Luke 10:1 ¶ After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
It is apparent from this section that Jesus had many people who followed Him quite regularly for teaching besides the twelve disciples. Jesus appointed 70 of these people to go out in pairs as the disciples had done previously. The wording indicates that they were functioning like advance teams in preparation for future visits He planned to make to these places. It sounds to me as if they were assigned where to go based on a personal itinerary the Lord had in mind.
Burton Coffman had an interesting comment on the number 70: “The number sent on this mission…had spiritual and symbolic overtones. The Jews held that the Gentiles were made up of seventy nations; and at their feast of Tabernacles, "seventy bullocks were offered on behalf of the Gentile nations ... to make atonement for them." The cities and places to which these seventy were dispatched were in Trans-Jordan where Gentile population predominated.”
As the Lord sent them out He informed them that a great harvest (of souls is understood) was ready for reaping; in fact, there weren’t enough laborers to bring in the harvest. I think when He told them to pray to the Lord of the harvest that He was making reference to God the Father. The prayer for Him to send forth laborers was a call for hearts to be tender to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives as these disciples went forth with their message of the kingdom.
Luke 10:3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
Luke 10:4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
Luke 10:5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
Luke 10:6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
Luke 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
Luke 10:8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
Luke 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
Jesus compared them to lambs going out among wolves—not a very encouraging word; it was basically recognition of the truth that they would encounter opposition and possible danger on their mission. As with the disciples previously, He told them to go as they were without extra provisions. I think that again they were meant to learn that where God guides, God provides. They were not to get distracted by engaging with other people they might encounter on their journey.
Jesus instructed them to pronounce a blessing of peace and prosperity (from the Greek) on the homes that received them. If their hosts prove unworthy, that blessing would be revoked. They were to remain in the same home and accept the support offered them as any worker would wages earned; they were not to think of it as charity. Again, they were to minister from the host home; I think the main reason for staying in one place was probably to accommodate those who would be seeking their help.
They were to heal all the sick that came to them while sharing the message of the kingdom of God. It stands out that the disciples were declaring the coming of the kingdom with great power (the ability to heal), but not with the judgment they expected. It was another clue that their expectations had been misguided and that the reality declared by Isaiah in chapter 53 was that the suffering Messiah would usher in the kingdom through His sacrifice for man’s sin that would subsequently be followed by His coming in judgment and great glory to establish His kingdom.
Luke 10:10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,
Luke 10:11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
If the people of a city rejected the messengers and their message, they were to give testimony against them by publicly wiping the dust from their feet and declaring the coming of the kingdom of God. The NLT words it like this:
‘We wipe the dust of your town from our feet as a public announcement of your doom. And don’t forget the Kingdom of God is near!’
I think it important to note that God is faithful and diligent to get His message out to the masses, but it is up to them whether to accept or reject it. As with the seventy, it is our responsibility to share the message. People may choose not to believe the truth we share, but that doesn’t change the truth or our responsibility to share it.
Luke 10:12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.
Luke 10:13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
Luke 10:14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
Luke 10:15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
In this section of verses, Jesus explains to the seventy what their testimony against that city portends. He explains that the day of judgment will prove “more tolerable” for those of Sodom than for those that reject the message of the King and His kingdom. This is a passage that seems to indicate that there are degrees of judgment in hell.
Jesus specifically identifies Chorazin and Bethsaida and declares that the people of Tyre and Sidon would have repented in sackcloth and ashes had they been allowed to witness and experience the miracles He had performed in them. Again He states that it will “more tolerable” for those from Tyre and Sidon on judgment day than it will for those in Chorazin and Bethsaida (referencing those living during the time of Jesus’s ministry is implied). Then Capernaum is singled out as deserving of the worst punishment of all. Chorazin, Bethasaida and Capernaum will be more accountable because they were in the area from which most of Jesus ministry was based, homebase seeming to be Peter’s home in Capernaum.
As I thought about what Jesus was saying, it hit me that He is saying that pride, greed, idolatry and the murderous sacrifices that were part and parcel of it, sexual impurity/perversion, etc. aren’t the worst sins; the worst sin is rejecting the salvation God offers each and every person in His Son Jesus.
Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
I think Jesus is basically saying that those who declare the word of God faithfully and truthfully will be received or rejected based on whether people are willing to hear or choose to reject the One that sent them. If they choose to reject the messenger, they are in essence rejecting Jesus and Almighty God the Father that sent Him.
Luke 10:17 ¶ And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
It would seem from this verse that the seventy were more successful than not in their mission. Though they were not told to cast out demons, I think that those who had regularly traveled with Jesus recognized that healing often required that demons be exorcised. I think it is important to note that they knew the power they had exercised over the demons was directly connected to their relationship with Jesus, the One they served.
I have to admit that the more I have studied scripture, I can’t help but wonder how many times people are diagnosed with a “sickness” that is actually a result of demonic attack. I truly believe that the work of the supernatural by the enemy in our day and age is not greatly recognized as the clear and present danger it is.
Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
I can’t help but wonder how the disciples processed Jesus’ statement in verse 18. He is declaring that He personally witnessed the fall of Satan; from my study of Genesis, I think that is referencing a time before the creation of man.
Jesus then goes on to declare that He will empower them with supernatural protection against serpents, scorpions and “over all power of the enemy.” The context makes it clear that the serpents and scorpions are directly related to the power of the enemy. I think Jesus is painting a word picture that is representative of the attacks of Satan and all His angelic and demonic forces against all who declare their allegiance by grace through faith in God as followers of Jesus.
Jesus then warns His followers not to rejoice because the evil spirits are subject to them; the real reason for rejoicing is that their names are written in heaven (in the Book of Life is implied). To have one’s name in the Book of Life is a guarantee of eternity in the presence of God rather than torment for eternity as one who has been cast out of His presence.
Revelation 20:12–15 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
I liked David Guzik’s observation on this section: “Jesus then warns them to rejoice in what God has done for them (because your names are written in heaven), not in what they had done for God (that the spirits are subject to you).
Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Luke 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
I think as Jesus thought about the names of all the believers written in heaven it caused Him to break out in a prayer of thanks to His Father; He knew that these believers would be His reward from the Father for His great sacrifice.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus declares God the Father to be Lord of heaven and earth—all of His great creation. He proceeds to thank the Father for making His will known to those with humble hearts and hiding it from those who are proud and wise in their own eyes. He acknowledged that His Father does what is good “in thy sight”—according to truth and not according to the wisdom of men or angels; evidence abounds of the destruction that results from such so-called wisdom.
Jesus recognized His Father as the One who has made Him possessor of everything. He declares that no one can truly know the Son but the Father, nor can anyone truly know the Father but the Son. But wonderful truth to ponder—we can learn to know the Father as the Son reveals Him to us; however, that revelation is reserved for those who choose to accept His gift of salvation by grace through faith in the person of the Son. That revelation is given us through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Paul explained it as follows in his letter to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 2:11–16 “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
Luke 10:24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Jesus then turns His address back to His disciples; the Greek implies that they were alone for this instruction. He tells them that they are blessed to see what they have seen because many prophets and kings of old had wanted to witness and experience what they had. (David, Isaiah and Daniel come quickly to mind.) They knew that God was going to send a deliverer, His Messiah. The prophets got to declare the truth that He was coming; however, they were not to be privileged to witness it in person.
I think about that often as I look forward to the rapture. The apostles taught and looked for the possible return of the Lord in their day, and believers for the past 2000 years have anticipated the return of the Lord Jesus as King. They knew that His return was to be preceded by a time of great judgment, but somewhere along the way the truth of the rapture was forgotten. I personally believe this was in large part due to the attack of the enemy as he infiltrated the body of believers through the heretical teachings that became part of the organized church. The truth of this teaching has resurfaced in light of the signs of the times as promised by the prophet Daniel.
Daniel 12:4 “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
I believe this running to and fro is a reference to seeking knowledge about spiritual truth as alluded to by the prophet Amos.
Amos 8:12 “And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.”
Just as the disciples with whom Jesus was talking were privileged to experience His first coming, I truly believe I am living in the generation that will experience His next.
