Joy, Lawyer-Neighbor-Samaritan, Spiritual Thirst
Luke 10:17-42 – December 19, 2021
Luke 10:17-24. One thing that should jump out at us is that the seventy-two returned with joy that even the demons submitted to them in Jesus’ name. Jesus did not give them any instructions about those possessed by demons unless we think verse 9 covers it where He told them to Heal the sick. Nonetheless they knew what they had accomplished was due to His name. Jesus’ reply consisted of a warning and then of appreciation. The warning was how Satan’s fall – due to pride – was as quick as a flash of lightning from the sky and it could happen to them. Part of Satan’s fall is the power and authority believers have over the power of the enemy. James 4:7 is an example of this, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Nonetheless, Jesus also rejoiced or as the literal Greek says, He was thrilled with joy and it was in the Spirit. Jesus set an example for us, He thanked and praised His Father for what was accomplished. It was what His Father was pleased to do through Him. Then verse 22, He speaks of the special relationship between the Son and the Father and His followers, No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. How was it the disciples were blessed (v23-24) and yet prophets and kings were unable to see what they had seen and hear what they had heard? I believe the answer lies in verse 21 where He describes His disciples as little children or babes. To confirm this, we only have to look ahead to Luke 18:15-17.
Luke 10:25-37. Notice Luke has moved us from Jesus interacting with His disciples to interacting with those who could not see or hear what He was doing. So, in verses 25-28 it is clear the expert in the law had the intention of trapping Jesus, but Jesus with His answer had already trapped him for no one can keep the law perfectly. No one except Jesus. Not satisfied, the teacher of the law made another attempt to trap Jesus, asking Who is my neighbor? Jesus does not answer the question but poses a detailed problem for him in a parable He creates on the spot.
Look at verse 31, would not a priest leaving Jerusalem know the law and know he should help? Now in verse 32 a Levite, likely a worker in the temple, is again someone who should know the law and know he should help. Like the priest he did not. Here Jesus has a Samarian in His parable on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho (a distance of 17 miles and a change in elevation of about 4,000 ft with Jericho 1,000 ft below sea level). What happens when the Samarian comes across the Jew laying half dead on the road? He took pity on him or He had compassion for him. He cared for him, bandaged him (how?) used his own oil and water for his own trip to clean the man’s wounds and sooth his bruised body. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn taking care of him through the night. We know it was through the night because v35 tells us what he did the next day. He paid the inn keeper two denarii with instructions to ‘Look after him, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Two denarii or two days wages and an inn in Roman days would be 1/32 of a denarius, so he had paid for two months stay for the wounded man AND promised to pay for any extra expenses! Who does that?
Now Jesus still does not answer the question posed to Him by the teacher of the law in v29, Who is my neighbor? Instead, He asks in v36, Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?
The teacher of the law probably hated the answer he had to give, but he gave it anyway, The one who had mercy on him to which Jesus said Go and do likewise. Of course, he didn’t as he already thought himself righteous. Nor can we which is why we need Jesus, whey the teacher of the law needed Jesus but was blind to his need.
Luke 10:38-42. This story is only told in Luke. It is not in any of the other gospels, but Luke thought it important enough to include it. Why? I cannot say for sure as Luke is not here to ask, but perhaps we can look at it as the third dot or explanation mark (!) to be connected as we come to the end of chapter 10.
First we had the believing disciples. Then we had the unbelieving Pharisee, the teacher of the law, and now we have two believing sisters. One of the sisters, Martha, is so busy taking care of what ‘has to be done and done now’ that she wants her sister Mary to be rebuked for listening to Jesus when she should have been helping. Surely Martha was surprised when Jesus gently chided her in verses 41-42. He was telling her and telling us, we can get carried away with the cares of this life and neglect the cares for the next. Jesus approved of Mary’s spiritual thirst that kept her listening at His feet.
I can’t tell you the number of times someone has told me a valid reason they could not be at church or at a bible study. And then they have a valid reason week after week after week. They are not fooling me and if they are not fooling me, they are certainly not fooling God.