Chapter 9 The Death Journey
In the last chapter we learned that in early October of A.D. 29 Jesus set out from Galilee for Jerusalem （Luke 9:51）， where he would suffer and die. He visited Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Dedication, but it was not until the last of March that he finally rode through the city gates on Palm Sunday. In this chapter we will study Jesus’ Perean Ministry （Perea is the area across the Jordan River from Judea）。 This part of Jesus’ life has been called “the death journey.”
Jesus Teaching on the Way to Jerusalem （Luke 13:22-35） 耶稣在去往耶路撒冷的路上教导众人（路加福音13:22-35）
Jesus went into the towns and villages of Perea teaching about faith, salvation, and Judgment Day. Once someone asked, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” （Luke 13:23）。 We can imagine the thoughtful look which came across Christ’s face. Rather than worry about the number of believers in heaven, the man should have made sure he was one of them. To show this Jesus spoke a parable about a house with only one door. Entry is gained only through repentance and faith and must take place before the door is shut.
At this time some Pharisees came to Jesus warning him to flee because Herod wanted to kill him. But Jesus would not be hurried. Jerusalem, not Herod’s prison at Machaerus, would be where Jesus must die.
The name Jerusalem means “house of peace.” Nevertheless, it was the city where many prophets had suffered and some had even died: Zechariah （Luke 11:51）， Jeremiah, Uriah （Jer. 26:20-23） and possibly Isaiah （Heb. 11:37）。 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem” Jesus said sadly （Luke 13:34）。 He would have saved the city if only the people had felt as did King David （Ps. 17:8）。
Dinner with a Well-known Pharisee （Luke 14:1-24） 与一个著名的法利赛人共进晚餐（路加福音14:1-24）
It seems that the Pharisees in Perea were like the Pharisees elsewhere. They too tried to catch Jesus breaking one of their Sabbath laws （see Chapter 4）。 Now at a big Sabbath dinner a man appeared, suffering from dropsy （swollen arms and legs）。 The man must have been a sad sight. Was it proper for Jesus to heal him? The Pharisees would not say, but Jesus did make him well. Instead of offering an excuse for his action, Jesus defended it. Jesus then gave the Pharisees a lesson in humility and unselfishness.
Jesus’ words changed at least one heart. Someone exclaimed, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God” （Luke 14:15）。 Jesus then told the parable of The Great Banquet. The parable clearly teaches that Jesus offers his salvation to all people – rich and poor, those respected in society and those forgotten by the world.
The Demands of Discipleship （Luke 14:25-35） 对门徒的要求（路加福音14:25-35）
There are certain people who follow Jesus when it is comfortable to do so. However, when being a Christian causes pain or interferes with their enjoyment of life, they abandon their Savior. Such people are often called fair-weather Christians.
As the Lord traveled through Perea there were many people who wondered whether they should follow him. Jesus’ words to them were clear and hard. Following Christ is no easy task and involves a serious commitment. It demands a total devotion to him that may lead to suffering and death for the sake of the Gospel.
Parables of the Lost and Found （Luke 15:1-32） 失而复得的比喻（路加福音15:1-32）
By now it was perhaps early December of A.D. 29. Jesus and his disciples left Perea and started toward Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Dedication later that month. As the Lord went from place to place crowds gathered. Often tax collectors and other well-known “sinners” gathered to hear him, and Jesus tried to speak with them, sometimes during dinner. This upset the self-righteous Pharisees. But Jesus did not let them stop his ministry. He had come to help sinful men. To do that he had to meet with them.
Christ showed why he was spending time with these outcasts of society by using three parables. In each parable something was lost then found or gladly received: a sheep, a coin worth a day’s wages, and a son. These parables in Luke 15 have been called “the golden center” of this Gospel. It reveals in a wonderful way the love of the Savior for the lost and condemned sinners. The Parable of the Prodigal Son has been called “The greatest short story ever written!” It is like a bright star in the sky of Scripture.
Parables About Earthly Possessions （Luke 16:1-31） 世上财宝的比喻（路加福音16:1-31）
The three parables just mentioned were spoken to the Pharisees. Now Jesus turned to the disciples and spoke two more.
People often think the parable of the Shrewd Manager （or Unjust Steward） is difficult to understand. But it is not. A dishonest worker was about to be fired by his master. But he was unwilling to let this crisis destroy his life so he cleverly （although dishonestly） used what he had to provide for his future. Jesus praised the man’s smart thinking, not his dishonesty. In the same way Christ’s disciples should use their earthly possessions cleverly and wisely to prepare for the coming life. This parable encouraged a godly use of earthly possessions. The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus taught how possessions were not to be used.
These two parables, intended for the disciples, were also heard by the Pharisees. They laughed at the first one, but the second one hit home
Teaching on Related Subjects （Luke 17:1-10） 相关事情的教导（路加福音17:1-10）
During this part of his ministry, with the end so near, Jesus felt he had to teach the disciples as much as possible. Luke 17:1-10 is a good example. The Pharisees had become angry at what Jesus had said. Jesus had not caused them to stumble, but woe to those people who do cause others to stumble. Christians are not to offend other; rather they are to be willing to forgive those who sin against them. This requires a great amount of love which comes from a strong faith. Such faith naturally produces good works; yet such deeds must not be thought of as a way of earning salvation.
