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LUKE

INTRODUCTORY

Luke, like Mark, wrote for the Gentiles, but for a different class than he. While Mark had the Romans in mind, the writers of the first three centuries testify that Luke wrote for the Greeks, and this is corroborated by the internal evidence of the book itself.

Characteristics of the Greeks.

We have seen that the Romans represented the idea of activity or power, but the Greeks that of reason and culture. While the Roman ideal was military glory, that of the Greek was wisdom and beauty. The Roman felt his mission to be that of government, but the Greek that of education. The Greek was seeking the perfect, the ideal man, and as illustrating this fact they made their gods in the likeness of men.

How Luke's Gospel Meets this Need.

The Gospel of Luke meets this need of the Greeks by presenting Jesus as the perfect, the ideal, or universal man. Dr. D. S. Gregory in his excellent book, "Why Four Gospels?" sums up the reasons for this opinion in the following way:

(1) Luke himself was a Greek, though a proselyte to the Jewish religion. He was moreover, a cultivated man as is indicated in the general style of his writing. And he was a traveling companion of Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, especially the Greeks.

(2) His gospel is the most orderly history of the sayings and doings of Jesus, and evidently prepared for a thoughtful and philosophic people.

(3) Speaking further of its style, it is remarkable for its poetry, song, eloquence and for the depth and sublimity of its thought. Differing from Mark it abounds in the discourses of Jesus, as though the people for whom it was intended were accustomed to think and meditate.

(4) This Gospel also omits the distinctively Jewish portions of the record found in the other Gospels, and also the distinctively Roman features such as the vivid pictures and the activity associated with Mark.

(5) Furthermore, it gives those incidents in the life of our Lord which more especially demonstrate his interest in the whole race. For example, the genealogy of Jesus is traced through Adam to God, and the sending out of the seventy is mentioned as well as the twelve, for the former were not limited in their work to Israel. Also a good deal of space is given to the ministry of Jesus among the Gentiles beyond the Jordan (9:51-18:30). The parable of the good Samaritan, and the healing of the ten lepers are also recorded, both of which are peculiar to Luke, and especially cheering to the Gentiles.

(6) This Gospel again, contains peculiar marks of the humanity of Jesus (10:21; 22:43, 44; 23:46; 24:39), although Luke emphasizes His Deity as do all the evangelists.

Questions.

1. For what class of Gentiles did Luke write?

2. How does he present Jesus as distinguished from Matthew and Mark?

3. Describe the Greeks as distinguished from the Romans.

4. How is Luke personally distinguished from other evangelists?

5. How does the plan of his Gospel compare with theirs?

6. Describe the style of his Gospel.

7. How do the omissions and additions of Luke's gospel bear on the thought that he was writing for the Greeks ?


THE EARLY YEARS OF JESUS

Chapters 1-2

There is a preface to Luke's Gospel (vv. 1-4). "While Matthew and Mark tell us of whom they write (Matt. 1:1; Mark 1:1), Luke and John tell us why they write" (Compare John 20:31). Luke wrote for the instruction of Theophilus (Cf. Acts 1, 2), whose name indicates that he was a Greek, while "most excellent," suggests that he may have been of high rank.

There were many records of our Lord (v. 1), received from eye-witnesses (v. 2), but Luke "had perfect understanding of all things from the very first" (v. 3). The Greek reads "from above," as if his information was confirmed by revelation. (Compare 1 Cor. 11:23).

Luke contains much found in no other Gospel, practically the whole of this lesson for example,

(1) Visit of the Angel to Zacharias vv. 5-25.

Note the historic date (v. 5); the character of the husband and wife (v. 6); their domestic disappointment (v. 7); the angel's visit (vv. 8-12); the prayer, which was more than answered (vv. 13-17) the acts of unbelief and its punishment (vv. 18-22); the consummation of God's promise (vv. 23-25). With verses 8 to 12 compare Mal. 3:1; 4:2, 5, 6. Not since that prophet's time, 400 years before, had there been communication from Jehovah to His people, but He was now visiting them again (cf. Daniel 9:25, 26).

(2) Visit of the Angel to Mary vv. 26-38.

Two sons were to be born, both named by the angel. Both would be great, but of John it is added, "in the sight of the Lord" (v. 15). Its omission in the case of Jesus is an incidental reference to His deity. The former "would be filled with the Holy Ghost," the latter conceived of the Holy Ghost. In this He stands alone. He became man in a way peculiar to Himself, since as God, He was from all eternity. (See verse 35). Genesis 3:15 "the seed of the woman," now received elucidation and fulfillment. Also Isaiah 7:14. Note particularly verses 32 and 33 and their relation to prophecies like Isaiah 9:6, 7. These verses (in Luke) are yet to be fulfilled, for although Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Throne of God, this is not the throne of David.

(3) Visit of Mary to Elizabeth vv. 36-56,

is told in a way requiring no comment.

(4) Zacharias' Prophecy vv. 57-80,

is remarkable as the first through a human channel since Malachi; and also as a partial fulfillment of Malachi.

(5) Birth of Jesus (1-20).

Note the time and occasion (vv. 1- 5). "All the world" means, "The inhabited earth," or as usual in the New Testament, the sphere of Roman rule at its greatest extent. Compare Daniel 2 and 7, which reveal the nature and extent of the Gentile world empires. Cyrenius was twice governor of Syria, and this enrollment was ordered during his first term (see Revised Version). Note the fulfillment of prophecy in verse 4 by comparing 1 Sam. 17:12; Micah 5:2.

(6) Presentation in the Temple vv. 21-38.

With the first four verses compare Exodus 13:12, 13; Lev. 12:8; Num. 18:16. Observe that Mary was necessitated to offer a sacrifice (v. 24) because sinful as other women. Her child was holy, being conceived of the Holy Ghost, but not she. The story of Simeon is beautiful (vv. 25-35), a Spirit-led man all through, and in nothing more than this, that in blessing Joseph and Mary, he did not bless the child. "The less is blessed of the greater" (Heb. 7:7). Anna's story is beautiful, but the thought we dwell on is that "she spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (v. 38). Alas! none others would give heed, even as to-day.

