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COMMISSION OF THE SEVENTY EVANGELISTS
Luke 10:1-16 . Two and a half years of our Lord’s ministry have flown away, nearly all spent in Galilee, having made short journeys to Jerusalem, attending two of the Passovers out of the three which had transpired. Only six months more of the ministry remain. The work has crowded on Him so immensely that He now calls and sends out seventy evangelists. “And after these things [i.e., after the miracles and the preaching above mentioned], the Lord also called seventy others, and sent them out by twos before His face into every city and place whither He was about to go.” These thirty-five evangelistic bands, headed by two evangelists called and sent by our Lord, were calculated to make a wonderful stir in the whole country. “And He said to them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He may send forth laborers into His harvest.” O how pertinent that prayer this day! In many important and densely-populated heathen fields, we now only have one missionary to the million. O how the Church of God ought to rally, and obey the Savior in sending up this very prayer night and day! Even in the home lands, efficient laborers are so very scarce. You can be an efficient worker if you will let the Lord have His way with you.
“Go; behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves.” Unless you have a heart like the meek, lowly, and loving Lamb of Calvary, you are unfit to go. Fallen humanity has the heart of the blood-thirsty wolf, ready to devour you; so beware! “Take neither purse, nor valise, nor sandals; salute no one by the way.” Here our Lord forbids their waiting to get money, pack a valise, or procure sandals, or anything, as the King’s business requires haste. In order to make all possible headway, He forbids them to salute people by the way, as this would consume time. There is nothing so important as preaching the gospel. Consequently, everything else is to he secondary.
“In whatsoever house you may enter, first say, Peace be unto this house!” Thirty years ago, while holding a protracted meeting with a Baptist preacher, going round visiting, when he came to a house, responsive to this commandment of our Lord, he invariably said, “Peace be unto this house!” I have never forgotten it since. Literal obedience is very important. “And if the Son of peace may be there, your peace shall rest upon it; but if not, it shall return unto you.” If the Spirit of Jesus is not with the inmates of that house, they will contemptuously reject your peace.
“Abide in the same house, eating and drinking those things which are with them; for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” This is not conflictious with house-to-house visitation and preaching, which was practiced by the apostles in their lifelong ministry; but it was out of the power of these seventy, because of the very brief period in which they must make their peregrinations, as they were going preparatory to the ministry of Jesus, which was to close in six months. You see here that they were commanded to give the people no trouble about eating, but just eat and drink what they gave them without hesitation. “And into whatsoever city you may enter and they receive you, eat those things which are set before you.” Whenever we call attention to small and insignificant matters, like eating, we grieve the Holy Spirit, as our mission is to feed the immortal soul, leaving the evanescent body to take chances and abide its destiny.
“And heal the sick which are in it, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” We should always give prompt attention to the sick, praying for them, and commending them to the Omnipotent Healer. In this way we will always augment our efficiency as soul-savers, the spiritual and bodily interest going together and mutually helping each other. I have ever found it so. These seventy were commanded to preach the near approach of the kingdom wherever they went, as Jesus, the King, was on hand, having the kingdom with Him, and all who received Him entering into it.
“Into whatsoever city you may enter, and they may not receive you, going out into the streets of the same, say, We shake off against you the dust from your city clinging to our feet; moreover, know this, That the kingdom of God is come nigh.” They represented Jesus, the King, who was on the earth and very nigh. “I say unto you, That it will be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for that city.” Sodom, along with Gomorrah, was the greatest city in the beautiful, fertile, and prosperous Vale of Siddim, lying between the mountains of Moab and the wilderness of Judea, and destroyed by inundations of fire and brimstone, because of their wickedness, their site now being covered by the Dead Sea. As these heathen cities never heard the gospel, even with all their wickedness, it will be more tolerable for them in the day of judgment than the cities of Israel, which, with all the light of the patriarchs and prophets, Jesus and His apostles, still rejected the gospel.
