Jesus in Jerusalem - 2015

Scripture: Luke 19:41, Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21:12-17
Date: 06/20/2015 
Lesson: 12
"The last week of Jesus' earthly life unfolded in Jerusalem. What tumultuous events marked that week..."
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Welcome, friends, to the Sabbath School Study Hour here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. We're so thankful that you have tuned in to join us, we want to greet you - both those that are visiting with us at the Granite Bay church and our extended class around the world - welcome. We have a free offer that goes along with our study today, and it's a classic book that's very encouraging, called steps to Christ and if you've not read this book, we encourage you to send for it. We'll give you a free copy. After you read it, I hope you share it with someone else.

Just when you call the number 866-788-3966 ask for offer #800. One more time, that's 866-study-more or 866-788-3966. And our lesson today is from our series we've been studying through the Gospel of Luke and today we're on lesson #12, Jesus in Jerusalem and it's going to be a fascinating study, I know. But before we get to that study, our song leaders are going to come lead us in some songs. They'll introduce our speaker who will have our opening prayer.

Thank you. We are going to be singing I cannot tell why - hymn #255 - and instead of doing a couple songs today, we're going to do all four verses of this song because the whole song talks about his life, his birth, his death, and everything in between. And the only way that you can really get the feel of this and put yourself in the place, is to sing all four verses. So join us as we sing hymn #255 - I cannot tell why. I cannot tell why he, whom angels worship, should set his love upon The Sons of men, or why, as shepherd, he should seek the wand'rers, to bring them back, they know not how or when.

But this I know, that he was born of mary, when bethl'hem's manger was his only home, and that he lived at nazareth and labored, and so the Savior, Savior of the world, is come. I cannot tell how silently he suffered, as with his peace he graced this place of tears, or how his heart upon the cross was broken, the crown of pain to three and thirty years. But this I know, he heals the broken- hearted, and stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear, and lifts the burden from the heavy laden, for still the Savior, Savior of the world, has come. I cannot tell how he will win the nations, how he will claim his earthly heritage, how satisfy the needs and aspirations of east and west, of sinner and of sage. But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory, and he shall reap the harvest he has sown, and some glad day his sun will shine in splendor when he the Savior, Savior of the world, is known.

I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship, when, at his bidding, every storm is stilled, or who can say how great the jubilation when all the hearts with love for men are filled but this I know, the skies will shout his praises, and ten thousand, thousand human voices sing, and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer: at last the Savior, Savior of the world, is king. I'm so thrilled that we don't have to know every single answer, we just have to know who does. At this time I'm going to invite pastor jëan ross up to have prayer and we will get into our study. Let us bow our heads for prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for the opportunity, once again, for us to gather together to study Your Word.

Lord, as we talk about the life of Jesus during a very important time of earth's history - that final week before the crucifixion, we want to ask the Holy Spirit, once again, to come and guide our hearts and our minds. Lead us into a deeper and fuller understanding of your great love, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Amen. Thank you so much, singers, for sharing that beautiful hymn with us. The words of that are, of course, such an inspiration.

One of my favorites as I'm sure for many of us. Well, again, welcome. We're glad you're part of our Sabbath School Study Hour this morning. I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to our online church members who are participating in our study time together. We're delighted that you're part of the Granite Bay church family along with everybody else that is studying with us around the world.

As mentioned previously, our lesson today continues in our study on the Gospel of Luke and we find ourselves today on lesson #12. The title of the lesson is Jesus in Jerusalem. We have a memory text: Luke chapter 19 and verse 41. If you have your Bibles you can turn to it, Luke chapter 19 and we'll be reading verse 41 and if you'd like to join me as we read together it says, 'now as he drew near," - speaking of Jesus - "he saw the city and wept over it..." Now our lesson this week focuses on the last week of ministry prior to the crucifixion. The various events that we're going to be looking at took place in the city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem means "city of peace" and the apostle Paul writes in Colossians chapter 1, verse 20, speaking of Jesus, "(he) made peace through the blood of his cross." It was in the city of peace - Jerusalem - that Jesus gave his life a sacrifice for sin by which we can have peace with God. Now there were a number of important events that occurred in this first - or this last week, rather - prior to the crucifixion, you have the triumphant entry of Jesus - that's something that we're going to be studying together, the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. We also have the last supper where Jesus ate with his disciples. We have the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed, 'father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I wilt, but as thou will.' We have the trial of Jesus, the crucifixion of Jesus, and, of course, the resurrection - all taking place in the city of Jerusalem or thereabout. This little city became the place for the great showdown between the forces of good and the forces of evil.

