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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 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.
53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
55 ¶ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.
56 For the Son of Man did 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, "Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly 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, "I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for 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 ¶ Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
58 ¶ And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
59 ¶ Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” ¶ But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 ¶ Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 ¶ And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 ¶ But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, 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 seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.
2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.
4 Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.
5 But whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house.’
6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.
7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.
8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.
9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say,
11 “The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’
12 But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.
13 ¶ “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.
15 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.
16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
17 ¶ Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
18 ¶ And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
21 ¶ In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
22 All things have been delivered 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 the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
23 ¶ Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see;
24 for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.”

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 tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 ¶ He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 ¶ So he answered and said, ““You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
28 ¶ And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 ¶ But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 ¶ Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, 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.
34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’
36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 ¶ And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” ¶ Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do 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 tested Him, saying, 'Teacher, 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 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your 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 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Joshua 22:5 But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to 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 accounted 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 happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.
40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 ¶ And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.
42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will 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 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
2 ¶ So He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”
5 ¶ And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
7 and he will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?
8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
9 ¶ “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will 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 persistence.

In verses Luke 11:5-13 Jesus deals with the concept of persistence in prayer. "Persistence" 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 persistence 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, "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will 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 persistence 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 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 asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?
12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who 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, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked 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.