THE LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson on the LIFE OF CHRIST, we
looked at how Jesus sent out 70 disciples to prepare the way for Him in Luke
10. In this lesson, we will continue where left off. So, let us begin in:
Luke 10:25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and
tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal
Here we have a classic
case where one the opposing Jews wanted to test Jesus to see if he might be
able to trap him in his words. According Thayer, a lawyer is:
learned in the law, in the N. T. an interpreter and teacher of the Mosaic law.
So, this lawyer knew the Law of Moses well.
Who better to find a weakness in Jesus than a man like this. Some suggest that
this man did not have any bad intentions toward Jesus as he asked his question.
I suppose there is a small chance this man may have simply tested Jesus to see
if He was as wise everyone said He was, but I think it is more plausible that He
tested Jesus to try and trap Him. In fact, the word tested in our text is
defined this way:
1) to prove, test, thoroughly 2) to put to proof God's
character and power (Strongs).
Of course, the questions asked is a good one,
What shall I do to inherit eternal life? This was the same question the rich
man asked Jesus in Lk. 18. Of course, his question seemed sincere because the
text does not say that he was testing Jesus when he asked it. I wish more
people today would ask this very question and then would listen to the answer
from the Scriptures.
Jesus responds to the lawyer’s question in
the following way:
Luke 10:26 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.'
I love watching how Jesus answers questions
in various ways. Of course, He had the advantage of knowing the heart of a
person before he even spoke. Knowing this man was a lawyer, Jesus turns the
question around and has him give his answer of what the law says about his own
The first part of his answer came from what
is known as the Jewish confession of faith called the Shema. In fact, this
first verse was so important to the Jews that it was part of the Scripture that
made up their Phylacteries. To help you better understand what this means, I
want to share with you what Thayer says about these phylacteries.
consisted of “small strips of parchment
on which were written the following passages from the law of Moses, Exo.
11:13-21, and which, enclosed in little cases, they
were accustomed when engaged in prayer to wear fastened by a leather strap to
the forehead and to the left arm over against the heart, in order that they
might thus be solemnly reminded of the duty of keeping the commands of God in
the head and in the heart, according to the directions given in Exo.
11:18; (cf. Josephus, Antiquities 4, 8, 13)”
So, every Jew would be very familiar with
this first verse that the lawyer gave. The second part, love your neighbor came
from Leviticus 19:18. So, this lawyer knew the law well.
Luke 10:28 And He said to him, "You have answered
rightly; do this and you will live."
Jesus would later tell
another lawyer that was trying to trap Him the exact same thing that this
lawyer had said in:
Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a
question, testing Him, and saying, 36
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37 Jesus said to him, " 'You
shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with
all your mind.' 38 "This
is the first and great commandment.
39 "And the second is like it: 'You shall
love your neighbor as yourself.' 40
"On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
This is a great
summation of the Law of Moses because to Love God with all your heart would
cover the first 4 of the 10 commandments, the love your neighbor would cover
the last 6 of those commandments. You will notice that both points begin with
love. We also see the priority of things. God is first, man is second. When we
are motivated by love for God, then everything else will fall into place, but
if we do not have love, then everything is like sounding brass or a clanging
cymbal as Paul says in 1 Cor. 13.
There are some today who
like to twist what Jesus said and say that all we have to do to have eternal
life in heaven is to love God and love our neighbor. They do not bother to go
into the details of what these two things mean, they just want to keep it as
vague as possible so they can live their lives anyway they want to and say they
are right with God because they love God and their neighbor. It never ceases to
amaze me the things that man comes up with. Regarding this thought I like what
brother Rice, Jr. wrote:
Many fanciful theories are put forward today as to what
it means to love God.
However, Jesus did
not leave His disciples in doubt.
"If ye love me," He said in John 14:15, "keep my
commandments." In this same
chapter, He said, "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is
that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will
love him and manifest myself to him" (John 14:21). Farther down He continued to explain:
"If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and
we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings:
and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me"
(John 14:23-24). As proof of His own
love of God, Jesus said, "... that the world may know that I love the
Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do ..." (John
14:31; cf. 1 John 2:4-5). (Denton Lecturships on Matthew).
