The Revival that Began with Fire And the Execution of 400 Men

It was a terrible time to live in the land of Israel. The evil queen Jezabel reigned with her husband. She instituted practices that would lead the people away from the worship of the one true God and into a wicked worship of the false god Baal. Baal didn’t have any real power. It was just an idol crafted as fine as human hands could sculpt it. The false god Baal couldn’t speak. It had no throat. It had no lips, no mouth. It was mute. This false god had no hands. It could not extend it’s arm to save. It didn’t have ears. It couldn’t hear the prayers of the people. It had no eyes. It couldn’t see the people or the sacrifices they made on this Baal’s behalf. It only appeared to have these things, but in reality it was powerless. Yet the wicked Queen Jezabel had prompted the people to worship this powerless and impotent god.

One often wonders why men would offer their hearts so freely to something they made with their hands. Surely they understood that they were the power brokers in this situation. Surely they must have known that they were the one’s yielding control over the blocks of wood and figures of clay, silver and gold. This false god only contained the power given it by the weak minds of men… Perhaps that is why the people of Israel were so quick to follow Jezabel in this idolatry. There is an upside to having a less than sovereign god. A false god could easily be manipulated, cajoled, or extorted… providing the worshiper with the real power. Like a doll in the hands of a little girl a false god would have to be cared for, comforted and helped.

We shouldn’t be quick to condemn the ancient Israelites. We do much of the same thing with money. We think that if we have a little more, we will be happy. We try to bring ourselves comfort by stocking up, spending wildly or even stretching our dollars. We think that if we have enough of these that we will be safe… that we will be “okay.” But dollar bills don’t have eyes to see your need. They don’t have ears to hear your cry. Your bank account can’t hear your prayers, much less answer them. Your credit card doesn’t really solve any of your problems. In many cases… it creates them. But somehow we still think that if we can manage these bills, get enough money, get a higher paying job or even turn the economy around… then, then we will be okay. But money doesn’t buy you time, health or even happiness. In fact the over-pursuit of money can steal from your time, your health, your family and even your happiness. We really aren’t much different than the ancient Israelites at all.

Whatever the reason the worship of Baal was in and the worship of God was out. Jezabel had done her best to hunt down the prophets of God and have them killed. She wanted no competition for her false god, Baal. But there was one thing she didn’t count on… You see God wasn’t like her false god. He not only had eyes to see, but he created the human eye. He not only had ears to hear, but he created the human ear. He not only had a mouth to speak, He actually had spoken the whole earth into existence. Her god Baal was false. The one true God was real… and you can’t get rid of him by killing a few prophets.

Elijah stood on the side of the mountain and challenged the 400 prophets of Baal. They were doing their best to get a god who didn’t really exist to light a fire that wasn’t happening. Elijah mocked them, telling them to call out a little louder because their god Baal was perhaps asleep or maybe he was in the bathroom. They tried everything, but in the end, the god whom they so desperately wanted to respond was incapable of responding.

So then it comes Elijah’s turn:
And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.
(1 Kings 18:36-40 ESV)

Elijah prays a three part prayer. He confidently asks God to reveal himself as the one true God in Israel, to reveal that Elijah is God’s true prophet, and for God to mercifully allow the people to repent and turn to Him at once.

You see, not only were the people worshiping a false god, but they were rejecting the worship of the one true God. Not only were they calling on a god that couldn’t hear them, they were being offensive by forsaking God alone as their provider and sustainer of life and giving respect and homage to a little statue in His place.

Much like many of us seek to control our lives through the spending, saving, and moving around of our money without a thought or prayer as to how God would have us live our lives. We pursue P-R-O-F-I-T-S but not P-R-O-P-H-E-T-S. It is not as though we have rejected God completely. Our money still says that we trust Him, but we do not seek His will for our lives. We seek OUR will for our lives and if He or any other god can help us get there, then we are game. But in our day and age we don’t worship at the altar of Baal. We worship more often at the altar of consumerism.

Elijah prays that God would reveal Himself as the one true God in Israel. That the Israelites would no longer seek a false god who cannot hear their prayers (that much is obvious from the demonstration of the 400 false prophets.) Perhaps the most loving thing God can do is let us come to the end of our rope after we have tried it our way and then come in and show us who He really is.