It was sort of the climax of this cosmic conflict. There, the whole history of the Great Controversy was played out clearly before the onlooking universe and also the people that were in Jerusalem at that time. In our lesson, we can just highlight a few of these very significant events that happened in this final week. We have Christ's triumphant entry. We're going to be looking at that.

We have the cleansing of the temple, the opposition of the religious leaders to what Jesus was doing, we have Jesus talking about secular authorities, and then, finally, the last supper. So there's much that we hope to cover in our study today and we're going to begin on Sunday with the lesson entitled the triumphant entry. And the key passage of Scripture here is going to be Luke chapter 19 and we're going to begin reading here in verse 28. So if you have your Bibles you can open it to Luke chapter 19 and we're going to start reading in verse 28 and we'll read a verse, pause, say a few things about it, and then continue reading. So starting in verse 28 it says, "when he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

" - Now if you read a little earlier in the chapter you'll notice the story about zaccheaus. Zaccheaus was a resident of Jericho, so Jesus was in Jericho prior to him coming up to Jerusalem and the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The city of Jericho was down in the Jordan valley and the distance between Jericho and Jerusalem was about 15 miles. There was quite the elevation change. If one were to walk from Jericho to Jerusalem you had to go up about 3,300 feet from down Jericho up to Jerusalem.

And then it says Jesus came, in verse 29, "and it came to pass, when he drew near to bethphage and bethany, at the mountain called olivet, that he sent two of his disciples," - now these two towns are interesting. Not a whole lot is mentioned with reference to bethphage; it seems to be a very small village that was at the base of the mount of olives. So you have bethany, and then bethphage, the mount of olives, the kidron valley and then Jerusalem. There wasn't very much distance between these. It's interesting, though, that the name bethphage, for this little village, is the house of unripe figs - that's what it means.

The town bethany means the house of dates or the house of sorrow or misery. Now, it's interesting to note that in this final week when Jesus entered into Jerusalem. On one occasion he saw a fig tree that had lots of leaves but it didn't have any figs. You remember what happened? Jesus cursed the fig tree and the disciples were amazed at this and, of course, that fig tree represented the nation of Israel. It looked good on the outside by it was lacking the fruit of the kingdom.

You have this town called 'unripe figs' - that sort of describes the condition of Israel at this time. They didn't recognize their Messiah and, as a result, Jerusalem eventually became a city of sorrows just 40 years later when the Romans came and surrounded the city and destroyed it. It also talks about the mount of olives. Now the mount of olives was about 300 feet higher than the temple mount. So from the top of the mount of olives one could look across the kidron valley and you could see Jerusalem spread out before you.

You could see the white marble stones that were used in the construction of the temple. It was a marvelous sight and it always swelled up pride in the hearts of the jews as they traveled and they came to the mount of olives and they looked out upon their city, Jerusalem, it was always a wonderful event - a time that often was associated with praise and singing as the Israelites journeyed to Jerusalem for the various festivals. It's also interesting to note that as Jesus gets to the crest of the mount of olives, instead of rejoicing along with the crowd that was with him, we find Jesus weeping at the sight of Jerusalem. We're going to get to that in a few minutes and talk about that. It was also from the crest of the mount of olives that many years later - 40 years later, Titus, the roman general, stood and witnessed the destruction of the temple and the burning of the city.

So a number of significant things happened right around in that area. Let's look at verse 30. We're in Luke chapter 19, looking at verse 30. It says - Jesus speaking - "go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.

" Now, most likely, Jesus had spent the Sabbath day in the town of bethany at the home of mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and now this is early Sunday morning. Jesus calls two of his disciples - we don't know who those disciples were, but he sends them on an errand. He says, 'go to the village just opposite you.' Quite possibly, that was the town or this little village of bethphage, close to Bethlehem. He said, 'go to that town and you will find this colt tied up. Just loosen the colt and bring it to me.

' And, of course, this is a fulfillment of that famous prophecy that the jews recognized as being a sign for the Messiah in Zechariah chapter 9, verse 9. It says, "rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion!" Now Jerusalem was built on Mount Zion. It was actually the old jebusite fortress that David conquered and renamed the city of David and, eventually, Jerusalem. It says, "shout, o daughters of Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey." So when Jesus told two of his disciples 'go into this nearby town and get this colt and bring it to me', you can imagine the anticipation that must have filled the hearts of these disciples. 'Wow, the time has come.

Jesus is finally to proclaim himself as king.' All of their hopes were centered upon this event, Jesus proclaiming himself as king. Well let's take a look, if you would, in verse 31. Jesus goes on and says, "and if anyone asks you, 'why are you loosing it?' Thus you shall say to him, 'because the Lord has need of it.'" Now I don't want you to miss this point. This is the first time that we have any record of Jesus referring to himself as 'Lord'. Christ's most popular name for himself was 'The Son of man.

' But here Jesus refers to himself as 'Lord.' Something else interesting, Jesus doesn't say, 'go ask this man if I can borrow, you know, his colt. Just go take the colt. And if there's any questions, just say, 'the Lord needs the colt.' What's very interesting here is Jesus now is fulfilling the role of a king. When a king needs something, he doesn't ask permission, he just simply commands, 'I need this. Bring it to me.

' Jesus calls himself 'Lord.' He's taking that role as king. Now in the ministry of Jesus, for man's salvation, there are three phases: Jesus is described as 'the prophet' during his time on earth. He came to reveal the will of The Father, he preached, he taught - Jesus said, 'if you see me, you have seen The Father.' Right now, Jesus is fulfilling the role as our priest in the heavenly sanctuary. He is ministering on our behalf before The Father, but when Christ's high priestly ministry finishes, then he will come back as king of Kings and Lord of Lords. So we have Christ as the prophet, Christ as the priest, and Christ as the King.

What's interesting about this last week that we read about just prior to the crucifixion, we see Jesus manifesting all three phases of his ministry in one form or another. We see Jesus as prophet, where he weeps over Jerusalem and says, 'if you would have known the time of your visitation. We see Jesus preaching or teaching in the temple, fulfilling the role of a prophet. We also see Jesus as priest there in the upper room, ministering to the disciples, washing their feet and Jesus holding up the grape juice and the bread and saying, 'this is a symbol of my blood' and, of course, the cross where Jesus is not only the priest but also the sacrifice and the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where Jesus fulfills the role of king. So in this final week we see Jesus as prophet, as priest, and also as king.

Very interesting. Well, let's look at verse 32 and read through to verse 34. It says, "so those who were sent went their way and found it just as he had said to them. But as they were loosening the colt, the owners of it said to them, 'why are you loosing the colt?' And they said, 'the Lord has need of him.'" Now you can imagine the joy in the hearts of the disciples as they set out on their errand to get this colt. They knew the prophecy of Zechariah chapter 9, that the King would enter into Jerusalem riding on the back of this colt, and so they went, fulfilling the word of Jesus with great anticipation that he was about to proclaim himself as king of the jews.

And I'm sure they were wondering, 'well, what position are we going to have in his cabinet when he proclaims himself as king?' You know, the disciples shared the popular thoughts with reference to the Messiah and that the King would come and liberate Israel from their enemies. Little did they understand the full significance of what was about to happen. Well, let's take a look at verse 35. It says, "then they brought him" - that is the colt - "to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt and they set Jesus on him.

And as he went, many spread their clothes before him on the road." Now this idea of spreading your garments - your outer garments on the ground - was a sign of homage for royalty. All the way back in the old testament we read in 2 Kings chapter 9, verse 13, when jehu was anointed king in Israel, the people quickly took off their outer garments and they laid it before him so that he wouldn't have to step on the ground, he would step on the garments. So when Jesus came they said, 'he is our king.' They showed homage to him as royalty and they laid their clothes before him and Jesus entered into Jerusalem. Looking then at verse 39 - we'll read verses 39 and 40 - actually, looking at verse 37 - it says, "then, as he was now drawing near the descent of the mount of olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen," - verse 38 says, "saying: 'blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'" So you can imagine the joy and the excitement as Jesus is making his way here into Jerusalem, coming to the crest of the mount of olives. People are finally saying he is claiming himself as king.

In the crowd that day there were those who probably had experienced healing from Jesus. There were maybe some whose eyes had been opened by the great miracle worker. There were others in the crowd that day that had listened to the teachings of Jesus and their hearts had burned within them as he opened up the old testament Scriptures and as he spoke of the principles of the Kingdom. There were also in the crowd some of the Jewish leadership - religious leaders who were there looking to try and catch Jesus in something he would say or something he would do so that they could condemn him to the roman authorities. It was quite the crowd that gathered there on the mount of olives that day.

And they were all praising and saying - quoting, actually from psalm 118, verse 26, "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest." Now the last part of that phrase, 'peace in heaven and glory in the highest', when you read that, what other announcement comes to mind? When I read it I thought of the announcement of the angels to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem at the birth of Jesus, where they spoke about peace and goodwill to all men. Here we are at the end of Christ's earthly ministry and a similar announcement is made, 'peace in heaven and glory in the highest." Looking then at verse 39 it says, "and some of the pharisees called to him from the crowd, 'teacher, rebuke your disciples.'" - Verse 40, but he answered and said to them, 'I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.'" You see, Jesus was keenly aware that he was fulfilling Bible prophecy. Every event in the life of Christ had been laid out before and he was fulfilling The Father's will. All creation recognized Jesus as king. Jesus said, 'even the rocks will cry out if I tell the people to keep quiet' - except for the stubborn-hearted religious leaders who refused to acknowledge Jesus for who he really is.

