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The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the March 30 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: March 30
<< Luke 9
<< Luke 9

For New King James text and comment, click here.

Luke 9:51-56; Luke 10:1-11:13     Listen Podcast

 

In this passage, we see the following events in Jesus' ministry:

The disciples offer to nuke a Samaritan city (Luke 9:51-56)

51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

In Luke's chronology, there is a definite and significant time lapse between verses 9:1-50 and beginning here with verse 51 - probably of several months. This is indicated with the wording of verse 51, "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,"

As Jesus prepares to go to Jerusalem, an advance party checks out a Samaritan city for a stopover on the way. Knowing that Jesus is headed for Jerusalem, these village Samaritans carry on the Jewish/Samaritan feud and "they did not receive him." The disciples are disturbed and ask Jesus if he wants them to call fire down from Heaven on this village. Jesus replies by saying, "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them."

You must admire the faith of James and John here. It was just a short time earlier when James and John, along with Peter, had been rebuked by Jesus for their lack of faith as they unsuccessfully attempted to cast a demon out (Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-42 - see notes). It was at that time when Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Apparently that left a huge impression on James and John here. They volunteer to nuke the whole city with fire they propose that they themselves call down from heaven. Though that act of faith might have been misdirected, still you gotta believe that they had taken that "mustard seed" faith lecture very seriously. Incidentally, they were referring to Elijah dealings with the soldiers in II Kings 1 (see notes).

Note about the chronology of Luke 9:57-62: These last 6 verses of Luke 9 are not included in this chronological presentation. Since they parallel with Matthew 8:18-22, the notes for these verses are included with the Matthew 8 reading. It would appear that Matthew and Luke are citing the same occasion, but the placement of Matthew 8 a few months before seems to be the proper time frame for this event. To view the notes on these six verses along with the parallel account from Matthew, click here.

57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

To view the notes on these six verses along with the parallel account from Matthew, click here.

The seventy are sent out (Luke 10:1-24)

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.
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.
3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
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.
8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,
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.
12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.
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.
14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
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.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
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.
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.
23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
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.

There was a previous mission trip involving just the twelve apostles some time earlier in Matthew 10:1-15; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6 (see notes). At least several weeks...perhaps months have passed, and Jesus sends these newly-appointed seventy disciples out on another special mission. We may, at first, quickly read through this passage and dismiss it as one that is not particularly doctrinally significant. However, this passage (with a few other supporting passages) has characterized the doctrinal position of churches around the world and through the centuries. Here's the question: Does this commission to these seventy directly apply to Believers today? Before you answer, you may want to look closely at all of the specifications issued by Jesus regarding this particular evangelism campaign.

Let's look closely at this sending:

Churches that handle serpents as a matter of their regular corporate worship services do so because of this passage. It is worth noting the special provisions of this particular mission. If one insists on claiming the supernatural abilities given in this commission as applicable to normal everyday Christian living, then verse 4 must likewise be strictly adhered to as well as the gestures of verses 10-15. These verses explain a special mission for this platoon of seventy. It is a dangerous precedent (as well as impractical) to take every command Jesus ever uttered to anyone and twist it to make portions of it applicable to every Believer from then to now.

Additionally, it is true that Jesus offered protection to the Apostles and subsequent Believers from the hazards of mission work in Mark 16:15-20 (see notes). However, these are not encouraged to go looking for trouble - just how to deal with it if it comes.

Of course there is a lapse of time between the sending in verses 1-16 and the return of the witnesses in verses 17-24.

Jesus addresses the issue of eternal life (Luke 10:25-37)

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
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.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
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.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
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.
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.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Most of the questions we've seen addressed to Jesus up to this point have dealt with discipleship, but not this one. This lawyer specifically asks about the conditions of eternal life. You will notice the lack of sincerity in the question by the lawyer found in verse 25, "And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" The Greek word for "tempted" there is "ekpeirazo" which means "to test thoroughly." Keep in mind, therefore, that the question is not a personal inquiry, but an attempt to cause Jesus to make a verbal misstep that could lead to an early trial for "blasphemy." Jesus replies by asking the lawyer what the Law says concerning eternal life. The lawyer correctly responds by quoting a standard found in several passages from the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

Deuteronomy 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,

Deuteronomy 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Joshua 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Salvation has always been about faith. Specifically, a covenant relationship is established with God by faith all the way back to Abraham in Genesis 15:6 (see notes), "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Literally, the love expressed in the Old Testament scriptures constitutes a faith relationship with God. When the lawyer presses Jesus on the specifics of loving one's neighbor, Jesus chooses an illustration involving a demonstration of love for someone normally distasteful to a Jew - a Samaritan. Jesus makes a point in John 13:34-35 (see notes) and the Apostle John repeats it again in I John 3:11-24 (see notes) that salvation in God by faith is accompanied with its own attributes. Love for one another is one of those attributes. So, while the lawyer was looking for a clear proclamation of personal deity from Jesus, instead he received an explanation of the relationship between faith and love.

