The growth of the Kingdom of God
Luke 13:1 – 35
Jesus illustrated his teachings about the Kingdom of God through parables, miracles or public teachings.
(a) In His preaching Jesus stated that repentance of sin was a requirement to the entry into the Kingdom. (13:1 – 5)
(b) In the parable of the unfruitful fig tree. (13:6 – 9)
- Jesus came to give sinners time to repent so as to get the kingdom of God.
- Jesus brought spiritual nourishment for those who want to inherit the kingdom.
- The kingdom of God starts from an insignificant and humble state and grows gradually to bear fruits.
- The kingdom of God is to grow through liberating people from bondage of sickness brought by Satan.
- The Jewish leaders who are opposed to the Sabbath healing will be shut out of the kingdom.
- In the Kingdom of God, saving human lives overrides the demand of the Law.
- The kingdom will grow from those who demonstrate mercy for the suffering as Jesus did.
The following are the teachings of Jesus on the growth of God’s kingdom based on the parables of the Mustard seed and the Yeast;
- The kingdom of God starts from a humble beginning.
- It grows to greatness and becomes big though gradually.
- The kingdom of God is universal/all nations of the world come together.
- The Kingdom of God offers protection to those who enter it.
- The effect of the Kingdom will always be manifest.
- The Kingdom of God grows secretly in the hearts of human beings.
- The kingdom of God works mysteriously transforming the lives of those who join it.
- The kingdom of God has challenges for those who enter it.
- It is for those who are determined and committed to work for Jesus.
- The kingdom is not a guarantee for the Jews but, the Gentiles have higher chances of entering than them.
- The time to enter the Kingdom is so short that one has to make a quick decision and repent.
- Everyone should try to enter the kingdom of God.
- The kingdom of God will be established through Jesus’ death and resurrection in Jerusalem.
- Earthly rulers have no powers to stop the establishment of the kingdom of God.
- The proponents of the Kingdom of God have been persecuted by the Jewish leaders and therefore will be punished by God.
- The Kingdom of God grows on happiness not on suffering like the sick.
- To have eternal life/ enter heaven.
- To turn away from sin/ seek forgiveness.
- To enjoy God’s blessings/ peace.
- To be a witness of Jesus’ death and resurrection/ it’s an acceptance of the great mission.
- To serve God/ be ambassadors of God’s Kingdom.
- To enter into a personal relationship with God.
- To be the light of the world.
- To acquire a new identity.
- To escape judgment/ going to hell.
- To identify with a spiritual/ social group.
- To escape suffering caused by sin in the world.
13:31 – 35
- Jesus was advised by some Pharisees to go elsewhere because Herod wanted to kill Him.
- Jesus responded by telling them to tell Herod that He would continue with His journey to Jerusalem performing healing miracles and driving out demons for the following 3three days(Vs 33) and that it was not right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem.
- Jesus refers to Herod as a “fox” indicating that Herod was cunning. Herod is also portrayed as a murderer/ Killed John the Baptist.
- Jesus lamented over Jerusalem for it repeatedly killed the prophets and messengers that God had sent.
- Since Jerusalem will reject Jesus, God will abandon Jerusalem and its Temple (vs. 35).
- Jerusalem was the religious centre for Jews and a seat of authority.
- Jerusalem will be the site of the death of the Messiah.
(a) Jesus Heals a sick man. (Luke 14:1 – 6)
- One Sabbath of one of the leading Pharisees invited Jesus to his house for a meal.
- While in the house, a man whose limbs were swollen came to Jesus for healing.
- On seeing him, Jesus asked the Pharisees and teachers of the law “does out Law allow healing on the Sabbath or not?” (vs.3b).
- The Pharisees did not respond to the question.
- Jesus reminded them that “if anyone of you had a son or an ox that happened to fall in a well on a Sabbath, would you not pull him out at once on the Sabbath itself?” (vs.5)
- Jesus went ahead to heal the man.
- This healing was a manifestation of the presence of God’s kingdom.
- This healing brought more tension between Jesus and the Pharisees; Healing on a Sabbath was considered work and therefore breaking the law.