So, Jesus, when he was born, created quite a stir in the city of Jerusalem. You have the story of the wise men that came looking for the one born king of the jews. And all of Jerusalem began talking about this new king who was born. Here we are at the end of Christ's earthly ministry and, again, Jerusalem is in a stir and the discussion is about Jesus being king. The people were saying, 'blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.

' The disciples were caught up with the crowd, anticipating Jesus soon to proclaim himself as the Messiah. They shared the same traditions and the expectations that the people shared. Little did they realize the true significance of what was about to take place. Even though Jesus, for about a year prior to this, had been telling his disciples that he was to go down to Jerusalem and that he was to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and that he was to be crucified. The disciples put that out of their mind.

They preferred the idea of national greatness - of Jesus being king and maybe their having an important part in his new kingdom. Now as the crowd moves to the crest of the mount of olives, we find Jesus in the midst of all of this praise and this adoration, doing something that I'm sure the disciples first just couldn't understand. Take a look, if you would, in verse 41 - Luke chapter 19 - looking now at verse 41 it says, "now as he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it," - so Jesus makes it to the top of the mount - the mount of olives - he looks out and he sees the temple - he sees the buildings of Jerusalem and everybody's praising and they're waving the palm branches and they're laying down their clothes before him and in the midst of this scene of great joy and celebration, suddenly the disciples look over to Jesus and he's sitting on the donkey and suddenly his shoulders begin to shake. In the midst of all this praise they begin to see Jesus weeping. Now this was not just a slight whimper, but this was a heartfelt sorrow and grief manifested by Christ.

For as Jesus looked out on the city, he realized what was soon to come upon Jerusalem. He knew that just in 40 years Jerusalem would be destroyed. And in the midst of his tears and his sorrow, Christ begins to groan out these words - and we have it right here in verse 42: Jesus said "if you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from you eyes." Jesus is almost pleading with Jerusalem saying, 'please, understand that I am the one that can protect you. I am the one that can give you peace, but you are rejecting me. Verse 43: "for day will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

" In the midst of celebration and joy, Jesus is filled with sorrow for he knows what is to come." You know, when I read that, I thought of our world today sort of speeding along to final destruction. It seems like so many in the world have no idea what is just ahead. The destruction of Jerusalem is really a miniature of what is to come upon the whole world just before the coming of Jesus. This past week, I was reviewing a lesson dealing with the story of the titanic. It's actually an intro that we have for a lesson later on this year.

We're going to be doing a -part revival series from Orlando, florida and we have lessons that go along with each of these presentations and this one happened to talk a little bit about the titanic. Of course, it's remarkable when you think about this big ship that struck the iceberg and the message was finally given to the people, 'the ship is going to sink.' And despite even the announcement being made, that the titanic is sinking, most people ignored it. There were those who were awakened from their sleep and they were told, 'put on these life jackets, the ship is going down.' And they went straight back to sleep. There were people who heard the announcement and they were eating and they were drinking and they were dancing and they just kept doing what they were doing. And when the call was made, 'please enter the lifeboats.

' People didn't want to get in the lifeboats. The first few lifeboats were scarcely full. Little did the people realize the events that were soon to take place. I think of our world, like the titanic, headed straight towards a terrible iceberg, and how many people in the world today are earnestly seeking for that peace that only Jesus can give? You know, friends, Jesus said, 'as it was in the days of Noah, so it'll also be when The Son of man is revealed. In the days of Noah they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage and they didn't know it until the flood came and took them all away.

' So it will be when Jesus comes. Now, in Monday's lesson, Jesus enters into Jerusalem and we have the story of the cleansing of the temple. Our key verse here is Luke chapter 19 and verse 46, Jesus said, "it is written, 'my house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'" Now why did Jesus say, 'my house is a house of prayer? Of course the temple was filled with all kinds of religious activities. It was a place of sacrifice. It was a place of singing.

It was a place of preaching or teaching. Nevertheless, Jesus said, 'my house shall be called a house of prayer. Why is prayer so important for the Christian? You see, prayer is key because prayer does not bring God down to us, but prayer lifts us up into the presence of God and there is power in the presence of God. Lives are changed in God's presence. Prayer is not just simply telling God something that he already knows, but prayer is opening our hearts up to God in order for the Holy Spirit to transform us into God's image.

