Luke 10 Commentary

To go directly to that verse


From Jensen's Survey of the NT by permission
John MacArthur's Introduction to the Gospel of Luke
Charles Swindoll's Introduction to Luke
Luke Overview Chart by Charles Swindoll

Click chart to enlarge LIFE OF CHRIST IN GOSPEL OF LUKE (See Shaded Areas)
Chart from recommended resource  Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Ryrie Study Bible -Borrow

Source: ESV Global Study Bible

John Hannah's Outline - The rejection of the Son of Man  (Lk 9:51-11:54)

  1. The commencement of the rejection of the Son of Man  (Lk 9:51-11:13)
    1. The rejection in Samaria  (Lk 9:51-56)
    2. The rejection of His call  (Lk 9:57-62)
    3. The mission of the seventy  (Lk 10:1-24)
      1. Instructions to the seventy  (Lk 10:1-12)
      2. Judgment for rejection of the seventy  (Lk 10:13-16)
      3. Report of the seventy  (Lk 10:17-24)
        1. Their rejoicing  (Lk 10:17-20)
        2. His rejoicing  (Lk 10:21-24)
    4. The rejection by the lawyer  (Lk 10:25-37)
      1. The question concerning eternal life  (Lk 10:25-29)
        1. The inquiry of the lawyer  (Lk 10:25)
        2. The answer of Jesus  (Lk 10:26-29)
      2. The illustration regarding eternal life  (Lk 10:30-37)
    5. The reception at Bethany  (Lk 10:38-42)

William Hendriksen's Outline of Luke 10 from Exposition of the Gospel of Luke (borrow)

Luke 10:1–12      The Charge to the Seventy-two (or Seventy)
Luke 10:13–16      Woes Pronounced on Impenitent Cities
Luke 10:17–20      The Return of the Seventy-two (or Seventy)
Luke 10:21–24      The Rejoicing of Jesus
Luke 10:25–37      The Parable of the Samaritan Who Cared
Luke 10:38–42      Mary of Bethany Makes the Right Choice

John Butler (Analytical Bible Expositor) 

  1. The Seventy Commissioned (Luke 10:1–24)
  2. The Samaritan’s Charity (Luke 10:25–37)
  3. The Sisters Contrasted (Luke 10:38–42)

Luke 10:1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.

Related Passages:

 Luke 9:1-6+  And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. (NOTE: THIS STATEMENT IS NOT MADE CONCERNING THE 70 ALTHOUGH WE DO FIND OUT THEY EXPERIENCED POWER OVER DEMONS) 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. 4“Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. 5 “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 

Mark 6:7+ "And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits." 

Region of Perea



Remember as you read Luke 10, you are reading from Luke's central section which covers Lk 9:51-19:28 and it deals with the Jesus' Judean and Perean ministry with episodes from other ministries. See the Table at the top of this page for the segment Jensen entitles "Later Judean and Perean Ministries."

Warren Wiersbe sums up this Luke 10 - The three scenes in Luke 10 illustrate the threefold ministry of every Christian believer, and they answer the question, “What in the world does a Christian do?” To begin with, we are the Lord’s ambassadors, sent to represent Him in this world (Luke 10:1–24). We are also neighbors, looking for opportunities to show mercy in the name of Christ (Luke 10:25–37). But at the heart of all our ministry is devotion to Christ, so we must be worshipers who take time to listen to His Word and commune with Him (Luke 10:38–42). Whether we are in the harvest field, on the highway, or in the home, our highest privilege and our greatest joy is to do the will of God. (Borrow Be compassionate)

Halley’s Bible handbook  - The Perean Ministry and Later Judean Ministry, Luke 9:51-19:28 - The period between Jesus’ final departure from Galilee and His last week is usually spoken of as the later Judean and Perean ministry; it took place partly in Perea and partly in Judea. Perea was east of the Jordan (see map: Perean and Later Judean Ministry), in Herod’s jurisdiction; Judea, west of Jordan, was under Pilate’s jurisdiction. (Borrow Halley's Bible Handbook)

John Walvoord explains the term "Perean Ministry" as follows: The Perean Ministry (Mt 19:1–20:34; 26:6–13; Mk 10:1–52; 14:3–9; Luke 9:51–19:28; John 9:1–12:11) The Perean period of the ministry of our Lord receives its name from the fact that Christ upon His final departure from Galilee passed through Perea, ministering as He went; and after His arrival in Jerusalem He retired again to Perea until a few days before His passion. As Christ left Galilee He sent out the seventy disciples on their mission (Luke 10:1–24). The parable of the good Samaritan and the events of John 9 and John 10 occurred during the Perean ministry. After the feast of dedication in Jerusalem (John 10:22)(Holman Bible Dictionary), some of the more important utterances of Christ were recorded. After the resurrection of Lazarus (Jn 11:43-44) and the increased opposition to Christ which it aroused (Jn 11:53), Christ again withdrew into Ephraim. Until the time of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of the Passion Week, Christ was not inactive. The Scriptures record the cleansing of ten lepers, the interview with the rich young ruler (Lk 18:18-23), and Christ dining with Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10). While at Bethany He was anointed by Mary. The period of His Perean ministry extended from the fall until the following spring of Christ’s last year. (The Person of Christ - scroll down)

Now after this - This time phrase begs the question "After what?" In context, Luke is referring to the events in Luke 9:1-62 which marked the close of Jesus' ministry in the region of Galilee. In Luke 9:31+, at the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah "who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure (exodos) which He was about to accomplish (pleroo - fulfill) at Jerusalem." (Lk 9:31+) Luke goes on to add "And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set (sterizo) His face to go to Jerusalem" (Lk 9:51+) and thus "He was journeying with His face toward Jerusalem." (Lk 9:53+). And so with the Galilee ministry now closed, the journey to Jerusalem has begun. It is notable that most of the material from chapter 10 to chapter 18 is found only in Luke's Gospel (excepting the section in Lk 11:14-32). In the immediate context Jesus gave the condition for following Him declaring that "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Lk 9:62+) The NET Note on Lk 9:62 adds that Jesus warned "that excessive concern for family ties (looks back) will make the kingdom a lesser priority, which is not appropriate for discipleship. The image is graphic, for who can plow straight ahead toward a goal while looking back? (Ed: Any farmer knows the result will be crooked furrows!) Discipleship cannot be double-minded." 

Refer to the Table at the top of this page - notice the major breakpoint in Jesus' ministry occurs at Luke 9:51 which says "When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem (KJV - he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem)"

He Sent them out Two by Two (Il les envoya deux à deux) - James Tissot -

The Lord appointed (anadeíknumiseventy others (heteros - different than the 12 in Lk 9:1), and sent (apostello) them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place - It is in this context (Now after this) that Jesus appoints 70 others and sent them out in pairs on mission like the 12 had been sent (Mk 6:7+). Luke alone tells us about the sending out of the 70. These 70 men would surely have heard Jesus' words regarding the cost of following Him in Luke 9:23-26+ and Luke 9:57-62+ and yet were not deterred. And so Jesus proceeds to give them their "marching orders" in Luke 10:1-16 with the "debriefing" after they returned in Luke 10:17-20. The Lord appointed (anadeíknumi) introduces a vital truth. The seventy did not volunteer but were appointed as "advance men." The Lord Himself chose them for this mission. And while there is no earthly record of the names of the 70 but there is a much better record in Heaven (Luke 10:20)!