(7) Jesus at the Passover vv. 39-52.

Eleven years of our Lord's earthly life are comprehended in verses 30 and 40. He grew in stature, and increased in strength (the words "in Spirit," are not in the Revised Version). He was filled with wisdom and God's grace was upon Him. And yet He was like other boys but without sin. His wisdom and grace are illustrated in the incident following (w. 42-51), in which three things are noticeable, "(1) As a child He kept His place, asking and answering questions, but not teaching; (2) as the Son of His Divine Father He was conscious of being about His Father's business; (3) as the child of His human mother, He was subject unto her." We read of Him not again for eighteen years!

Questions.

1. How do the first two evangelists differ from the last two in what they tell about their messages?

2. Have you read Acts 2:1, 2?

3. What leads us to think that Luke's record was confirmed by revelation?

4. Name the seven leading facts of this lesson.

5. In what does Jesus stand alone among human beings?

6. How many Old Testament passages are referred to in this lesson?

7. How many have you verified?

8. What does "All the world" mean?

9. What shows Mary to have been a sinner?

10. How many years, in round numbers, were spent by our Lord in Nazareth?


PREPARATION FOR PUBLIC MINISTRY

Chapter 3

(1) Ministry of John the Baptist is the first event here (vv. 1-22), in which we note another mark of history characteristic of Luke (vv. 1, 2). Also he quotes more fully from Isaiah 40 than the preceding evangelists, and for the purpose of giving the words, "all flesh shall see the salvation of God." The quotation is from the Septuagint, and is in harmony with Luke's objective towards the Gentiles, as He distinctively shows that the grace of God in Christ is for all people who will accept it, and not for Israel only. We have met with John's preaching in the other evangelists, but not with the allusion to the different classes (vv. 10-14). The baptism of Jesus by John and its significance, have been spoken of in Matt. 3, but Luke alone tells us that the Lord was "praying" as heaven was opened unto Him (v. 21). Was He supplicating His Father with reference to Isaiah 61, now about to be fulfilled?

(2) Genealogy of Mary is the next division (vv. 23-38). We say "Mary" because that is the generally accepted view of the differences between this list of names and that in Matthew. The latter gives us the genealogy of Joseph saying, "Jacob begat" him (1:16). In what sense, therefore, can Luke call him "the son of Heli" (v. 23)? The answer of some is, that inasmuch as the latter does not say Heli begat Joseph the inference is that he was as husband of Mary the son-in-law of Heli, who was, like himself, a descendant of David. That he should in such a case be called "of Heli" is in accordance with Jewish usage (1 Sam. 24:16).

(3) The Temptation of Christ (4:1-13), is dealt with in Matthew as the supreme testing through which He, as man, must pass in preparation for His great work. The moral order of the temptations as Luke presents them is observable, "corresponding to those by which Eve was seduced" (Gen. 3:6), and which, according to 1 John 2:16, is a kind of general principle with Satan in dealing with humanity. Christ resisted the temptations in obedience to the Word of God. Our first parents knew the Word of God and quoted it, but did not obey it. What a contrast! "Had they kept the Word it would have kept them" (Ps. 17:4).

Stuart referring to the moral order of the temptations as Luke gives them, calls attention to the fact that it was not the actual order in which Satan presented them and which is given by Matthew, who says the temptation on the pinnacle was the second and not the third. Of course there was a Divine reason for these differing records, and we have here an evidence of the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the writing of the four Gospels. The same author suggests how the temptation illustrates that much may go on in the world without man's knowledge. Who saw our Lord on the pinnacle of the temple, and Satan with Him, and yet how momentous to the world was the event!

(4) Return to Galilee vv. 14,15. is notable from the fact that He did so "in the power of the Spirit." The reference is to the Holy Spirit of which He was "full," and by Whom, as we see in the next lesson, He was now anointed. It is instructive that all Jesus is said to have done after this anointing, was done not in the power of His natural spirit, but the Holy Spirit. What a lesson for His disciples! If He were anointed, may not we, and if He required it for service, how much more we?

Questions.

1. What are the leading events in this lesson?

2. What is the significance of Luke's quotation from Isaiah?

3. What special feature is mentioned by Luke in connection with the baptism of Jesus?

4. How is the genealogy in Luke explained in comparison with Matthew?

5. What distinction is mentioned as to the order of the temptations in Matthew and Luke?

6. Can you quote Psalm 17:4 from memory?

7. What practical truth is taught in the closing verses of this lesson?


THE MINISTRY BEGUN

Chapters 4:16-5:16

(1) At Nazareth vv. 16-30.

It was the custom for visitors to be granted the privilege of reading the Scriptures on such occasions (vv. 16, 17), and Jesus read from Isaiah 61. Perhaps it was not the appointed portion for that day, which may explain the last sentence of verse 20. However, when He began to apply the prophecy to Himself (v. 21), there was astonishment indeed, for nothing like that had ever been heard. Verse 23 indicates the state of mind and heart of His hearers. He knew the rejection before Him was such as had been meted out to Elijah and Elisha, and as God had worked by them among the Gentiles so would He do again. This aroused enmity, with the result of verses 29 and 30. A comparison of Isaiah 61:2, affords an instance of "the exquisite accuracy of Scripture," since Jesus stopped midway in the verse. The first half is connected with His first Advent and the present dispensation of grace, and the second, with His second Advent and the judgments to follow.

(2) At Capernaum vv. 31-44.

The leading events here are the casting out of the demon (vv. 33-35), and the healing of Peter's wife's mother (vv. 38, 39), both of which are referred to in Mark 1, the second also in Matt. 8. Matthew 4 tells us that Christ made His home at this time at Capernaum, while Luke (4:23) tells us why He did so. Note in the case of the demon: (1) that demons know their ultimate fate; (2) that Jesus will not receive their testimony to Himself though it be true; (3) that there is a distinction between them and the persons they inhabit and control. But why were the people amazed (v. 36)? To cast out demons was not new (Matt. 12:27), but the way and the power by which Jesus cast them out was altogether new. Compare the testimony of Nicodemus (John 3:2, last clause). Notice verse 40, "He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them." and also verse 43. What labor it represents!

(3) At Gennesaret 5:1-11.

The great draught of fishes is original with Luke, but calls for little comment. But note Peter's confession of sin in verse 8. Sin, not sins. It is his state of which he speaks, and not particular transgressions. What he is, not what he has done, utterly unfits him for the Divine presence, and he can find no comfort in that presence until his old nature has been taken away and a new put in its place. Nor is verse 11 less remarkable. "They forsook all and followed Him," because one who could do what they had just seen done, was able to meet all their needs henceforth including those of their families.

(4) In a Certain City vv. 12, 13,

With the exception of Miriam (Num. 12), this is the first illustration of the healing of leprosy in Israel, where the law of Leviticus 14 could have been acted upon. No wonder the fame of Jesus spread abroad (v. 15)! Who could work this miracle by His own power save the God of Israel?

Questions.

1. Name the geographical divisions of this lesson.

2. Have you examined a map in its study?

3. Can you quote Isaiah 61:1-3?

4. Give in your own words the Old Testament incidents referred to in 4:26, 27?

5. What is noticeable about Jesus' quotation of Isaiah 61:2?

6. Why did Jesus change His residence from Nazareth to Capernaum?

7. What three things do we learn about demons?

8. Quote John 3:2.

9. What is most noticeable in the story of the great draught of fishes?

10. How does the cleansing of the leper prove the deity of Christ?


TEACHING

Chapters 5:17-6:49

1. Forgiveness of Sin vv. 17-26.

Comparing this with Mark 2:1, we find it took place in Capernaum, and possibly in the house in which our Lord dwelt (Matt. 9:1). What a proof it contains of the deity of Christ.

2. Jesus' Earthly Mission vv. 27-32.

"Levi" as we saw in Mark 2, is Matthew whose faith in following Jesus is more remarkable than that of Peter, for he had more to relinquish. He soon showed his faith further by his works (v. 29). But though he made "a great feast" for his Lord, yet the latter made a greater one for him and for others like him in verse 32.

3. Fasting vv. 33-39.

To impose fasting on disciples who were enjoying His presence, would be like patching an old garment with a piece out of a new, and so both would be spoiled. A new era had begun and everything must be in harmony with it. The joy of the disciples could not accommodate itself to old forms and practices. Nevertheless, till others had proved what that joy was, they would naturally be satisfied with practices to which they had been accustomed (v. 39).

4. The Sabbath Day 6:1-11.

The events of these verses are recorded by Matthew and Mark also, and we need dwell on them but briefly. The Pharisees were not zealous of God's law but of their traditions super-added to the law, which practically made it of no effect. There was no law of God against doing what Jesus' disciples did, nor would God command His people to starve because it was the sabbath. Works of necessity might be done on that day as the Pharisees themselves taught. The disciples were hungry and in want because they were suffering rejection with their Lord. This is the significance of His reference to David, who also was suffering rejection as God's anointed when he partook of the shewbread and was sinless in so doing.

5. Happiness and Woe (vv. 12-26).

We do not dwell again on the choice of the twelve (vv. 12-16), having spoken of it in Matthew only to observe that Luke records that the night previously our Lord spent in prayer. But at verse 20 He begins to speak of the heavenly calling of those who are rejected on earth. This is not that the earthly kingdom will never be set up or Israel blessed in it, but only that for the time being the called out ones for heaven are addressed (Hebrew 3:1). Four beatitudes are named, poverty, hunger, sorrow, excommunication might be their lot on earth, but great their reward in heaven (vv. 20, 21). As another puts it, "the antidote is given before the trial comes."

6. Treatment of Enemies vv. 27-36.

It is natural to think that Luke is here giving a synopsis of the "Sermon on the Mount" recorded more fully in Matt. (cc. 5-8), but we face the difficulty that these words were spoken "in the plain" (v. 17). Shall we say that the same instruction was given more than once? There is nothing in the verses different from Matthew, and we only note that the whole teaching is not that of righteousness under the law but of grace, which was entirely new to the hearers. Verse 30 is not to be taken unqualifiedly but in connection with our treatment of enemies -- if any of them should even ask aught of us it is to be given.

7. Treatment of Fellow-disciples (vv. 37-45).

8. Summing up vv. 46-49.

Questions.

1. Name the seven subjects of teaching in this lesson.

2. How does the incident first-named prove Christ's deity?

3. Explain "the new wine in old bottles" in your own language.

4. Where is the parallel between Christ's disciples and David in the incident of 6:1-11?

5. What experience of our Lord preceded the choice of the Twelve?

6. What is the comparative character of this whole teaching of Christ?

7. Can you quote 6:46?


HIS FAME SPREADING

Chapters 7, 8

1. The Centurion's Servant 7:1-10.

Matthew describes the centurion as personally entreating our Lord (8:5-13), but Luke tells how he first approached Him through the Jewish elders and then through other friends.

2. The Widow of Nain vv. 11-17.

is a story original with Luke. Note that no appeal was made to our Lord in this case, but that His compassion was awakened by the sight itself. This was probably the first occasion when He raised the dead, which accounts for the effect and testimony in verses 16 and 17.

3. Christ's Witness to John the Baptist vv. 18-35.

As the fame of the wonder-worker spread it reached John the Baptist in prison (cf. 3:19). For John's doubts, and our Lord's discourse concerning him see Matt. 11.

