and therefore not visible (the word “you” is a general term and not a reference to the Pharisees, unless a personal decision is made by one of them – as a group they were far from the kingdom) so there is no point waiting or expecting to see such a kingdom established in the physical sense at that time, or currently.
The Lord Jesus continues to explain to His disciples that before the kingdom is established on earth, difficult and perilous times will come, so much so that they “will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.” Because of the persecution that is to come many will be desperate to see Christ come in His glory, but for the disciples this will not happen; indicating that His earthly kingdom will be further into the future. First “he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”
Our Lord then continues to describe what it will be like just prior to His glorious return; His coming will be sudden and unexpected, but all people will be aware of it, “For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.” No one will be anticipating His return and it will be just like the days of Noah and Lot, for in their time everyone was living their daily lives conducting their normal business, even though they were warned of the coming judgment no one believed until “the flood came”, and the fire “rained down from heaven” and destroyed them all. “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” On that day no one will be able to escape the wrath of God, so there would be no reason to try to retrieve his or her possessions. It will be so sudden that there will be two working together, “one will be taken and the other left” No matter how close the relationship may be between two people there is no guarantee that they both will have the same eternal destiny.
The warning is therefore given, “Remember Lot’s wife!” She loved the way of life and her possessions in Sodom so much that she could not accept the concept of leaving everything behind. We as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must accept the fact that our sinful way of living, and those of our possessions that hinder us from worshipping and serving Him must be left behind when we decide to follow Him, for such will not be permitted to enter His kingdom!
3. Prayer – The Persistent Widow, The Pharisee, And The Tax Collector
“Jesus told his disciples a parable….. that they should always pray and not give up.”
A persistent widow seeking justice against her adversary, since she had no other source of defence or protection, bothered a “judge who neither feared God nor cared about men”. For some time he refused to grant her petition but eventually granted her request “so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming.” Our Lord then tells His disciples, not implying however that we can “wear out God” with our petitions, that we should be as persistent as the widow in coming to God seeking His response to our needs, “will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”
Our Lord Jesus then ends this teaching with a question: “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” This no doubt refers to the statement about the widow “who kept coming” . The question to us today is, will He find faith in us that perseveres in prayer? We live in a time of spiritual decline that requires the perseverance that was displayed by the widow. .
The Lord Jesus then continues His teaching on prayer by the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, showing the difference between self-righteousness and humility. “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself…” He was not like other men, he fasted twice as much as they did, and gave his tithe. Fasting was not a command of the Mosaic Law, except for the Day of Atonement. The Pharisees, however, taught that they should fast twice per week. The Pharisee also said that he gave “a tenth of all I get” implying that he tithed from what he acquired including his earnings. Here we find that the Pharisee is depending on all his achievements as reason for his acceptance and forgiveness by God – his self-righteousness. . “But the tax collector…. said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’”When we approach God’s throne of grace we should do so in humility, recognizing God’s holiness and our sinfulness, and accept the fact that we can do nothing to make us acceptable in His sight. We can only approach God’s presence through the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, for that is the only way that we can be cleansed from our sin and be acceptable in His presence. So our Lord said to His disciples, “this man [the Tax Collector]went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” .