Luke 10:25 ¶ And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Luke 10:26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Luke 10:28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Without any apparent transition, Luke makes record of an attempt to test Jesus with a question about how to attain eternal life. The questioner was a lawyer, one who was considered an expert in the Mosaic law. Though he asked the question with respect, I personally do not believe his question to be sincere because of the attitude of pride expressed in v29. The question: What shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Jesus immediately answered him with a question, something He often did. As an expert of the law, He asked him what he understood the law to say regarding his question.
The lawyer immediately answered by quoting from the law.
Deuteronomy 6:4–5 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Leviticus 19:18 “… but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”
Jesus immediately affirmed the truth of the lawyer’s response and told him that if he always acted according to the truth he quoted, he would indeed gain eternal life.
Luke 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
Not content to let Jesus off so easily, he posed another question with the intent of showing his own righteousness. He thought he would get a chance to declare all the things he did that declared his righteousness. So, he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Luke 10:31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Luke 10:32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
Luke 10:34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Luke 10:35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Luke 10:36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
Luke 10:37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
As He often did, Jesus answered the man with a story. He tells of a man that was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who was attacked by robbers. They even took all his clothes and left him half dead on the side of the road. It happened that a priest came down the road, saw him and passed by on the other side without bothering to try and help him. Same thing happened when a Levite came the same way. When, however, a “certain Samaritan” came down the road, he took compassion on him. He bound his wounds after cleaning them with oil and wine, put him on his beast, and took him to the next inn to continue caring for him. Before departing the next day, he gave the innkeeper some money to take care of him with a promise to pay whatever extra it cost when he came back that way. (He must have been a regular, known and trusted by the innkeeper.) JFB explains that the amount of money was “equal to two day’s wages of a laborer, and enough for several days’ support.”
After completing the story, Jesus then asks the lawyer, “Who of the three men was the neighbor of the victimized man?”
The lawyer correctly answered that it was the one that had shown him mercy. In answering Jesus, the man was forced to acknowledge that a Samaritan, hated by the Jews, had acted more in accordance with the law than the priest and Levite.
Jesus’ response, “Go, and do thou likewise.”
I would like to have seen that lawyer’s face. Not only did he not get to brag, he was challenged to look inward. Would he have done any differently than the priest or the Levite, both who surely should have acted in accordance with the law? Both the priest and the Levite should have known the law, and they didn’t even treat this man with the same regard as they should have treated an animal that belonged to their enemy.
Exodus 23:4–5 “If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.”
I think it is always amazing how the Lord knows exactly what questions to ask to get people to indict themselves. To love God with one’s whole being is to be completely obedient to His will. His will is that we example His love toward us by showing the same kind of love to others—no matter their nationality or the color of their skin. You really can’t love God in the way He commands unless you love your neighbor as yourself.
Luke 10:38 ¶ Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Luke 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Luke 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
At this point Luke decides to tell the story of a visit Jesus made to the home of Mary and Martha. We know from the record of John (chapter 11) that Mary and Martha were the sisters of Lazarus and were special friends of Jesus that lived in the town of Bethany. It would seem from Luke’s account that this incident occurred at a time in which Jesus was already a familiar friend of the family. This story is often taught by contrasting Martha’s concern with the mundane vs. Mary’s interest in the spiritual. It stood out to me as I read through this section several times that Martha appears to be quite misunderstood. Yes, Martha is concerned about providing for the needs of her guest and expresses her resentment at the fact that Mary is not willing to help her. However, it stood out to me that Luke says that Mary “also” sat at Jesus’ feet. This implies to me that Martha also took time out to learn from Jesus, but didn’t understand that privilege to take priority over providing for the physical needs of her guest. Jesus answered Martha’s complaint with gentle understanding, but made her understand that Mary’s priorities were in order while hers were not.
I think it is important to note that Jesus did not describe Martha’s desire to serve as wrong, just not as important as learning God’s word.
Most of my life I have been a Martha, and I still struggle with that tendency. I have learned in my later years that the housework will wait. I strive to give time spent at the feet of the Lord through studying His word and talking with Him in prayer the highest priority. It results in doing better in everything else I do.