LIFE OF CHRIST

PART 56

 

In our last lesson, we examined John 10:1-21, when Jesus taught that He is the good Shepherd. As we keep things in chronological order, we will now turn our attention to the Book of Luke. Our lesson begins in:

 

Luke 10:1 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.

 

This event, along with the next few chapters, are only recorded in Lukeís account. Jesus had enough people following Him that He appointed 70 other also. This means 70 others besides the 12 apostles. The time for Jesusí death was rapidly approaching, so He used these men to get the cities prepared for His arrival because as our text says, Jesus was about to go to these cities.

 

Jesus sent them out in twos. This is always a good practice to follow when it comes to evangelizing. Not only are two heads better than one, but it also provides more safety and makes it more difficult for someone to falsely accuse you of something you said or did if you have a witness by your side.

 

Regarding the number of disciples sent out, Mr. Coffman writes the following:

 

The number sent on this mission (whether seventy or seventy-two) had spiritual and symbolic overtones. The Jews held that the Gentiles were made up of seventy nations; and at their feast of Tabernacles, "seventy bullocks were offered on behalf of the Gentile nations ... to make atonement for them."[3] The cities and places to which these seventy were dispatched were in Trans-Jordan[4] where Gentile population predominated. (Coffman Commentary on Luke).

 

Others say that this number might relate to the 70 elders that were appointed during Mosesí time. Of course, there were 70 men that made up the Sanhedrin council as well. The Bible itself makes no connection between the 70 chosen and these other examples of 70, but it is still interesting to think on.

 

Of course the basic message they would all preach was the same of John the Baptist, which is the kingdom is at hand.

 

Luke 10:2 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.

 

Jesus has made this statement before about the harvest being great, but the laborers are few. That is always the case. With over 7 Billion people on the planet, it becomes quite clear that there is certainly only few laborers to reach such a massive number. You will notice that Jesus says we should pray for more laborers. Any evangelistic effort should begin and end with prayer.

 

Paul certainly asked for prayers in his efforts to reach the lost as we can see in:

 

Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

 

In the same way he warned His 12 apostles earlier on their limited commission, he warns these 70 as we see in:

 

Luke 10:3 "Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.

 

This certainly paints a picture in your head as you imagine an innocent lamb standing the midst of a pack of wolves. I love how Jesus does not try and sugar coat the truth of what they were getting themselves into because it was a real possibility that some of them might not survive due to the vicious nature of those they would encounter.

 

Next, Jesus gives these guys similar instructions as He gave the 12 apostles earlier.

 

Luke 10:4 "Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.

 

The message is pack light, trust in God, and stay focused on the task at hand. Some of have thought Jesus was telling them to not wear sandals, but He was not saying this. He was telling them not to carry an extra pair. It is all about trusting in God and trusting that He will provide what they will need. As Paul said:

 

Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

They were also told not to greet people along the road. This may sound strange to us because we might think this simply means saying hello to someone and maybe shaking his hand, but back then, it was much more involved than a simple greeting. Jesus knew there was not time for these kinds of distractions, which is why He said not to do it.

We can all understand this because we are delayed all the time in different ways. For example, when we go to the grocery store, we might be in a hurry to get in and out, but sometimes we run into a friend or loved one and we might end up to talking to them for a long time especially if we have not seen them in a while. While we enjoy getting to speak to them, our time is all messed up now.

We can learn from this that if we are trying accomplish something great especially if we are doing something for the kingdom, donít allow yourself to get distracted by people or things. If you run into a person you are dying to talk to, get their phone number and tell them you will call them later because you do not have time to talk right then because you are on a mission.

Jesus continues in:

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.'

 

When they enter a house they were to say peace to this house. If the man of the house was a peaceful man, the blessing of peace would remain on the house, if not, the peace offered would return back to these disciples.

As Summers wrote: "No prayer for God's peace or blessing is wasted ... if one upon whom the blessing is pronounced rejects it, it will return to bless him who sincerely offered it." ( Ray Summers, Commentary on Luke (Waco, Texas: Word Books, Publisher, 1973), p. 127.)

They were also told to stay in the same house that welcomed them. They are not supposed to keep changing houses just because there are betting living quarters to be had. They are to be satisfied with that home, and they are to eat whatever they provide. Since these were Jews they would be staying with, the food being provided would not be food unlawful for them to eat. So, Jesus was not telling them to break the Law of Moses by eating unclean food, but to be satisfied with whatever small or great amount of food was given to them.

They were supposed to heal the sick in the city and use these miracles to preach the message that the kingdom of God has come near you. Since they were laboring, Jesus said that the laborer is worthy of his wages, which means the men were to be supported for the work they are doing for the Lord.

Paul makes a similar argument regarding those who preach the gospel in:

1 Corinthians 9:7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?8 ∂ Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?9 For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about?10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?12 ∂ If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

Jesus knew that not everyone would accept these men and their message, but Jesus prepared them for this as well as we can see in:

Luke 10:10 "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.

 

These men were to make a public proclamation against these cities that would not receive them. Shaking the dust off their feet and saying what they did was teaching that city that they had the opportunity to hear the truth, but they have rejected it and now their blood will be on their own heads because these men did what they were supposed to do. Regarding the idea of shaking the dust off your feet, notice what Adam Clarke wrote:

 

The Jews considered themselves defiled by the dust of a heathen country, which was represented by the prophets as a "polluted land," Amos 7:17, when compared with the land of Israel, which was considered as a "holy land," Ezekiel 14:1; therefore, to shake the dust of any city of Israel from off one's clothes or feet was an EMBLEMATICAL action, signifying a renunciation of all further connection with them, and placing them on a level with the cities of the HEATHEN. See Amos 9:7.

 

In verse 12, Jesus says that it will be worse for these cities that reject them than for Sodom on that Day. That Day is referring to the final judgment day. This certainly implies that there different degrees of punishment in hell. Next, Jesus is going to name a few cities that have already rejected the truth.

 

Luke 10:13 " 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

 

This statement proves that many of the mighty works Jesus did are not recorded in Scripture because we do not read about any of His works done in Chorazin and we only have a brief mentioning of his work done in Bethsaida. These people had the privilege to hear Jesus speak and to see great miracles done, but they did not repent. However, Jesus says that Tyre and Sidon would have, which is why it will be more tolerable for them on the Day of Judgment.

 

Then He singles out Capernaum, which is a city Jesus did many miracles in, some of which we have recorded in the Bible. Since Jesus is speaking against their rejection, when He says that they will be brought down to Hades, which is the place of the dead, we can know that He is referring to the same part of Hades that the rich man found himself in.

 

I think what Jesus says next is profound:

 

16 "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me."

 

I want you to think about this. When they or even we speak the Word of God to others and they reject what it says, they are not just rejecting you, they are rejecting Jesus, which in turn in rejecting the Father. This is a similar thought to what Jesus taught in Mt. 25, where He basically says that ever is done to us as Christians is just like it is being done to Christ. Let us not forget this connection because it is important. While we may feel bad that people reject us when we teach, it goes much deeper because they are also rejecting God.

 

Luke 10:17 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.

 

When these men returned, they were full of joy because of what they are able to do by the authority of Jesus. They seemed surprised that even the demons were subject to them. When Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. He was not saying that He literally saw Satan fall from heaven. In fact, our text does not actually say that he fell from heaven, but that Satan fell like lightening from heaven.

 

When we read this verse, we need to keep in mind what just happened. The 70 had gone out and exercised authority over the devil by casting out these demons. So Jesus was expressing how Satanís powers were crumbling and how he was losing control as these disciples were casting out his demons. Of course, Satan would find out how weak, he would really become once Jesus conquered death.

 

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."

It is too hard to tell from this text if Jesus was talking about literal serpents and scorpions because we do have an example of Paul being bitten by a viper that should have killed him but it did not. Jesus also gives a similar statement in Mk. 16:17-18, but since Satan and his demons are in the immediate context, itís certainly possible that this term serpents and scorpions metaphorically refers to anything that Satan might throw their way will not harm them.

 

Even though these men were able to have such power thanks to Jesus, He tells them not to rejoice in the power they have over the spirits, but to rejoice that their names are written in heaven. I personally think this is one of the reasons that miracles and signs were limited because if they were still around man would have a tendency to focus on the power instead of seeing what was more important, which was having your name written in heaven.

Sure, it would be great to be able to do things that defy the law of nature, but we have had many movies made over the years about people having such powers and how many times this ends up corrupting them. We even see some people who allow their talents to corrupt them. The point is this. No matter how smart you are or what you capable of doing, the focus of your joy should be that your name is written in heaven.

 

Luke 10:21 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.

 

Jesus had the full measure of the Holy Spirit, and we see Jesus rejoicing in the Spirit. Jesus thanks the Father in heaven with prayer. Every example we have in Scripture shows that our prayers are to be directed to the Father and not to Jesus or anyone else. Instead, we pray to the Father in Jesusí name.

 

Jesus was thankful for the knowledge that these 70 men received that was hidden from the wise and prudent. Over and over again you see God using those who are considered weak and insignificant to carry out his will. Why? Because these people are the ones who usually were humble and had great faith in God.

 

However the wise and prudent tend to think they know it all like the Pharisees and the Scribes, but their alleged wisdom is a stumbling block for them and many times they are not humble enough to receive the truth from God. Paul explains this quite well in:

 

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God -- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption --31 that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD."

 

Jesus continues to thank the Father in:

 

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."††††††††††††††††††

 

Jesus is teaching the same basic message He is taught before. Everything that Jesus said and did came from the Father. No one knows the Father like the Son because both are Deity. They are one in nature. This is why Jesus could say:

 

John 14:7" If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

 

As the Father revealed His words to Jesus, Jesus taught the same words to His apostles.

 

John 17:8 "For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

 

We in turn can read Godís Word and have access to the fully revealed word of God. As Paul said:

Ephesians 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

 

We should be thankful that we have such knowledge available to us all.

 

Luke 10:23 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."

 

These disciples were truly blessed. As Jesus said, many kings and prophets had a great desire to be alive when the Messiah would come, but they did not get to. These 70 men and all those during that time were fortunate enough to be able to see the Son of God with their own eyes and to be able to see the wonderful miracles first hand. What an exciting time to be alive.

 

The sad thing is that though many of these Jews during that time were looking for the coming of the Messiah many of them rejected him. As great as it would have been to be able to talk with Jesus in person and see some of the wonders He did, we are also blessed today as well because we get to read and see in our mindís eye all that God did for us from the beginning time. Just like many of the Jews in the first century, many today reject their Messiah because they are too wise and prudent to accept the truth.

 

I hope that none of us ever takes Jesus for granted or takes for granted that we have the Word of God to read and study whenever we want to. We serve a wonderful and merciful God. So, let us always rejoice that He is our Creator and let us be confident that if we love Him and keep His commandants that our names are written in heaven. I also hope this lesson will remind you to be evangelistic as well and how we should not allow people or things to distract from doing good works for the Lord.