Luke 21:16-19

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

April 10, 2002


Jesus is in the last week of His life. He has made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The people were calling Him a king as they shouted “Hosanna”, or, “Save us now”. When He entered town, the first thing He did was to clear out the moneychangers from the temple. He said that God’s House was to be a House of Prayer, but they had made it a “den of thieves”.

Then Jesus began to teach the people every day in the temple. The crowds were gathering to hear this preacher from Galilee. It’s some time between Palm Sunday and Thursday night, when Jesus would hold the “Last Supper” and celebrate Passover.

:16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

shall be betrayedparadidomi – to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one’s) power or use; to deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death; to deliver up treacherously; by betrayal to cause one to be taken

parentsgoneus – fathers, parent, the parents

kinsfolkssuggenes – of the same kin, akin to, related by blood; in a wider sense, of the same nation, a fellow countryman

friendsphilos – friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well

cause to be put to deaththanatoo – to put to death

Jesus said that we might at times be hurt by those who are closest to us.

King David knew what it was like to be betrayed.

One of David’s oldest sons, Absalom, rebelled against David. 
Absalom had been offended by his father when Absalom’s sister, Tamar, had been raped by another son of David’s, Amnon.  David had done nothing about the rape.  Absalom had turned around and treacherously killed his brother Amnon in revenge.  Later, Absalom would sweet-talk his way into the peoples’ hearts, and eventually lead a rebellion against David.  One of Absalom’s chief allies was Athithophel.

(2 Sam 15:12 KJV)  And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

Ahithophel was one of David’s closest and wisest counselors.  He was so wise that when you talked with him, it was like getting counsel from God Himself.

(2 Sam 16:23 KJV)  And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

There’s a little more to Ahithophel than just being a “counselor”.

One of David’s “mighty men” was named Eliam.  He was the son of Ahithophel.

(2 Sam 23:34 KJV)  Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

There is only one other place where Eliam is mentioned in Scripture, regarding the name of his daughter.

(2 Sam 11:3 KJV)  And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

That would make Bathsheba Ahithophel’s granddaughter.  Some have suggested, and I agree, that Ahithophel might have soured on his friendship with David after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband killed, and then tried to cover it all up.

Both Absalom and Ahithophel had a problem with David.  They both had legitimate grudges with David.  And they felt that their grudges required them to rebel.

Solomon would later write,

(Prov 18:19 KJV)  A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

We think that it is with this background that David wrote,
(Psa 41:5-10 KJV)  Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? {6} And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it. {7} All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt. {8} An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. {9} Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. {10} But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

The “familiar friend” is thought to have been Ahithophel.


Don’t let your grudges turn you into a Judas.

Judas?  Where did you get the idea of Judas?
Ahithophel was a prophetic picture of another betrayer to come.  Jesus would quote from Psalm 41, saying that it prophesied of one who would betray Him:
(John 13:18 KJV)  I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
The word “betrayed” (vs.16, paradidomi) is Judas’ word.  It is used in the following verses:
Mt 10:4  Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Mt 17:22  And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
Mt 20:18  Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
Mt 26:2  Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
(Mat 26:14-16 KJV)  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, {15} And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. {16} And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
(Mat 26:20-25 KJV)  Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. {21} And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. {22} And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? {23} And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. {24} The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. {25} Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
(Mat 26:45-49 KJV)  Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. {46} Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. {47} And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. {48} Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. {49} And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
If we’re not careful, we can become like Ahithophel or Absalom.  We can have a legitimate problem with someone and even be able to rally people around us who realize that there’s a problem.  But God’s way is to go to the person you have a problem with and resolve the problem.
You may find that there really isn’t a problem.  Maybe you just misunderstood.  It could be that the other person might be able to see their problem and change.


Jesus understands betrayal.

We get the mistaken idea that Judas was the disciple with a red bandana around his head, wearing the black leather robe,  spikes and chains around his neck, riding a Harley.  That’s not the correct picture at all.
Jesus loved Judas.
If you study the events in John 13, around the table at the Last Supper, you discover that John was seated on Jesus’ left, and Judas was seated on Jesus’ right, the place of honor.
Even though Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, He NEVER let on to the other disciples about it.  In fact at the Last Supper, when Jesus was AGAIN telling the disciples that He would be betrayed by one of them, they didn’t all whisper and point to Judas, instead …
(Mat 26:21-22 KJV)  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. {22} And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
Jesus understands what it’s like to be betrayed by someone you love.
(Heb 2:18 NLT)  Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted.
(Heb 4:15-16 NLT)  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. {16} So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.

So come to Him and ask Him to help you.

:17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.

ye shall be hatedmiseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest; to be hated, detested

Not hated because we’re obnoxious, but because we’re Christians.


Warning to people-pleasers

Some of us like to live our lives in a way so that we please others.
This can get us into trouble sometimes.
Sometimes we face a choice of being true to Jesus, or pleasing people.

We need to be true to Jesus.

Martin Luther wrote,

“If you perhaps look for praise and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it--if you are of that stripe, dear friend--then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way, you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears. Affliction is the best book in my library.”

-- Martin Luther, "Martin Luther--The Early Years," Christian History, no. 34.

If we have the choice between affliction or making people “pleased”, we need to learn to choose affliction.