When you think about
this idea of loving God with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength this
means that we are giving all of ourselves to God. When we do this, we will have
no problem whatsoever obeying the commands given to us by God. Loving God and your neighbor was the
foundation from which all the 613 laws of Moses came from. Though this was a
summation of the Law and the prophets, we could say the same thing about the
new covenant because it begins with love and ends with love, but we must
understand what that love includes and do it.
Next, we read:
Luke 10:29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to
Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
This lawyer had one last thing to say to
redeem himself and perhaps catch Jesus in something. There was no refuting his
own answer on what it took to have eternal life. So, he asked one more
question, who is my neighbor? Many of the Jews thought their neighbors were their fellow Jews not a
Gentile, Publican, or a Samaritan. However, Jesus will show that all fellow men
are our neighbors from the Parable usually called THE GOOD SAMARITAN.
Luke 10:30 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.
The Bible is very
accurate when it comes to elevation as can be seen in the statement that the
man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jerusalem is 2500 feet above sea level
and Jericho is 800 feet below sea level. The road to Jericho was narrow and it
had deep ravines, caves and hiding places. It was notorious for robbers and
murders and a portion of it was called “the red or bloody way.” It was about
16-18 miles from Jerusalem to Jericho using this road.
So this poor man was
just another victim of this dangerous path by those who did not care about
others and who had the mentality, what is yours is mine. It was not enough to
just take his valuables, which included his clothes, they wounded him and left
him to die.
Luke 10:31 "Now by chance a
certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the
According to history,
there were around 12,000 priests living in Jericho. So, it would not be
uncommon for a priest to travel to Jerusalem to work at the temple and perform
his services. This priest, who should be one the first ones to come to the aid
of another did not. He saw him and went to the other side.
Perhaps the priest
thought he was dead. If he was dead and he touched him, he would have to go
through the process of becoming clean as can be seen in following verses:
Numbers 19:11 ' He who touches the
dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. 12 'He shall purify himself with
the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be
clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh
day, he will not be clean. 13
'Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself,
defiles the tabernacle of the LORD. That person shall be cut off from Israel.
He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on
him; his uncleanness is still on him.
Other than it being a
pain to go through all of this, we need to keep in mind that this priest had
already done his service at the temple because he was on his way back home. So,
helping this man, even if it turned out he was dead, would not have prevented
him from carrying out his duties in the temple. At least not that day.
32 "Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place,
came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
The Levites were from
the tribe of Levi and they helped the priests with their duties. This man had a
colder heart than the priest in my opinion because he actually looked the man
over. After examining him, he too chose to cross on the other side and do
nothing. Here we have two men who should care about their fellow man, but they
did not want to get involved.
There are some
Christians like this today. No, I am talking about helping a half dead man on
the side of the road, but I am talking about doing that which is right when you
have the opportunity to do so. Sometimes, this might be helping a person out or
it could include speaking out against a sin or sinful behavior. How many times
do we find ourselves like this priest and Levite when it comes to getting our
hands dirty to do or say the right thing?
Next we read:
Luke 10:33 "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.
The Jews viewed the Samaritans as being worse
than the Gentiles because these were a people who came about from Jews marrying
non-Jews, so they were considered half-breeds. No Jew would ever tell a parable
that would paint a Samaritan in a positive light, but Jesus is doing this very
This Samaritan saw this poor man on the side
of the road and had compassion, and he treated him with the common remedies
used in the East at the time. I want you to notice the following quote about
these ingredients the Samaritan used:
poured in wine (to likely wash out the wounds). He poured on oil to mollify and
close up the wounds. These ingredients were commonly carried by travelers (Gen.
28:18; Jos. 9:13) (The Schertz Leturship p.192)
Not only did this Samaritan check on this man
and bandage him up, he put him on his own animal and took him to an inn and
took care of him. Most people would be impressed with what this Samaritan had
done already, but his compassion and kindness seems to have no boundaries as we
continue to read in:
Luke 10:35 "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.'
The Samaritan continues his generosity for
this poor man. He gives innkeeper two denarii. Since we are not as familiar
with the money they had back then, it may not register how much money this was.
One denarii was considered the standard pay for a day’s worth of work. So, we
are talking about two days’ worth of wages. If that was not enough, he promises
he innkeeper to pay even more if more is needed.
Here we have one of the most despised people
among the Jews being a great example of what a compassionate giving person is
all about. It was never about being recognized for doing good, but simply doing
something good for someone in need. A lesson the priest and the Levite needed
to learn and so do we.
Next, Jesus asked:
Luke 10:36 "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
Jesus’ question put the final nail into his
point on who your neighbor is and what it means to love them. Did you notice
that this lawyer could not bring himself to even say the Samaritan? Instead, he
said the one who showed mercy on him. Once again, Jesus tells this lawyer to go
and do likewise. In other words, go out and be a neighbor to those in need. No,
not just to your own kind, but to everyone.
What a wonderful lesson for this lawyer to
learn and for us as well.
Jesus will now teach us another great lesson
Luke 10:38 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."
nothing in our text that indicates that Martha had any advance notice that
Jesus and His 12 apostles were going to be staying with her or that she would
be feeding them. It is not like they had phones or email. So, a lot of work had
to be done on the fly in order to take these men in and feed them.
hospitality was very important in Jewish culture, which dates all the way back
to Abraham hosting angels, Genesis 18). Traditionally, being hospitable would
include a two night stay with lodging and meals. Keep in mind that the average
Jewish home was about six hundred square feet.
Martha’s house was twice that size, hosting fifteen or more people would have
been a tight squeeze. If anybody could pull off such a feat, it would be
Martha. Martha was being a super servant and was doing an important deed. I do
not know of anyone who would not appreciate such a gracious host.
certainly teaches us to be hospitable:
1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable
to one another without grumbling.
Was Martha doing anything wrong per se? No, she wasn’t. She was doing an
honorable service. So, what was the problem? Well, she had tipped the scales so
that all her focus was on being a hostess. She was so intent on taking care of
what she thought was the greatest responsibility that she had missed out on the
fact that Jesus was not concerned about food but fellowship. Jesus wanted to
teach not eat. When the Bread of life in on the menu, who needs a four-course
meal? As Jesus said:
Matthew 4:4 … "It is written, 'Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "
Please understand, there was nothing sinful in the work that Martha was
doing and Jesus does not rebuke her for the good work. He is rebuking her
because she failed to take advantage of the opportunity to grow spiritually by
sitting at the feet of Jesus. I believe that America in general is a direct
descendant of Martha and her unbalanced mentality. Many in our nation,
including many Christians, are unbalanced in their lives because we have a
tendency to focus on living life more than living for God.
It is true that we must work and provide for family as can be seen in:
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we
were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he
1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone
does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has
denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
As you can see,
the Bible supports the notion that one must work if he wants to eat and that he
must take care of his household. This is certainly important, but it can become
a distraction if a person makes this the primary goal in life. For example, if
a husband is working hard to provide for all the needs and wants of his family,
yet he is hardly home and is too tired to assemble with the saints when he is
not working, he has become unbalanced and is missing out on important
things. He is missing out on having a
close relationship with his wife. He is missing out on important bonding time
with his children. While he might be providing them with material things, there
is no substitute for being there for your children and your wife. When you are
so tired when you are not working that you have nothing left to give of
yourself to the Lord, then you have missed the point of what being a Christian
is all about.
We need balance
in our lives. We cannot tilt everything toward one thing, we must spread our
service out and learn to take time out for the Lord as well. As Jesus said:
Matthew 6:33 "But seek
first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be
added to you.
Even when you are doing good things for your family or for those in the
world, do not allow those things to distract from serving God with balance.