4. The Woman That Was a Sinner vv. 36-50.

The Pharisee was willing to show Jesus the outward honor of an invitation for selfish reasons, but had no love for Him, as his treatment showed. Houses in the east were easy of access, and on occasions when distinguished rabbis were entertained, outsiders were admitted to listen to the conversation. Reclining at the table with the feet extended outward, made possible the action of this woman. It was grace in her that drew her to Jesus as her Saviour, hence she had already been forgiven ere she washed His feet. In other words, as the latter part of verse 47 shows, she was not forgiven because she loved, but she loved because she was forgiven. It is solemnly suggestive that she was the only one in that company to whom such an announcement of forgiveness was made. They all heard it, including the host, but none seemed to desire it for himself.

5. The Parable of the Sower 8:4-15.

Before reaching this parable it is pleasant to read of the women ministering of their substance not to Jesus only, but to "them," i. e., He and His disciples (vv. 2, 3, R. V.). Compare this with the earlier suffering and need in the cornfield. We pass over the parable because of our comment in Matthew, but add a remark of Stuart, that "in Matthew the fruitful ones hear and understand; in Mark they hear and receive; in Luke they hear and keep." These words are alike in that to understand, receive, and keep the Word are all requisite to fruit-bearing.

6. In the Gerasene Country vv. 26-39.

The remaining incidents of the chapter have been touched upon in the other Gospels, but we pause at the visit to the Gerasene country. A practical thought has been suggested to us here, viz: that if men can be the mouthpiece of demons, "why should it be difficult to believe that a man may be the mouthpiece of the Spirit of God?" Matthew speaks of two men though Mark and Luke call attention to only one. Was it because of this one's subsequent request (v. 38)? What a contrast in this he presents to the other people of that country! They wished Jesus to depart, but he wished to go with Him. Salvation makes all the difference as to whether one desires the Lord's presence or not. But the Lord wanted a witness in Gerasene and could not spare this man to come with Him (v. 39). Does the man's work afterward explain what Mark says of this country at a later time (Mk. 7:31-37)?

Questions.

1. How does Luke's account of the centurion's action differ from Matthew?

2. How is the raising of the son of the widow of Nain distinguished?

3. How was it possible for the incident of v. 11, 36-50 to occur in Simon's house?

4. What three things are necessary in a Christian to fruit-bearing?

5. What desire does salvation awaken in the human heart?


THE TWELVE AND THE SEVENTY

Chapters 9, 10

The events of chapter 9 with a single exception, were dealt with in either Matthew or Mark. Luke, however, adds items of fresh interest to some of them which the student can easily discover by comparison.

Chapter 10 has three subjects original with Luke: (1) the sending forth of the seventy (vv. 1-24); (2) the lawyer's question and its answer (vv. 25-37); and (3) the story of Martha and Mary (vv. 38-42).

The sending forth of the seventy fits into the purpose of his gospel to reach the Gentiles. The twelve apostles were sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but these went "into every city and place whither He himself would come." In most other respects the charge to the seventy was like that to the twelve. When they returned and reported the subjection of demons unto them (v. 17) our Lord's reply was an "earnest of complete victory over all the power of the enemy." They had spoken of demons but He speaks of Satan (v. 18), and the downfall of the one presaged that of the other. It is instructive that our Lord defines demons as being in nature spirits (v. 20). Nor let the story pass without noting His prayer in verse 21, which occurs in Matthew in another place (chapter 11:25-27). Stuart believes Luke has correctly located it because of the words "In that hour," for otherwise we would not have understood the full significance of the passage.

The lawyer's question (vv. 25-37) suggests Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:28-34, and yet it is a different occasion. Certainly our Lord's reply including the story of the good Samaritan is original with Luke and peculiarly suited to the Gentiles for whom he wrote. The Jewish priest and levite passed by the wounded man, but the Gentile Samaritan befriended him. The lesson taught is that anyone in need is our neighbor, without reference to his nationality, religion or character.

We linger a moment at the story of Martha and Mary (vv. 38-42), to speak of a unique reason for its position here, suggested by Stuart. The lawyer in the preceding incident had not gotten eternal life, and the question is how could any man obtain it? The answer is given in the attitude and occupation of Mary as distinguished from Martha. To sit at Jesus' feet, and hear His word is the way of blessing.

Questions.

1. What is the title of this lesson, and why?

2. What three utterances about the transfiguration are original with Luke?

3. Name the three events of chapter 10.

4. How does the record of the sending forth of the seventy fit into the purpose of this Gospel?

5. What are demons?

6. Have you compared Matthew 11:25-27?

7. How is the story of the good Samaritan fitted to this Gospel?

8. What is the great lesson of that story?

9. What is the way to find eternal life?


DOCTRINE OF PRAYER

Chapter 11

We name this lesson after its chief topic, for as the Scofield Bible says, we have here "the central New Testament passage on prayer." The disciples' request (v. 1) is answered first by a model prayer (2-4), then by a story or parable about prayer (vv. 5-10), and finally by setting before them the chief object of prayer (vv. 11-13). The "model" contains fundamental principles of prayer, (a) the right relationship, that of a son to a father; (b) the right attitude, worship, "Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done"; (c) the right spirit, love, trust, holiness (vv. 3-4). "Used as a form, the Lord's prayer as it is called, is, dispensationally, upon legal ground, rather than that of grace. It is not in the name of Christ for example, and makes human forgiveness the condition of Divine forgiveness" -- Scofield. Christians have always used it however, and will continue to use it, but they must think into it the conditions of their standing in Christ. The parable following teaches importunity and intercession for others, and shows in its application that the reason for prayer from the Divine side is God's desire for the fellowship of His creatures. That is why He waits to give till we ask and seek, or to open unto us until we knock. The chief object in prayer is the Holy Spirit. Here it should be remembered, we are on Old Testament ground, and "to go back to this promise is to forget Pentecost, and to ignore the truth that now every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him (Romans 8:9-15; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Galations 4:6; 1 John 2:20-27)." It is right for us to seek to 'be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) but not to seek the Spirit Himself, Who is already ours if we are Christ's. The subsequent events are (1) the false charge against Jesus and His reply (vv. 14-28); (2) the challenge for a sign (vv. 29-32); (3) the parable of the lighted candle (vv. 33-36), and (4) the denunciation of the Pharisees (vv. 37-54). The first three were found in Matthew, but the last, while suggesting Matthew 23: 13-35, is the record of a different occasion, verses 37-41 make this clear, but in reading them we must not misinterpret verse 38 to mean that our Lord was physically unclean, but only ceremonially so (cf. Mark 7:3). His reply to His host is difficult to understand at verse 41, but the Revised Version throws light upon it. "Lawyers" (v. 45) is really the same as "Scribes," and so throughout the Gospels. We have seen that the scribes made copies of the Scriptures, and classified and taught the precepts of the oral law as well. Verse 51 is very solemn. For Zechariah's death see 2 Chronicles 24:21.