Jesus at the Feast of Dedication （John 10:22-42） 耶稣参加修殿节（约翰福音10:22-42）
Sometime near mid-December Jesus reached Jerusalem where he celebrated the Feast of Dedication （Hanukkah）。 The feast itself was a small festival in the Jewish calendar remembering the time in 165 B.C. when the temple was cleansed after having been made unclean by Gentiles. Since both the temple and homes were brightly lit with candles, the celebration was called the Festival of Lights. It was appropriate that the “true light” of the world （John 1:9） should once again shine forth in the temple, but as John （1:5） said, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”
It was a cold winter day as Jesus walked along the temple porch, but the real chill was in the hearts of many. Jews crowded around Jesus. They were still demanding proof that he was the Messiah. He had given such proof before, but they had refused to believe it.
The words Jesus spoke to these hardened unbelievers are still comforting to Christians today. God the Father and God the Son, equal in power, knowledge, and love, work as a team to preserve the believers.
The Jews tried to extinguish the Light with stones, so the Lord and his disciples went back to Perea. There they remained for a time.
The Call to Bethany and the Raising of Lazarus （John 11:1-46） 伯大尼的呼召和拉撒路的复活（约翰福音11:1-46）
It may have been in February of A.D. 30 when word reached Jesus that his friend Lazarus was ill and about to die. But Jesus waited to leave for Bethany until Lazarus was dead. The glory of God’s Son would again be shown.
John 11:17-44 tells us what happened next. Jesus had a warm, personal love for the sisters, Mary and Martha, and their brother Lazarus. This love produced tears of pity and sorrow. However, Jesus showed a deeper kind of love, love in the truest spiritual sense. This was the love which was pulling Jesus ever closer to Calvary’s cross. This was the love which made him say “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” （John 11:25-26）。 The resurrection of Lazarus proved his statement.
Plot Against Jesus and his Retreat to Ephraim （John 11:45-54） 密谋杀害耶稣，及他退到以法莲（约翰福音11:45-54）
Jesus raised Lazarus. By doing this he showed “his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” （John 1:14）。 Some of the Jews saw and believed, others hardened their hearts. The Jewish religious leaders plotted while the high priest declared “it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation die” （John 11:50）。 What Caiaphas said by his human reason and hatred was exactly what God was doing in his love.
The final plot to kill Jesus was begun. Since it was not the right time for his death, Jesus and his disciples went away to Ephraim, a village 20 miles north of Jerusalem.
The Ten Lepers Healed （Luke 17:11-19） 医治十个大麻风病人（路加福音17:11-19）
0ne day as Jesus walked along the border between Samaria and Galilee he heard the cry of ten poor men. They cried out “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” （Luke 17:13）。 They had leprosy for which there was no cure （see Chapter 3）。 Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests as the Old Testament commanded （see Lev. 13-14）。 As they went they were cured.
There are several lessons to be learned from this story. First, this ten-in-one miracle shows Jesus’ power. He did not speak to the disease or touch the lepers, but healed them from a distance. From this we can conclude that Jesus even from heaven can help us in with our earthly problems. Second, the lepers showed great faith, for they obeyed Jesus without questioning. We should also remember that faith is accepting Christ and his Word without any doubts. Finally, there is the sad truth that few are “found to return and give praise to God” （Luke 17:18）。 This sad fact should help us understand our own lack of thanks and should encourage us to often say “thank you” to God for all his blessings.
The Coming of the Kingdom （Luke 17:20-37） 神国的来临（路加福音17:20-37）
Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the promised Savior. Jesus Pharisees incorrectly felt that the Messiah would begin a political kingdom here on earth. They were looking for signs of his earthly rule. Jesus disappointed them. He said that the Kingdom of God is spiritual, not visible, and that it is already here.
Nevertheless, if they wanted signs, he would give some. Just before Judgment Day deception and faithlessness will be found everywhere; many or most people will be caught up in the pleasures of the time. Then, suddenly, the Lord will return.
Parables on Prayer （Luke 18:1-14） 祷告的比喻（路加福音18:1-14）
Christ’s teaching about Judgment Day must have frightened the disciples. So “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” （Luke 18:1）。 In the parable about the widow, Jesus used the example of an ungodly judge who made decisions only for his own good. If such a man would be finally give in to continuous asking, how much more will a loving God be moved by the repeated prayers of his people.