Prayer is a key. That's why Jesus said, 'my Father's house and my house shall be called a house of prayer.' You know, as adventists today, we need to be people of prayer. We need to be people of the book and we need to be people fervent in prayer. How many times a day did Daniel pray? Three times a day. Was he ashamed or embarrassed about praying? No.

He recognized that was his lifeline to heaven. Now you might be wondering, 'well, you know, I try to pray but sometimes my mind wanders in prayer' or 'I'm not quite sure what to say. It seems that I keep saying the same thing over and over again. Let me just share with you just a simple principle that might be helpful in your prayer. I think of the word 'pray' - p-r-a-y - and think of each of those letters representing something that will help guide us in prayer.

The p can stand for praise. When you begin your prayer, you always want to begin with praise. Think of something specific that you can praise God for - something that he has done for you that very day. Praise needs to be specific - it needs to have meaning, so stop for a moment and think in prayer and say, 'Lord, what is it that I need to thank you for? So you begin with praise. The r stands for repentance.

Again, in your prayer, you need to stop and ask yourself, 'what is it, Lord, that I need to repent of today? Is it something that I said? Is it some feelings that I've been harboring in my heart? What is it that I need to ask your forgiveness of?' Then you go on to the ask, and that is where you lay all your needs before God. 'Lord, please help me in this and help me in that.' And, finally, you always want to end your prayer with yield - that's the 'y' - yield. You want to surrender yourself to God and say, 'Lord, please, allow your will to be fulfilled in me. Surrender all your plans - lay it at his feet. We have been told that prayer is the key in the hand of faith that unlocks heavens treasure house.

We want to be unlocking the treasures of heaven - the spiritual blessings that we so desperately need. So now we find Jesus in Jerusalem and he is here at the temple. So let's take a look in Luke, chapter 19 and I'm going to start reading now in verse 45. Our key passage here is Luke 19:45 through 48 - just a few verses. Verse 45 says, "then he went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it," - verse 46 - "saying to them, 'it is written, 'my house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.

'" Now how many times did Jesus cleanse the temple in Jerusalem? He cleansed it twice. The first time was at the beginning of his public ministry. You can read about that in John chapter 2 - it took place in the spring of ad 28. Then we have the second cleansing, now at the end of Christ's public ministry and the passover of ad 31. Something else, very interesting, about the cleansing of the temple: what is it that Jesus said when he cleansed the temple for the first time, with reference to the temple? He said, 'my Father's house shall be called a house of prayer.

' But here at the second cleansing, Jesus does not say, 'my Father's house shall be called a house of prayer' - what does he say? He says, 'my house shall be called a house of prayer.' It's very interesting. You remember earlier we mentioned how that this last week, Jesus takes the position of a king and he begins to act the role of royalty - act the role of king? Jesus claims the temple here as his. Yes, it's The Father's, but now it is also his and Jesus said, 'my house shall be called a house of prayer.' Now, of course, not only is there a cleansing that we read about in the beginning and the ending of Christ's earthly ministry, but there is also a cleansing at the beginning and the ending of Christ's high priestly ministry on our behalf in heaven. That first cleansing can be described as the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church at the day of pentecost. There was a cleansing of the church and they were empowered by the church to go out and proclaim to the world that Jesus is the Christ and that he rose from the dead.

So, also, at the ending of Christ's high priestly ministry there is also a cleansing of the church - a cleansing of the sanctuary. The church is again filled with the latter rain - a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the church goes forth to proclaim the message that Jesus is coming soon. Revelation chapter 18 describes a mighty angel coming down from heaven and the earth is illuminated with his glory - that is a Revelation of the character of God and he proclaims God's last warning message to the world. Well, let's look in verse 47 and verse 48. It says, "and he was teaching daily in the temple.

But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy him, and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear him." So even though you had those who were excited about Jesus being king and they were worshiping and praising God, there were those religious leaders that were looking for an opportunity to try and destroy Jesus. And yet, Jesus, boldly is preaching the truth in the temple. You see, Christ was aware of The Father's master plan. He knew that nothing could happen to him so long as he was in the center of God's will. God would protect him.

His life would continue until the appointed time. And you know, friends, so it is with us. If we remain in the center of God's will, we need not fear the future. Amen? God will take care of us just as he has taken care of Daniel in the lion's den and all of these great Bible heroes over time and even stories of our modern-day missionaries that God takes care of and protects. On Tuesday, the lesson is entitled the unfaithful and it's really a parable that Jesus tells.

