James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.Luke 14:1-15:32
PARABLES OF GRACE
THE SELFISH GUEST (Luke 14:1-14)
We pass over verses 1-6 which set forth the occasion for the first parable. The lesson from this first parable is, that if in natural things such selfishness was unbecoming, how much more on the spiritual plane? (Compare 1 Peter 5:5-6; Isaiah 57:15.)
THE GREAT SUPPER (Luke 14:15-24)
This was spoken on the same occasion as the other and in response to the remark of Luke 14:15. Christ had spoken of reward at “the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14), for those who, in the spiritual sense, acted on the principle He had laid down. But the resurrection of the just will take place at his second coming, although that of the unjust, or unbelieving, will not occur for at least one thousand years thereafter (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:14; 1 Corinthians 15:23; Revelation 20:5-6). Those who will share in that first resurrection are described in Luke 14:21-23. The leaders of Israel are represented by those first invited to the supper (Luke 14:17-20). The common people were the next class (Luke 14:21, with the first five chapters of Acts). The Gentiles were the last (Luke 14:23, with Acts 13:46; Acts 28:23-28)
THE TOWER AND THE FIELD OF WAR (Luke 14:25-35)
The Savior is again on the road, and admonishes the multitudes as to the spirit of true discipleship in the two parables that follow, closing with the simile of salt. True disciples were the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13), but mere profession in that direction was as useless as salt which had lost its saltness.
THE LOST SHEEP, THE LOST COIN AND THE LOST SON (Luke 15:1-32)
The foregoing chapter deals with grace in a subjective way, acquainting us with the subjects of it and the danger of rejecting it, and adding exhortations for those who have received it. But in this we have the objective side, and behold the joy of God in bestowing it. It is fitting that these parables should have been spoken in the presence of the publicans and sinners, and to understand their teaching we should remember that they, being Israelites, were on the same ground of privilege as the Scribes and Pharisees who objected to them. Hence the form of the parables a sheep wandering from the flock, a piece of money out of a number of pieces in the house, a prodigal son gone from the parental roof. If the shepherd and the woman could be so concerned under the circumstances, was it surprising that God should care for His immortal creatures, and especially His chosen people? Separating these first two parables, the first shows the activity of the Lord under the similitude of the shepherd, and the second, that of the Holy Spirit under the similitude of the woman. In other words, men are not only guilty (Romans 3:19) as indicated by the wandering sheep, but they are by nature dead (Ephesians 2:1) as seen in the lifeless coin. The Son of God removes the guilt by His death and Sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit quickens the sinner. The third parable divides itself in two at Luke 15:24. The meaning of the first part is plain, that God welcomes the penitent sinner and rejoices over him. And that of the second part also, that the murmuring scribes and Pharisees are depicted by the elder brother. We thus learn that self-righteous people, like the latter, who is not seen to enter the father’s house, are in danger of excluding themselves from heaven through failure to understand and delight in salvation by grace.
1. How many parables are here treated?
2. Divide them into those subjective and objective.
3. Give the dictionary meaning of these terms.
4. Can you quote 1 Peter 5:5-6?
5. What period intervenes between the two resurrections?
6. How many passages of Scripture are referred to in this lesson, and how many have you verified?
7. Distinguish the work of the two Persons of the Godhead in the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin.
8. What do we learn from the case of the prodigal’s elder brother?