Even though these people rejected God, he did not reject them. It gives me hope in the character and nature of God, because I know my own heart. I know how often and easily I am tempted to pursue small pleasures that don’t even satisfy. I know I need God.Even in the midst of the people’s rejection of God, He loved them enough to send them a righteous prophet who would show them the way and turn their heart back to God.

Elijah prays secondly that the people would know He is God’s servant and has done everything at God’s word. God had not left himself without a witness in Israel. While the rest of the nation was worshiping an idol, God had kept for himself the prophet Elijah and others who refused to worship a false god.

Elijah’s job was then to call the nation to repentance. They needed to see the futility of worshiping an idol when they had a special relationship with the one true God. They needed to see that it wasn’t Elijah’s will to hold off the rain, it wasn’t Elijah who would light the fire, it wasn’t Elijah who could call a nation to repentance in just a moment. It was God who called Elijah to the task at hand.

God uses people much in the same way today. When we have opportunity to share our faith with others we are really only doing a small thing. We are telling others about who God is and what God has done on their behalf. The real power to save someone is accomplished by God. He is the one who made us in His image. He loved us enough to send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and raise him from the dead. He is the one who takes up residence in our lives once we become believers. It’s by his authority and in his power that we tell others about him.

Elijah was just being obedient to God. He was the right man, at the right time to call a nation to repentance. The people not only heard Elijah’s prayer, but they saw a holy and awesome display of God’s power. They knew immediately that there was one true God in Israel and they had been following after the false god of Baal. They immediately fall to their faces in repentance declaring that God was God and no one should take his place.

However they didn’t just repent with their lips, they also repented with their actions. They obeyed Elijah and killed the 400 prophets of Baal. God had already given them the command way back in Deuteronomy that if anyone came proclaiming to be a prophet for a false god that they were to be put to death. Israel needed to clean house and that started with killing the 400 false prophets. This was at once an act of obedience to God and a way of reducing the temptation to go back to Baal worship by removing the promoters of Baal.

Question: What is it in your life that competes with God? What needs to be removed so you can worship God more freely?

Acts 4: The Cornerstone

The healing of a beggar in chapter three provoked a commotion and all the officials come to see what is going on. They demand to know by what power these things are being accomplished. The Apostles declare plainly through the power of the Holy Spirit that it was in the name of Jesus. (Notice that the Holy Spirit empowers them to testify about the resurrection of Jesus… Make no mistake the book of Acts is about Jesus.)

Peter presses in to the rulers that they are the ones who crucified Jesus. He references a teaching moment of Jesus just prior to his death, burial and resurrection (2 months before this event… You can find it in Matthew 21:33-46). Jesus tells a parable about wicked tenants who reject the owners right over a certain property and ultimately kill the owners son. He then goes on to quote Psalm 118:22-23 and says “the stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” implicating the Pharisees rejection of Jesus (and by association murder).

Now Peter throws it out again, this time spelling it out just in case they didn’t get it. “Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the chief corner stone” (Acts 4:11, ESV). Any attempt to build a platform to reach up to Heaven must have the Risen Christ as the corner stone. These men in the temple not only rejected Jesus but among them were men who set in motion the false arrest, trial and murder of Jesus.

These are some wicked dudes and Peter lets them know. But here is where the real power of the gospel lies… The sovereign plan of God takes the most wicked sin imaginable (the murder of GOD – John 1:1-3) and uses that very same act to cause the greatest good man has ever known (redemption and the forgiveness of sins) through the resurrection… They meant it for evil… but God intended it for good.

What a glorious God we serve. Every attempt to trump the gospel is turned on its head and proves the gospel even more true: Injustice is transformed into lavish grace, where men pour out their hatred, the love of God is made manifest, where men fight to exercise control, God proves his sovereign plan.

Illustrations and Preaching

I’ve been haunted for several weeks now and it’s time to come clean.  When prepping a message I wrestle with the desire for people to like me, think I’m a decent speaker, etc.  This isn’t anything new to young preachers, I  think it’s something we all can wrestle with from time to time.  I’ve come to really value sermon prep. time because this give me an opportunity to work through these desires and get to the text, the message, what is really important.  I’ve also come to dread sermon delivery time because I know that my flesh is raging to get out and say something silly for no other reason than to gain the favor of the audience (which is not always a bad thing and can be a productive strategy).