Questions.

1. What gives distinction to this chapter?

2. Analyze the "Lord's Prayer."

3. What is its place dispensationally?

4. What three things are taught or suggested in the parable about prayer?

5. What is the place of verse 13 dispensationally?

6. What are the other events of this chapter?

7. Have you reviewed Mark 7:1-4?

8. What was the work of a "lawyer"?


WARNINGS

Chapter 12

This chapter, almost entirely original with Luke, consists of four warnings against hypocrisy (1-12), covetousness (vv. 13-24) carelessness (vv. 25-48), ignorance (vv. 49-59).

1. Hypocrisy (vv. 1-12).

Note the fearlessness of Christ (v. 1), and in the same verse the typical use of "leaven" in the sense of evil, which is never used otherwise in the Bible. Hypocrisy will not avail in the day of judgment (vv. 2-3), and one of its causes, the fear of man (v. 4), is supremely foolish in the light of responsibility to God (v. 5), and in the light of His abounding care for us (vv. 6-7). The lesson is that of open acknowledgment of Jesus Christ in order to His acknowledgment of us, (vv. 8-10), even though it mean trial and suffering (vv. 11-12). The explanation of verse 10 seems to be that one might speak against the Son of Man and do it ignorantly. But it is the office of the Holy Ghost to testify to Christ and make Him known, and thus he who rejects that testimony puts himself outside of the pale of salvation and hence, forgiveness.

2. Covetousness vv. 13-24.

There is a closer connection in thought between this and the foregoing than appears at first. The disciple might be called a fool who would act according to the foregoing, but the real fool is now brought into view. He is a covetous man (cf. Ezek. 33:31) for that was the animus of him who made this request of Jesus (vv. 13-15). The latter was setting forth the heavenly calling, but his questioner thought only of his possessions in the present life. This explains the parable that follows (vv. 16-21), and in the light of it all the verses are to be interpreted down to 48, but especially to 34. "Take no thought" (v. 22) means no anxious, worrying thought indicative of a lack of faith and knowledge of God in. Christ. The birds of the air and the grass of the field might teach us lessons (vv 24-28). Such a spirit belongs to the world, but not to the family of God (vv. 29-34).

3. Carelessness vv. 35-48.

is connected with covetousness, for he who is absorbed in the things of earth is not getting prepared for those of heaven, which will be his when the Lord comes again. It is to be noted that He comes before daybreak (v. 38) hence, the need of always watching, and working too (vv. 42-48, cf. with 1 Cor. 15:58). The unfaithful disciple, the merely professing Christian will have his portion with the unbelievers.

4. Ignorance vv. 49-59.

is the cause of carelessness. In other words we are not to expect peace and worldly co-operation in the present age but unpopularity and divisions. Happy are we, if warned by our surroundings we take the right course (v. 57) for judgment cometh (vv. 58-59). In the "Sermon on the Mount," our Lord used similar language, but then as another says, He was pressing on His disciples the importance of reconciliation with an adversary. Here He is teaching the multitudes a similar lesson in view of the judgment, but in both instances we are reminded that there is no mercy for the guilty at the bar of God. "Now is the accepted time, to-day is the day of salvation."

Questions.

1. Name the four warnings of this chapter.

2. Analyze verse 1-12.

3. Why is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost unpardonable?

4. Who is a fool?

5. Periodically considered, when may the Lord be expected?

6. Why should men accept Christ now?


JUDGMENT AND PENALTY

Chapter 13

There is such a close connection between the opening of this chapter and the close of the preceding, that it were better not to have separated them. Jesus had been speaking of judgment and penalty, and now came those to Him who put a case or two which seem to illustrate what he said (vv. 1-15). But they are mistaken, as He teaches them. "Those events had a voice for the living, and concerned not only the dead."

The parable of the barren fig-tree is intended to impress this still further (vv. 6-9). The Jewish nation was the fig-tree, and for the three years of Christ's ministry there had been no fruit from it. A little longer delay would be granted, and then it would be cut down, but not rooted up, observe. This agrees with all the prophets, that a goodly remnant will in the future spring up and bear fruit.

All that follows down to and including verse 21, is related to this same teaching. For example, the spirit of the ruler of the synagogue (vv. 10-17), showed the unlikelihood of any change in the nation ; while the parables of the mustard-seed and the leaven foreshadowed what we were taught in Matthew 13 from another point of view, in other words, the Jews were to lose their place as God's witnessing people on the earth for the time being, and His Kingdom would come to embrace the Gentiles. Both of these parables treat of Christian profession, the first (vv. 18-19) showing its spread from a small beginning, and the second (vv. 20-21) "its permeation by a generally accepted creed, as leaven permeated the dough." There is no thought in either of the parables however, that the Gospel would spread over the whole earth in this age, nor have we found this taught anywhere in the New Testament.

The remainder of the chapter consists of Christ's teachings on His way toward Jerusalem {22), and they too, bear on the general subject of judgment and penalty. The question in verse 22 is answered only indirectly. Each one is to make sure of his own salvation. It is no ideal picture that is set before us in the verses following (vv. 25-30), for it is the Judge of that solemn day Himself Who speaks. The Pharisees, troubled at His words, but hypocritically professing interest in His safety, warn Him in verse 31, but they might spare themselves their pains, for He was walking deliberately towards death, which, for Him, could take place only in Jerusalem.

