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Luke 10

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4 NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Mission of the Seventy-Two The Seventy Sent Out Mission of the Seventy Jesus Sends Out Seventy-Two The Mission of the Seventy-Two Disciples
10:1-12 10:1-12 10:1-12 10:1-12 10:1-12
Woes to Unrepentant Cities Woe to the Unrepentant Cities   The Unbelieving Towns  
10:13-16 10:13-16 10:13-16 10:13-15 10:13-15
      10:16 10:16
The Return of the Seventy-Two The Seventy Return with Joy Return of the Seventy The Return of the Seventy-Two True Cause for the Apostles to Rejoice
10:17-20 10:17-20 10:17-20 10:17 10:17-20
      10:18-20  
The Rejoicing of Jesus Jesus Rejoices in Spirit Prayer of Jesus Jesus Rejoices The Good News Revealed to the Simple–The Father and the Son
10:21-24 10:21-24 10:21-22 10:21 10:21-22
      10:22 The Privilege of the Disciples
    10:23-24 10:23-24 10:23-24
The Good Samaritan The Parable of the Good Samaritan A Lawyer's Question The Parable of the Good Samaritan The Great Commandment
10:25-37 10:25-37 10:25-28 10:25 10:25-28
      10:26  
      10:27  
    The Good Samaritan 10:28 The Parable of the Good Samaritan
    10:29-37 10:29 10:29-37
      10:30-35  
      10:36  
      10:37a  
      10:37b  
Visiting Martha and Mary Mary and Martha Worship and Serve Martha and Mary Jesus Visits with Martha and Mary Martha and Mary
10:38-42 10:38-42 10:38-42 10:38-40 10:38-42
      10:41-42  

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Much of this chapter is unique to Luke's Gospel

1. the mission of the seventy, Luke 10:1-20

2. dinner at Martha and Mary's, Luke 10:38-42

 

B. Luke and Matthew record Jesus' praise to the Father, Luke 10:21-24; Matt. 11:25-27

 

C. Along with the other Synoptic Gospels, Luke records the question of the scribe/lawyer, Luke 10:25-37; Mark 12:28-31; Matt. 22:34-40

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 10:1-12
 1Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. 2And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. 8Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; 9and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11'Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' 12I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city."

10:1 "appointed" Luke uses this term in two different senses.

1. to make known by lifting up (i.e., a torch to see or a hand to designate), Luke 1:80; Acts 1:24

2. to assign a task to, Luke 10:1

Both of these follow Septuagint uses (#1, Hab. 3:2; #2, Dan. 1:11)

▣ "seventy others" Several manuscripts have the number "seventy-two." There has been much discussion about which number is appropriate. There are two possible theories about the origin of this larger number:

1. it comes from Num. 11:16-26, where Moses appoints seventy elders

2. it comes from the rabbis' interpretation of Genesis 10-11, where seventy (Masoretic Text) or seventy-two (Septuagint) represents the nations and languages of the world. Option two fits Luke's overall purpose in writing the Gospel (cf. Luke 24:47).

The Greek manuscript tradition is equally divided as to which number is original ("seventy," MSS א, A, C, L, W, and "seventy-two," MSS P75, B, D). If one approaches this variant with the position that the most unusual reading is probably true, then "seventy-two" is original. The number 70 was a common round number in the OT (cf. Exod. 1:5).

SPECIAL TOPIC: SYMBOLIC NUMBERS IN SCRIPTURE

"in pairs" This methodology follows the sending (same verb, apostellō) of the Twelve (cf. Luke 9:1-6; Mark 6:7).

"ahead of Him" Now this is a new element. The Twelve went to villages that Jesus Himself never visited to heal, exorcize demons, and preach. The first time we hear of Jesus sending representatives ahead is in Luke 9:52, concerning a village in Samaria.

10:2 "The harvest is plentiful" Apparently Jesus used the same phrases and teachings in different locations under different circumstances (cf. Matt. 9:37-38 and John 4:35). It is important to note that we are to pray for God to send workers, not to simply go ourselves. Need does not constitute a call! However, the priority of the gospel is an issue every believer must contemplate!