I guess the real struggle comes in when I ponder what people will take away.  Will the message be remembered at all?  Will the gospel be savored?  Will people be provoked to worship? Or will the take away be the wrong soundbites from the message?  Will they remember my personal illustrations, but not the point?  Will they remember that joke at the begging of the message that was loosely related to the topic of the text, but not the text?  Will lives be changed because God has spoken or will lives remain the same because in the end I’ve just been an entertainer?

To be sure, I have seen and heard illustrations that really helped bring the gospel into focus for individuals. (My pastor though years of experience is very good at this.)  I’ve also heard several illustrations that have ultimately been a distraction to the truth of the message.  It’s always fun to hear comments after preaching (less convicting when I’m not the preacher by the way) to see what people remember.  Statements like, “He sure hates cats” make me cringe because I know the observer missed the message and I’m left to conclude that either they are really dense or that I was stretching it a bit to bring my hatred of cats into the message (i’ve never heard this statement by the way… it’s an illustration… and I’m still not a fan of cats).  I can’t believe that so many people are that dense, so I’m left to admit that perhaps that was a bad illustration on my part.

My current train of thought is to explore strongly rooted Biblical Metaphor.  I had a chance to do this in the message last night with the expression, “and behold it was Leah” (Genesis 29:25) I didn’t fully exploit it at the time, but now see that I could have done more with it to help make the connection in peoples minds. (Wouldn’t you know it… the day after I preached the message I heard a Tim Keller Sermon where he does this masterfully).

This introduces the question I have for you.  What type of illustrations have driven a message home for you?  If you are a pastor or Bible teacher, what types of illustrations do you look for?

Is Sunday Morning for Discipleship or Evangelism?

When a pastor stands in the pulpit to presents a message a lot of work has gone into preparation of the sermon.  He stands for one brief moment to draw our attention to the very Word of God.  He stands there as a messenger.  God has spoken and we should hear and respond to God in an appropriate way.

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So during the weeks and months leading up to a message the pastor is engaged in reading, understanding, praying over and discerning the actual text of the sermon.  He might employ his training the Greek or Hebrew language to help pull out the meaning of a text.  He will do a study in geography and historical context when necessary.  In short, He will do as much research as necessary to determine that he accurately opens up God’s Word before us.

A pastor, however, will also study the culture in which he presents the message.  It is not enough to know the Truth… the Truth must also be applied.  Application can be summed up as How someone should properly respond to the message. The application will take on nuances according to the culture in which the pastor is presenting the message. Will there be hearer’s present who are post-modern thinkers?  Will there be audience members struggling with finances? How does the average hearer treat their children? What percentage of the congregation is single?  How many profess a relationship with Jesus Christ?  How many came just because it is Mother’s Day?  How many came because of special circumstances in their lives?  All these and more are questions a pastor may ask when preparing a sermon. (To know the right kind of questions to ask about culture in sermon preparation a pastor will spend a great deal of time during the week with people; both those inside the church and those outside the church).

Now comes the million dollar question:  Will the pastor tailor the message for insiders (the people who are there week to week)? or will he prep the message for outsiders (the people who may be present for the very first time)?  In essence will he be discipleship oriented or evangelistic?

I think we have convinced ourselves that the pastor can’t preach one sermon that is equally as relevant to both major types of people in the audience. The reason is a faulty paradigm that has entered into the Christian sub-culture. Many have rightly pictured the gospel as necessary for salvation, but have failed to also picture the gospel as necessary for sanctification (growth in Christ).  In essence, we are saved by grace, but work “on our own” after salvation to be more like Christ. While few would blatantly claim this to be true, it is non-the-less a prevalent thought in the way many practice and preach Christianity.

The outworking of such thought is an unfortunate side-stepping of the gospel in favor of a “moral of the story.”  In essence, the sermon becomes more like a fable than a message.  The scriptures are read with a deep desire to get straight to some sort of application like, “you shouldn’t lust” or “give to the poor.”  While there are many lessons to be learned from examples given us in scripture, we set people up for failure when we divorce the “moral” from the gospel message (in fact the outworking of this thought is legalism).