Questions.

1. Tell the story of verses 1-5 in your own words.

2. Give an interpretation of the barren fig-tree.

3. Do the same for the two parables of the lesson.

4. Memorize verse 24.


PARABLES OF GRACE

Chapters 14-15

1. The Selfish Guest c. 14:1-14.

We pass over vv. 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? (cf. 1 Peter 5, 5-6; Isa. 57:15).

2. The Great Supper vv. 15-24.

This was spoken on the same occasion as the other and in response to the remark of verse 15. Christ had spoken of reward at "the resurrection of the just" (v. 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 1,000 years thereafter (John 5:28-29) (Acts 24:14; 1 Cor. 15:23; Rev. 20:5-6). Those who will share in that first resurrection are described in verses 21-23. The leaders of Israel are represented by those first invited to the supper (vv. 17-20). The common people were the next class (cf. v. 21, with the first five chapters of the Acts). The Gentiles were the last (cf. v. 23 with Acts 13:46, 28:23-28, etc.

3. The Tower and the Field of War vv. 25-35.

The Saviour 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 (Matt. 5:13), but mere profession in that direction was as useless as salt which had lost its saltness.

4. The Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son c. 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 (Rom. 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 verse 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.

Questions.

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 elder brother in the parable of the prodigal?


USE OF OPPORTUNITY

Chapters 16-17:19

In the last lesson thought was turned towards the heavenly calling of the disciple, of which earthly wealth is not necessarily a part. To the Jews, this was "a great change, which we who, unlike them, never had a country on earth allocated to us, cannot well understand." For this reason our Lord now changes the character of His instruction, and shows in the parable of the unjust steward the results of the right use of opportunity, and in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the perilous consequences of the opposite.

"The lord" of verse 8 is not Jesus Christ, but the steward's earthly master who commended him for his foresight. The world which the sinner serves commends him in the same way for similar chicanery. On the other hand, verse 9 is to be understood as in the Revised Version. It is not "when ye fail," but when "it shall fail," the mammon of unrighteousness the worldly possessions leased to you for a little while, that the eternal friends you have made by the righteous use of it will "receive you into the eternal tabernacles." We thus see that our future possession "so apt to be viewed as airy and intangible, comes out as a solid and substantial reality."

Of course the covetous pharisees deride Him for teaching like this (vv. 13-15). therefore, after He rebukes them for their fleshly desires (v. 18), He enforces what He has said by the story that follows (vv. 19-31). It is not said that this is a parable, and for aught we know there may have been two such men on earth "whose history in the other world answers to that set forth in language suited to the day." "The vail is here lifted by Him who was competent to do it, and the condition of the lost in the unclothed state laid bare before us." Of what use then is earthly wealth so dearly prized by the covetous, if it be expended only in gratifying the selfish desires of its possessor?

This lesson will not be too long if we include the next chapter down to verse 20, where we reach a natural division of the book. The chief feature of that chapter is the healing of the ten lepers (vv. 11-19), but the transition to it is our Lord's discourse to His disciples on the duty of forgiveness (vv. 1-10). The occasions for the forgiveness would be many and unavoidable in a life of sin (vv. 1-2), but it should never be omitted (vv. 3-4). In the presence of such an obligation the disciples might well say "Lord increase our faith!" (v. 5). And yet as He teaches them, it is not faith they require so much as obedience. This obedience should be displayed without self-glorying (vv. 6-10).

Following Stuart, the story of the ten lepers illustrates four principles of the gospel: (1) the Lord visited the scenes of their wretchedness unasked; (2) they owned that among themselves, Jews and Samaritans there was no difference; (3), they supplicated divine mercy as those who felt their need of it; and (4), manifesting the obedience of faith they got the desired blessing. It is not till after all this that any difference is seen, and that in the case of the Samaritan. "He who was the most signal example of grace of them all, most valued it." But what a gainer he was by turning back to glorify God! (v. 19).

Questions.

1. In what sense does Christ now change the character of His instruction?

2. Who is meant by "lord" in verse 8?

3. How does this lesson show that the future hope of the saint is solid and substantial?

4. Have we any positive ground for calling the story of the rich man and Lazarus a parable?

5. How does the incident of the ten lepers illustrate the principles of the gospel?


COMING OF THE KINGDOM

Chapters 17:20-18:30

A transition of thought and teaching is marked by the demand of the Pharisees, "when the Kingdom of God should come" (c. 17:20) -- the Kingdom of which He had said so much, and which they had been led to expect by the Old Testament prophets. In our Lord's answer, "within you" (v. 21) is to be taken in the sense of "in the midst of you" (see R. V. margin), the meaning of which is seen in the context. The note in the Scofield Bible is informing here: "The Kingdom in its outward form as promised to David and described by the prophets had been rejected by the Jews, so that during this present age it would not 'come with observation' i. e., with outward show, but in the hearts of men. Meantime however, it was among them in the Person of the King and His disciples."

The Kingdom would come some day with observation, but prior thereto persecution and suffering would be the lot of Christ's disciples, so that they would long for its speedy appearing (v. 22). They should be careful lest they be deceived (v. 23), for when it came it would be as open as it would be unexpected (v. 24). Its unexpectedness to the world is illustrated (vv. 26-30), and its discriminating judgments (vv. 31-37). Of course, the coming of Christ here referred to is not His coming for His Church which will be caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:16), but His manifestation to the world and to Israel after that has taken place.

In view of the persecution and suffering to be experienced prior to that day, the resource of the disciples must be prayer (c. 18:1-8). The "widow" is doubtless the godly remnant of the Jews, to which the disciples in their day belonged, and which will be found on the earth between the translation of the church and the appearing of Christ referred to above. Verse 8 confirms this application, since the word "faith" there means not "personal faith, but faith in the whole body of revealed truth." In other words, it will be a time of such apostasy that the truth of God will have departed almost entirely from the earth.

