The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Luke 10

Luk 10:1

SEVENTY: Cp 70 palm trees in Marah (Exo 15:27). Cp Luk 9:1,2: "12" and "70" together.

Luk 10:3

I AM SENDING YOU OUT LIKE LAMBS AMONG WOLVES: The disciples should not have been unsure as to who the "wolves" were, since Eze 22:27 depicts faithless Israel's "officials" or "princes" as wolves, and in Mat 7:15 Jesus warns of "false prophets" who look like sheep but are, in fact, wolves.

Luk 10:4

DO NOT GREET ANYONE ON THE ROAD: Cp 2Ki 4:29. Do not be detained on your important mission. Oriental greetings were long, tedious, distracting, deceitful, flattering, insincere, and wasteful (LB 346).

Luk 10:7

Cp 1Ki 17:9-16: Elijah and widow of Zarephath.

THE WORKER DESERVES HIS WAGES: "Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him... Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight" (Lev 19:13).

DO NOT MOVE AROUND FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE: Strict Oriental etiquette: to visit a round of houses for meals, etc. Such was another means of being distracted from mission, leading to leisure and laxity. Disciples were sent, not to be honored and feasted, but to preach the gospel (LB 346).

Luk 10:9

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR YOU: Near through the preaching of its plan (Luk 8:1; 9:2). Near when offered for man's acceptance (cp Mat 3:2). "In what way had the kingdom come near? To the eastern mind a kingdom is not a kind of constitutional pyramid with a king at its decorative apex; the kingdom emanates from the king, it is the extension of his kingly power" (SMk 21).

Luk 10:11

Cp Luk 9:5: the charge to the 70 is the same as the charge to the 12.

Cp Luk 10:9.

Luk 10:12

MORE BEARABLE... FOR SODOM: Israel likened to Sodom (Deu 32:32; Isa 1:10; 3:9; Rev 11:8), and worse (Lam 4:6; Eze 16:46-49).

Luk 10:13

There is comfort in this -- that the finest preacher who ever lived -- backed by Holy Spirit power -- could achieve nothing in some of the cities he visited.

KORAZIN... BETHSAIDA: These cities of Galilee were homes of some of Jesus' disciples.

SACKCLOTH AND ASHES: Eze 27:30,31. See Eze 3:6: "Surely if I had sent you to them..."

Luk 10:14

Allusions to Isa 14: Luk 10:14 // Isa 14:13,15. Luk 10:18 (lightning) // Isa 14:12 (Lucifer). Luk 10:19 // Isa 14:29.

TYRE: See Act 21:3,4; cp Mar 3:8.

Luk 10:15

YOU WILL GO DOWN TO THE DEPTHS: Cit Isa 14:15: "But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit" (cp with Luk 10:18 here: falling from heaven).

Luk 10:16

Spoken to the 70 (vv 1,17). The "authority of church": Mat 16:18n.

Luk 10:17

Luke 10
Psalm 8
Luk 10:17. Subject unto us through thy name.
Psa 8:2. How excellent is thy name.
Luk 10:18. I saw Satan fall.
Psa 8:6: All things under his feet.
Luk 10:19. Tread on serpents and scorpions (v 3: wolves; 9:58: foxes).
Psa 8:6-8. All... beasts of the field... under his feet. And Psa 8;2. To still the enemy.
Luk 10:20. Your names written in heaven.
Psa 8:1. Thy glory upon the heavens.
Luk 10:21. Lord of heaven and earth... babes.
Psa 8:1. Heavens... all the earth. and Psa 8:2. Babes and sucklings.
Luk 10: 22. All things are delivered to me... the Son.
Psa 8:6. All things under his feet. Also, Psa 8:4. Son of man.
Luk 10:24. Prophets and kings.
David: both prophet and king.

DEMONS SUBMIT: // healing sicknesses (v 9).

SUBMIT: See Psa 8:6; Heb 2:8.

Luk 10:18

Poss context: The disciples are proud of their miraculous work by the Spirit (v 17). Jesus says, 'Beware of pride and self-exaltation. Remember the pride of the king of Babylon (Isa 14), and the judgment brought upon him.'