You see the gospel is actually everywhere in the Bible (The Old Testament included)!  Yet often we moralize the message and call it “meat.”  Don’t get me wrong.  The morals are there, but they aren’t there to show us how to live as much as how much we don’t live like we should.  The analogy to “face your giants” is actually just an expose on how you don’t face your giant like you should or the call to “get out of the boat” reveals that you are still in the boat.

So just because there is a moral to the story doesn’t mean that you can live up to it apart from Christ.  That is why believers need the gospel every sermon as much as unbelievers.  We tend to forget that Jesus left heaven for us and that the only way we will ever be able to fulfill the moral to the story is by faith in the only one who has ever perfectly fulfilled the moral of the story.  The truth is that no matter how hard you try you don’t have the power to conquire lust, greed, unforgiveness or any other sin in your life.  The moral just reflects how you have failed and even if you set out to achieve the moral you have to admit that you are starting from a position of failure.  You haven’t had the faith to face your giants in the past, how could you face them now with 3 easy points from the life of David?  This is self-help and it isn’t Biblical.  The gospel (and the Biblical message) is about God-help.  You can’t face your giants until you understand the one who stood in your place and faced the only real giant that could ever really kill you!  The gospel message is the only way that you will ever be able to have victory in your life.  It is the hope of “Christ in you” that gives you any kind of chance to actually overcome the sin in your life.

You can’t fight the sin in your life without the gospel. Don’t pretend that you have out grown it.  We need the gospel every day.  It is good for a pastor to sound more like an evangelist than an in-depth Bible teacher,  he maybe proclaiming what mature believers as well as unbelievers need to hear. If you think that you have moved beyond a need to hear the gospel in every sermon, you may want to reevaluate your motives… are you like those mentioned in I Corinthians 3 and 1 Timothy 1? The gospel continues to be good news long after we have first believed in Christ and it is what separates the Christian message from religion and other fables.

Seeing Sychar: Seeing Spiritual Realities in a Physical World (Intro)

When I was in college I used to drive 16 hours to go home and see my parents.  It was quite a drive.  Along the way I passed by countless towns and cities all with their own off ramps complete with signs touting the local eateries, gas stations, and hotels.  Despite the long drive I rarely ever stopped.  In fact, I tried to shave hours off the trip by stopping only to use the restroom, fill up the truck and grab a bite to eat (Usually all in the same location).

Then one day somewhere in southern Illinois I did the unthinkable.  I pulled off the interstate and went to a town about 8 miles off the beaten.   I don’t know what prompted me, but as I drove through that small town I began to ask God to move in that place.  I asked him to reveal himself to the people.  I asked God to give me a heart for those people.

When I got home, I looked up the town on the internet and got all the statistical information that was available for free.  I wasn’t aware of church planting at the time, If I had been I might of been tempted to go plant a church.  The urge to pray for this small town was so great and so profound.  I ended up praying for the people of that town for about a year.  I asked God many times if I was supposed to go, but sensed his call to stay.

I don’t really know what that whole experience was for, other than this… I was never able to pass that spot on the interstate again with out a burden to pray for the people of that town.  It was one of the first times that I was able to see past my own needs to see the needs of others and pray for a town just south of the interstate in southern Illinois.  The adventure of going off the map in Illinois lead to my beginning to see the Gulf Coast and the people around me as a mission field.  God was teaching me to see people with His heart.

A similar story is told in the New Testament.  Jesus and his disciples are traveling from Jerusalem to Galilee.  Their rout takes them right through Samaria and by a town named Sychar.  Weary from travel the disciples leave Jesus by a well outside of town and go into Sychar to buy lunch.  It is obvious that this place is just supposed to be a stopping off point along the way.  But a conversation with a woman at the well changes everything.  The story ends with Jesus telling the disciples to look at the town and see all the people coming to hear about him.  While they were busy buying lunch.  God was already at work in the lives of the people and many professed belief on Christ that week.

I wonder if while we go through our daily routines and habits if like the disciples we miss what God is doing in the lives of people around us.  I bet the disciples started looking at commerce and buying lunch differently after that day.  I bet they saw Sychar differently after witnessing the town flock to believe in Jesus.  I imagine that the disciples began straining to see things the way Jesus did, looking for the needs of people and the opportunity to proclaim the good news of Jesus.  After all, Jesus promised to make them “fishers of men.”  And part of fishing for men is to see them; really see them and their need for a Savior.

