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Bible Commentaries
Luke 10

The Fourfold GospelFourfold Gospel

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Verses 1-24

(Probably in Judæa, October, A. D. 29.)
cLUKE X. 1-24.

c1 Now after these things the Lord appointed seventy others [i. e., other messengers in addition to the twelve apostles], and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself was about to come. [Luke has told us of the journey through Samaria to Jerusalem, and John has told us what occurred at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. We learn from John also that Jesus was at the Feast of Dedication ( John 10:22). The first feast was in October and the latter in December. Jesus evidently spent the time between these feast in Judæa, making a tour of that province and sending the seventy before him, thus thoroughly evangelizing it as he had Galilee, by sending out the twelve.] 2 Therefore he said unto them, The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no wallet, no shoes; and salute no man on the way. [This last was probably a common direction in cases of haste ( 2 Kings 4:29). Eastern salutations were tedious and overburdened with ceremony. Those in haste were excused from them.] 5 And into whatsoever house ye shall enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if a son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in that same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give [they were not to give trouble and waste time by asking for better food]: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and [472] they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go out into the streets thereof and say, 11 Even the dust from your city, that cleaveth to our feet, we wipe off against you: nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh. [For comment, see John 16:11, John 12:31.] 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall [473] in any wise hurt you. [While the messengers of Christ were, no doubt, literally protected from the poisons of reptiles, etc. ( Acts 28:3-6), serpents and scorpions are here to be taken an emblematic of the powers of evil.] 20 Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. [Your joy in visible and temporal success, and in the subjection to you of the powers of evil, is not to be compared to the joy that you have the prospect of heaven.] 21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes: yea, Father; for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight. 22 All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth who the Son is, save the Father; and who the Father is, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him. [For comment, see pp. 288, 289.] 23 And turning to the disciples, he said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. 24 for I say unto you, that many prophets and kings desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not; and to hear the things which ye hear, and heard them not. [For comment, see p. 332.] [474]

[FFG 472-474]

Verses 25-37

(Probably Judæa.)
cLUKE X. 25-37.

c25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and made trial of him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? [For the term lawyer see Deuteronomy 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18. Having made himself conspicuous by standing up, the lawyer had to give the best answer he knew or sully his own reputation for knowledge. He therefore gives the two great laws which comprise all other laws.] 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. [The lawyer had asked his question simply as a test. With him the law was simply matter for speculation and theory, and the word "do" was very startling. It showed the difference between his and the Master’s views of the law. He had hoped by a question to expose Jesus as one who set aside the law, but [475] Jesus had exposed the lawyer as one who merely theorized about the law, and himself as one who advocated the doing of the law.] 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor? [He could justify his conduct if permitted to define the word "neighbor." He asked his question, therefore, in the expectation of securing such a definition of the word as would enable him to maintain his public standing and quiet his conscience.] 30 Jesus made answer and said, A certain man [evidently a Jew, for otherwise the nationality would have been specified] was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. [The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is eighteen miles long, and descends about 3,500 feet. About two miles from Jerusalem it passes through the village of Bethany, and for the rest of the eighteen miles it passes through desolate mountain ravines without any habitation save the inn, the ruins of which are still seen about half way to Jericho. This district from that time till the present has been noted for robberies, and Jerome tells that the road was called the "bloody way."] 31 And by chance a certain priest was going down that way [a very natural thing for a priest to do, for there was a very large priestly settlement at Jericho]: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. [He did this although the law commanded mercy and help to a neighbor-- Exodus 23:4, Deuteronomy 22:1-4.] 32 And in like manner a Levite also [A temple minister. The tribe of Levi had been set apart by God for his service], when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. [In the priest and Levite the lawyer saw the picture of his own life, for he saw in them those who knew the law, but did not practice it. There may have been many excuses for this neglect of the wounded man: danger, hate, dread of defilement, expense, but Jesus does not consider any of them worth mentioning.] 33 But a certain Samaritan [the hereditary enemy of the Jew-- John 4:9], as he journeyed, came [476] where he was: and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion, 34 and came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on them oil and wine [the ordinary remedies for wounds-- Isaiah 1:6]; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow he took out two shillings [the shilling or denarius was worth about seventeen cents, but it represented the price of a day’s labor], and gave them to the host [the inn-keeper], and said, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, I, when I come back again, will repay thee. [The compassion of the Samaritan bore full fruitage. However heterodox he was, he was after all a worshiper of Jehovah and more orthodox at heart than either the priest or the Levite. Though it was not customary for an inn-keeper to furnish food either for man or beast, he could do so if he chose out of his own stores. The scant cash left by the Samaritan indicates a poverty which made his charity the more praiseworthy. His eye and heart and hand and foot and purse were all subservient to the law of God.] 36 Which of these three, thinkest thou, proved neighbor unto him that fell among the robbers? [Instead of answering didactically, "Everybody is your neighbor," Jesus had incarnated the law of neighborliness in the good Samaritan, and had made it so beautiful that the lawyer could not but commend it even when found in a representative of this apostate race. He showed, too, that the law was not for causistry but for practice.] 37 And he said, He that showed mercy on him. [The lawyer avoided the name Samaritan so distasteful to his lips. Jesus gave countenance to no such racial prejudice, even though the Samaritans had rejected him but a few weeks before this-- Luke 9:53.] Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. [All the laws and teachings of God are to be generously interpreted ( Matthew 5:43, Matthew 5:44) and are to be embodied in the life-- Matthew 7:24-27.] [477]

[FFG 475-477]

Verses 38-42

(Bethany, near Jerusalem.)
cLUKE X. 38-42.

c38 Now as they went on their way [he was journeying through Judæa, attended by the twelve], he entered into a certain village [It was the village of Bethany ( John 11:1), which was on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, less than two miles from Jerusalem]: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet, and heard his word. [Sitting at the feet was the ancient posture of pupils ( Acts 22:3). Martha honored Christ as a Guest, but Mary honored him as a Teacher.] 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving [she was evidently preparing an elaborate repast, and was experiencing the worry and distraction which usually accompanies such effort]; and she came up to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister did leave me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [Martha so forms her appeal to Christ as to make it a covert insinuation that Mary would not listen to her requests.] 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things [By thus repeating the name, Jesus tempered the rebuke. See also Luke 22:31, Acts 9:4]: 42 but one thing is needful [I.e., one duty or privilege is pre-eminent. Bread for the body may be important, but food for the soul is, after all, the one thing needful]: for Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. [The expression "good part" is an allusion to the portion of honor sent to the principal guest at a banquet. Its use shows that Jesus had food in mind when he used the [478] expression "one thing is needful," and that he was contrasting spiritual nourishment with physical. The description of the two sisters here tallies with that given at John 12:2, John 12:3, for there Martha serves and Mary expresses personal devotion. Our Lord’s rebuke is not aimed at hospitality, nor at a life full of energy and business. It is intended to reprove that fussy fretfulness which attempts many unneeded things, and ends in worry and fault-finding. It does not set a life of religious contemplation above a life of true religious activity, for contemplation is here contrasted with activity put forth with a faulty spirit. The trend of the New Testament teaching shows that a man must be a doer as well as a hearer of the Word.]

[FFG 478-479]

Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 10". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tfg/luke-10.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.
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