- While Jesus was in the house of the leading Pharisee, he noticed that some guests were choosing the best places at the table.
- He taught them that when invited to a wedding feast, they should not take seats of honour. They could be embarrassed when honoured guests arrive and take up their places.
- He taught that one should take the lowest place.
- The hose many notice you and elevate you to the seats of honour.
- Jesus remarked that “for everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great”. (vs.11)
- Jesus taught that one should not only invite ones relatives, friends, neighbouts or the rich for they are likely to invite them back.
- He advised them to invite the underprivileged such as the poor, crippled, the lame, the blind for one would be more blessed than if he invited his friends and relatives.
The teachings that Jesus made to the guests at the Pharisees house
- Saving a life can be done on the Sabbath.
- It is well to respond to an emergency even on the Sabbath.
- Human life is more important than the animals which the Pharisee accept to rescue on the Sabbath day.
- It is good for one to humble hims`elf/ sit in a lowly place when invited.
- Those who exalt themselves will be humbled/ those who humble themselves will be exalted.
- It is blessed to invite the poor/ maimed/ lame/ blind to feasts instead of one’s relative/ friends who can invite him/her in return.
- Those who do good for the less fortunate will be repaid during the resurrection of the just.
Luke 14:15 – 24
- The invited guests failed to show p by giving last minute excuses. They were held by social and economic issues.
- The host called in the low class people from the streets to celebrate.
- He wanted to explain that invitation to God’s Kingdom is open to many.
- He wanted to show that the Jews were given the first chance to be part of God’s Kingdom, but they rejected.
- He wanted to show that people reject God’s call due to material possession/ family commitments which can be a stumbling block to one’s spiritual life.
- He wanted to show that the Gentiles/ outcasts are called to God’s Kingdom to replace the non responding Jews.
- He needed to explain that God’s invitation/ call is extended to all people/ God offers universal salvation.
- In order to show that it is important for all people to honour God’s call irrespective of their status/ background.
- So as to explain that those who refuse/ do not accept God’s call will not receive blessings of God’s Kingdom.
- He wanted to challenge the Jews/ Pharisees who counted themselves as righteous yet they failed to respond to God’s call.
Luke 14:25 – 35
To follow Christ entails repentance and forgiveness of sins and also greater sacrifice such as:
- Denouncing family attachments vs.26.
- Total surrender of ones possessions to the growth of the kingdom.
- Accepting to suffer and die for Christ.
- Total commitment to the word of God such that one cannot turn back.
- Being ready to preach the Gospel and heal the sick.
- Leading exemplary lives.
- Maintain their Zeal for following Jesus. Being the salt of the world i.e. His disciples must bring flavor and taste to the others and must also bring healing to others.
Luke 15:1 – 32
Jesus used the three parables of the lost to challenge the Pharisees who accused Him of mixing with sinners and outcasts.
(a) The parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:4 – 7)
A shepherd lost one sheep and was left with 99. He abandoned the 99 and went searching for the lost one. On finding it, he was happy and organized for a celebration with friends. Jesus stated that God rejoices over repentance of one sinner than many righteous ones who do not need repentance.
God does not want any of his children to get lost.
(b) The parable of the Lost Coin. (Luke 15:8 – 10)
- A woman lost a coin out of ten coins.
- She lit a lamp and searched tirelessly for it.
- When she recovered it she was happy and called her friends to join in the celebration.
- The angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents.
- A man had two sons.
- A younger son asked for his share inheritance. The father shared out his property between the two sons.
- In a foreign country, the younger son spent all his wealth on luxuries and on immorality.
- He resorted to a humble job of looking after pigs to earn his upkeep.
- Feeling that the life he was now living was disgracieful he regretted the decision he had made by leaving home.
- He opted to go back home and apologize to his father so that he could be hired as one of the servants.
- He was received with great joy by the father who dressed him in new clothes and held a celebration to mark the occasion.
- He was happy the son had come back alive.
- The elder son was unhappy because he had never been honored by his father yet he had remained loyal.
- The reaction of the elder son was rebuked by the father who gave reasons why they were to celebrate.
- He assured the elder son that what he had was his.