NASB"beseech"
NKJV, TEV"pray"
NRSV, NJB"ask"

The term deomai is characteristic of Luke's writing (eight times in Luke and seven times in Acts, once in Matthew and never in Mark and John). Here it is an aorist passive (deponent) imperative. It follows his emphasis on prayer. Believers see the evangelistic potential, recognize the spiritual need, and appeal to the only One who can help (God). It is His field and His harvest (cf. Matt. 9:35-38)! The Great commission (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8) is a worldview!

"send" This is literally the stronger word "thrust" (ekballō). There is an urgency and a mandate.

10:3

NASB, TEV"Go"
NKJV"Go your way"
NRSV"Go on your way"
NJB"Start off now"

This is a present active imperative. Theologically this is parallel to the Great Commission of Matt. 28:19, "Go" (aorist participle used in the sense of an imperative). In context this looks like a specific assignment; so this cannot be interpreted "as you are going through life" or "through your daily affairs." This is a specific mission.

This section of Luke is similar to the sending out of the Twelve in Luke 9.

▣ "I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves" The parallel in Matt. 10:16 has a fuller statement. Luke wants these representatives to know that there will be opposition and rejection (cf. Luke 10:11). The Spirit of God is with them and will provide for them.

This is a foreshadowing of the reception Jesus will receive in Jerusalem.

10:4 The significance of this verse is that they are to depend totally on God's provision, not their own resources (cf. Luke 9:3-5). Jesus repeats this to the disciples at the Last Supper (cf. Luke 23:35-36).

▣ "greet no one on the way" Their mission was so important that they were not to be delayed with long, detailed, ceremonial eastern greeting rituals (cf. 2 Kgs. 4:29).

10:6 "If a man of peace is there" The "if" is a third class conditional sentence, which means potential action. This is literally "son of peace." The Jerome Biblical Commentary (vol. 2, p. 143) makes the statement that this expression in Luke denotes that salvation has come to this welcoming home (cf. Luke 1:79; 2:14,29; 7:50; 8:48; 12:51; 19:38). The home welcomes Jesus' messengers and Jesus' message!

"if" The second "if" in Luke 10:6 is a first class conditional sentence, which is assumed to be true from the author's perspective or for his literary purposes.

10:7 "stay in the house" This is a Present active imperative. This was to be the standard operating procedure of traveling missionaries (cf. Luke 9:4).

"eating and drinking what they give you" These are both perfect active participles. Missionaries are not to seek better and better accommodations or food. Hospitality was a cultural requirement in the east. They gave the best they had to guests (and still do).

▣ "for the laborer is worthy of his wages" This was an eastern agricultural proverb or truism (cf. Matt. 10:10; 1 Cor. 9:14; 1 Tim. 5:18)

▣ "Do not keep moving" This is a present imperative with the negative particle which usually implies "stop an act already in process." Apparently they were moving from home to home with the object of getting the finest facilities available.

10:8 "eat what is set before you" These being conservative Jews, they were likely to be very picky about the food that was offered to them. The Great Commission (cf. Matt. 28:18-20) is more important than food laws (cf. Mark 7:1-23). For believers the Mosaic food laws of Leviticus 11 are annulled (i.e., Acts 10:9-16,34; 15:6-11; 1 Cor. 10:27).

10:9 "heal those in it who are sick" This is another present active imperative. There are two possible ways to interpret this phrase: (1) their task was to heal anyone and everyone in order to confirm their message about Jesus and the Kingdom of God or (2) they were to heal those who had faith (much like, stay in those homes who welcome you).

Jesus did both of these in different settings (cf. Matt. 4:23; 8:16; 9:35; 14:14; 15:30; 19:2; 21:14, while Mark says "many," Mark 1:34; 3:10).

▣ "The kingdom of God has come near to you" This verb is a perfect active indicative. The Kingdom of God is inaugurated in Jesus' coming (cf. Luke 10:11; 11:20; 21:31; Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 6:10; 10:7; Mark 1:15). There comes a time in every person's life when God draws near. That is the time of response (cf. Luke 19:9; 2 Cor. 6:2).