According to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus next spoke the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Martin Luther, in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians says there are two types of righteousness: active righteousness and passive righteousness. Active righteousness is man’s useless attempt to earn his own salvation by obeying the Law and doing good works （like the Pharisee in the parable）。 Passive righteousness is receiving what Jesus freely gives – forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. Such God-pleasing righteousness is shown in the tax collector’s prayer. The parable ends like this, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” （Luke 18:14）。
Jesus Teaching on Marriage, Divorce, and Children （Matt. 19:1-15; Mark 10:1-26; Luke 18:15-17） 耶稣关于婚姻，离婚和孩子的教导（马太福音19:1-15;马可福音10:1-26;路加福音18:15-17）
By now it was March of A.D. 30. For six months Jesus had wandered throughout Perea, Judea, and into Samaria. However, during this time he was coming always closer to his death. Now he visited Perea for the last time, and from there went on towards Jerusalem.
Jesus’ first miracle was at the wedding in Cana. Now near the end of his ministry the subject of marriage was raised. In Deuteronomy 24:1 Moses spoke about divorce. During Jesus’ time followers of the famous Jewish teacher Hillel thought this verse meant a man could divorce his wife for almost any reason, including burning his dinner. The followers of the teacher Shammai, on the other hand, said that people could divorce only when there was a moral sin by one, but that might be as simple as a woman appearing on the street without a veil covering her face. The Pharisees now asked Jesus about divorce hoping that he would take sides in the argument. Jesus refused to do this. Instead, he spoke about what a marriage is and that it is God’s plan that husband and wife remain married for life.
Was Moses wrong in granting divorce? Jesus pointed out that Moses did not command or favor divorce, but only permitted it, and only then as a way of avoiding further sin. The Old Testament says Christians are allowed to divorce only in cases of adultery. Later in the New Testament Paul says that abandonment is also a proper reason for divorce （1 Cor. 7:15）。
Should men remain single? No. Man is suited for a married life. But some men may remain unmarried if they are able to live that way without being tempted to sin.
One of the reasons for marriage was to raise children. Jesus held little children in his arms and blessed them. He made it clear that the Kingdom of God is for them, too. In other words, because little children are sinners, Christ also wants them to come to faith and receive his forgiveness.
The Rich Young Ruler and Laborers in the Vineyard （Matt. 19:16-20:16; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30） 富有的青年官和葡萄园的工人（马太福音19:16-20:16;马可福音10:17-31;路加福音18:18-30）
As Jesus continued on his journey a rich young ruler came and asked: “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” （Matt. 19:16）。 The man was trying to earn his own salvation （the active righteousness mentioned above）。 If a person would save himself he must obey the Law perfectly. While the young man felt he had done just that, Jesus opened his eyes. The man loved his money more than God, a breaking of the first commandment.
If a person cannot save himself, how can he be saved? Jesus’ answer was clear, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” （Matt. 19:26）。 Man is saved by the gracious will of God which man only accepts （Luther’s passive righteousness）。
Jesus wanted to emphasize that man is saved by grace and not by good works. Therefore he told a parable about a man who went out and found people without work and gave them a job. At the end of the day even those who had worked a short time each received a full wage. When one remembers that salvation is an unearned gift, the person who is a Christian his whole life will be happy that a recent convert has an equal place in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus Predicts his Death A Third Time （Matt. 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34） 耶稣第三次预言他的死（马太福音20:17-19;马可福音10:32-34;路加福音18:31-34）
While on the road to Jerusalem, Jesus once again told the disciples of his death. For the first time he spoke to them about how he would die – by being crucified.
A Mother’s Ambitious Request （Matt 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45） 一个妈妈过分的请求（马太福音20:20-28;马可福音10:35-45）
The Pharisees were not the only ones with a false idea about the Kingdom of God. One of Christ’s followers, the mother of his disciples James and John, came to Jesus with a request. She wanted her sons to receive the greatest power and glory in Jesus’ earthly kingdom. Angry and jealous, the other disciples began to object. To the surprise of all, Jesus taught that humility was the route to glory in his spiritual kingdom.
On To Jericho （Matt. 20:29-34; Mark 20:46-52; Luke 18:35-19:28） 上到耶利哥城（马太福音20:29-34;马可福音20:46-52;路加福音18:35-19:28）
The trip to Jerusalem was nearing its end. As Jesus approached Jericho a crowd gathered, but two voices could be heard above all others. Bartimaeus and another blind man cried out for mercy. While they were in physical darkness, their souls were lighted. They knew Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of David. Once again Jesus showed he was God’s son and healed them. In return they followed him, praising God.
By now it was Friday, March 30, one week before Good Friday. Jesus was in Jericho, 15 miles from Jerusalem. As he walked through the crowded streets he came to a certain spot, stopped, and looked up. There in a tree was a short man named Zacchaeus. Jesus spoke and dined with this chief tax collector and great sinner. More importantly, Jesus led Zacchaeus to know his sins and to faith. After all, this was in agreement with Jesus’ mission “to seek and to save what was lost” （Luke 19:10）。
By this time Jesus’ disciples must have been very excited. They no doubt felt that Jesus would soon set his political kingdom on earth. In a parable he tried to correct their thinking. He, the nobleman, would leave for a time. Meanwhile his followers would be given a treasure to use – God’s Word. One day, Judgment Day, he would return, punish his enemies, and give rewards of grace to the faithful.