- To encourage sinners to accept the word of God.
- To show the consequences of loose living.
- To encourage people to realize their sinfulness/ be willing to repent/ reconcile.
- To teach God’s love for all people/ kingdom of God is for all people.
- To show God’ unconditional forgiveness.
- To warn against judging others/ condemning others.
- To teach His audience the need to welcome repentant sinners.
- He wanted to encourage families to live in harmony.
- God is a God of freedom i.e. He has given human beings the freedom to choose as the father granted the wishes of the younger son.
- God responds to the wishes, prayers and requests of human beings as the father listened to the wishes of his son
- God is a loving father i.e. God’s love is unlimited as the father loved his sons.
- God is always concerned about the lost or sinners as the father was looking forward to the return of His son
- God is merciful or compassionate and ready to receive those who repent as the father welcomed his son.
- God is happy and rejoices when the repentant sinner goes back to Him or when the lost are found as the father celebrated the return of his son.
- God is firgiving as the father forgave his son.
- God does not discriminate against some people just as the father did not discriminate any of his children.
- God is generous as shown by the fact that the father gave a portion of his property to his younger son and told the elder son that all that he had was his.
- God is mysterious. The older son could not understand why the father was doing what he was doing.
- God provides each individual’s needs as the father asked his servants to place a ring on his son’s finger and provide him with new clothes.
- God knows and understands each individual’s needs as the father knew the needs of his sons.
- Christians should repent their sins/confess them.
- They should accept and correct sinners in their daily lives.
- Christians should rejoice over repentant sinners.
- Christians should avoid self-righteousness.
- Christians should not be jealous.
- Christians should not judge others for God the final and true judge.
- Christians should preach and win more people to God/ Christians should put every effort to seek the lost just like shepherd left the 99 sheep to seek one that was lost.
- Following Jesus is a personal choice.
- The young son came to himself and decided to go to his father to ask for forgiveness and acceptance. Individual effort is required by Christians in following Jesus.
Jesus used two parables to teach about wealth:
1. The parable of the shrewd manager
2. The parable of the rich man and lazy vs.19 – 31
Jesus brings out the following teachings on wealth and poverty.
- Wealth should be acquired in the right manner.
- Wealth is a gift from God/ God given.
- Wealth should be used to serve God/ expand God’s Kingdom.
- Those who have wealth are only stewards.
- Those who have wealth should share it with others/ help the needy/ poor.
- Poverty is not a result of sin/ the poor can also enjoy God’s blessings.
- Wealth can be a hindrance for one to enter into the kingdom of God.
- One cannot serve God and mammon/ wealth.
- We cannot satisfy all human needs/ cannot answer human quest for salvation.
- Those who have wealth should avoid extravagance/ prodigality/ luxury.
- Earthly wealth is temporary.
- Those who have wealth should use it responsibly.
- We should accept that there are people who have been blessed by God with riches. Others are poor and lack basic needs like food, shelter and clothing.
- It is their Christian duty that the rich should share their wealth with the needy.
- The rich Christians should not love their riches more than God.
- Christians are expected to use their wealth to maintain God’s work e.g. tithing honestly.
- Christians should seek spiritual wealth more than material wealth. Spiritual wealth is eternal and material wealth is temporal.
- The rich who oppress the poor are condemned.
- The poor should accept themselves as they are God’s children/God loves them/ they should use their talents in God’s work.
- To promote the spread of the Gospel.
- To assist the victims of disaster-hit areas.
- To build homes for destitute.
- To provide medical services.
- To promote education and training.
- To give offerings and tithes to the church.
- To create employment opportunities.
- To invest money in community projects.
- Using it for intoxication or engaging in alcohol and drug abuse.
- Indulging in immoral practices such as prositution or extra-marital sex.
- Using it to buy luxuries e.g. expensive clothes and cars.
- Using money in gambling or in dangerous sports.
- Using money to frustrate, exploit, or oppress others.
- Using the money to bribe in order to get out of legal problems e.g. bribing judges and magistrates.
- Using money to buy positions, power or status.
- Wealthy people giving a lot of money to their young children who cannot use it responsibly.