This is such a controversial text today because of the theological view that the Kingdom is future only. I would like to include my notes from my commentary on Mark 1:15 (www.freebiblecommentary.org):

"Mark 1:15 "'time is fulfilled’" This phrase is introduced by hoti, which usually denotes a quote and is common in Mark. This reflects Peter's memory of Jesus' words. This is perfect passive indicative, which has prophetic/messianic significance (cf. Eph. 1:10; Gal. 4:4; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 1:3). The passive voice reflects God's activity in and control of time and history.

▣ "'the kingdom of God’" This refers to God's reign. It is both a present reality and a future consummation. In Matthew's Gospel this is usually referred to as "kingdom of heaven." These phrases are synonymous (compare Matt. 13:11 with Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10). The kingdom arrived when Jesus was born. It is described and embodied in Jesus' life and teachings. It will be consummated at His return. It was the subject of Jesus' sermons and parables. It was the central theme of His spoken messages.

NASB, NKJV"is at hand"
NRSV"has come near"
TEV"is near"
NJB"is close at hand"

This is a perfect active indicative, which implies that the kingdom was a past reality (cf. Luke 10:1-3) as well as a current reality (cf. Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20; 17:21). The phrase "the time is fulfilled" parallels this phrase and emphasizes the reality of God's prophetic word now becoming a historical event. The "New Age of Righteousness" was inaugurated at Jesus' birth, but not fully known until the Passion Week's events and not fully empowered until Pentecost.

Although the Kingdom has truly come, there are also NT texts which imply that its complete manifestation is future (cf. Luke 9:1; 14:25; Matt. 26:29; Luke 22:18; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). What we do with Christ now determines our eschatological hope (cf. Luke 8:38)."

10:10-11 Jesus had just received this same type of treatment in Samaria (cf. Luke 9:51-56). However, Jesus' reaction to the potential rejection of "the seventy" was severe and put in an eschatological-judgment setting. We must be very careful of building theological systems out of one text. We only have a small percentage of Jesus' words and actions. The Gospel writers selected what they did record for evangelism and the needs of the early church. Moderns must be content with the snapshots we have of Jesus' life without trying to turn them into dogmatic rules for every culture and every situation. Our only hope is to keep the main truth of the event, pericopes, or paragraph, and not turn all the details into a Christian Talmud!

10:11 This was a cultural gesture of rejection and judgment (cf. Matt. 10:14; Luke 9:5)

10:12 "'I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day’" I believe the Bible does teach degrees of both reward and punishment based on how much one understands, receives, and acts on the will of God.

SPECIAL TOPIC: DEGREES OF REWARDS AND PUNISHMENT

▣ "Sodom" This evil city's fiery destruction was a symbol of God's judgment (cf. Matt. 10:15). Jesus surely knew of an end-time judgment (cf. Matt. 5:21-30; 7:13-27; 10:15; 11:20-24; 12:36,41-42; 25:1-46; Luke 11:31-32).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 10:13-15
 13"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!"

10:13

NASB, NKJV,
NRSV"Woe"
TEV"How terrible"
NJB"Alas"

This is one of the OT prophetic literary markers. It symbolized a funeral dirge. Luke records more of Jesus' woes than any other Gospel writer (cf. Luke 6:24, 25, 26; 10:13; 11:42, 43, 44, 46,4 7, 52; 17:1; 21:23; 22:22). Life choices have spiritual consequences.

▣ "Chorazin" This was a city in Galilee, two miles north of Capernaum. It is mentioned only in Matt. 11:21 and here. We do not have any recorded information about Jesus' ministry in this city.

The point is that cities (Bethsaida and Capernaum) where Jesus taught and ministered were responsible. Many OT cities who were judged by God would have responded to Jesus' message and miracles if only given the chance.

▣ "if" This is a second class conditional sentence (cf. Matt. 11:23), where a false assertion heightened a false result. Jesus' miracles were not done in Tyre and Sidon and they did not repent.

