Basic Facts from Luke (Part 3)

Basic Facts from Luke (Part 3)

The interviews in Luke 9:57-63 should be very instructive for Christians because they illustrate ways many people respond to the gospel. One man volunteers to follow the Lord “wherever you go” until he learns “the price of discipleship is higher than he expected (vs. 63 seems to imply that he did not make good his offer). Likewise, the man Jesus calls in verse 59 (and the second “volunteer” in vs. 61) is ready to be a disciple, but only after attending to other concerns in his life. The Master’s summary of these situations (vs. 63) should cause every Christian to pause and examine whether or not we have genuinely surrendered ourselves to Him!

Luke 10:16 is the most concise statement in all the bible about the apostles’ authority. Because Jesus delegated authority directly to His apostles, a person who rejects their words is actually rejecting the teaching and commandments of Jesus Himself. Notice that He goes on to point out (at the end of the verse) that one who rejects the apostles’ authority is also rejecting the Father’s commandments and will! What Jesus says here is important because it answers the quibble of people who claim they “only believe the red letters” (i.e., only the words personally spoken by Jesus). This is a ridiculous position, because in attempting to ignore the rest of the new testament, it contradicts itself: The Lord’s words themselves place His “seal of approval” on the apostles’ inspired words!

The concept of “soul sleep” or “eternal oblivion” for those who do not reach heaven used to be common only among cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In recent years, the idea that those condemned in the judgement will merely be “unconscious” rather than actually suffer eternal torment in hell has gained traction among some in the “main stream” denominations (and even with a few brethren, who object to the idea of God actively punishing sinners in eternity). Jesus’ words in Luke 12:4-5 contradict this false idea because He makes a distinction between “killing” and “casting into hell;” if a person is unconscious or unaware after death, there is no reason to fear being cast into hell, but this is exactly what Jesus says we should fear, and His words here inescapably imply consciousness for those who suffer eternal punishment.

Luke 13:24 closely parallels Matthew 7:13-14, and it reflects the fact that Jesus evidently repeated His most familiar teachings many times in the course of His travels. Here, He combines elements of both Matthew 7:13-14 and 21-23, noting many people will be unable to enter the “narrow” gate. The gate is made “narrow” (hemmed in, made difficult) by the gospel’s principles; those unwilling to be changed by it cannot pass through this entrance.

 

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