The tendency for human nature to be wrong before God, in this case emphasized by the power of God at work in the inadequate human flesh: John 12:31; 16:11; Heb 2:14; 1Jo 3:8; Rev 12:7-9; 20:2.

SATAN: "Satan" was as lightning when it (ie the lightning) falls from heaven. Bright but swift in its decline from high places. Cp Jdg 1:3-7n: "Adoni-bezek" = "Lord of lightning".

FALL LIKE LIGHTNING: // Capernaum, which falls from "heaven" (Luk 10:15). Thus "Satan" may be seen to apply to the people of another godless city (Capernaum, as well as Babylon, in Isa 14), not to a personal supernatural devil!

Luk 10:19

This promise can be understood either literally (cp Mark 16:18; Acts 28:3-6), or figuratively -- the serpent being symbolic, and "Satan'' (Luk 10:18) being indicative of unrepentant Capernaum (Luk 10:15). Perhaps both ideas have their place. However, no matter which, the words of Jesus are obviously based upon Gen 3:15. The "seed of the woman" has power to crush underfoot the serpent, and he has committed that power also to his servants.

Symbolically, in their own lives now, his followers must "tread upon" the subtle "serpents" of their own natures, thus overcoming the pull of the flesh by the power of Christ's spirit. And in the future, they will be empowered from on high to tread underfoot, without harm, both literal serpents... and the political and religious institutions of which the serpent was the symbol.

The promise of Gen 1:28, that man will have dominion over the earth, and over the living creature that moves on the ground, is fulfilled in the first instance by Jesus himself (Psa 8:2,6,8), and secondly becomes a promise to all believers in him, that ultimately all things will be put in subjection under their feet. The promise to the seventy here in Luk 10:19 was the downpayment, or pledge -- the first installment, as it were, upon the complete fulfillment of these great and precious promises.

Luk 10:20

NAMES... WRITTEN IN HEAVEN: Exo 32:32; Psa 69:28; Isa 4:3; Dan 12:1; Phi 4:3; Heb 12:23; Rev 5:1-9; 13:8; 20:12; 21:27.

Luk 10:21

"Out of mouths of babes and sucklings": Psa 8:2; cp Isa 11:8.

Luk 10:24

WANTED TO SEE WHAT YOU SEE: See Joh 8:56; Heb 11:13; 1Pe 1:10,11.

Luk 10:25

// 2Ch 28:15: Jericho, balm, food, taking care of, etc.

See Lesson, Good Samaritan (Luk 10).

See Lesson, Collyer on Good Samaritan.

AN EXPERT IN THE LAW: Was this Nicodemus? A year later, he saw Jesus, the "man" beaten, wounded, dead among thieves (v 30). He bought linen (Mar 15:46) at his own expense, bound him up (Joh 19:38-40), took him to his own tomb (Mat 27:59,60), and then departed (Luk 10:35) (Tes 51:10-12).

STOOD UP: To address Christ with respect.

DO: Implying that "works" are necessary. Doctrine of salvation by works.

Luk 10:26

WHAT IS WRITTEN IN THE LAW?: This man was an expert in the Law!

HOW DO YOU READ?: The most important question about Bible reading. Gr "anaginosko" = lit, 'to know again'; apparently, ref a technical term used by Jewish lawyers when debating the detailed meanings and hidden principles of the LM.

Luk 10:27

The joining of 2 different Bible passages (Deu 6:5; Lev 19:18); Christ did the same with the same 2 passages, in Mat 22:37-40. (Had this man heard Jesus on this before?)

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF: Talmud: "If a Jew see a Gentile who has fallen in the sea, by no means should he give him a helping hand... the Gentile is not his neighbor. It is surely written, Do not rise up against the blood of your neighbor. But this man is not your neighbor."

Luk 10:28

DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE: Which is technically correct, even if humanly impossible: "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.' [Deu 27:26] Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, 'The righteous will live by faith' [Hab 2:14]" (Gal 3:10,11). The lawyer is now on the spot. The system he is seeking to defend, is a system that cannot save anyone. In seeking to condemn Jesus, the lawyer has just condemned himself and the whole world.