Stay tuned for a series of blog posts entitled-  Seeing Sychar: Seeing Spiritual Realities in a Physical World


The Stone the Builder’s Rejected (Sermon Brief)

Pastor was out of town on Sunday and I had a chance to fill the pulpit and preach in his absence.  As soon as I have access to the video file we will figure a way to get it up here.  In the meantime here is copy of my sermon brief.  If you are unfamiliar with a sermon brief, it is a strange creature that is more or less a cross between an outline and a manuscript.  Sometimes I use sermon briefs to make sure I have a grasp on the context and message of a passage. You can also get a PDF of the Sermon Brief by clicking here: The Stone the Builders Rejected

Luke 20:9-19 (ESV)

Introduction:

The setting for this parable takes place in the larger context of the Jesus’ preaching and teaching ministry in the temple the week of his crucifixion.  In the previous chapter Jesus cleansed the temple of money changers.  This action immediately draws the attention of “the elders, chief priests and the scribes” often a designation for the ruling body known as the Sanhedrin.  The Sanhedrin sends a delegation to ask Jesus, “under what authority are you doing these things” (Luke 20:2)?  Jesus in return asks them about the baptism of John and where he got his authority.  The refusal of the scribes and chief priests to acknowledge that John was acting as an agent of God ensures that they would not recognize his authority as their master.

Jesus then picks up with the parable of the wicked tenants in which the central issue is authority.  The question arises in this parable, who has the authority?  Is it the tenants or is it the land owner?  The obvious answer is the land owner and the implications are clear for all who are involved.

The Son the Tenants Rejected

Many of Jesus’ parables are set in the agricultural context of Palestine.  Farmers generally filled one of three stations; Landowners, tenants, and day laborers.  The difference between tenant farmers and day laborers, “Tenant farmers leased the land and sharecropped with the owner, while poorer people hired out as day laborers” (Brisco, 219).

The parable begins with a wealthy land owner who builds and cultivates a vineyard.  Historically the vine has been a symbol for the nation of Israel.  Indeed the temple in Jerusalem, where the whole dialogue was taking place between Jesus and his questioners, had a large golden grape vine displayed in a prominent location.  Many wealthy families contributed great deals of money to add a grape or a cluster of grapes to the vine.  Perhaps some of the men who stood there questioning Jesus had given money to purchase their own grape or cluster to add to the vine.

The scene of a wealthy land owner extending the use of his property to tenants and leaving for an extended period of time was common.  “The upper Jordan Valley, the western and northern shores of the Sea of Galilee, and even a considerable portion of Galilee itself, contained vast estates owned by foreigners, men who lived far away from their holdings” (Hendrickson, 891).  The financial aspect of the relationship between the land owner and tenants would settled at harvest time when a percentage or set amount of the vineyards fruit would be given to the land owner as payment (Straus, 472).

The land owner had a right to expect a portion of fruit “when the time came” (Luke 20:10).  However the tenants beat the servant sent to receive the fruit and they sent him away “empty handed” (Luke 20:10).  There is no indication as to why the tenants treated the servants so harshly other than, “they simply rejected the messengers” (Morris, 311).

At this point in the parable the tenants are in violation of a contract and have added insult to injury by mistreating three servants who have come on the landowner’s behalf.  The master has every right to send a hit squad after the tenants.  As the land owner he is operating out of a position of power, yet the tenants seem to think they can gain power over the master.

The sending of the son by the master is an exercise in self control and patience beyond the scope of expectation.  The sending of the son causes the landowner to appear extremely kind and generous. “Rich or poor, all hearers at this point would agree that the land owner is in the right, and that he was benevolent-indeed, strikingly, foolishly benevolent” (Keener, 244).