You find it in Luke chapter 20 and we're going to start reading here in verse 9 - Luke chapter 20, verse 9 - Jesus is telling this parable in the temple - of course, the religious leaders are there. Let me begin in verse 9. It says, "then he began to tell the people this parable: 'a certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time.'" - Now here is an interesting symbol Jesus uses; he talks about a vineyard. Now to the jew - to the Israelite - the vine was a symbol of their nation. Not too far from where Jesus was actually speaking these words, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, there was a vine at the entrance of the temple made of gold and silver and it represented the nation of Israel.

That idea, of course, comes from Isaiah chapter 5, where Israel is likened unto a vine. So when Jesus begins a parable and he says 'there was a certain man that planted a vineyard' - of course, in the ears of the hearers they're thinking, 'well, this is talking about Israel as a nation.' And then in verse 10 Jesus says, "now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed." Now, of course, these vinedressers here represent the religious leaders. As Jesus was telling the story, you can just imagine the anger that was swelling up in the hearts of the scribes and pharisees because they understood what Jesus was saying. So it says the time came where the master of the vineyard went to go get the fruit.

What is the fruit that Jesus was looking for in Israel? He was looking for the fruit of a virtuous character. He was looking for the fruit of the Spirit. And, by the way, that's the same thing that God is still looking for in his church today - the characteristics of the Kingdom - the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians chapter 5, verse 22 tells us what those characteristics are: "but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

" So Christ, today, is still looking for these character qualifications in his church. Jesus says, to the church of laodicea, recorded for us in Revelation chapter 3, "your need is gold refined in the fire." What does the gold mean that Jesus is offering to his church today? It is faith and love. And Jesus says you also need white raiment. What does that white raiment represent? Christ's righteousness, both imputed and imparted. And then Jesus said, "anoint your eyes with eye salve.

" What does that eye salve - that ointment - represent? Spiritual discernment or the Holy Spirit. So Jesus says, 'what you need today, in order to manifest the fruit of the Spirit - you need love, peace in your heart, you need the righteousness of Jesus, both imputed and imparted, and you need the Holy Spirit - you need spiritual discernment. Then Jesus says, "behold, I stand at the door and knock. Whoever hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in unto him and I will dine with him and he with me. Reading on in verse 11 - Luke chapter 20, verse 11, "again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.

And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out." Which of the prophets were ever received by the religious leaders of their time? I can't think of any. The servants in the parable represent those prophets that came with a message from heaven and very often they were treated spitefully. Many of them were rejected and even put to death. What about today, friends? How do we respond to the gift of prophecy that Jesus has given to the church today? Do we recognize it's value? Do we embrace this great gift? Do we apply the principles of its teachings in our lives? "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'what shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.

'" - Verse 14 - "but when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, 'this is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.'" - Verse 15 - "so they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?" Now, of course, this vineyard represents Israel; The Son would be Jesus. And they reject the prophets. They also reject Jesus, The Son, and they crucify him.

The answer is given here in verse 16, "he will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.' And when they heard it they said, 'certainly not!'" - You see, they understood what the vineyard represented - it represented Israel. And when Jesus said they'll take the vineyard away - God'll take the vineyard away and give it to another - they said 'certainly not!' - Verse 17 - "then he looked at them and said, 'what then is this that is written: 'the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone'?" Now this is a very interesting prophecy. It comes from psalm 118, verses 22 and 23 - the story about this cornerstone - it actually is associated with a historical event. During the building of the temple in Jerusalem, the stones for the building were quarried offsite and then they were transported to where the building was being built. And when it came to laying the foundation for the temple - these various stones came and the builders placed stones in the appropriate area.

But then they received this stone that had somewhat of a strange shape and they didn't know where it went and they thought perhaps the people at the quarry had made a mistake. This stone was in the way. It was a big stone. It was a heavy stone. It became a stone of stumbling.

People were saying, 'why do we have this stone? We don't need this stone. But when it came time to lay the cornerstone - they began to look around for a stone that could endure the pressure and the weight - a stone that would not crack when the temperature would change dramatically and they couldn't find the right stone. Somebody said, 'well, what about this stone? Let's put it in place and see.' So they moved this big, heavy stone and they put it and it was a perfect fit. And that stone, of course, became the chief cornerstone. That stone is a symbol of Jesus and from that time onwards, the cornerstone was the symbol of Messiah - the one who had come - but he would be rejected by the builders - that would be the religious leaders of his day.