▣ "Tyre and Sidon" These were two of the major seaport towns in Phoenicia, which is modern Lebanon (cf. Matt. 11:22,24). They are often used in the OT as symbols of pride and arrogance (cf. Isaiah 23; Ezekiel 26-28).

"would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes" These are OT symbols of repentance or mourning. Several could be listed:

1. sitting on the ground

2. wearing sackcloth

3. putting ashes or dirt on the head

4. pulling out one's beard or hair (disheveled hair)

5. tearing one's clothing

6. wailing loudly

7. being barefoot

 

SPECIAL TOPIC: GRIEVING RITES

10:14 Light and understanding bring spiritual responsibility (cf. Luke 12:47-48). See Special Topic: Degrees of Reward and Punishment at Luke 10:12.

10:15 "Capernaum" This was Jesus' self-chosen headquarters. To whom much is given, much is required.

The question of Luke 10:15 expects a "no" answer.

NASB, NRSV"You will be brought down"
NKJV"You. . .will be thrust down"
TEV"You will be thrown down"
NJB"you shall be flung down"

This is possibly an allusion to Num. 16:30; Ezek. 31:18; or 32:18 in the Septuagint (which uses katabainō). The parallel in Matt. 11:23 speaks of being brought down to hades or the pit (cf. Isa. 14:13,15; Ezek. 26:20; 31:14; 32:24). This Greek word is found in several ancient manuscripts (cf. P75, B, D).

However, the rarer and more intense katabibazō (thrust down) is found in the ancient Greek manuscripts P45, א, A, C, L, W, and the Vulgate and Peshitta translations.

The meaning of the text is not affected, but which term was original cannot be determined.

▣ "Hades" This may be an allusion to Isa. 14:15 or Ezek. 26:20; 28:8; 31:14; 32:18,24. This referred to the realm of the dead (cf. Luke 16:23). According to the rabbis, there was a righteous part called Paradise and a wicked part called Tartarus. This may be true. Jesus' words to one of the criminals crucified with Him in Luke 23:43 seem to imply a righteous part of Hades because Jesus did not return to heaven until forty days after Passover. At Jesus' resurrection He took the righteous part of Hades (sheol) to be with Him. Therefore, Paul can now say in 2 Cor. 5:6,8 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. See SPECIAL TOPIC: Where Are the Dead? at Luke 16:23.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 10:16
 16"The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me."

10:16 To reject the gospel is to reject Jesus. To reject Jesus is to reject the Father (cf. 1 John 5:10-12). It is extremely important that we realize the dignity which believers have as Christian witnesses (cf. Luke 9:48; Matt. 10:40; Mark 9:37; John 13:20). The gospel is not our message, but God's. People do not reject us, but Him.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 10:17-20
 17The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." 18And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."

10:17 "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name" This is a present passive indicative. This was surprising to the seventy because they were not expecting this. It was a sign that the power and authority of God in Christ had been effectively delegated to His followers, and that the kingdom of Satan had been effectively defeated.

For "name" see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE NAME OF THE LORD at Luke 9:48.

10:18 "He said to them, 'I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning’" This is an imperfect tense followed by an aorist tense. This statement is only in Luke's Gospel. There has been much discussion about exactly what this relates to: (1) Satan's fall from heaven, or (2) Satan's fall from earthly power. See SPECIAL TOPIC: SATAN at Luke 4:2. It seems to me that #2 is best because the context relates this entire account to the exorcisms by the seventy.

When did Satan fall from heaven? (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 1 Pet. 5:8; 1 John 5:19)

1. before Gen. 1:1 (angelic fall predates creation)

2. between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2 (gap theory)

3. after Job 1-2 (Satan in heaven)

4. after Zech. 3:1-2 (Satan in heaven)

5. metaphors in Isa. 14:12-16; Ezek. 28:12-16 (possibly refers to Satan being kicked out of heaven because of pride)

6. during Jesus' life on earth (cf. Matt. 12:29; John 12:31; 16:11); especially His victory over satanic temptation, cf. Luke 4:1-13

7. during the mission of the seventy (here)

8. after Calvary/Resurrection (Col. 2:15; 1 Cor. 15:24)

9. in the future (Rev. 12:9)

10. every time they performed an exorcism

F. F. Bruce in Answers to Questions, thinks that Satan was cast out of heaven to the earth as the immediate consequence of Jesus' earthly ministry (p. 228). This same thought is found in Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 465-466.

George E. Ladd in A Theology of the New Testament, thinks it is only metaphorical of Satan's defeat in the mission of the seventy, but that Satan's final destruction is future (pp. 67, 625).

10:19 "I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy" This is a perfect active indicative (a past event with abiding results). There have been many theories concerning this reference:

1. that snakes and scorpions are symbols of the power of the evil one

2. that this is a reference to Ps. 91:13-14; Rom. 16:20

3. that it is related to Mark 16:17-18, which is a non-inspired manuscript addition to the Gospel of Mark

It is obvious to me that #1 is the only possible meaning in this context. This is a wonderful truth for believers living and serving in a fallen world. See Special Topic: Luke's Use of Exousia at Luke 20:2.

▣ "and nothing will injure you" This is a strong double negative. This must be interpreted in the light of other NT texts. But it does assert God's presence, protection and provision (cf. 1 John 5:19).

10:20 "Nevertheless do not rejoice" This is a present imperative with the negative particle, which usually means stop an act already in process. They are not to rejoice over the power of exorcism, but rejoice (Present active imperative) over the fact that their names are written in the Book of Life.

▣ "but rejoice that" This is a present active imperative. There is a place for appropriate rejoicing!

▣ "your names are recorded in heaven" This is a perfect passive indicative (abiding results). Daniel 7:10 and Revelation 20:12 list the two books which are symbols of God's memory and mankind's destiny. They are

1. the Book of Life (those who know God, cf. Exod. 32:32; Ps. 69:28; Isa. 4:3; Dan. 12:1; Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:27)

2. the Book of Deeds (the acts of the saved and the unsaved, cf. Ps. 56:8; 139:16; Isa. 65:6; Mal. 3:16)

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 10:21-22
 21At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 22All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."

10:21-22 This is paralleled in Matt. 11:25-27. Because the wording is so similar, it may be an early hymn in liturgy.

10:21

NASB"He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit"
NKJV"Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit"
NRSV"Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit"
TEV"Jesus was filled with joy by the Holy Spirit"
NJB"filled with joy by the Holy Spirit"

There are several different forms of this phrase in the Greek manuscript tradition. This is probably because this is an unusual and unique phrase, "he exulted in (by) the Holy Spirit." The exact text is uncertain, but the sense is not affected. Because of the seventy's spiritual victories over the demonic, Jesus was greatly encouraged and began to praise the Father.

▣ "I praise You" This is a present middle indicative. This word is used several times in OT Wisdom Literature in the sense of "to give thanks" or "praise." In the middle voice in Koine Greek it means to profess, confess openly (cf. Rom. 14:11; 15:9; Phil. 2:11; Rev. 3:5).

▣ "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth" Notice how Jesus combines YHWH's immanence (Father, see Special Topic at Luke 22:42) and transcendence (Lord of heaven and earth). See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY at Luke 1:68. It is this combination of glory, power, and intimacy that describes deity so well to the human experience. His power and awesomeness are seen in nature; His love and mercy are seen in Christ.

▣ "infants" In Matthew 18 this obviously refers to new believers. Also notice John's use of "my little children" in 1 John to describe believers. Here it refers to Jesus' disciples, who are still immature in so many ways.

"this way was well-pleasing in Your sight" The Father reveals truth to believers to show that the gospel is not a human discovery and that no flesh will glory before God (cf. Eph. 2:9). God's gospel is based solely on His unchanging character of grace and mercy, not human performance or merit at any level.

10:22 In Luke 10:21 Jesus addresses the Father, but in Luke 10:22 He addresses the disciples. Because of this abrupt transition some Greek manuscripts added a descriptive phrase.

"all things have been handed over to Me by My Father" This is a recurrent theme in the NT (cf. Matt. 11:27; 28:18; John 3:35; 13:3; Eph. 1:20-22; Col. 1:16-19; 2:10; 1 Pet. 3:22). Jesus was the Father's agent in (1) creation, (2) redemption, and (3) judgment.

"no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son" This is the theological assertion that Jesus fully and completely reveals the Father (cf. John 1:14; 14:6,9-10; 17:25-26; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). Only a personal revelation could fully reveal a personal God.

"and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him" This shows how both the Spirit and the Son reveal the Father. Humans do not understand until their hearts and minds are quickened by Divine agency (cf. John 6:44,65; 17:2).

These words of Jesus in Luke 10:22 sound so much like John's Gospel (cf. Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 379-380). This is evidence that John truly recorded Jesus' words. A good explanation of the difference between the words of Jesus, recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, and John may be that John records the private conversations (cf. Luke 10:23), while the Synoptics record public teaching (parables).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 10:23-24
 23Turning to the disciples, He said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, 24for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them."

10:23 "Turning to the disciples, He said privately" This phrase shows the presence of "the crowd," or at least the seventy. The Gospels do not always tell us to whom Jesus directed His words.

▣ "Blessed" This is a beatitude like Matt. 5:1-12. Jesus is pronouncing the benefit of His choice to reveal to His disciples truths which they could have never had apart from Him.

These disciples had seen and heard the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. They lived during the culmination of God's OT promises. No OT prophet fully understood God's plan (cf. Heb. 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:10-12), but in Jesus they (the disciples) now understand (cf. Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; 13:29; Col. 1:26-27; Heb. 1:2-3).

▣ "many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them" The Matthew parallel has "prophets and righteous men" (cf. Matt. 13:16-17). Surely the "kings" in Luke refers to the godly Kings of Judah, such as David, Hezekiah, and Josiah.

It is always shocking and humbling to me to realize that NT believers know more of the eternal plan and purposes of God than any OT person (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, etc.). The question then comes, "What are we doing with the knowledge?" With light comes responsibility (cf. Luke 12:47-48).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 10:25-37
 25And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" 27And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." 29But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' 36Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" 37And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."

10:25-37 This dialogue and parable of the Good Samaritan is discussed from an eastern perspective in Kenneth Bailey, Through Peasant Eyes, pp. 33-56. It is so helpful to allow the culture of the original author to illuminate the text.

10:25 "lawyer" This refers to scribes (cf. Mark 12:28) and from Matt. 22:34, a Pharisee. Scribes developed during the exilic period and supplanted the Levites as interpreters of the written OT and oral traditions (Talmud) to the contemporary situation. They could be Sadducees or Pharisees. Most in Jesus' day were Pharisees. They will become the rabbis of our day. See SPECIAL TOPIC: SCRIBES at Luke 5:21.

▣ "stood up" This shows that they were in an official teaching session of Jesus.

▣ "test" This term implies evil motives on the scribe's part; Luke 10:29 seems to substantiate this. This term is used in the NT in the connotation of "to test with a view toward destruction." See Special Topic at Luke 4:2.

▣ "what shall I do to inherit eternal life" This implies one great act or a series of human acts. This man, as most first century Jews (cf. Luke 18:18), based salvation on human actions and merits (keeping the Mosaic Law, cf. Lev. 18:5; Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:1-14). Luke, writing to Gentiles, asks about salvation instead of the greatest commandment of the Jewish Law. Since all humans are sinful (cf. Rom. 3:9-18,23), they cannot be saved by their actions. This is where the gift of God in Christ's death and resurrection is crucial (cf. Rom. 5:6-11; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9). 

Notice that Jesus does not say here "trust Me," but describes how a person who has trusted Jesus will act (cf. Matt. 25:31-46). Jews thought they were right with God because of their lineage (i.e., seed of Abraham) and obedience to the Mosaic Law and its interpretation in the Oral Tradition. Jesus tries to startle this man's thinking by highlighting "love," unexpected, outrageous love.

▣ "eternal life" "Eternal life" is a characterization used often by John to describe the life of the new age, God's kind of life. This question shows that this was a Pharisee because the Sadducees denied the resurrection. He was interpreting this phrase in light of his own background so, therefore, eternal life was a continuation of the present order.

10:26

NASB"How does it read to you"
NKJV, NJB"What is your reading of it"
NRSV"What do you read there"
TEV"How do you interpret them"

This man was a trained Bible interpreter, so Jesus asked him about his personal understanding of the question. Jesus even affirms his interpretation. There are two concerns here.

1. All believers need to be able to document what they believe from Scripture, not from culture, traditions, or denominational indoctrination. This man knew his Bible!

2. Though right on a theological truth, he missed the most important thing—salvation through faith in Christ.

 

10:27 "What is written in the Law" This refers to the Mosaic Law (Genesis - Deuteronomy). Every Jewish person in first century Palestine went to Synagogue school as a child. This man had further training in the OT. He knew the OT well, especially the writings of Moses.

Jesus is testing his knowledge just as he was trying to test Jesus.

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT

▣ "he answered and said, 'You shall love the Lord your God’" This is from Deut. 6:4-5, called the Shema ("to hear so as to do"). This man possibly pointed to his phylactery, which contained this verse. It shows that primary focus is on our attitude of commitment toward God that includes everything we are.

▣ "and your neighbor as yourself" This is a quote from Lev. 19:18 in the Septuagint. Jesus linked theological truth to practical, ethical demands. It is impossible to love God and hate those made in His image (cf. 1 John 2:9-11; 3:15; 4:20).

It is impossible to love your neighbor (i.e., covenant brother or sister) as yourself if you do not love yourself. There is an appropriate self-love which is based on God's priority love for mankind. We are His creation, fashioned in His image (cf. Gen. 1:26,27). We must rejoice in our giftedness and accept our physical, mental, and psychological makeup (cf. Psalm 139). To criticize ourselves is to criticize our Maker! He can transform our fallenness into a reflection of His glory (i.e., Christlikeness).

Christianity involves a personal faith commitment to God through Christ. It starts as an individual volitional decision of repentance and faith. However, it issues in a family experience (so important in Eastern culture). We are gifted for the common good (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7). We are part of the body of Christ. How we treat others reveals our true devotion to Christ. The oneness of God and mankind made in the image and likeness of God demands an appropriate response toward God and toward other humans, (i.e., especially those of the household of faith).

10:28 "do this" This is a present active imperative. We must act on our understanding of God's truth and will. Remember that Jesus was speaking to a scribe.

▣ "and you will live" This is not Jesus' affirmation of potential works-righteousness, but a response geared to the man's OT understanding (cf. Ezek. 20:11). For NT understanding of the place of the Mosaic Law in salvation see Gal. 3:6-14 and Rom. 3:20-21. The new covenant of Jer. 31:31-34 is an internal, mercy-based covenant, not a performance-based covenant. Mankind was unable to choose the right and avoid the evil (cf. Rom. 3:9-18,23). The Sermon on the Mount extends OT performance to attitude, yet it still demands holiness (cf. Matt. 5:48). The first truth of the gospel is mankind's inability and spiritual need (cf. Rom. 3:9-18). One only needs a Savior when they realize their need!

10:29 "who is my neighbor" This was a hot question in Judaism. Mostly it was Jews only, and often only certain Jews.

10:30 "A man" The implication was a fellow Jew. For guidelines on interpreting parables, see the contextual insights in Luke 8, B.

▣ "Jerusalem to Jericho" Jerome later called this highway "the bloody way" because of the violence which so often occurred there. It was a seventeen mile trip which descended 3000 feet.

10:31-32 "priest. . .Levite" These religious leaders were afraid of (1) thieves; (2) defilement (cf. Lev. 21 or Num 19:11); (3) involvement; and (4) time constraints.

10:33 "Samaritan" Jesus really shocked these Jews by using a hated Samaritan as the hero of the parable. Samaritans were half Jew and half pagan, resulting from the resettlement policies of the Assyrian exile of the northern ten tribes in 722 b.c. (i.e., fall of Samaria). They had developed a rival temple (Mt. Gerizim) and a rival text (the Samaritan Pentateuch).