But other traits should characterize the saints of God at that trying time, of which He speaks first in parabolic form (vv. 9-14), and afterwards plainly (vv. 15-30). The traits emphasized in the parable are lowliness of spirit based on a right apprehension of sin and faith in sacrificial atonement. The Greek for "Be merciful" is used in the Septuagint and in the New Testament in connection with the Mercy seat (Exod. 25:17, 18, 21; Heb. 9:5), and the publican was "thinking not of mere mercy, but of the blood-sprinkled Mercy-seat." His prayer has been paraphrased thus: "Be toward me as Thou art when Thou lookest upon the atoning blood."

The thought is carried out in connection with the blessing of the little children (vv. 15-17), see especially the last-named verse. And also in the story of the young ruler (vv. 18-30) found as well in Matthew and Mark. This last shows the hindrance against which all are to be warned who would enter into the Kingdom.

Questions.

1. Whence is obtained the title of this lesson?

2. What is the meaning of "the Kingdom of God is within you?"

3. How would you explain verse 22, chapter 17?

4. What aspect of the "Coming of Christ" is referred to in the closing part of this chapter?

5. How would you interpret the parable of the widow and the unjust judge?

6. What is the meaning of "faith," 18:8?

7. How do you understand the publican's prayer, "Be merciful?"

REJECTION


Chapters 18:31-19

At this point we enter the period of Christ's formal rejection by His nation with which we have been made acquainted in the other synoptics, and hence we pass on to that which is peculiar to Luke, the conversion of Zaccheus (c. 19:10).

Jesus never declined an invitation to hospitality, but this is the first instance in which He ever invited Himself (5). Murmured at for lodging with a "sinner," He justified the act (vv. 9-10 )and then spake the parable of the pounds (vv. 11-17) to "dispel the mistaken supposition that the Kingdom of God would immediately appear."

In this parable Christ is the nobleman. The pound represents the opportunity for service given each of His disciples, and on that disciple's use of it will be determined his place in the Kingdom, when the nobleman returns to set it up. This parable differs from that of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30), though the two resemble each other. This speaks of opportunity, that of ability; and yet they agree in this, that the character of the service in the age to come will be that of ruling. But notice the reference to the "citizens" as distinguished from the servants. When Christ went away these two classes were left on the earth, and when He comes back the same two classes will meet Him, friends and enemies. Hence there can be no millennium before He comes. Notice also where this parable was spoken -- Jericho. There was still to be seen there a palace of Archelaus, who had gone to Rome to get Kingly power confirmed upon him. His citizens did send after him to frustrate his object, but he returned to reign in spite of all their efforts to influence Caesar against Him. As their attempt failed in the one case, so will it in the other. (Stuart.)

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem (vv. 28-48) we pass over as sufficiently treated in Matthew 21, dwelling a moment however, on verses 41-44 which are original with Luke. Compare here chapter 13:34-35. Christ's was the only sad heart in that rejoicing multitude, and sad not for Himself but the city that was soon to finally reject Him.

Questions.

1. What three things in this lesson are original with Luke?

2. Why was the parable of the pounds spoken?

3. How does this parable differ from the "talents"?

4. Wherein do they agree?

5. What rendered the speaking of this parable in Jericho specially appropriate?


THE LAST TEACHING IN JERUSALEM

Chapters 20-21

The facts of this lesson are: (1) the challenge of the chief priests and scribes as to the authority of Jesus which, as we saw in Matthew 21, was equivalent to their formal rejection of Him who had just entered their city as the Messiah in fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy; (2) the parable of the vineyard which, as we saw in the same place, was equivalent to His formal rejection of the nation; (3) the questionings of the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the scribes, "that they might take hold of His words, that so they might deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor," (19-47); (4) the incident of the widow's mite (c. 21:1-4), dealt with in Mark 12; (5), the Olivet discourse on His second coming, being a shorter record of that in Matthew 24, and covering in this chapter verses 5-34.

In the questioning of the Sadducees (c. 20 : 27-40) Luke gives particulars unnoticed by the other evangelists. He adds the words of Jesus, (v. 36) explaining why they who are counted "worthy to attain that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage," because they never "die any more" but, in that sense, "are equal unto the angels." In other words the ordinance of marriage is not needed to perpetuate the race. A further particular is at verse 38, "For all live unto Him." Death does not terminate man's existence -- either that of the righteous or the wicked, the believing or the unbelieving. As unclothed spirits they live before God, and of course this will be true in the further sense on the resurrection of their bodies from the dead. Another particular peculiar to Luke is in the Olivet discourse. Verses 20 and 24 are not given by Matthew or Mark. The whole of that section in Luke refers to the siege of Jerusalem by Titus A. D. 70, when the city was taken; but that siege foreshadows the greater one at the end of this age of which we learned in the Old Testament. In the siege at the end of the age the city will not be taken, but be delivered by the appearing of Christ (Rev. 19:11-21). The references in Mathew and Mark unlike this in Luke, are to this last siege and not to the earlier one. In Luke, the sign is the compassing of Jerusalem by armies (v. 20), but in the other gospels it is the abomination in the holy place (2 Thess 2:4) -- (Scofield Bible). There is no contradiction among the evangelists as to this, as a comparison shows that questions touching both the commencement and the end of Jerusalem's trouble were put to Christ by His disciples. But the different narrators give those which relate to our Lord's reply as each was guided of the Spirit to record them. The trouble of Jerusalem caused by the rejection of Christ, began with the siege under Titus, but will not end till the times of the Gentiles have run their course. (Luke 21:24).

Questions.

1. Name the great facts of this lesson.

2. Why is there no marrying in the resurrection life?

3. What words of Jesus prove life after death?

4. What essential difference is there between the siege of Jerusalem, A. D. 70, and that at the end of the age?

5. To which does Luke refer?

6. How would you harmonize the different statements of the evangelists on this point?


LAST DAY UPON EARTH

Chapters 22-23

Here we meet the momentous events recorded in Matthew 26 and 27 and Mark 14 and 15, and there treated as fully as space permitted.