When it comes to Martha, we can see how her lopsided idea about service
caused her to be distracted by resentment as well. Again, let's read what she
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."
Before we turn our nose up at Martha and say, “how dare she” let’s think
about what was going on at the time so we can better understand why she is
saying this. You have Jesus and His 12 apostles with Him. You have just invited
them to your home with no warning. Everything you would feed them would have to
be made from scratch and there wasn’t any fancy electrical equipment to help
you out. Everything would have to be stirred by hand and cooked or baked in
what we consider crude equipment. Everything would have to be watched carefully
so that it did not get burned. Then there would be much food that what need to
be brought out to the men, and they would need to be attended to.
Imagine the stress of it all as you are working hard to get everything just
right. As the sweat is dripping from your brow, you realize that your younger
sister is in there sitting down listening to Jesus talk. Why is she being so
lazy while there is so much work to be done? I bet there are some ladies here
that have probably experienced a similar frustration as Martha when it came to
preparing a Thanksgiving meal. Many guys in this room have probably experienced
this frustration in other areas when you felt like you were doing all the work
while others were goofing off.
I don’t know how long it took, but Martha reached her boiling point, and
she made a B line right to Jesus and tried to take her frustration out Him as
well. I image her having this ugly look on her face as she asks the Lord if He
cares that she has to serve by herself while Mary sits and listens to Him talk.
We are not told this, but I see her asking Jesus this in front of Mary to try
and embarrass her or she was hoping that Jesus would join her side and rebuke
Mary for her laziness and send her back to work. Of course, Jesus did not side
with her, but he ends up rebuking Martha, which will be part of our next point
in just a minute.
Not only had Martha’s hard word distracted her from what was important, it also
made her bitter toward Jesus and her sister. We have to be careful about this
whenever we are serving. We can become so focused on doing a good work that is
needed that it can make us resentful and bitter when no one else seems to be
working as hard as us. Doing this can become dangerous to our spiritual
welfare, and it can cause us to sin against others and God.
We must recognize the fact that different people serve in different ways.
No one is going to serve exactly like we do. Instead, of watching others and
comparing ourselves to them, we need to focus on what we are doing and as I
have been pointing out in this lesson, we need make sure we are serving with
balance. Instead of judging others service that is not like ours, we should be
encouraging them with whatever service they are trying to do. Let us never
forget what Paul said:
Romans 12:4 For as we have
many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same
function, 5 so we, being many,
are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Finally, we learn that Martha’s service caused her to be shortsighted
because she had missed on a rare opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn
from Him. After Martha tried to rebuke Jesus and Mary, Jesus said:
…"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."
I want to stress the point that Jesus was not rebuking her for being a good
hostess and showing hospitality. He was rebuking her for worrying about things
that could be done later. She should not have allowed herself to become so
unbalanced by putting all her efforts in cooking and serving food. Instead, she
should have taken the time to sit right there beside Mary to listen to Jesus
teach from His abundant wisdom.
Is serving others important? Yes. Is providing for your family important?
Yes, but so is taking time to sit at the Lord’s feet.
So, the point is, do not allow yourself to become so unbalanced in your
service that you miss out on wonderful opportunities to grow spiritually or to
serve God in other ways. Don’t get mad at others because they are serving in a
different way than you would serve. Let us learn from Martha’s mistakes and
also learn from Mary.
Mary understood how important it was to sit at Jesus’ feet and to put
serving food to the side.
We get so busy with life by running here and running there that we leave
ourselves little time to pick up our Bibles and read the precious words found
within those pages that can feed our souls and help us to grow spiritually.
When we allow life and even doing good deeds to keep us from sitting at our
Master’s feet, then we are unbalanced and we need to hear those same words from
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."
As we live our Christian lives, let’s do our best to live a balanced life
for the Lord so we do not become distracted by certain works. I hope if you
find yourself being like Martha that you will continue to be a good worker for
the Lord, but that you will also learn to have more balance in your life by
taking time to sit at Jesus’ feet. I also hope we all take the parable of the
Good Shepherd to heart as well.