When they see the son coming they plot to kill the son.  The tenants murder the son, perhaps thinking they will gain the rights to the property (Luke 20:14). One commentator writes, “according to a then existing law, under certain conditions if the owner died, leaving no heir, whoever were the first to claim the estate, particularly the occupants, were allowed to have it” (Hendrickson, 892).  The Talmud notes, “Tenants were known to claim possession of land they worked for absentee landlords” (Morris, 311-312).  They simply presumed that either the landowner was dead or that with all the trouble they had caused, he would not press the issue.  The covetousness and lust for full possession of the land that has lead the tenants to mistreat the servants of the master comes to its climax in the murder of the heir.  This is an insult to the master that cannot be overlooked.

At this point the story escalates as Luke records that the people respond in terror, recognizing the aim of Christ’s parable.  The team sent forth from the Sanhedrin is amazed at the notion that the tenants will have to pay for what they have done to the master’s son.  They are quick to understand that this parable has been told against them and they are represented by the wicked tenants in this parable.  The notion that these religious men who have labored for the betterment of national Israel would be punished for their rebellion against God must have been a foreign concept to them.

The tenant’s motive for mistreatment and murder in the parable seems to be the prospect of gaining the property rights to the vineyard (Luke 20:14).  In a sense they wanted sole control over who enjoyed the pleasures of the vine.  Before this passage when Jesus cleanses out the temple he quotes a passage from Isaiah that mentions the prospect of the temple becoming a house of prayer for people from all nations (Luke 19:46, Isaiah 56:7).  After the parable Jesus makes a symbolic switch from talking in terms of the vine (national Israel) to the corner stone or foundation of a great building which is associated with church (Acts 4:11, Ephesians 2:20, I Peter 2:6-7).

Just as the wealthy land owner is patient to send messenger after messenger to receive the fruit of the vineyard so God had been patient with the leaders of Israel.  However, just as the wicked tenant reign of terror will be brought to an end by a vengeful father, so to was nation of Israel’s leadership expelled from their position a few decades later in 70 A.D. when Rome sacked Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed.  Israel ceased to exist and the vineyard had been handed over to a new group of tenants called the apostles.

The Stone the Builders Rejected

Jesus craftily turns the symbolism from a vine representing a national Israel to a stone representing the true temple of God.  Jesus changes the picture from a vineyard to a cornerstone.  He reminds the Sanhedrin that not only does he have the right as the founder but he also has the right of a judge.  ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?  (18) Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him” (Luke 20:17-18).

It is not the value to be places on the stone that is in mind, but the destructive nature of the stone against flesh and blood.  To fall on the stone or have the stone fall one in either case means destruction.  People may reject and oppose Jesus but it is they, not he, who will suffer.  The second part of the saying will refer to the future judgment.  IT will be their attitude to Jesus that will mean the final destruction of the people of his day.  The imagery here is derived from Isaiah 8:14 (Morris, 313).

The stone is also a stone of judgment.  It is not susceptible to destruction by its enemies.  All efforts against the stone shatter to pieces.  Furthermore, it falls in judgment on those who reject it.  The verb rendered crush means primarily to winnow, but early versions support the RSV translation (Tolbert, 154).

Conclusion:

The theme for Luke 20:9-19 is the authority of Christ to save Israel and the whole world.  The parable enters in context of the inability of the scribes and chief priests to recognize the authority of Christ.  In the parable the vineyard will be taken away from the wicked tenants, who killed the son and given to other tenants.  This represents Christ taking the light away from the nation Israel and temple worship and expanding it to the living temple of believers who place their faith in Christ.

Hear today the word’s of Christ.  Have you rejected the son?  God has a right to your life.  Are you glorifying God in your existence or have you rejected the authority of God in your life?

Bibliography

I took the liberty of Hyper-linking to all the books in my Bibliography.  I linked to the newest editions of the books while leaving the reference information from the older versions (The page numbers in the new editions are likely to be different because of updated content and more/ less comments throughout the book).

Brisco, Thomas V. Holman Bible Atlas (affiliate link). Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1998.

Carson, D. A., Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris. Introduction to the New Testament(affiliate link). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.

Hendriksen, William. New Testament Commentary (affiliate link): The Gospel of Luke. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987.

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (affiliate link). DownersGrove:  Inter Varsity Press, 1993.

Lea, Thomas D., The New Testament: Its Background and Message (affiliate link), Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1996).

Morris, C. Leon., ed, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: Luke (affiliate link), vol.3, Revised Ed., Luke, by Leon Morris. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.