Jesus also talks about a stone. In Daniel chapter 2 there is a symbol of a stone which represents the second coming of Christ. You'll recall Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had a dream and in the dream he saw this giant image made up of all of these different metals and then a stone came and struck the image upon its feet. It ground all of these different metals to powder and the stone grew and became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Well that stone that struck the image upon the feet, is a symbol of Jesus and the second coming of Christ.

Now notice what Jesus says here in verse 18 - we're in Luke chapter 20, verse 18 - Jesus said, "whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder." Clear reference here to Daniel chapter 2 and the prophecy about the coming of Christ - the second coming. Now friends, this is a warning that Jesus gave to the religious establishment of his day, but does God have a special warning for the religious leaders of today? Yes he does. If I were to ask you what passage of the Scripture - at least in the Gospels - in particular, talks to those today and gives certain signs of when Jesus will come. What passage will come to mind? I'll give you a clue, it's in the book of Matthew - Matthew what? Matthew chapter 24. And, of course, in Matthew 24 we have signs relating to the destruction of Jerusalem that happened in 70 ad.

We also have signs relating to the second coming of Christ. Now in Matthew 24, Jesus ends by telling a parable. And this parable, I think, is, in particular, related to our time. You'll find it here in verse 45 - Matthew 24, beginning in verse 45 - Jesus said, "who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?" Now who do you suppose this master would represent here in verse 45? That would be Jesus. What does the household represent? That would be the church.

Who are the servants described here in verse 45? That's the religious leaders. And what are they supposed to do? Verse 45 says they are "to give them food in due season." In other words, there is a present-truth message that needs to be given to the church, that needs to be given to the world, at this particular time. What is the present-truth message that God has given to the church to proclaim to the world just before the second coming of Christ? We refer to that as the three angels messages found in Revelation chapter 14. Now read the next verse - verse 46 - Jesus said, "blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing." So we need to be proclaiming this present-truth message to the world. Verse 47 - "assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.

" - But look at verse 48 - "but if that evil servant says in his heart," - where does he say it? - In his heart. He doesn't preach it from the pulpit, he simply says it in his own heart - "'my master is delaying his coming,'" - of course, today, we speak of ourselves as Seventh-day Adventists. The word 'adventist' means the second coming of Christ. We believe in the soon coming of Jesus. But we've been talking about the coming of Jesus for more than 150 years and Jesus hasn't come yet.

There is a tendency for us to say in our hearts, 'you know what? Maybe Jesus isn't coming as soon as we think. Maybe his coming is yet in the far distant future.' And we begin to lose our urgency - the passion - that Jesus is coming. So this evil servant says in his heart, 'my Lord delays his coming' and what happens? Verse 49 - "and begins to beat his fellow servants," - so they begin to criticize believers and the church - "and to eat and drink with the drunkards." - In Revelation chapter 17 there is a woman described riding upon a scarlet-colored beast and her name is Babylon. In Bible prophecy a woman often represents a church. Revelation chapter 12 you have a symbol of the true church - Revelation 17 you have a symbol of an apostate church.

It's interesting to note that the woman in Revelation 17 is drunk with false doctrine - with this false wine. When people begin to say, 'you know what? I don't think Jesus is coming as soon as we thought he was coming.' The tendency is to eat and drink with the drunkard, meaning we begin to buy into these false teachings and false philosophies that have been advocated by these various religious powers. Verse 50 says, "the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites." Yes indeed, Jesus has a very important message for us today - those who are living at the end of time. It's a message very similar to the message that Jesus gave to the religious leaders of his time. We need to be aware and not allow ourselves to fall into the state of spiritual slumber.

Now, moving right along, if you look on Wednesday, it's God versus caesar and our key passage here, if you want to go back to Luke, it's Luke chapter 20 and from verse 20 through to verse 26 - I'm going to read through this beginning in Luke chapter 20, beginning in verse 20. It says, "so they watched him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous," - it's talking about the religious leaders - "that they might seize on His Words, in order to deliver him to the power and the authority of the governor. Now I find this interesting. Here you have the religious leaders who were very much opposed to the roman authority, but when it came to trying to get rid of Jesus, they were trying to use the authority of rome to their favor to try and get rid of Jesus. You know, at the end of time, Revelation tells us that there is a world-wide religious power that, like the religious leaders back in the time of Jesus, will look to various political institutions and powers to try and force their teachings and decrees.