THOUGHT- The point is that Unless the Lord appoints, we go in vain. They were sent and they went. If we go and are not sent then woe to our "go"! (cf Paul's statement re his ministry in 2 Ti 1:1+ "by the will of God")  Paul was not a self-made apostle but a Savior set apart apostle. Likewise, our work for Jesus must not be self-made but Spirit of Jesus wrought (cp Jn 6:63, Jn 15:5).  We may desire to do certain things in service to Jesus, but must first make sure He appoints us. Jesus is the Head of the Church and as such His appointment is the foundation of all genuine Christian work. Compare this truth to Eph 2:10+ where Paul writes "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Lord, give us spiritual eyes to see the good works which You have prepared for each of us even before we were born, so that we might walk in supernatural power of Your Spirit  in Your immutable good works and not our imagined good works. Amen

Spurgeon comments that "Our Lord was about to send out seventy disciples to preach the Gospel. He had already chosen His twelve apostles; now there must be seventy disciples, something like Moses had seventy elders to serve under him. Some have fancifully likened these two sets of men to the twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees at Elim; and certainly they were for the refreshment of the people.....They were to go before Christ, and be His heralds. What a mercy it is when the preacher knows that his Master is coming after him, when he can hear the sound of his Master’s feet behind him! What courage it gives him! He knows that, though it is very little that he can do, he is the thin end of the wedge preparing the way for One who can do everything...The twelve had succeeded so well that our Lord enlarged the number of his evangelists, and sent them forth as itinerant preachers all over the land. 

TECHNICAL NOTESeventy or Seventy-Two? There is a difficult textual problem here and in Lk 10:17, where the number is either “seventy” (א A C L W Θ Ξ Ψ f1, 13 𝔐 and several church fathers and early versions) or “seventy-two” (𝔓75 B D 0181 pc lat as well as other versions and fathers). The more difficult reading is “seventy-two,” since scribes would be prone to assimilate this passage to several OT passages that refer to groups of seventy people (Nu 11:13–17; Dt 10:22; Jdg 8:30; 2Kgs 10:1, Ge 46:27, Nu 11:25 et al.); this reading also has slightly better manuscript support. “Seventy” could be the preferred reading if scribes drew from the tradition of the number of translators of the LXX, which the Letter of Aristeas puts at seventy-two (TCGNT 127), although this is far less likely. All things considered, “seventy-two” is a much more difficult reading and accounts for the rise of the other. Only Luke notes a second larger mission like the one in Lk 9:1–6. (NET Note)

Why did Jesus send them out to witness in pairs? There are at least two main considerations. (1) In part, surely for mutual encouragement and help. "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor, for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up." (Eccl 4:9-10) Similarly as the writer of Proverbs says "Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another." (Pr 27:17) (2) Another reason could relate to the passages in Deuteronomy which stated that "On the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed."(Dt 19:15+, Dt 17:6+)  And so it is not surprising we see this same pattern of missionary pairs in the Acts - Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2+), Judas and Silas (Acts 15:27+), Barnabas took Mark and Paul took Silas (Acts 15:39-40+), Timothy and Erastus (Acts 19:22+). 

THOUGHT - Pairs is a good pattern for all disciples. Do you have an accountability partner? If not pray God would send you one. Lone ranger Christians are sitting ducks for Satan's minions! 

Thomas Fuller adds a thought on why Jesus sent them in pairs - "Solitariness is most advantageous for the devil to tempt us. (ED; Recall David in 2Sa 11:1, 2) Therefore Christ sent always his disciples by two's, when to preach, Luke 10:1; when to fetch the colt, Matt 21:11; when to bespeak the room for the Passover, Mark 14:13. And this perchance was one reason why Christ in the choice of his Apostles and Disciples pitch'd on an even number, Twelve of the one, and Seventy of the other."

Even at the end of this age in the time of the seven year tribulation we see persistence of the pattern of paired witnesses “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3+) Griffith-Thomas adds that "There are a number of Biblical and extra-Biblical examples of the "2 x 2" principle - Moses & Aaron; Joshua & Caleb; David & Jonathan; Peter & John; Paul & Barnabas; Luther & Melanchthon; John & Charles Wesley; Moody & Sankey;… (W H Griffith-Thomas - Outline Studies in Luke)

Every city and place where He Himself was going to come - In this sense, the 70 carried out a function similar to John the Baptist as they were preparing for the arrival of the Jesus. 

Brian Bell - There once was a popular expression, "He was a brick!" The term implied all that is brave and loyal. Plutarch, in writing about the king of Sparta, tells how the phrase was coined. - An ambassador on a diplomatic mission visited the famous city. Knowing that its strength was acclaimed throughout all of Greece, he had expected to see massive fortresses surrounding the town, but he found nothing of the kind. Surprised, he exclaimed to the ruler, "Sir, you have no fortifications for defense. Why is this?" "Ah, but we are well protected," he replied. "Come with me tomorrow and I will show you the walls of Sparta." The next day he led his guest to the plain where the army was drawn up in full battle array. Pointing proudly to his soldiers who stood fearlessly in place, he said, "Behold the walls of Sparta -- 10,000 men and every man 'a brick'!" Each believer a brave & loyal brick…as He constructs His Kingdom. Now he had 70 others that obeyed Him, & would help to reap the harvest. (Luke:10:1-24 Behold I Send You)

QUESTION -  Who were the 70 (or 72) disciples in Luke 10?

ANSWER - Luke 10 is the only place where we find the account of Jesus sending a specific 70 (or 72) disciples to prepare the way before Him. The discrepancies in the number (70 or 72) come from differences found in approximately half of the ancient scrolls used in translation. The texts are nearly evenly divided between the numbers, and scholars do not agree on whether the number should be 70 or 72, although such a minor issue is no cause for debate. Since the number 70 is repeated other places in Scripture (Exodus 24:1; Numbers 11:16; Jeremiah 29:10), it may be more likely that the actual number of disciples was 70, with the 2 being a copyist’s error. Whether there were 70 or 72 disciples sent out by Jesus is irrelevant. What is important are the instructions Jesus gave them and the power that came upon them to perform miracles and cast out demons (Luke 10:17).

After appointing the 70 (or 72) disciples, Jesus spoke of the great need for evangelism (Luke 10:1–2). He then commissioned the 70, giving them these instructions:

1) Go (Luke 10:3). This is foundational. The 70 were to divide into pairs and visit all the places where Jesus was about to go.