- Using money to lure others e.g. young people to engage in immoral practices.
- Gambling enables one to get money/ wealth without working for it.
- In gambling, one’s gain leads to another person’s loss.
- It creates bitterness in the one who loses.
- The Bible condemns gambling/ unfair interests.
- It involves taking advantage of the ignorant players.
- There is no security on the wealth/ money puts on gambling.
- It is addictive/ can become a compulsive habit.
- It can interfere with family budget/priorities / can cause misunderstanding in the family/ friends.
- It can lead to violence/ loss of life.
- It can lead to stress/ illness.
- It can lead to poverty.
- Its time wasting at the expense of productive work.
Luke 17:1 – 37
- Faith is complete trust/confidence in someone/something.
- Faith is absolute trust in the truthfulness of God’s providence.
- Jesus taught that people are likely to commit sin. if a person makes others to sin, ‘It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.’ vs 2.
- Jesus told his disciples to forgive those who wrong them constantly.
- He said that if the disciples had faith as a mustard seed, they would command a sycamore tree to uproot itself and grow in the sea. People require faith the size of a mustard seed to make possible what seems possible.
- Do Jesus taught that a servant’s duty is to serve his master and can only relax when there’s no work to do.
- The disciples were being reminded not to relax but to continue working tirelessly as God’s servants. If they have faith they would understand that they owe everything they have to God.
- As Jesus Christ was on his way to Jerusalem, he met 10 lepers. They stood at a distance and shouted ‘Jesus, Master have mercy on us.’ Jesus Christ told them to go to the priest for examination. On their way to the priest, one of them on realizing that he had been healed ran back praising God. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. The man who came back was a Samaritan and Jesus Christ wondered why only the foreigner came back. Jesus Christ acknowledged that the Samaritan had faith and told him ‘rise and go your way your faith has made you well.’ Jesus commended him for his faith making him a good example to the rest.
- Some Pharisees asked Jesus when ‘the kingdom’ of God would come. Jesus told him that the kingdom would not come in a way that can be seen. Those who accepted Jesus and his teachings had already received the kingdom. Jesus refers to the kingdom of God as an inner experience. He also refers to the kingdom of having come through him. Faith is God send.
- Faith is necessary to discover the power of God’s kingdom within us. The Pharisees lacked enough faith to enable them see that the kingdom had come in the person of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom was right under their noses, yet they couldn’t see.
- Faith strengthens Christians to overcome temptations.
- Gives power to forgive others when they sin against us.
- Enables the disciples to perform miracles.
- Enables the disciples to perform their duties freely without expecting any material reward.
- Breaks cultural barriers.
- Enables one to seek help from Jesus Christ.
- Faith in God enables us to show gratitude to Him for His blessings.
- Faith enables Christians to experience God’s kingdom in their hearts.
- Lack of faith in Jesus Christ leads to punishment.
- The power of faith in Jesus Christ leads to healing.
- God expects Christians to obey and have absolute faith in Him which enables us to serve Him.
- Christians should have faith in Jesus Christ by following His teachings and doing His will. Faith is the foundation of salvation.
- Christians should be fully committed to Jesus so that faith can continue to be strengthened/strengthen the faith of others around us.
- Christians should have faith to be able to forgive others who wrong us.
- Faith enables Christians to serve God in whatever they do without reservation.
- Faith in Jesus Christ brings healing, peace and restoration.
- Enables Christians the power of God’s kingdom.
- Enables Christians to inherit God’s kingdom.
- Enables Christians to work miracles in Jesus Christ’s name.
- Enables Christians to overcome temptations.
- Enables Christians to endure suffering.
Luke 18:1 – 14
(a) Parable of the widow and the unjust judge (18:1 – 8)
- The woman approached a judge to grant her justice and mercy from her adversaries/enemies.
- The judge didn’t listen to her because he had no fear neither for human beings nor God.
- The woman had nowhere else to obtain help apart from the judge. She therefore persistently demanded for her rights from the judge.
- The judge eventually granted the widow’s request.
- The parable teaches that:
(ii) God will answer when we persistently pray.