Luk 10:29

HE WANTED TO JUSTIFY HIMSELF: Self-justification. He was more willing to talk than to do. [But Jesus brings home, in the parable, the lesson he is afraid to face: "Do!" (v 37).]

"He did not think that his love to God needed any justification. He had fully done his duty there, but about the other half he was less sure. So he tried to ride off, lawyer-like, on a question of the meaning of words. 'Who is my neighbour?' " (MacL).

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?: Perhaps I am already loving him! (Christ is our "neighbor": v 37.) "The lawyer meant by the word 'a person whom I am bound to love.' He wanted to know how far an obligation extended which he had no mind to recognise an inch farther than he was obliged. Probably he had in his thought the Rabbinical limitations which made it as much duty to 'hate thine enemy' as to 'love thy neighbour.' Probably, too, he accepted the national limitations, which refused to see any neighbours outside the Jewish people" (MacL).

Even according to the LM, an alien or foreigner could be the "neighbor" of the Jew: God loves the non-Israelite (Deu 10:18). God defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and He loves the alien. God loves the non-Israelite as well as the Israelite. In the Jewish mind, the law belonged to the Jews and no one else. God says, "The law applies equally to Jews and non-Jews, and you'd better not interpret it differently": Lev 24:22; Num 15:15,16; Deu 1:16; and esp Lev 19:34 (same context as Lev 19:18): "The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself."

Luk 10:30

The man = Christ, stripped, beaten, wounded by "sin", left for dead (Mat 27:28,29,30,38,39,41,50).

A MAN: "A certain man" (NASB). While Jesus makes it clear that the two travelers (the priest and the Levite) are Jewish, and that the hero is a Samaritan, we are not told the racial origins of the victim. The reason is simple -- it does not matter. And if it mattered to the first two travelers, it should not matter to us. The only thing that matters about that man is that he is badly hurt and in need of help!

FROM JERUSALEM TO JERICHO: The infamous "Way of Blood": Jos 15:7n.

JERICHO: The city of the curse: Jos 6:26. The man was going downhill from the city of fellowship with God (Jerusalem) to the city of the curse (Jericho) -- beset by sin and mortality...

HALF DEAD: Gr "hemithanes" -- a medical term.

Luk 10:31

PRIEST... LEVITE (v 32): A powerful testimony to the fact that the priesthood of Moses could not save anyone on the journey of death (cp Gal 3:21; Rom 3:20). Note: both priest and Levite were also 'going down' the same road. (We are told that many priests, perhaps as many as 12,000, lived in Jericho.)

HAPPENED: Lit, "sunkuria" = "with the Lord"; not chance or accident at all, but the providence of God.

Luk 10:33

A SAMARITAN: Cp Joh 8:48; 4:40; Luk 9:54! This man seems to have medical knowledge; could it have been Luke himself?

Luk 10:34

BANDAGED: Gr "katadeo" = to bind down; a medical term.

HE PUT THE MAN ON HIS OWN DONKEY: Jesus rode an ass, or donkey: cp Zec 9:9; Luk 19:30.

TOOK CARE: The Greek word implies management, forethought (Tes 53:308).

Luk 10:35

TWO DENARII: Equivalent of two days wages: Mat 20:2; Mar 12:15. Said to be equal to a half-shekel: the atonement money of Exo 30:12,13. What was paid here was the price of redemption!

WHEN I COME AGAIN: The Good Samaritan, having slept and rose up, leaves but also promises that he will "return"!

I WILL REIMBURSE YOU: We will never lose anything by serving others. Christ will repay any sacrifice.

Luk 10:36

WHICH... WAS A NEIGHBOR?: "Jesus didn't answer the question 'Who is my neighbor?' (Luk 10:29). Instead, he answered another question -- 'To whom are YOU a neighbor?' [cp Mat 25:35-46]. It doesn't matter who is good and kind to us. What matters is to whom we are good and kind. The real lesson of the Good Samaritan is that the two great commandments (to love God and to love our neighbor) are inseparably linked. We should love as we have been loved. We should show mercy as we have been shown mercy. We should serve as we have been served. The inheritance of eternal life is a gift that must be shared in order to be received" (KT).