The incidents peculiar to Luke are first, the explanation of Judas' conduct that Satan entered into him (c. 22:3). Satan can enter into no man without his own consent, but the only safeguard against that is the new birth, (John 3); second, the information that Peter and John were the two disciples sent to make ready the passover (v. 8); third, the report of the strife among the disciples at that feast (vv. 24-30); fourth, the prediction of Peter's fall as the direct result of the work of Satan upon him -- (vv. 31-34). Satan's desire here should be understood as comprehending all the twelve, although it is Peter only for whom the Lord would pray as the one in danger. We cannot fail to contrast the sin of Peter with that of Judas, the former being forgiven while the latter was not. Peter a child of God was ensnared by Satan, Judas, a child of the devil was his tool. That is the great difference which faith produces; fifth, the story of Gethsemane is enriched by Luke in the mention of the angel from heaven strengthening Jesus, the drops of blood He sweat, and the circumstance that it was "for sorrow" the disciples slept (vv. 39-46); sixth, in the arrest, Luke alone reports the words of Jesus to the betrayer, "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss"? the request of the disciples whether they should "smite with the sword?" and the healing of Malchus' ear (vv. 47-53). Last, but not least, so far as Chapter 22 is in mind, it is Luke who tells us that "Peter remembered the word of the Lord" about his denial of Him, after the latter had "turned and looked upon Peter" (vv. 61-62).

Coming to the next chapter, Luke tells us the nature of the indictment against Jesus before Pilate, and perhaps the very form of it (v. 2); and he alone gives us the hearing before Herod (vv. 6-12). On the way to Golgotha, he describes with detail the procession. Simon the Cyrenian is bearing the cross "after Jesus" (v. 26); that is, as some think, Jesus Himself is bearing the cross, but the other is carrying "the lighter end of it behind Him." A great multitude are following, and lamenting women among them (v. 27). To these Jesus addresses the warning of verses 28-31 not recorded elsewhere. Luke also gives the correct meaning of Golgotha (Aramaic) and Calvary (Latin) as "the Skull" (v. 33).

Luke's account of the crucifixion is different from the others. Matthew and Mark bring out men's hatred of Christ in the fullest way, John presents Him as a Divine Person in Whom is the calmness of One who knew whence He was, but Luke shows us "the Man Christ Jesus, suffering, but showing grace even on the cross." Of the seven sayings on the cross three are found only in Luke, one when interceding for His murderers, one when about to breathe out His life, and the third when His reply to the penitent thief.

The story of the thief is original with Luke, who presents Him as a witness to Christ little expected at that moment and in that place. But what a miracle of grace is he -- a malefactor saved, blessed, and received into Paradise!

Questions.

1. In what chapters of Matthew and Mark are the events of this lesson paralleled?

2. Name the incidents in Chapter 22 peculiar to Luke.

3. Do the same with Chapter 23.

4. Contrast the sin of Peter with that of Judas.

5. Give the Aramaic sayings of Jesus on the cross as recorded only by Luke.

6. Give the Aramaic and Latin words for "the place of a skull."


FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK

Chapter 24

The order of our Lord's appearances on this day was given in the comment on Matthew 28, and need not be repeated. Indeed all of the events in the chapter were dealt with there, except the walk to Emmaus (vv. 13-35). Three score furlongs represent nearly eight miles (v. 13). Cleopas, one of the two on this journey is not met with elsewhere, and is to be distinguished from the "Clopas" of John 19:25. Luke has sometimes been identified as the other, but this is conjecture. The story runs on smoothly and requires little explanation; but, following Stuart, we remark on the wisdom Christ displayed in dealing with the men. He brought them to the written word, and He left them there (vv. 25-27), furnishing no fresh revelation, but expecting them to rest on the old one. What He expected of them, He still expects of His disciples, and the sooner we realize and act on it, the sooner will we have peace.

Another interesting item is the reference to Simon Peter (v. 34) which no other evangelist mentions, but which Paul records later (1 Corinthians 15; 5). The reason for silence concerning it was the question of communion with His Lord that had to be settled for Peter. Could he again enjoy it after what he had done? "That visit settled it," says Stuart: "We say visit because evidently it was the Lord who sought him out." He "hath appeared unto Simon." The effect of this interview on Peter is seen in John 21:7.

Luke is very definite concerning the evidences of Christ's resurrection. "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (39). There is no mention of blood, for that is the life of the flesh (Lev. 17:14), and was poured out when He died for guilty men.

Luke's version of the commission to the disciples is new, in that "repentance and remission of sins" were to "be preached in His Name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (v. 47). This is "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24), and is to be distinguished from the gospel of the Kingdom which our Lord Himself and His disciples preached throughout His earthly life. That gospel will be preached again as we have seen (Matt. 24:14), but not until after the translation of the church, and Israel takes up her mission once more among the Gentiles.

Power was needed for the preaching of this gospel, and it is promised (v. 49), but our Lord must first ascend ere it can be "shed forth," hence the record following (vv. 50-51). This reference to the ascension in Luke makes his Gospel the most complete outline of the four, for it begins with the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist as none of the others do, and closes with this event which Mark alone alludes to but in the briefest manner. Speaking of verse 51, the Scofield Bible says very beautifully, "the attitude of our Lord here characterizes this age as one of grace, an ascended Lord is blessing a believing people with spiritual blessings. The Jewish, or Mosaic age was marked by temporal blessings as the reward of an obedient people (Deut. 28:1-15). In the Kingdom or Millennial age, spiritual and temporal blessings unite."

Questions.

1. Have you reviewed the order of our Lord's appearances?

2. How was Christ's wisdom displayed on the walk to Emmaus?

3. What reason for silence is suggested in regard to our Lord's appearance to Simon?

4. Why is the mention of "blood" omitted in the testimony to Christ's bodily resurrection?

5. What is the distinction between the two "gospels" mentioned?

6. In what sense is the third Gospel the completest?

7. Distinguish among the three ages, the Jewish, Christian and Millennial.

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