2) Be wary (Luke 10:3). The 70 were like lambs among wolves, surrounded by danger.

3) Live by faith (Luke 10:4). The 70 were to carry no extra provisions. They carried the message of Jesus and didn’t need to be burdened down with material things.

4) Be focused (Luke 10:4). The 70 were to greet no one along the road and not allow themselves to be sidetracked from the more important mission of evangelism.

5) Extend your blessing (Luke 10:5–6). Whoever housed the 70 were to be blessed, using the common greeting of the day, “Peace to this house.”

6) Be content (Luke 10:7). The 70 were told not to seek better accommodations; they were to stay in the home that first received them.

7) Receive your due (Luke 10:7). The laborer is worthy of his wages (cf. 1 Timothy 5:17–18). Doing evangelistic work is indeed work and is worthy of compensation.

8) Be flexible (Luke 10:7–8). The 70 were to eat whatever their hosts served; as God’s servants, they were not to be finicky.

9) Heal the sick (Luke 10:9). Jesus gave the 70 disciples specific authority to heal diseases and illness. It was as if the Great Physician had 70 interns making house calls. When the 70 returned to Jesus, they jubilantly recounted how they were able not only to heal diseases but to cast out demons as well (verse 17).

10) Proclaim the kingdom (Luke 10:9). The message of the 70 disciples was simple: “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” This was a clear-cut call to faith in the King who would soon visit each village.

Jesus then told the 70 (or 72) disciples that they might expect rejection in some villages (Luke 10:10), and He told them how to respond: publicly wipe the dust of that town from their feet (Luke 10:11; cf. 9:5), proclaim the kingdom one more time, and warn them of coming judgment (Luke 10:12).

A similar commissioning had occurred with Jesus’ twelve apostles as the Lord sent them out to cure diseases and cast out demons (Matthew 10:1–42; Luke 9:1–6). The main difference is that Jesus had told the Twelve that they were to preach in Galilee, avoiding Gentile areas and Samaria, but the 70 (or 72) were given no such restriction.

The identities of the 70 disciples are never given in Scripture, and the group is never mentioned again, even during the time of the early church in Acts. It seems their ministry was specific to preparing Jesus’ path to Jerusalem. Various individuals have been suggested as possibly being part of the 70—the unnamed exorcist in Luke 9:49, for example. Two of them may have been Barsabbas (known as Justus) and Matthias (Acts 1:23), since they were chosen by the apostles as possible replacements for Judas (Acts 1:15–18). One of the requirements for apostleship was that the candidate had to “have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection” (Acts 1:21–22). We can also speculate that the 70 were part of the 120 gathered in the upper room on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out (Acts 1:15).

Since God did not consider it important for us to know the names of the 70 (or 72) disciples He charged with the important task of preparing the way for Jesus, we don’t need to consider it important, either. What Jesus called attention to was not the power He gave them but the fact that their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Similarly, while we may get excited about visible miracles and demonstrations of supernatural power, the greatest miracle of all is the fact that unworthy sinners can become righteous children of God (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 1:12). When our focus moves to ourselves and how God is using us, we are headed in the wrong direction. It is a good reminder that, since their names are unimportant, ours are, too. It is the name of Jesus Christ alone who deserves all attention and glory (1 Corinthians 1:28–29; Philippians 2:9–11). It is enough that our names are written in the Lamb’s book of

Halley's Bible Handbook asks an interesting question - How Did Jesus Finance His Work? - Jesus did not appear to be a wealthy man by worldly standards. He did not own a place He could call His own (Luke 9:58), and He didn’t occupy Himself with worldly concerns such as fancy clothes and possessions. For some three years He traveled about, much of the time with a considerable entourage; and at least twice He organized large preaching expeditions (Luke 9–10). In part, Jesus and His disciples lived on the hospitality of the people (Matthew 10:11). He received offerings from the well-to-do and from others (Luke 8:3). Jesus could have amassed a fortune and lived like a king from donations from the crowds that followed Him and from the sick He had healed—if He had so chosen. Jesus needed no accumulated wealth because He had complete and total faith that God would always provide for all His needs and the needs of his entourage. His every need and desire were fulfilled. What a testimony this is to us if we can only put our trust in the Lord! (Borrow Halley's Bible Handbook)

Appointed (322)(anadeíknumi from aná = an emphatic + deiknuo or deíknumi = show) means to to lift up and show, show forth and thus to show plainly or openly (only other NT use = Acts 1:24+). To mark out, appoint to an office by some outward sign (Luke 10:1, Lxx = Da 1:11). To show forth, to display, to make public, esp. a person’s appointment to an office. Used 3x in the Septuagint - Hab 3:2, Da 1:11, Da 1:20. To show forth, to display, to make public, especially a person’s appointment to an office. 

Anadeiknumi (also anadeiknuō in classical Greek) is a compound from ana “up” and deiknumi. It suggests a public “proclamation” and “notification”; and moreover, it implies an accurate presentation of something otherwise obscure. It can also mean to “designate, appoint.” It can carry a sacrificial sense (Moulton-Milligan; Liddell-Scott).

Friberg - strictly lift up and show, show forth; (1) as setting apart by some outward expression appoint, commission, give a task to (Lk 10.1); (2) as making public what is hidden disclose, reveal, show clearly (Acts 1.24 = "And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show  [aorist imperative] which one of these two You have chosen")   (Borrow Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

BDAG - 1. to make something known by clear indication, show clearly, reveal something hidden 2. to assign to a task or position, appoint, commission (freq. as administrative term) (Borrow A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament, and other early Christian literature

Some manuscripts have 72 here and in Lk 10:17. Only Luke records this mission. In either event Jesus changed the world with what is relatively a small number of men who were willing to die for what they believed. He began with only 12 men whom He chose to be with Him. These individuals were special because they learned from Him in person and He sent them out with the good news of the gospel. They were called apostles. But God's plan for ministry was not limited to the apostles; it also included a larger group the New Testament calls disciples. They were the multitude of listeners and learners, men and women who heard Jesus gladly. Some were just inquirers and followed Him for a few weeks. Others accepted His instruction and put it into practice, and they, along with the apostles, were the ones He used to change the world. God's method is still to use people—people who are willing to be His instruments for change in the world. Are you one of them?  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God uses us when we desire
To see a change in people's lives;
And when we love and follow Christ,
Our love for others grows and thrives.

It doesn't take great people to do great things—just unselfish ones.

Steven Cole - A pastor began his Sunday sermon by saying, “I’d like to make three points today. First, there are millions of people around the world who are going to go to hell. Second, most of us sitting here today don’t give a d_ _ _ about that.” After a lengthy pause, he continued, “My third point is that you are more concerned that I, your pastor, said the word ‘d_ _ _’ than you are about the millions going to hell” (Reader’s Digest [5/79]).

It’s easy to get our priorities all mixed up, where we treat as major that which is minor and we treat as minor that which is crucial.

ILLUSTRATION - One day Hudson Taylor was traveling on a Chinese junk from Shanghai to Ningpo. He had been witnessing to a man named Peter who rejected the gospel but was under deep conviction. In the course of events, Peter fell overboard, but no one made any effort to save him. Taylor sprang to the mast, let down the sail, and jumped overboard in hopes of finding his friend. But no one on board joined Taylor in his frantic search.

Taylor saw a fishing boat nearby and yelled to them to help, but they wouldn’t do it without money. Finally, after bartering for every penny that Taylor had, the fishermen stopped their fishing and began to look for Peter. In less than a minute of dragging their net, they found him, but it was too late. They were too busy fishing to care about saving a drowning man.

We can easily condemn the selfish indifference of those fishermen, but by indicting them, we may condemn ourselves. Are we too busy with our jobs and other activities to take the time to rescue those who are perishing without Christ? I realize that the analogy breaks down. We must be tactful and wait for the right opening before we talk to a person about spiritual things. But if a person’s response to the gospel is the deciding factor in where he or she will spend eternity, should we not do all that we can to get this crucial message to them? Do we have the proper sense of urgency about spiritual matters that we ought to have? Or, could it be that we really don’t give a ... (darn)?

Our text records something not found in any of the other gospel accounts, that Jesus appointed 72 (or 70) others (besides the 12) and sent them ahead of Him to proclaim the gospel in the cities and villages where He was going to come. The question of whether it was 72 or 70 is one of the most difficult textual questions in the New Testament to resolve, since the evidence is quite evenly distributed. Commentators also debate whether there was any symbolic meaning behind the number. But since we cannot be certain about the number, it is tentative at best to speculate on any symbolic meaning. I think that the weight is slightly on the side of 72, but either way it’s not a major point to spend more time on.

Jesus sends these workers out with instructions and warnings that are similar to those He gave to the 12 before their preaching mission (9:1-6). Some of these instructions were unique to these men and to this mission (Jesus later changed the orders; Luke 22:35-36) and thus do not apply directly to us. But many of the principles and the overall thrust of the passage do apply to us. The overall thrust is that ...     The gospel is crucial because people will be judged eternally on the basis of their response to it.  (The Crucial Message)

Luke 10:2  And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 

  • He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful: Mt 9:37-38 Joh 4:35-38 1Co 3:6-9 
  • but the laborers: Mt 20:1 Mk 13:34 1Co 15:10 2Co 6:1 Php 2:25,30 Col 1:29 4:12 1Th 2:9 5:12 1Ti 4:10,15,16 5:17,18 2Ti 2:3-6 4:5 Philemon 1:1 
  • are few: 1Ki 18:22 22:6-8 Isa 56:9-12 Eze 34:2-6 Zec 11:5,17 Mt 9:36 Ac 16:9,10 Php 2:21 Rev 11:2,3 
  • therefore beseech: 2Th 3:1 
  • the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. : Lu 9:1 Nu 11:17,29 Ps 68:11 Jer 3:15 Mk 16:15,20 Ac 8:4 11:19 Ac 13:2,4 20:28 22:21 26:15-18 1Co 12:28 Eph 4:7-12 1Ti 1:12-14 Heb 3:6 Rev 2:1 
  • Multiple Resources on Luke 10 (includes the sermons below)
  • Luke 10:1-4 Attitudes of Effective Evangelism - John MacArthur
  • Luke 10:5-11 Responses to the Kingdom: Peace or Punishment - John MacArthur
  • Luke 10:1-16 The Crucial Message - Steven Cole

Related passages

Matthew 9:35-36+ - Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.  36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion (splanchnizomai) for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:37-38+ Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest (therismos) is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 “Therefore beseech (aorist imperative) the Lord of the harvest (therismos) to send out workers into His harvest (therismos).” (THIS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES THE SENDING OUT OF THE 12 - Mt 10:1+

John 4:35-36+ “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest (therismos) ’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest (therismos) . Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

Galatians 6:9+  Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Psalm 126:5-6 Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.



He was saying to them, "The harvest (therismos) is plentiful (polus = a large number) and the workers (ergatesare few - He had given the same instruction to the 12 (Mt 9:37,38+) before He sent them out. There are not enough people (disciples) to go into the harvest and harvest the souls! The driving force for Jesus sending the 12 and then the 70 is His overwhelming compassion (splanchnizomai) for the lost, shepherdless souls (Mt 9:36+, cf Jesus' heart  of compassion Mt 14:14, Mt 15:32, Mt 18:27, Mt 20:34 - all these passages use splanchnizomai)

Brian Bell sums up Jesus' instructions to the 70 (and to us) - Pray before going; travel fast & light; heal the sick; & preach the gospel!

Morrison - “Can you picture the distress of a farmer when he sees his fields golden with harvest, and there are no servants to gather that harvest in? It was such an agony that filled the heart of Jesus as He looked out on His harvest field.”

Spurgeon - The seventy were very few compared with the many that were needed. There were many loiterers about then as there are now; but the labourers were few. There were preachers of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and they were not worth a penny a hundred; but the true labourers, who watched for souls, and preached Christ with all their hearts, were very few. It is the same today; and therefore we are to pray for more labourers. A good minister always desires to see more good ministers. In a trade, every tradesman would be glad if those of the same trade as himself would move to another parish; but in the profession of a Christian minister, the more the merrier. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”

AGRICULTURAL CONTEXT to help understand Jesus' declaration that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few? Labor Shortage -  In the East most worked for themselves and had to first take care of their own harvest before helping others. The owner of the field would order his servants to start harvesting with the ideal objective of seeing them complete the harvest without having to hire other workers. But the servants feared they would be caught by the rainy season and beg their master to hire additional laborers. When the harvest is ripe, it must be reaped. There is only a short time during which it can be reaped before it rots and dies in the field where it once grew (ponder the implications for human souls! Of course the difference is that God will never lose any of the elect.) And when the master realized that the servants could not finish cutting the wheat, he would rush out to hire men, going to other towns and market places searching for idle laborers. In the present context Jesus had 12 laborers (disciples) but the fruit in the field of human souls was too great for them to harvest. And so Jesus told them to beg the Father for more workers, and this is a prayer He answered ironically and exceeding abundantly (Eph 3:20+) at the Feast of Harvest (Pentecost) providing 3000 potential workers (Acts 2:41+) and then 5000 (Acts 4:4+). We are 2000 years from Jesus' charge to beg for workers and the harvest is still great and the workers are still few. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!  As Evan Roberts (instrumental in the Welsh Revival) once said “God wants a thing done; moves a believer to pray that it may be done; & then God does it in answer to that prayer.”

But - A striking and sad term of contrast. Consider the "5P's" - Pause to Ponder the Passage then Practice it in the Power of the Spirit.

THOUGHT - When was the last time you boldly (filled with the Spirit - a fruit of the Spirit is holy boldness! - Acts 4:31+, Acts 9:27+, Acts 28:31+) shared the Gospel with someone otherwise destined to spend eternity in hell, forever separated from the glorious presence of our great and awesome God (cf 2 Th 1:8-9+, Mt 25:41)?

The laborers are few - Why are there so few willing to labor for souls that once lost are lost for eternity? In Lk 9:57-62+ Jesus explains why there are so few laborers in the Father's field:

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” 

Therefore term of conclusion - Since there are so few laborers, what is the conclusion Jesus offers? 

Beseech (deomai) the Lord of the harvest (therismosto send out (ekbállō) laborers into His harvest (therismos) - Beseech (deomai) is in the aorist imperative which is like the Nike Commercial slogan "Just Do It!" The idea is don't delay. There is a sense of urgency! Why? Because souls are slipping into eternity and harvesters are needed! Today 150,000 people will die and enter either into the eternal presence of Christ or an eternal separation from Christ. Harvest is used figuratively in two ways, one speaking of harvest of saved souls as in this passage but harvest also speaks of the future judgment (Mt 13:30, Rev 14:15). (But see different interpretation by John MacArthur) It is a sad irony, that if souls are not harvested as believers, souls will one day be harvested as unbelievers and suffer the eternal wrath of God! Notice that the harvest is the Lord's, expressing His sovereignty over the harvest process and yet we are given the privilege to join Him in His harvest! Is this not amazing grace! Saved sinners now seeking to see sinners saved! In this passage we are commanded to pray that the Lord of the harvest would compel workers to reap His harvest. Have you felt any compulsion in your innermost being to share the Gospel with anyone this past week, month, year? Then follow through in the power of the Spirit with the Gospel which is the power of God for salvation (since the results do not depend on your eloquence, this should take the pressure off) We need the attitude of Spirit filled Paul who said "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16+). Send out (ekbállō) means to impell, drive or thrust forth and implies urgency. Note Who does the thrusting. It is the Lord of the harvest in answer to fervent prayers.

THOUGHT - The corollary is that one is not sent, he should not "went" (bad English, but good rhyme and important truth). That is to say, if an individual does not have a Spirit given, impelling, compelling desire to go, he or she needs to be very cautious and not just go because of some idealistic reason or in response to a rousing alter call, etc. I have supported many missionaries over the past 36 years and sadly some come to mind who went but were not truly sent! The returned like a dog with his tail between his legs. And also sadly I have never heard from them again. I don't know what happened to them after they returned to the U.S. POINT - Make absolutely sure that the Lord of the harvest is calling before going

MacLaren on send out (ekbállō) - The word implies a certain measure of compulsion, for an overmastering impulse is always needed to overcome human reluctance and laziness. No man has ever done large service for God who has not felt that, like the prophet, he was laid hold of by the Spirit, and borne away, whether he would or no. ‘I must speak,’ is felt by every true messenger of God. (ED: HAS THE SPIRIT LAID HOLD OF YOU? IF SO, DO NOT DENY HIM! DO NOT MISS THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFE TIME - A ONCE IN A LIFE TIME OPPORTUNITY!)

Guzik - Using the analogy of a ripe field of grain, Jesus explained why He felt an increased urgency about His work. He considered the multitude of humanity to be like a harvest field ready for gathering. He thought of the greatness of human need, and saw it as an opportunity.

As an aside it is interesting that when we pray the Lord's (Disciple's) Prayer, we are praying for His Kingdom - "Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father Who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven." (Mt 6:9-13) As Steven Cole explains "It is only when people submit themselves daily to God as King and seek to do His will that He is hallowed or glorified on earth. So Jesus shows us that our priority in prayer should be for the Father’s glory and for His kingdom. Only after that does He instruct us to pray for our personal needs, such as our daily bread, forgiveness, and victory over sin. But the Lord’s instruction in that well-known prayer is clear, that if we are not praying first and foremost for God’s glory to be increased through the spreading of His kingdom, we are not praying rightly. So to be obedient, we pray, “Lord, send out workers into Your harvest." (ED: FOR YOUR KINGDOM) (Sermon)

David Thompson - One of the reasons why the labor force was so small is because Christ had just turned down three applicants because they were not willing to abandon everything for Him (Lk 9:57, 59, 61+)!....He does not tell them to get some talented musician to play soft music so they can move or manipulate people to get involved in service. He does not tell them to challenge everybody to get involved; he tells them to pray. Pray that God will raise up His laborers and send them out. This is God’s work, this is God’s ministry and this is God’s harvest and what is needed is men who have actually been called and gifted by God to do the work. God’s ministers are chosen and sent by Him and what God’s people need to do is pray that God will raise up those who will fulfill their responsibilities.

MacArthur interprets the harvest differently than most commentators - The Lord’s compassion was prompted by His knowledge of what awaits those who refuse to repent; the harvest of which He spoke was not one of bringing people into the kingdom of God (ED: I AM NOT SURE THAT IS THE BEST INTERPRETATION BASED ON THE CONTEXT BECAUSE THE WAY TO KEEP THEM FROM THE FUTURE BAD HARVEST IS TO BRING THEM INTO THE GOOD HARVEST NOW). It was the gathering of sinners for their final judgment (cf. Joel 3:12-14; Mt. 13:30, 39-43; Rev. 14:14-15 - ED: ALL OF THESE PASSAGES ARE ABOUT HARVEST BUT THEY SEEM TO ME TO BE IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT - THE END TIMES. Luke 10 CONTEXT IS NOT END TIMES). Compounding the matter, although the harvest is plentiful… the laborers are few. The mass of humanity moving inexorably toward divine judgment and eternal hell, while only few are working to reach them with the saving truth of the Gospel, moved the heart of the Savior as it should move us. True evangelism begins with a proper assessment of the plight of sinners; with an awareness of their desperate condition and with the realization that they all face the terrifying reality of eternal punishment. (See Luke  Commentary)

Beseech (deomai) is a strong way to ask for something - a leper imploring Jesus to heal him (Lk 5:12), a father's desperate plea to Jesus to cast a demon out of his son (Lk 9:38). To beg in English means to ask for earnestly, urgently or insistently. It implies more urgency than simply asking. The related word deesis, means prayer for a particular need (supplication). The aorist imperative pictures this as an urgent command calling for immediate response (SOULS ARE DYING DAILY WITHOUT CHRIST), for unbelievers are but a single heart beat away from an eternal separation from God if they refuse God's gracious offer of reconciliation.

George Wood - Jesus says, "We begin (this missionary effort) by praying." And the people who pray wind up going. And the people who don't pray, never go. We start praying about the need. God lays it on our heart and we go. 

Spurgeon - This prayer was to be offered by preachers themselves. In any other calling men are afraid of being crowded out if too many engage in it; but there is no fear of this in the Christian ministry; there cannot be too many soul-winners.