Or, to put it another way, 'If YOU were in trouble, who would you want to be a neighbor to YOU?' The obvious answer: 'Why, everyone, of course!' Go, and do thou likewise.

Luk 10:37

THE ONE WHO HAD MERCY ON HIM: The Samaritan. Notice: the lawyer refuses to mention his nationality -- because it was so odious. "The Jews answered him, 'Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?' " (Joh 8:48).

GO AND DO LIKEWISE: The Law says, 'Do and live.' Christ says, 'Live and do!' "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1Jo 3:16-18).

"...A study which a certain seminary conducted with their student body. They asked each of the students to prepare a message on the 'Good Samaritan' for a radio broadcast. The seminary then arranged for a man to feign a heart attack on the sidewalk in front of the students, as they were on their way to preach the sermon. As I remember the story, in every instance the seminary student stepped around the 'dying' victim to hasten on to deliver his sermon on the 'Good Samaritan.' I must confess that I find the story somewhat believable. In thinking about the difference between the Good Samaritan described in our text, and those who are not such good Samaritans, I was reminded of two 'Jessicas', both of whom were headline news in the recent past. You probably remember the story of Jessica Hahn, and recall what her boss, a prominent televangelist, did to her. You would find it difficult to forget the story of little Jessica McClure, who was rescued from a well in West Texas. What a difference! One Jessica was victimized by a preacher, while the other was rescued by a group of rough-neck well diggers. As we watched the news of little Jessica's rescue on television, people on the scene said, 'I just couldn't leave the well until I knew she was all right.' This little girl's rescuers persisted in saying over and over again, 'We weren't heroes; we weren't Samaritans; we were just there to help.' Good Samaritans like these are needed in our day as well" (Deff).

Luk 10:38

Vv 38-42: This event took place in Bethany, the home of Mary and Martha. The events recorded by Luke from here up to Jesus' entry into Bethany, at the beginning of the last week of his mortal life (Luk 19:29), are unique to Luke. This visit to Bethany corresponds to the time of the raising of Lazarus -- or maybe when he was sick. Therefore the sections which follow takes place practically at the end of Christ's ministry, between the raising of Lazarus and the triumphal entry at Passover time.

Vv 38-42:

"Worship or service, which? Ah, that is best
To which he calls us, be it toil or rest --
To labor for him, in life's busy stir
Or seek his feet, a silent worshipper."

Luk 10:39

At Jesus' feet, the place of: rest (Luk 8:35); pardon (Luk 7:38); healing (Luk 17:16); teaching (Luk 10:39); comfort (Joh 11:32); intercession (Mar 7:25); and worship (Mat 28:9).

Mary at Jesus' feet: to hear (Luk 10:39), to weep (Joh 11:32), and to worship (Joh 12:3).

Luk 10:40

DISTRACTED: Cp thought, 1Co 7:29-35. Martha's fault was that she forgot the object of her service, and only remembered the service. She allowed service to override communion. We ought to be Martha and Mary in one: we should do much service, and have much communion at the same time. It is easier to serve than to commune. "Those we deem most active were men of prayer, and those we associate with contemplation were men of action. Paul's supremely active service was preceded by three years in the desert at the feet of Jesus. John the beloved, a disciple almost mystical in his spiritual apprehension, was also a man of action. Many of us run energetically around, almost grimly determined to serve him, growing weary in our labour and perhaps a little angry with our brethren. Let us learn the lesson that Jesus taught Martha, that our service is not a self-inspired attempt to minister to him. It is for us to resort to him, allowing him to feed us, so that we can rise in quietness of spirit and deep humility of mind to minister to his needs" (MP 263).

Martha provided FOR Christ; Mary received FROM Christ.

Luk 10:42

ONLY ONE THING IS NEEDED: That is, "only one dish would be sufficient" (cp mg). A simple meal served in a calm atmosphere is better than an elaborate meal served by a harassed hostess who cannot rest to take in better things (cp Pro 15:17; 17:1; cp Dan 1:12).

WHAT IS BETTER: The "one thing", to "inquire" of the Lord: Psa 27:4.

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