Notice the parable Jesus uses in verses 30-36. He starts with an uncaring priest, then an uncaring Levite (all priests were Levites, but not all Levites were priests per Numbers 18:1-7, see notes). These were two highly-respected classes of people with regard to their perceived relationship with God in Jesus' day. However, the Samaritans were a race of half-breed Jews despised by most Jews of Jesus' day (see the article on Samaritans located on the top right of this window). As it turns out, Jesus' parable highlights the fruit of a relationship with God in the Samaritan, and not the priest or the Levite. You can see how this parable disrupts the we-hate-Samaritans paradigm of the day.

Martha gets aggravated with Mary (Luke 10:38-42)

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.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
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.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

This is the house of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus also seen in John 11 (see notes). Martha's doing all the work while Mary is sitting listening to the teachings of Jesus. Martha asks Jesus for some intercession to get Mary to pitch in a hand, but to no avail. As a matter of fact, Mary and Martha are later seen at Simon the leper's house in Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-11 (see notes) just six days before his crucifixion. On that occasion, Martha served the meal and Mary's contribution was breaking open some very expensive ointment with which she anointed the feet of Jesus followed by wiping his feet with her hair. On that occasion, it was Judas Iscariot who complained about Mary's actions.

On heart-felt, persistent prayer (Luke 11:1-10)

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

To see Jesus' discussion of this issue in Matthew 6:1-34, click here.
Jesus dealt with these same issues in Matthew 6 and 7, but this passage is not part of that sermon on the mount. In order to get the full impact of what Jesus is teaching with his model prayer of Luke 11:1-4, we need to see the contrast of Matthew 6:6-15 (see notes). We see in both passages what is commonly referred to as "The Lord's Prayer," but in the Matthew passage (given on a different occasion) Jesus points out that prayer is to be from each individual's heart and not a series of vain repetitions like the Pharisees were accustomed to doing in public for the purpose of being seen. So, this prayer actually has substance and action items for God - meat on the bones (so to speak). We see from Matthew that this prayer was not intended to be a recitation, but rather a model of how prayer is to be done. In Matthew's account, this was included as part of the entire message given that day. In Luke's passage here, one of Jesus' disciples asks for this lesson on prayer. In the process of answering the question, Jesus again refers to his comments given that day as part of the sermon on the mount, but adds more detail regarding importunity (see below).

In verses Luke 11:5-13 Jesus deals with the concept of importunity in prayer. "Importunity" means...well...I guess it means "the art of nagging." Of course God knows what we'll ask for and with what intensity and frequency we'll make our requests; he's omniscient. Nonetheless, Jesus gives an example of importunity in this passage to illustrate that, for a neighbor, one might meet a request just because he is persistent. What does persistence in prayer prove to God? I'll tell you what it does; it gives us a look at ourselves and shows us how intent we are on God meeting our particular need. In this passage we see Jesus teaching that God honors persistent prayer. We first of all see it with the illustration in verses 5-8; then we see it in the way Jesus explains the concept of those verses in 9-13. Take particular note of verses 9-10, "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." The Greek verb forms for "ask," "seek" and "knock" are present active imperatives and indicate a continuing action on the part of the one praying. Then, like a father, God wants to meet our needs.

Another aspect of importunity in prayer is fasting. Here are the references to fasting found in the New Testament:

Perhaps the best description regarding the purpose of fasting is seen in Isaiah 58 (see notes). It is difficult from these New Testament passages to pull together a comprehensive doctrine on fasting, but it is obvious that the concept has not been invalidated under grace. It would appear that fasting is akin to importunity/persistence. It adds a level of sincerity and urgency to our petitions before God. Incidentally, God knows how sincere we are, but fasting may very well be the key that helps us realize how importantly we regard our own petition. In other words, fasting demonstrates an intensity in prayer that may not be demonstrated any other way.

What about the false evil-genie theory about prayer? (Luke 11:11-13)

11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

How many times have you heard a Christian say, "Watch out what you pray for, you might get it?" Nearly everyone finds amusing the story of the man who finds a bottle from which emerges an evil genie granting three wishes. However, each time the man makes his wish, the evil genie takes advantage of the man's lack of specificity with regard to his request and turns the request into something sinister and very undesirable.

Unfortunately, many Christians have somehow developed the notion that God answers prayer like the fictitious evil genie. There is a teaching that a Christian might make an unwise request of God in prayer and receive it to his peril - just so God can teach him a lesson. THAT'S OUTRAGEOUS! These verses teach that God does not answer prayers with provisions that are harmful to us. As a matter of fact, I John 5:14-15 (see notes) gives us clear direction on which prayers God will answer when he says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." That's clear; God answers prayers that are "according to his will." Incidentally, the direction for praying "according to his will" comes from the Holy Spirit who Jesus promises here in Luke 11:13.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner