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Luke 10 Study Notes

10:1 Though not mentioned in 9:1-6, Jesus had apparently sent out the apostles previously in pairs (see Mk 6:7). In this verse he sent out seventy-two other followers to cover Judea with the message of good news in advance of his coming.

10:2 Christ seems to be saying that, as abundant as the spiritual harvest was, the seventy-two whom he sent out to preach were not enough. There was need for many more to take the message, and prayers must be offered to meet this need.

10:3 Lambs among wolves was a common metaphor in Judaism for being in a dangerous situation.

10:4 On items for the journey, see note at 9:3-5.

10:5-6 Peace (Hb shalom) was a traditional Jewish greeting. But the word actually speaks of wholeness or well-being. “Person of” is a Jewish expression meaning “one characterized by” (Ac 4:36). In this context, person of peace and your peace appear to relate to the seventy-two who were offering the message of peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ (Rm 5:1).

10:7 On remain in the same house, see note at 9:3-5. The worker is worthy of his wages is a basic principle of fairness. This was quoted by the apostle Paul in making his case for ministers of God’s Word being paid for their work (1Tm 5:17-18).

10:8-9 If the seventy-two disciples were made welcome in a town, it indicated that the hearts of the people were open to the gospel message. In some sense, the present tense aspects of the kingdom of God were present in the preaching of the gospel and the healing ministry delegated by Jesus to the seventy-two.

10:10-11 On wiping dust off the feet, see note at 9:3-5. On the kingdom of God has come near, see note at vv. 8-9.

10:12 That day is the day of judgment. Sodom was destroyed by the Lord because of its sin (Gn 19:23).

10:13-14 Chorazin and Bethsaida were towns in Galilee near Capernaum. Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities in Phoenicia on the Mediterranean coast northwest of Galilee. Sackcloth and ashes were worn by those in mourning, sometimes as an expression of repentance from sin (Neh 9:1; Jnh 3:5).

10:15 Jesus spent more time in ministry in Capernaum than anywhere else in Galilee. Yet, in their arrogance (exalted to heaven), the people of this city rejected Jesus and, as a result of their unbelief, would be sent to Hades (death, the realm of death or punishment beyond the grave).

10:16 The principle here is that rejection of the disciples is ultimately rejection of God the Father (the one who sent me), for the Father sent the Son and the Son in turn sent out the seventy-two disciples to preach and heal (vv. 1,9). Since they were commissioned by Christ, to listen to the seventy-two was like listening to Jesus himself. Likewise, to reject the seventy-two was to reject Jesus. Finally, to reject Jesus was to reject God the Father.

10:17-20 Part of the healing that the seventy-two disciples performed (v. 9) included casting out demons. Some interpreters view the phrase Satan fall from heaven as an echo of Is 14:12. Though in context Isaiah is pronouncing judgment upon Babylon, many have understood it as a description of Satan’s original fall that the prophet has applied to Babylon. Thus the passage in Luke would be using the language of Satan’s fall to speak of his further defeat through the disciples’ ministry. Others do not interpret Is 14:12 as a reference to Satan but rather understand Jesus to be speaking metaphorically of the disciples’ victory over Satan’s power. Regardless, Jesus warns them that, as great as the power to cast out demons was, it was more significant that their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life in heaven (Rv 13:8).

10:21-22 The mention of the Holy Spirit here is part of Luke’s emphasis on the Spirit. The wise and intelligent people of the area had rejected the ministry of the seventy-two disciples, but the insignificant and children (infants) had accepted their message. This was part of the plan of God. In his good pleasure (see Eph 1:3-11), these things were hidden from some and revealed to others. It is impossible for spiritually dead humans to know God the Father or his Son unless the Son reveals both.

10:23-24 It was a truly blessed circumstance to see the ministry of Christ and even his delegated authority in healing and casting out demons. Peter stated that, beyond OT prophets and kings, even angels wanted to see and hear the things that Jesus was doing (see 1Pt 1:12).

10:25 Expert in the law refers to a scribe (11:45-46,52-53), many of whom were also Pharisees. The question asked was a standard one in Judaism and was intended to test Jesus. To inherit eternal life shows that many Jews thought their eternal destiny was based on their Jewish bloodline and their good deeds.

10:26-28 Jesus turned the tables on the scribe by asking him to answer his own question, then complimented the man on correctly citing Lv 19:18 and Dt 6:5. Jesus did not say that it is possible to earn eternal life by loving God and your neighbor. No human other than Jesus has been able to love perfectly in every situation. Since heart . . . soul, and mind are sometimes used interchangeably in Scripture, the terms here are not intended to speak of separate aspects of human existence. Rather, they describe the total person.

10:29 Having correctly answered the first question, this man asked for an important clarification. Certain kinds of neighbors are of course easy to love, while others, being argumentative or of different religious and moral persuasions, can be very hard to love. It seems that the man hoped Jesus would justify his bias against certain kinds of neighbors.

10:30-32 The road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a distance of seventeen miles with a descent of more than three thousand feet in elevation, was a dangerous route through desert country. It had many places where robbers could lie in wait. It is possible that the priest and the Levite . . . passed by on the other side of the road because they thought the wounded man was dead and they would become ritually unclean by touching him, but it is more likely that they were afraid of being attacked by the same robbers or simply did not want to be bothered with the inconvenience of helping the man.

10:33-35 The Jews considered the Samaritans to be physical half-breeds who had intermarried with foreigners and who were guilty of false worship. For such a sworn enemy of the Jews to show compassion on an injured Jew and pay the expenses of his recuperation, while two Jewish religious officials did not, would deeply humiliate a Jew.

10:36-37 Now Jesus got back to the question with which this story began: Who is my neighbor? (see note at v. 29). His point was that the Samaritan proved he was a good neighbor by his gracious actions toward the man who had been attacked by robbers. It was impossible for the scribe to avoid acknowledging that it was the Samaritan who showed mercy. Jesus’s reply to go and do the same emphasized that Jews should love their Samaritan neighbors even as the good Samaritan in the story had acted in love toward a Jew.

10:38-39 The village in v. 38 was Bethany, just over the Mount of Olives and two miles east of Jerusalem. Martha and Mary were the sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead (Jn 11:1-44). Sat at the Lord’s feet . . . listening was the posture of a committed disciple.

10:40-42 Martha was distracted from what should have been her highest priority—learning from Jesus. She was worried and upset about all the household chores that needed to be done and irritated with her sister Mary because it was the role of women to serve men in such a setting. Jesus indicated that Martha’s exclusive focus should be the same as her sister’s—discipleship, an eternally commendable choice (it will not be taken away from her).

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