10:34 "oil. . .wine" These were medicines of the day, oil for softening the skin and wine, with its natural alcohol, for killing infections.

"brought him to an inn" Today there are archaeological remains of two caravan-stop compounds about halfway between Jerusalem and Jericho.

10:35 "two denarii" One denarius was a day's wage for a laborer or soldier. This amount would pay for about 14 days' room and board.

▣ "when I return I will repay you" Apparently the man was a regular customer. His care and concern was consistent and persistent.

10:36 Here is the key point of the parable and Jesus' answer to this man's question in Luke 10:29.

10:37 "The one who took showed mercy toward him" The scribe could not bring himself to say "Samaritan."

▣ "Go and do the same" This is a present middle (deponent) imperative and a present active imperative. This verse links up contextually to Luke 10:28.

This extension of "neighbor" from OT "covenant partner" (i.e., fellow Jew) to the hated Samaritan would have shocked this lawyer/scribe. Yet, it is this very extension that characterized Jesus' teaching (and Luke's emphasis). The OT categories of national and racial emphasis are expanded into global spheres. The new paradigm is believer vs. unbeliever, not Jew vs. Gentile (cf. Rom. 3:22; 10:12; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). No NT author reaffirms OT national, racial, or geographical promises. Jerusalem is no longer a city in Palestine, but the "New Jerusalem" coming down out of heaven to a recreated earth (cf. Rev. 21:2). The new age is not Jewish!! The gospel is not about Israel but about Jesus!

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: LUKE 10:38-42
 38Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. 40But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." 41But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

10:38 "Now as they were traveling along" This is the way Luke structures this portion of his Gospel. Jesus is traveling to His divine destiny to Jerusalem (cf. Luke 9:51,56,57; 10:38; 13:22; 17:11; 18:31,35; 19:1,11).

▣ "a village" From John 11:1 we know the village is Bethany, only two miles from Jerusalem on the Mt of Olives on the road to Jericho.

▣ "Martha" In Aramaic this means "lady," the feminine form of "Lord."

▣ "welcomed Him into her home" Martha was acting like the head of the house. Apparently Lazarus was not home. It was usual for the villagers around Jerusalem to welcome pilgrims into their homes during feast days. At certain times during the year the population of the Holy City swelled to two or three times its normal size. There were no accommodations available.

10:39 "Mary" In Hebrew this is Miriam, which means "bitter" (cf. Ruth 1:20).

▣ "was seated at the Lord's feet"A crowd must have followed Jesus to Bethany. It was highly unusual for a rabbi to teach women (another example of Luke's inclusive theme). Mary took advantage of the occasion to learn. "Sitting at the feet" was the common term for teaching situations (cf. Acts 22:3).

10:40 "was distracted" Apparently both women sat down to listen. Mary remained listening, but Martha's personality began to worry about the task of hostess.

▣ "Lord, do You not care" Martha agitated herself and then blamed her sister and then Jesus! The question expects a "yes" answer.

▣ "left me to do all the serving alone" Martha was majoring on a minor!

"tell her to help me" This is an aorist active imperative.

10:41 "you are worried and bothered about so many things" It was not that Martha's concern was inappropriate, but her attitude and anxiety were out of bounds. She missed a once-in-a-lifetime moment because of daily concerns.

10:42 Jesus may have used Martha's elaborate dinner preparations as a metaphor for life's priorities.

NASB"but only one thing is necessary"
NKJV"but one thing is needed"
NRSV"there is need of only one thing"
TEV"but just one is needed"
NJB"yet a few are needed, indeed only one"

The question is, to what does "thing" refer? It could refer to a simple meal versus an elaborate meal, or it could refer to Jesus' visit and teaching. The remainder of the verse implies the second option.

There are several textual variants connected to this statement. The NJB follows one variant that adds "a few are needed" (cf. MSS P3, א, B, L).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Why is this parable so significant?

2. Did Jesus answer his questions?

3. How is love related to salvation?