Sometimes the very thing we are wanting, people to like us, doesn’t happen even when we do everything they want.

Pastor W. Frank Harrington writes,

“We hear about vox populi, the voice of the people, but let me tell you that the voice of the people is a fickle voice. If you don’t believe that, ask the relatives of Marvin Griffin. He ran for governor against Carl Sanders. His strategy was to have great gatherings around barbecued dinners all over the state of Georgia.

In the early ‘60s I went to Statesborough. His campaign manager was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Hinesville. I was deputized to say the prayer. Twelve thousand people gathered in Statesborough to eat Marvin’s barbecue. But when the election was over, he had lost decisively. He held a news conference in which he said, “They ate ol’ Marvin’s barbecue, but they didn’t vote for me.””

-- W. Frank Harrington, "A Day of Applause," Preaching Today, Tape No. 175.

Henry Kissinger wrote about the difference between a “superstar” and a “hero”

Our age finds it difficult to come to grips with figures like Winston Churchill. The political leaders with whom we are familiar generally aspire to be superstars rather than heroes. The distinction is crucial. Superstars strive for approbation; heroes walk alone. Superstars crave consensus; heroes define themselves by the judgment of a future they see it as their task to bring about. Superstars seek success in a technique for eliciting support; heroes pursue success as the outgrowth of inner values.

The modern political leader rarely ventures to comment in public without having tested his views on focus groups, if indeed he does not derive them from a focus group. To a man like Churchill, the very concept of focus groups would have been unimaginable.  Thus in the space of a generation, Churchill, the quintessential hero, has been transformed from the mythic to the nearly incomprehensible.

-- Henry Kissinger in the New York Times Book Review, from his review of Churchill, by Norman Rose (July 16, 1995). Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 11.

The religious rulers of Jesus’ day faced the same issues.  They didn’t want people to dislike them.
(John 12:42-43 KJV) Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: {43} For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

hairthrix – the hair of the head

shall … perishapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed

Jesus has just said that some would be put to death. So He can’t be talking about physical death here. Jesus is talking about eternal death, damnation in hell.

Can’t touch a hair.

A man was blissfully driving along the highway, when he saw a rabbit hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the bunny, but unfortunately the rabbit jumped in front of his car and was hit. The driver, being a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulled over to the side of the road, and got out to see what had become of the bunny. Much to his dismay, the bunny was dead. The driver felt guilty and began to cry. A woman driving down the same highway saw the man crying on the side of the road and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man what was wrong. “I feel terrible,” he explained. “I accidentally hit the rabbit and killed him. What should I do?” The woman told the man not to worry. She know exactly what to do. She went to her car trunk, and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the limp dead bunny, and sprayed the entire contents of the can onto the little furry animal. Miraculously the rabbit came back to life, jumped up, waved its paw at the two humans and hopped on down the road. 50 yards away the rabbit stopped, turned around, waved and hoped on down the road another 50 yards, turned waved, hopped another 50 yards and waved again! The man was astonished. He said to the woman, “What in heaven’s name is in your spray can?” The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label. It said: “Hair Spray. Restores life to dead hair. Adds permanent wave.”


Forever is secure

Though they may kill us physically, they can’t touch our eternity.

:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

patiencehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings; patiently, and steadfastly; a patient, steadfast waiting for; a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

possess yektaomai – to acquire, get, or procure a thing for one’s self, to possess; to marry a wife

(Luke 21:19 NLT) By standing firm, you will win your souls.

Here’s a taste of the two positions in Scripture:

Verse 18 speaks of our security with Jesus. We have eternal security.
Verse 19 speaks of our responsibility to endure. We need to keep hanging on to Jesus.


Hang on

The book of Hebrews is primarily focused on encouraging Hebrew believers who were going through tremendous persecution. It’s the thread that runs through the whole book – “hang on”.
The writer talks about how his readers have been persecuted and have continued to “hang on”.

(Heb 10:31-39 KJV)  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. {32} But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured (hupomone) a great fight of afflictions; {33} Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. {34} For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring (mone) substance. {35} Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. {36} For ye have need of patience (hupomone), that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. {37} For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. {38} Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. {39} But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

The righteous person (“the just”) is the one who continues to trust God, to “have faith”.  The writer then goes on to define “faith” and give many, many examples of people who learned to trust God, even though they didn’t see what God was doing.  We call Hebrews 11 the “Hall of Faith”.  And then we read:

(Heb 12:1-4 NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance (hupomone) the race that God has set before us. {2} We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. {3} Think about all he endured (hupomone) when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up. {4} After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Hold on.

Let the “tough times” be the thing that makes you cling tightest to God.


The Best Position To Pray Is..

Three preachers sat discussing the best positions for prayer. A telephone repairman who was working nearby happened to overhear the conversation. “Kneeling is definitely best,” claimed the first minister. “No,” the second pastor contended. “I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched toward Heaven.” “You’re both wrong,” the third preacher insisted. “The most effective prayer position is lying prostate, face down on the floor.” The repairman could contain himself no longer. “Hey, fellas,” he interrupted, “the best prayin’ I ever did was hangin’ upside down from a telephone pole after my safety strap broke.”