Sort of a repeat of what we see happening here. Looking in verse 21 it says, "then they asked him, saying, "teacher, we know that you say and teach rightly, and you do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:'" - verse 22 - "'is it lawful for us to pay taxes to caesar or not?'" 'Ah! We got him now!' They thought to themselves - one of these trick questions. What happens if Jesus said, 'no, it is not lawful for you to pay taxes to caesar? What would the religious leaders have done? They would have gone straight to the governor and said, 'Jesus says we don't have to pay taxes.' But if Jesus came out and said, 'no, we need to pay taxes.' Then they would have said to the crowd that were wanting to make him king, 'you see, he's not loyal to the Jewish nation. He's encouraging us to support this nation that is governing us - this nation that is persecuting us. Jesus is unfit to be the Jewish king if he is recognizing the authority of rome.

'We have him!' They thought. 'There is nothing Jesus can do. We got him!' Now, of course, notice Christ's response; it's just incredible. Looking down in verse 23, "but he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 'why do you test me?'" - Verse 24 - "'show me a denarius.'" - That was a coin - "'whose image and inscription does it have?' They answered and said, 'caesar's.' And he said unto them, 'render therefore to caesar the things that are caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' But they could not catch him in His Words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at his answer and kept silent.

" Now Jesus, of course, gives a very important principle when he says, 'give to caesar the things that are caesar's and to God the things that are God's. The Ten Commandments are written on how many tables of stone? Two. The first four commandments on the one table defines our relationship and our allegiance to God. We are to love God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind. Our allegiance to God needs to be first.

We are to have no other Gods before him, not worship idols, not take his name in vain, and remember his Sabbath to keep it holy. The last six of the Ten Commandments on the second table has to do with our relationship to our fellow man: honoring our parents, not killing, not committing adultery, not stealing, not bearing false witness, not coveting that which is our neighbors. The civil authorities have a responsibility to enforce the principles of those last six commandments. Can you imagine society where it is free for people to just take whatever they want? Or to kill whoever they don't like? So the civil authorities do have a responsibility to enforce those last six of the Ten Commandments - at least the principles of that. But when it comes to the first four, it is not the responsibility of political powers to try and enforce a relationship with God.

That is something between us. We are to worship God according to His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and within our lives. So Jesus is emphasizing these two very important principles: worshiping God - putting him first - and then respecting our fellow man and recognizing the authority that God has given to the state in order to do this. So we want to be faithful citizens of our countries - wherever we might be - and we want to respect their laws as far as we can. But first and foremost, our allegiance needs to be to the law of God, amen? Amen.

That's first and foremost. And that was the lesson that Jesus was emphasizing here in this passage. Well, friends, we are out of time but I'd like to remind our viewers of our free offer for today, a beautiful book talking about how we can receive Jesus and feast upon His Word. It's a book entitled steps to Christ. We'll be happy to send it to anybody who calls and asks.

The number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for the book steps to Christ. It's offer #800. Well, friends, again, thank you for joining us as we study together. I hope those who have joined us on the various television networks and also on the internet, that you will make sure to join us next time as we continue our study in the Gospel of Luke. May God bless you.

I grew up in a church-going family. I mean, we were at every meeting. I sang in four of the choirs there - I directed three - very involved - very active. It almost seemed like busy work sometimes, you know? I went to Sunday school. I knew about God.

I knew about Jesus, but I didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My senior year in high school I got the news that my father had been murdered. I played it off well. No one really saw that I was struggling with it. It just really felt like there was a hole that needed to be filled and I tried to fill it with drugs, with alcohol, with partying.

After college I just stopped going to church altogether. One day, on a Sunday, because I didn't feel like going to church with my mom, I thought, you know, I should get a little bit of word. She had the satellite system hooked up and I'm flipping through channels and then the logo pops across: Amazing Facts presents. I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but here was - this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up and I've never heard this before, let me - let me look through and find this. I went through all the storacles.

I went through all the study guides and I just couldn't get enough. Then the Sabbath came up and he's going through the appeal and I'm just going, 'Lord, I hear you. I have to go to church.' So I show up - it was funny, I didn't feel like I was going to be judged - anything judgmental - anything. And I walked in the door and I just felt at home. But there's still a problem.

I'm still partying. I was still going out to the bars. At this time, I was selling cocaine to pay my rent. Days later I find myself in a life or death situation. I had just came back from a liquor store and I grabbed a bottle of vodka and there I am, high off cocaine, with my Bible in hand, trying to do a Bible study.

And I heard an audible voice, 'just look at yourself.' And I did and I was like 'what am I doing?' And I got on my knees and I said, 'Lord, if you do not take this away from me now, I'm going to kill myself.' I was going to continue this lifestyle and I was going to end up overdosing, having a heart attack, whatever it was. 'You have to take this away. All of it.' And that day he lifted all of it away from me. It was all gone. When God does something in your life, He does it complete.

Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's word. Go deeper. Visit

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