“Woe unto thee, Chorazin!” This venerable city stood on a mountain slope, very conspicuous from the sea of Galilee. Pursuant to this withering woe, it utterly perished, and through rolling centuries had not a house nor an inhabitant, till about twenty years ago, under Jewish enterprise, it began to revive, having now a population of twenty-five thousand with many other similar places, an ominous fulfillment of the latter-day prophecies, relative to the return of the Jews and the revival of that country, anticipatory of our Lord’s second and glorious coming. “Woe unto thee, Bethsaida!” This city, the nativity of Peter, Andrew, and Philip, stood on the northeast coast, and in full view of Capernaum, the residence of Jesus, from which He sent out the Seventy. This woe fell heavily on that city, because they did not repent. Hence it went into utter ruin, and is there yet, the revival, by the returning Jews, having struck so many places, but not yet reached this. “Because if the mighty works wrought in you, had been in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting down in sackcloth and ashes.” Tyre and Sidon, in Phenicia, on the Mediterranean Sea, were great, wealthy, and magnificent cities, among the first founded by the sons of Noah after the flood; but distinguished for their wickedness, especially idolatry and pride. They had suffered terribly in the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar, B.C. 600; and again in the wars of Alexander, B.C.
325; and, B.C. 70, by the Romans, till at that time scarcely a vestige of their former grandeur survived. Though they were awfully anathematized by the old prophets for their wickedness, yet Jesus here assures us that it will be more tolerable for them in the judgment than the cities of Israel, who heard the gospel and rejected the light, because Tyre and Sidon, in their heathen darkness, never saw the light of gospel-day.
“And thou, Capernaum, art not thou exalted up to heaven? Thou shalt be cast down to Hades.” Capernaum was exalted up to heaven, because honored and blessed with the residence of the Lord. Signally has the awful prediction of her doom been verified, as she long ago went into utter ruin, and remained through many centuries without an inhabitant, the revival striking her only about five years ago.
“He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that rejecteth you, rejecteth Me.” Here is the mystical chain which binds every faithful soul to the Throne of God; and in the case of the wicked, drops down, turning into a dismal log- chain around the neck, platoons of devils at the other end, and dragging their hopeless victim into the regions of endless woe. What a wonderful world we are living in, diametrically opposite destinies on all sides being wrought every fugitive moment! Momentous responsibility and transcendent promotion of the most humble gospel herald, so invested with the authority of heaven that every one receiving you as an ambassador of life, receives Jesus who sent you, and God who sent Him!
REPORT OF THE SEVENTY EVANGELISTS
Luke 10:17-24. When our Savior was at Capernaum, in Galilee, about September first, He called these Seventy, and sent them out two by two, thus constituting thirty-five evangelistic bands, to peregrinate all Israel, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, healing the sick, and casting out demons. It is now about December first, giving them three months, in which these thirty-five evangelistic forces could actually scour the whole country. This commission of the Seventy was really a magnitudinous affair. They were not like seventy preachers sent out by a Conference into a country, to wait all the week for Sunday to come round, that they may preach to the people; but they are flaming evangelists, going in lightning- winged duets throughout the whole country, preaching incessantly and indiscriminately to all the people as they go. As the Savior’s ministry was fast winding to a close, it became pre-eminently important to expedite the work, cut it short in righteousness, as a transcendent responsibility now devolves on the Jewish people, destined to seal their doom for time and eternity. Having been sent out from Capernaum, Galilee, they return to Him at Jerusalem; as, soon after they received their commission, He, winding up His ministry in Galilee, took His final departure, traveling through Samaria, and preaching on His way, arriving at Jerusalem midway of the Tabernacle Festival, and devoting the remaining six months of His ministry, to Southern Palestine. “ And the Seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us through Thy name.” It is really indispensable that we do all of our work pray, preach, exhort, appeal, and sing in the name of Jesus. “ And He said to them, I saw Satan, having fallen like lightning from heaven.” This is corroborated by Isaiah, “How thou art fallen, O Lucifer, the morning star!” Lucifer means light-bearer, the archangelic name which honored Satan in the celestial worlds before he fell; when, judging from his name, we conclude he was one of the brightest and most glorious of all the heavenly host. We have here the imperfect tense, etheoroun, “ I was seeing [ i. e., was accustomed to see] Satan, having fallen like lightning from heaven.” His cognomen, “light-bearer,” indicates extraordinary brilliancy. The fact of his falling like lightning from heaven would involve the conclusion of his brightness at the time of the fall, and the suddenness of his ejectment out of heaven. Everything in heaven is holy, bright, and glorious. When the Infallible Eye saw his deflection from the Divine administration, quickly as the lightning he was precipitated away, his glory fading in his flight, his brilliancy evanescing, a horrific transformation supervening, as down he goes, plunging with electrical velocity into the bottomless abyss, God’s penitentiary for the incarceration of the incorrigible subjects of his universal empire. You must not forget that there never was a devil in heaven. Satan, which means “adversary,” was never applied to him till after his fall; Lucifer, his heavenly name, “light- bearer,” having a very sweet and beautiful signification. Here we also see that Satan moves with the velocity of lightning i. e., twenty thousand miles per second competent to go round the world fifty times in a minute, thus explaining his apparent omnipresence which is not true in case of him nor any order finite being, angelic, diabolical, or human by his exceedingly rapid locomotion from place to place; the universal prevalence of demons being also misapprehended for the omnipresence of Satan. Now, as here we see Satan moving with the velocity of lightning, does it not follow as a logical sequence that all finite spiritual beings have the locomotive capacity of electrical velocity?
“ Behold, I give unto you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and all the dynamite of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Moreover, rejoice not in this because the spirits are subject unto you, but rejoice rather that your names are written in the heavens.” This is certainly an ineffable consolation, infinitely eclipsing all the power and availability we can possibly possess. O how wonderful to think that our names are written in heaven! Well can we afford to go through floods and flames, as here we have the blessed assurance that He will enable us to tread under foot all the dynamite of Satan, the very artillery of hell only serving to make music for us, inspiring valor on the battle-field and quickening our march to glory.
“ In that hour, Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes.” Even our Savior’s apostles and evangelists remained in the primary department of spiritual babyhood till the fires of Pentecost consumed all hereditary depravity, and led them out in the full-fledged experience of spiritual manhood. We do not wonder that the sweet, sinless spirit of Jesus leaped for joy on the reception of this glorious report from His seventy evangelists. We still see the partial blindness, here mentioned by our Lord, adhering to the “wise and prudent.” How blessed to be an innocent babe in Christ, taught by the Holy Ghost the deep things of God, rather than enjoy all the wisdom of collegiate culture and the highest prudence of social refinement, in the absence of the in- dwelling and sanctifying Comforter!
“ And turning to His disciples, He said, All things have been delivered unto Me by My Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and he to whom the Son may wish to reveal Him.” So you see we must be right with the Father, reverencing and obeying His law in every ramification, scrupulously recoiling from everything out of harmony with His sweet heavenly will, and in loving homogeneity with the angels and redeemed spirits, doing His will on earth as they do it in heaven, simultaneously with our eye on Jesus, our Blessed Mediator, with, out whom we would drop instantly into hell. Hence you see the Father alone can reveal the Son, by His blessed Holy Spirit, and the Son alone reveal the Father. Hence the reciprocal indwelling of the Father and Son in every saved soul. Millions of people in the world claim to worship the Father while they reject the Son. All such are deluded by Satan, who is so fond of dressing up like an angel of light, passing himself off for God, and thus deceiving the multiplied millions of devil-worshipers in the world this day. While Christ is the only way to God, it is equally true, as we here see, that God is the only way to Christ; the Holy Ghost being the Spirit of the Father and the Son, the latter giving Him to reveal the former, and the Father giving Him to reveal the Son. How fearful to contemplate the fact, “God, out of Christ, is a consuming fire!” (Hebrews 12:29.) One hundred and seventy-five millions of Mohammedans claim to worship the Father with great enthusiasm while they contemptuously reject the Son, scouting the very idea of the Divine Sonship. Hence they are without hope, save through the uncovenanted mercies of God; the Unitarians in Christian lands being in the same awful dilemma.
“ And turning to His disciples privately, He said, Blessed are your eyes, which see those things which you do see. For I say unto you, Many prophets and kings wished to see those things which you see, and saw them not; and to hear those things which you hear, and heard them not.” Jehovah preached the first gospel sermon to Adam and Eve in the garden, before their expulsion out of paradise, whose salient truth, “The Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head,” assured them that a Deliverer should be born in their family, whose mighty arm would defeat Satan and regain paradise for them, which they should enjoy forever. Consequently they retreated out of Eden, their broken hearts cheered with the joyous anticipation of the coming deliverance and restoration. Such was their glowing enthusiasm that Mother Eve actually hailed her own first-born Son as the promised Messiah, exclaiming “I have brought forth the man- Jehovah.” Now, when we remember that Jehovah is the Old Testament name of Christ, we see how they actually hailed Cain as the Redeemer promised in Eden. How crushing the disappointment when he turned out to be a murderer! Thus the Old Testament saints lived in constant anticipation of the Messianic advent. The trend of things growing worse instead of better, evil predominating and constraining the Divine mercy to bring on the flood, in order to give grace a great victory over sin and perpetuate the hope of the world, then the post-diluvians continued to look for the promised Deliverer down through the patriarchal age. Through all the centuries of Judaism, the Scriptures, both the law and the prophets, unanimously holding up the Incarnate God, in type, symbol, and prophecy, the saints through the intervening centuries, from Moses down to John the Baptist, and especially the prophets, lived in longing anticipation to feast their eyes on the Shiloh of prophecy, and be permitted to behold with mortal vision the Redeemer of Israel, the Christ of God, and the Savior of the world. All these had lived and died in loving and longing anticipation to behold the Lord’s Christ, and ready, like old Simeon, to take the infant Redeemer in their arms and die of joy. How beautifully here Jesus adverts to those thrilling facts characteristic of the saints of the last four thousand years! The same has been true ever since He ascended into glory, having filled and thrilled the hearts of His disciples with the positive assurance of His return. One of the most cheering omens in all the world today, is the wonderfully rapid development of this universal expectancy of our coming King, illustrating the consolatory assurance that He is even now bending from the skies, and whispering to His saints, “Wash and dress My beloved, for I am coming.”
ENTANGLEMENT OF A THEOLOGIAN
Luke 10:25-28 . “And, behold, a certain theologian stood up, tempting Him, and saying, Teacher, having done what shall I inherit eternal life?”
The word here translated “lawyer” in E. V., is nomikos, from nomos, “law.”
When you remember that their laws were all written in the Old Testament, you will know that a lawyer with them was not identical with the profession in our day, as their lawyers, were exponents of the Old Testament Scriptures. If you do not keep in mind this fact, you will utterly misapprehend the meaning of “lawyer” in the New Testament. He was not a lawyer in any modem sense, but a Biblical exegete; i. e., a theologian. This elegantly-cultured clergyman interviews our Savior in reference to the economy of grace, by which he might inherit eternal life, and, as the record says, “tempting Him,” doubtless realizing his own proficiency in the law, and thinking to entangle Jesus on some point of legal complicity. “And He said to Him, What has been written in the law? How readest Thou? And responding, He said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with Divine love, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said to Him, You answered correctly; do this, and thou shalt live.” He threw the boomerang; but being unskillful, it came back, settled down on him, and took his head off. Thinking to puzzle Jesus in a complicated legalism, he gets caught in his own trap. Our Lord simply puts him on the witness-stand. He can not go back on his theological profession; consequently He makes him witness to the verdict of the law. You see, he comes out in a frank confession, admitting to all that perfect love is the Bible standard of life and salvation.
Many a modern theologian forfeits his reputation for candor or proficiency in the law of the Lord when, like this man, put on the witness-stand. We are bound to give him more credit than many of his successors, who, in the pulpit, labor to evade the grand issue, dodging all around the great, salient Bible truth that perfect love is the condition on which we must all inherit eternal life, or forfeit it, world without end. Modern theologians would do well to sit at the feet of this man, who unhesitatingly rings out the Bible standard of salvation, though it was his own death-knell, as we are satisfied he did not have it. O that all who stand before the people as Biblical exegetes would so study the Word of the Lord as to know the way of salvation, and be candid enough always to ring it out to every inquirer, regardless of consequences! Jesus fully endorses his admission, telling him to go and practice what he preaches.
THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Luke 10:29-37 . “And he, wishing to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor? And Jesus, responding, said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who, both stripping him of his raiment and administering blows, departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance a certain priest went down that road, and seeing him, passed by on the other side. Likewise also a Levite being at the place, coming and seeing, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, journeying that way, came near him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And coming to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in the oil and the wine; and setting him on his own beast, took him to the tavern, and cared for him. And on the morrow, departing, taking out two denarii, gave them to the host, and said to him, Care for him, and whatsoever you spend, I will pay you on my return. Then which one of the three seems to you to have been neighbor of him having fallen among the robbers? And he said, The one having mercy on him. Then Jesus said to him, Go thou, and do likewise.” This theologian was no counterfeit, but evidently well-posted in the Scriptures, as he not only answered Jesus in inspired phraseology, but he had it at his tongue’s-end, and so gives it peremptorily and unequivocally. While popular pulpits this day abound in men claiming to be theologians, who either lack the candor or the wisdom of this man, and consequently labor assiduously to evade the great issue, loath to admit the great Bible truth of perfect love, which is the grand upper-side of entire sanctification, and is the only condition of admission into heaven, we are gratified to admit that there is another class, who, like the man in the text, admit unhesitatingly that entire sanctification is the Bible standard; yet, painfully conscious of their own deficiency, they resort to diversified stratagems in order to justify themselves, like the theologian in the text, who switches off on the inquiry, “Who is my neighbor?” tacitly recognizing the Jewish attitude of looking upon the whole Gentile world as enemies, and none but the Jews as neighbors, and many exceptions among them.
Having been caught in the lasso he threw out for Jesus, he is floundering terrifically; but, as you see in the finale, utterly unsuccessful in his efforts to extricate himself, as he here lights on the word “neighbor,” aiming to use it as a back-door of escape from the entanglement in which he had been caught, our Lord delivers this beautiful parable by way of response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
a. I have traveled the road from Jerusalem to Jericho four times, and always accompanied by an armed escort, as my guide refused to accompany me without this protection from the robbers. The solution of the matter is, the most of the route leads through a great bed of rugged, desolate mountains, in the Bible designated “the wilderness of Judea.” As this is really a desert, having little or no rain, and consequently neither water nor vegetation, it is uninhabitable while the mountains are so rugged and cavernous, the hiding facilities so ample, that it has been infested with robbers from time immemorial. Under Roman rule, the robbers were so troublesome that they actually put garrisons along the road to protect the travelers. In one of my journeys, my guide pointed me out five armed robbers, hiding in the caves in the Valley of Blood, so called because so many travelers have there been killed by robbers, assuring me that if they did not see our armed escort, they would be on us immediately. You have nothing to do but travel that road to find the state of things at the present day graphically identical with this account given by our Lord an item, along with so many which literally corroborate the inspired Word.
b. Jerusalem, in this parable, emblematizes the kingdom of God, being the holy city, honored by the Almighty with His temple and residence; while Jericho typifies the kingdom of Satan, having-been desperately wicked during the four hundred years from the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose successor Jericho became, till the conquest of Joshua, when it was utterly destroyed, and its rebuilding interdicted; though it was rebuilt on another site in the vicinity, where it stood in the days of Christ, and was destroyed by the Romans in the desolation of the land, responsive to prophecy, and afterward rebuilt by the Crusaders, in the eleventh century, on a still different site, near by, where it stands to this day.
c. The situation of Jerusalem, high up on the great mountains of Judah and Benjamin, associated with its wonderful sacred history, qualifies it very strikingly to emblematize heaven; while that of Jericho, deep down in the Jordan Valley, on tile plain of the Dead Sea, qualifies it very forcibly to symbolize hell, the road being all the way down the mountain, thirty miles.