The Lord of the harvest (therismos) - God is the Master Who is sovereign over the work of salvation and yet here we see He gives men a responsibility in His grand plan. Amazing grace indeed - saved sinners sent to save sinners! The Sovereign Lord must be the One to raise up laborers which is why we must ask Him. We are not just to go out on our own and get "warm bodies" but pray for "willing hearts" to be raised up!

Wiersbe -  Instead of praying for an easier job, they were to pray for more laborers to join them, and we today need to pray that same prayer. (Please note that it is laborers, not spectators, who pray for more laborers! Too many Christians are praying for somebody else to do a job they are unwilling to do themselves.)

J C Ryle - The first point in our Lord’s charge to the seventy disciples is the importance of prayer and intercession. This is the leading thought with which our Lord opens His address. Before He tells His ambassadors what to do, He first bids them to pray. “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into his harvest.” Prayer is one of the best and most powerful means of helping forward the cause of Christ in the world. It is a means within the reach of all who have the Spirit of adoption. Not all believers have money to give to missions. Very few have great intellectual gifts, or extensive influence among men. But all believers can pray for the success of the Gospel,—and they ought to pray for it daily. Many and marvellous are the answers to prayer which are recorded for our learning in the Bible. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16.) Prayer is one of the principal weapons which the minister of the Gospel ought to use. To be a true successor of the apostles, he must give himself to prayer as well as to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4.) He must not only use the sword of the Spirit, but pray always, with all prayer and supplication. (Eph. 6:17, 18.) This is the way to win a blessing on his own ministry. This, above all, is the way to procure helpers to carry on Christ’s work. Colleges may educate men. Bishops may ordain them. Patrons may give them livings. But God alone can raise up and send forth “laborers” who will do work among souls. For a constant supply of such laborers let us daily pray.

Charles Wesley wrote "More Laborers" which includes these lines:

Convert and send forth more
Into thy Church abroad;
And let them speak thy word of power,
As workers with their God.

Give the pure Gospel-word,
The word of general grace;
Thee let them preach, the common Lord,
The Saviour of our race.

Wesley also wrote Lord of the Gospel harvest, send

Lord of the Gospel harvest, send
More laborers forth into Thy field:
More pastors teach Thy flock to tend:
More workmen raise Thy house to build:
His work and place to each assign,
And clothe their Word with power divine.

Charles Wesley in 1742 wrote LORD OF THE HARVEST, HEAR (play a related modern song by the Imperials Lord of the Harvest)

LORD of the harvest, hear
Thy needy servants' cry;"
Answer our faith's effectual prayer,
And all our wants supply.

On Thee we humbly wait;"
Our wants are in Thy view;
The harvest truly, Lord is great,
The laborers are few.

Convert, and send forth more
Into Thy Church abroad,
And let them speak Thy Word of power,
As workers with their God.

Give the pure Gospel word,
The word of general grace;
Thee let them preach, the common Lord,
Savior of human race.

O let them spread Thy Name,
Their mission fully prove,
Thy universal grace proclaim,
Thine all redeeming love!

On all mankind, forgiven,
Empower them still to call,
And tell each creature under Heaven
That Thou hast died for all.

The harvest (2326)(therismos from therízo = harvest, reap in turn from theros = summer which is harvest time) means the process of harvesting or reaping (Jn 4:35; Lxx = Ge 8:22, 30:14), but most NT uses are figurative - harvest of converts or saved souls (Mt 9:37, 38, Lk 10:2), the time of future judgment (Mt 13:30, Rev 14:15 because their iniquity is "ripe"). In the Septuagint the Feast of Harvest (First Fruits, Pentecost) (Ex 23:16)

Therismos - 13x in 8v - harvest

Matthew 9:37  Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

Matthew 9:38  "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

Matthew 13:30  'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"

Matthew 13:39  and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.

Mark 4:29  "But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."

Luke 10:2  And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

John 4:35  "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest '? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.

Revelation 14:15  And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe."

Therismos - 35x in 29v in the Septuagint - Gen. 8:22; Gen. 30:14; Exod. 23:16; Exod. 34:22; Lev. 19:9; Lev. 23:10; Lev. 23:22; Jos. 3:15; Jdg. 15:1; Ruth 1:22; Ruth 2:23; 1 Sam. 6:13; 1 Sam. 8:12; 1 Sam. 12:17; 2 Sam. 21:9; 2 Sam. 21:10; 2 Sam. 24:15; Job 14:9; Job 18:16; Job 29:19; Isa. 16:9; Isa. 18:5; Jer. 5:17; Jer. 5:24; Jer. 50:16

Ruth 1:22 So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest. (God's providence then led Ruth to Boaz's field to harvest).

Beseech (beg, request, pray) (1189) (deomai from deo = to bind) means to ask for something with the sense of pleading, beseeching or begging. To request, to ask for with a sense of urgency and a presumed need. When used in the context of prayer deomai means to make petition, to plead, to ask in prayer, to implore (pray for earnestly) and emphasizes the existence of a need.

Deomai - 22v - ask(1), beg(6), begged(1), begging(2), beseech(2), implored(1), making request(1), please(1), pray(2), prayed(3), praying(2). Matt. 9:38; Lk. 5:12; Lk. 8:28; Lk. 8:38; Lk. 9:38; Lk. 9:40; Lk. 10:2; Lk. 21:36; Lk. 22:32; Acts 4:31; Acts 8:22; Acts 8:24; Acts 8:34; Acts 10:2; Acts 21:39; Acts 26:3; Rom. 1:10; 2 Co. 5:20; 2 Co. 8:4; 2 Co. 10:2; Gal. 4:12; 1 Thess. 3:10

Send out (thrust out) (1544)(ekbállō from ek = out + bállō = to cast, throw, drive) means to cast, throw out often with the idea of force (Mt. 8:12; 15:17; 25:30; Acts 16:37, 27:38; Lxx - Lev. 14:40). To throw out of an area or object, throw out, jettison (Mt 21:39 Acts 27:18). Frequently used of casting out demons  (Mt 7:22, Mt 8:16, 31,9:34, 10:1, etc). Used of casting or throwing unbelievers into outer darkness (hell). In Luke 6:22 ekballo means to scorn one's name ("cast it out" so to speak). Mark 1:12 "Immediately the Spirit impelled Him (Jesus) to go out into the wilderness."

Taking a speck out of an eye (Mt 7:4, Lk 6:42), casting out demons (Mt 7:22, Mt 8:16, 31,9:34, 10:1, 8, 12:24), casting the sons (Jews in context) into the outer darkness (Mt 8:12, Mt 22:13, 25:30), sending the crowd outside (Mt 9:33), sending out workers into the harvest of souls (Mt 9:38, Lk 10:2), casting out the moneychangers (Mt 21:12, Mk 11:15), throwing the son out of the vineyard (Mt 21:39, Mk 12:8, cp Lk 4:29), throwing an eye out of its socket so one won't be cast into hell (Mk 9:47.

In the Septuagint ekballo describes driving Adam who sinned out of the garden (Ge 3:24), casting out Cain after killing Abel (Ge 4:14), Sara asking Abram to drive Hagar and Ishmael out of the household (Ge 21:10), of Pharaoh driving Israel out of Egypt (Ex 6:1, 10:11, 11:1, 12:33, 39), of casting disobedient Israel out of their land (Dt 29:28, Hos 9:15), of casting Jonah into the sea (Jonah 1:15), of the fish "casting out" Jonah on the shore (Jonah 2:10), casting out idols in that future day when Jesus returns in triumph (Isa 2:20 compare Isa 2:12, 16, 18)

Ekballo - 81x in 75v - Usage: brings(3), cast(28), casting(5), casts(5), drive(4), driven(1), drove(4), eliminated*(1), leads(1), leave(1), put(2), puts(1), puts forth(1), putting(1), scorn(1), send(2), sending...away(1), sent(3), sent...away(1), take(6), threw(3), throw(3), throwing(1), thrown(1), took(1). Matt. 7:4; Matt. 7:5; Matt. 7:22; Matt. 8:12; Matt. 8:16; Matt. 8:31; Matt. 9:25; Matt. 9:33; Matt. 9:34; Matt. 9:38; Matt. 10:1; Matt. 10:8; Matt. 12:20; Matt. 12:24; Matt. 12:26; Matt. 12:27; Matt. 12:28; Matt. 12:35; Matt. 13:52; Matt. 15:17; Matt. 17:19; Matt. 21:12; Matt. 21:39; Matt. 22:13; Matt. 25:30; Mk. 1:12; Mk. 1:34; Mk. 1:39; Mk. 1:43; Mk. 3:15; Mk. 3:22; Mk. 3:23; Mk. 5:40; Mk. 6:13; Mk. 7:26; Mk. 9:18; Mk. 9:28; Mk. 9:38; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 11:15; Mk. 12:8; Mk. 16:9; Mk. 16:17; Lk. 4:29; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 6:42; Lk. 9:40; Lk. 9:49; Lk. 10:2; Lk. 10:35; Lk. 11:14; Lk. 11:15; Lk. 11:18; Lk. 11:19; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:28; Lk. 13:32; Lk. 19:45; Lk. 20:12; Lk. 20:15; Jn. 2:15; Jn. 6:37; Jn. 9:34; Jn. 9:35; Jn. 10:4; Jn. 12:31; Acts 7:58; Acts 9:40; Acts 13:50; Acts 16:37; Acts 27:38; Gal. 4:30; Jas. 2:25; 3 Jn. 1:10; Rev. 11:2

Ekballo - 105x in 93v in the Septuagint -  Gen. 3:24; Gen. 4:14; Gen. 21:10; Exod. 2:17; Exod. 6:1; Exod. 10:11; Exod. 11:1; Exod. 12:33; Exod. 12:39; Exod. 23:18; Exod. 23:28; Exod. 23:29; Exod. 23:30; Exod. 23:31; Exod. 33:2; Exod. 34:11; Exod. 34:24; Lev. 1:16; Lev. 14:40; Lev. 21:7; Lev. 21:14; Lev. 22:13; Num. 21:32; Num. 22:6; Num. 22:11; Num. 30:9; Deut. 11:23; Deut. 29:28; Deut. 33:27; Jos. 24:12; Jos. 24:18; Jdg. 5:21; Jdg. 6:9; Jdg. 9:41; Jdg. 11:2; Jdg. 11:7; 1 Sam. 26:19; 2 Sam. 7:23; 1 Ki. 2:27; 2 Ki. 16:6; 1 Chr. 17:21; 2 Chr. 11:14; 2 Chr. 11:16; 2 Chr. 13:9; 2 Chr. 15:8; 2 Chr. 20:11; 2 Chr. 23:14; 2 Chr. 29:5; 2 Chr. 29:16; Ezr. 10:3; Job 24:12; Job 31:39; Ps. 17:11; Ps. 44:2; Ps. 50:17; Ps. 78:55; Ps. 80:8; Ps. 109:10; Prov. 18:22; Prov. 22:10; Prov. 27:15; Prov. 30:23; Eccl. 3:6; Isa. 2:20; Isa. 5:29; Isa. 22:17; Jer. 12:14; Jer. 12:15; Jer. 22:28; Jer. 23:31; Lam. 3:16; Ezek. 44:22; Hos. 9:15; Jon. 1:15; Jon. 2:10; Zech. 7:14

Laborers (Workmen) (2040ergates from ergazomai = meaning to engage in an activity involving considerable expenditure of effort. It is the root of English words like ergs, ergonomics, etc) literally describes a worker (workman) or laborer, someone who is engaged in labor (Mt 10:10, Mt 20:1-2, 8, etc). An ergates is one who effects something or brings about an effect through exertion of effort, whether mental or physical. In the spiritual realm, some of the workers are good (believers - Mt 9:37, 38, 1Ti 5:18, 2Ti 2:15) and some are evil (unbelievers = deceitful workers in 2Cor 11:13, evil workers - Php 3:2, workers of evil literally in Lk 13:27)

Ergates - 14v -  laborer(2), laborers(6), worker(1), workers(4), workman(1), workmen(1). Matt. 9:37; Matt. 9:38; Matt. 10:10; Matt. 20:1; Matt. 20:2; Matt. 20:8; Lk. 10:2; Lk. 10:7; Acts 19:25; 2 Co. 11:13; Phil. 3:2; 1 Tim. 5:18; 2 Tim. 2:15; Jas. 5:4

THOUGHT - You may say "I am not really able to go out into the mission field and harvest souls for Jesus." You may have many good reasons. But let me suggest an alternative -- you can "go" in a sense by praying for the souls of those around you and around the world. You can pray for the unreached people groups. Some unreached groups number in the millions and yet have not a single known believer in Jesus. This should shock us because their destiny is eternal punishment away from the presence of the Lord! So consider going daily into the harvest by pleading daily using the tool below. And if you need more motivation to engage in this great eternal enterprise read the seven reasons below. 