(iii) Prayer should be offered in faith.
- Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. (Luke 18:9 – 14)
- Two men went into the temple to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector.
- The Pharisee praised himself in prayer.
- He said he was holy/ better than others/ tax collector.
- The tax collector also prayed but could not lift his eyes to heaven.
- The tax collector beat his breast saying he is a sinner/ asked fo forgiveness.
- It was the prayer of the tax collector that was accepted/ that was justified.
- Jesus concluded by saying that whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
(i) Prayer should be said in humility
(ii) Prayer should be addressed to God.
(iii) Should be brief and precise
(iv) Should be said with sincerity.
Lessons Christians learn from the parables
- Should acknowledge that they are sinners and should seek for forgiveness through prayer.
- Should approach God with humility.
- Should avoid spiritual pride and self righteousness.
- Should always confess their sins honestly as we pray.
- Should be persistent in prayer.
- Should not condemn/ judge others.
- Should pray for deliverance of justice globally.
- To show their dependence on God or faith in God.
- To express the power, greatness, adoration or honour of God.
- Through prayer, they confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.
- They pray to ask for their needs and seek guidance.
- To thank God for His faithfulness, goodness and blessings.
- Prayer helps to relieve fears, anxiety or worries.
- Prayer is an instrument through which the work of Satan is destroyed.
- They pray to communicate with God or fellowship with God.
- They pray in following the example of Jesus.
- It is a command from God; a sign of obedience.
- They pray to interceed for others.
- To seek protection from God.
Luke 18:15 – 19:1 – 27
Salvation: The process of being delivered from sin.
Jesus Christ was the following parables and incidences to teach about salvation:
(i) When he met little kids (18:15 – 17)
- Parents brought their children unto Jesus for blessings.
- The disciples prevented them from Jesus Christ.
- The Savior rebuked his disciples and welcomed the kids for blessings.
- Salvation is for the simple, humble, innocent and trusting like little children.
- Christians should humble themselves and trust in God and have faith, to attain salvation.
- The young ruler came to Jesus Christ seeking confirmation of having eternal life.He had a lot of faith in himself.
- He told Jesus that he had kept the commandments since he was a young boy. To make him surrender to God, Jesus told him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me.’ (vs. 22)
- When the rich man heard this, he went away sad.
- Obedience to God’s commandments.
- Not trusting in wealth.
- Using the wealth acquired to serve others.
- Cutting off family ties for the sake of the kingdom.
- Salvation will be achieved through the suffering (passion).
- The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives Christians hope for eternal life.
- Salvation is for those who show faith in Jesus Christ like the blind man.
- Salvation also requires a deliberate effort to receive God’s love.
- Persistence is also required. Christians should be persistent in their faith in God to achieve eternal life.
- Christians should not hinder others from seeking salvation.
- Christians can attain eternal life through showing compassion by our acts of mercy to those in need.
The conversion of Zachaeus
19:1 – 10
- Zachaeous was a tax collector. He was short in stature and had climbed up a tree to see Jesus Christ.
- Jesus Christ saw him, loved him and offered to visit him.
- He believed in Jesus Christ. He was ready to refund to the people what he had cheated out of them four times and give half of his wealth to the poor.
- Deliberate effort.
Luke 1 9:11 – 27
- A man of nobility travelled to a far country. He gave each of his ten servants 10 pounds to trade in and make profits for him.
- All made some profit except one who kept his money.
- Upon return, he rewarded all the faithful servants.
- He rebuked the unfaithful servants and took away the money he had given him.
- Salvation is for those who use God-given talents.
- Salvation is for those who remain faithful.
- Salvation will reach its ultimate fulfillment with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
- Christians will be rewarded in heaven according to their performance.
- Christians should believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ. To seek eternal life, they are expected to repent their sins for forgiveness.
- The death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection makes it possible for Christians to receive eternal life.
- To enter God’s kingdom, Christians have to be humble.
- Christians also learn that wealth should not be a barrier to inheriting eternal life.
- Christians should use wealth to serve the needy.
- Christians should obey God’s commandments so as to receive salvation.
- Christians should use their ability/talent to glorify God.