d. By the glorious redemption of Christ, the whole human race is born in the kingdom of God, only getting out by sinning out; like this traveler, who was born in Jerusalem, the beautiful city of God, the joy of the whole earth, the symbol of heaven, where he should have spent his life, but like the great majority, he put out, traveling down to Jericho, and got into all that terrible trouble. The robber demons never get their black hands on us while we stay in Jerusalem; i. e., abide in the kingdom of grace, where we are all born.
e. These robbers emblematize evil habits, which rob us of our infantile innocence, purity, and justification. We see the robbers were not content to take all of his money and utterly divest him of every stitch of apparel, which is their custom this day, but as dead men tell no tales, they actually undertake to kill him. Fire-arms being unknown in that day, they beat him till they think he is dead, and would have made certain work of it if they had not been interrupted by at least the imaginary tread of an approaching troop, and so fled away to escape detection. When evil habits are once formed, they become an awful disease, like an eating cancer, that will not let up day or night till death claims his victim; i. e. the last hope of heaven is eclipsed in the gloom of eternal night, the Holy Ghost having been grieved away.
f. Now we come to the remedial side. The priest passing along, looking on him, but giving no relief; erelong followed by the Levite, who halts, and contemplates the hopeless victim of the cruel robbers, but gives no relief, passing by on the other side of the road. Then the Good Samaritan, perchance passing along, recognizes the dying victim, draws nigh, his heart breaking with sympathy; dismounting, turns surgeon, binding up his wounds, pouring in the oil and the wine; setting him on his own beast, carries him to the tavern, commits him to the landlord, spends a night with him; in the morning, handing the landlord thirty cents, which in that day was equivalent to about three dollars now, and sufficient to pay his board a week, assuring the innkeeper that he will return and pay the entire bill that shall subsequently accrue.
g. Now what is the meaning of this plain, beautiful, natural description of the remedial side? The priest emblematizes all the preachers, illustrating our utter incompetency to do anything for the lost sinner sinking into hell. We can only tell him about Jesus. What about the Levite? Under the former dispensation of the Levites were the custodians of the tabernacle and the temple; i. e., the keepers of God’s house. These Levites are the Church officers, emblematizing the visible Church, and showing up the fact of her utter incompetency to save a solitary soul. What about the good Samaritan? Reproachfully, our Savior’s enemies called Him a Samaritan, which was synonymous with the greatest conceivable antipathy. Hence, Jesus Himself is the Good Samaritan, who alone can rescue the perishing sinner. The preachers all having administered water baptism, eucharist, and Church rites, done all their preaching, and praying, and everything in their power, prove utterly incompetent to deliver a solitary soul from Satan’s strong grip. Here is the great delusion millions of people depending on preachers, who can’t save their own souls, much less other people’s; while teeming multitudes are looking to the Church to save them, all destined to fail, and enter eternity destitute of the wedding garment; like this poor victim, utterly naked and wounded unto death. The Good Samaritan is the only hope of a sinking world. All we can do is to tell the poor, dying travelers to eternity about Him, so they will give Him a chance to bind up their wounds which Satan’s robbers have inflicted, pouring in the healing oil and the spiritualizing wine; i. e., the two blessings constituting this wonderful double cure. Now He mounts him on His own beast; i. e., Jesus takes him in His arms, carries him to the tavern i. e., the visible Church; commits him to the landlord i. e., the faithful pastor; spends a time with him, pays the landlord a nice installment, and promises the remainder of his bill when He comes again. When a soul is gloriously saved and added to the Church, the Lord gives the faithful pastor a running-over blessing. O how he rejoices to see a soul rescued from the vortex of hell, happy in God, and on his way to heaven, saved and sanctified! But our Lord is coming again. If we do not survive till He descends in glory to receive His saints, we shall very soon leave this world and go to Him, which, from an experimental standpoint, is the second coming of the Lord to us individually. Salvation from sin and Satan is glorious; but mounting away from this world of sin and sorrow, and sweeping into heaven, saluted by angels and redeemed spirits, is infinitely more so. The blood-washed pastor receives a wonderful spiritual uplift when the soul is saved from hell, and committed to His care by the Good Samaritan; but when his pilgrimage winds to a close, and he dies in glorious triumph, the fire-baptized pastor, standing over him, gets a Pisgah’s view of the glory-world, and feels like mounting the chariot with his brother pilgrim, and soaring away to the mount of victory. Thus the heroic pastor having received a rich compensation when the man was saved and committed to his care, when he dies, with heaven in full view and glory in his soul, receives a transcendent boom for the heavenly country.
MARTHA AND MARY
Luke 10:38-42 “ And it came to pass, while they were going along, He came into a certain village, and a certain woman, by name Martha, received Him into her house; and there was a sister to her, called Mary, who indeed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, continued to hear His Word. And Martha was busy about much serving, and standing over her, she said, Lord, is there no care to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore say to her that she may assist me. And Jesus, responding, said to her, Martha, Martha, you are solicitous and troubled about many things; there is need of one thing. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” I have frequently been at Bethany, a village on the slope of Mr. Olivet, over the summit from Jerusalem, one and seven-eighths miles. The house occupied by Mary, Martha, and Lazarus is still there, but in ruins, as stone never rots. We conclude from this narrative that Martha was the elder of the two sisters, her seniority being here recognized by the proprietorship of the house. Methinks you already recognize an obvious contrast in these two sisters, Martha very vividly, illustrating the justified and Mary the sanctified experience. The former, having kindly received Jesus into their home, is deeply solicitous for His temporal comfort, doing her best to get Him a splendid dinner, working hard, and running herself out of breath; while the latter, listening to the words of wisdom, righteousness, holiness, love, grace, and glory, flowing from His eloquent lips, has actually become spellbound, so thrillingly edified, entertained and delighted that she has lost sight of domestic duty altogether, her eyes centered on the face of Jesus, her mind utterly absorbed, her intellect flooded with edification, her heart inundated with the rivers of grace flowing out of the heart of Jesus; but her older sister, feeling that she needs her help and must have it, and signally failing to catch her eye or command her attention, feels constrained to resort to the only surviving expedient i. e., appeal to Jesus, that He may suggest to her to feel excused till dinner is over, when she shall enjoy ample opportunity to satisfy her voracious spiritual appetite for the heavenly pabulum which He is so richly dispensing. In this she signally fails, as Jesus, to her surprise, vindicates her younger sister in her utter inattention to domestic affairs, sitting down at the feet: Jesus, drinking in the wonderful lessons of truth which emanate, like honey-dews, as the words of heavenly beauty and glory drop from His lips. He now administers a kind and loving castigation to Martha for her undue solicitude and labor, as it is infinitely more important to feed the soul than the body, and he is caring nothing about her variety. What He wants is, that they all feast on angel’s food; and as to the dinner, they have plenty already on hand. So all that solicitude about temporal things was really out of harmony with the visit of the Prince of light. Pastoral visiting is frequently perverted and ruined in that way, the family wearing themselves out and wasting the precious time they should spend in prayer, praise, and hearing the precious Word dispensed by their faithful pastor. O what a waste of opportunities along this line! Every preacher should do like Jesus, spend the time in the home preaching, discouraging all that work and solicitude “about many things,” there being need of but one, and that is the grace of God, which would, in this connection, be very beautifully symbolized by one edible a loaf of bread and a cup of sparkling water; as in the case of the circuit-rider, who, after preaching, received but one invitation to go and eat, and that was by an old woman, living in a smoky hut, down between two hills, who, escorting him into her humble home, dispensing with all Sunday cooking, set down a big cup of buttermilk on a three-legged stool in the middle of the cabin, and laid a big chunk of cold corn-bread by its side, and said, “Now, brother, sit down there and eat your dinner. If you are a good man, it is good enough; if a bad man, it is too good.” O that we may all so enter into the blessed soul-rest which Jesus gives as to be utterly disencumbered of all solicitude about temporal things, and sit down, like Mary, at the feet of Jesus, and let this old world, with its cares, emoluments, solicitudes, and vexations, pass along! While all earthly achievement and aggrandizement are transitory, Jesus assures us that if we will choose this good part, it shall not be taken from us.
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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Luke 10". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30