Why Should You Consider Interceding for the Hidden People Groups

  1. "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." (Mt 9:37) - Will you be a laborer for the Lord of the harvest (Mt 9:38)?
  2. You are in effect entering the mission field with your intercessory prayers. "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints (including those of the hidden people groups who will become saints - see Rev 5:9 below) (Eph 6:18+
  3. You are storing up "for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Mt 6:20-21+)
  4. You will rejoice with Paul for those precious souls in this hidden people group who accept Christ as their Savior for they will be your "hope or joy or crown of the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming." (1 Th 2:19+)
  5. You will shine like the stars for "those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." (Da 12:3+)
  6. You can be confident God will answer your prayer for Rev 5:9+ says Jesus was "slain, and purchased for God with (His) blood men from EVERY tribe and tongue and people and nation."
  7. If these Biblical truths are not sufficient motivation to redeem the precious time then take a moment and Read the longer answer
  8. Daily pray for hidden people groups at JoshuaProject

THOUGHT - Play Lord of the Harvest -- as you sing it note you are singing a prayer! I pray this song breaks our hearts for those who are dropping off into a Christ-less eternity and begin with me Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Lord of the Harvest
Let your voice be heard

In every nation
In the farthest comes
Of the World

Shatter the darkness
Let your truth be known

Gather the nations to bow
At Your throne

Lord of the Harvest

The fields are ripe for harvest
But the labourers are few
Father send Your workers
Those with hearts for You

Out into your vineyard
Weeping as they go
Help them reap a mighty
Harvest of souls

Some of us will water
Others plant the seed
Some of us will battle
In the heavenlies

None of us take glory
For those who find the truth
Jesus their praises
Are waiting for You

Lord of the Harvest

Steven Cole -  When you think about the Lord’s words in verse 2, you have to ask yourself, “Do I pray for the harvest? Did I pray for the harvest this past week? Do I regularly pray for the Lord’s work around the world?....Do I ask Him to raise up and send out workers into His harvest?” Let’s be honest: We all pray for the things that matter the most to us. I pray often for my children, because they matter greatly to me. I pray for my wife, because she matters greatly to me. If I get sick, I pray for my health, because that matters to me.

If we’re in financial difficulty or need a job, we pray earnestly for those needs, because those things matter to us. But the important question is, “Does the Lord’s harvest matter enough to me to motivate me to pray often for it?”

In the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13), what comes first? Prayer for the glory of God, that the Father’s name would be hallowed or revered. For that to happen, we must pray next that His kingdom would come and His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. It is only when people submit themselves daily to God as King and seek to do His will that He is hallowed or glorified on earth. So Jesus there shows us that our priority in prayer should be for the Father’s glory and for His kingdom. Only after that does He instruct us to pray for our personal needs, such as our daily bread, forgiveness, and victory over sin. But the Lord’s instruction in that well-known prayer is clear, that if we are not praying first and foremost for God’s glory to be increased through the spreading of His kingdom, we are not praying rightly.

So to be obedient, we pray, “Lord, send out workers into Your harvest.” We’re thinking, of course, of young people who will dedicate themselves to world missions and of young men who will feel called to the pastorate. It is true that there is always a need for more godly missionaries and pastors. It is also true that a person should not go into those areas of service without a distinct call from God, and that not everyone has such a calling. Only some should devote themselves full-time to the work of the ministry. But there is another sense in which every believer is to be a worker in God’s harvest field. Every believer is given a spiritual gift from God and is told to use it for His kingdom. Every believer is to be a witness of Jesus Christ to others in his or her sphere of influence. Every believer is to be a good steward of the material resources God has entrusted to him, so that we use our money and possessions to further His cause. So, you can’t pray for workers very long before the Lord taps you on the shoulder and asks, “What about you? I want you to work in My harvest.” (The Crucial Message)

Rod Mattoon- Harvesting is hard work, even when there are many people helping you, but these men were sent into a vast field with very few workers to help them reap a great harvest. Instead of praying for an easier job, they were to pray for more laborers to join them, and we today, need to pray that same prayer. Please note that we are to be laborers, not spectators, who pray for more laborers! Too many Christians are praying for somebody else to do a job they are unwilling to do themselves. We all are to be trying to reach people for Christ. We will give an account for the opportunities we wasted or we used to reach others for God. The prophet Ezekiel shared an important principle about responsibility and accountability for our opportunities in the book that bears his name.

Ezekiel 3:18-19... When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 “Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

ILLUSTRATION - In Phuket, Thailand, Tilly Smith, a determined 10-year-old girl, saved her parents and dozens of fellow vacationers from a deadly tsunami because she had studied a school geography lesson, and then courageously spoke what she knew to be true. As Tilly's family enjoyed a day at Maikhao Beach, the sea began to bubble and rush away from the shore. While the adults were merely curious, Tilly was petrified with fear. "Mummy, we must get off the beach now!" she said. "I think there's going to be a tsunami." The adults didn't even understand her warning until Tilly referred to it as a tidal wave. Once they understood, they all believed the youngster and evacuated the area. Minutes later, the water surged right over the beach and demolished everything in its path. The resort was destroyed, but that section of beach was one of the few places along the shores of Phuket where no one was killed or even seriously hurt. Tilly was praised for raising the alarm. "I think it's phenomenal that Tilly's parents and the others on the beach are alive because she studied hard at school," said the hotel's manager. "She's a hero." Tilly gave the credit to her geography teacher for his lesson on how earthquakes cause tsunamis. She explained, "I was on the beach, and the water started to go funny. I recognized what was happening and had a feeling there was going to be a tsunami." As those who know that judgment is coming, but also know that God has provided a way to escape (cf 1 Th 1:9-10), are we ready, willing, and courageous enough to warn others, and give them a chance to escape the fires of Hell? Will you use your opportunities to tell others about Christ? (Or will you squander them? See Redeem the Time)

Afraid To Fail?. —Luke 10:2

Things haven’t changed much in 2,000 years. Jesus observed in His day what a thoughtful Christian observes in ours. “The harvest truly is great” (Lk. 10:2).

Stroll through a bookstore and you can see shelves of books on “new age” and “spirituality.” But what is called “new age” is merely the age-old desire to make some sense out of life. Citizens of our age try to satisfy their thirst for significance by drinking too much, eating too much, watching too much television. What they are longing for is Jesus Christ.

The great theologian Augustine took the pulse of his time and ours when he wrote,

“O Lord, You have made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in You.”

The harvest has never been greater. But Jesus noted, “The laborers are few.” Why? How come there aren’t enough workers to gather in the crop? There are certainly enough professing Christians to make a dent in the harvest, but we don’t seem to want to go. Is it a fear that we may fail? Are we afraid that people will reject us and our message?

Don’t let fear stop you. Go out into the “fields” of your neighborhood, your worksite, your school. You can’t control the response—but you can preach the message. By Haddon W. Robinson  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

If faith in Christ is worth having, it's worth sharing.

Luke 10:3  "Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

Related Passages:

Mt 10:16-20+Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so (TERM OF CONCLUSION) be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 

Gilbrant on shrewd and innocent - The craftiness and shrewdness of the serpent were also well-known images in the ancient world (cf. Genesis 3:1; 2 Corinthians 11:3). Akeraios (INNOCENT) literally means "unmixed, pure"; figuratively it means "pure motive," "sincere," and "harmless." It occurs two other times in the New Testament (Romans 16:19 and Philippians 2:15). Jesus advised His disciples to be both wise and harmless. These two characteristics are to be evidenced at the same time. The disciple needs crafty intelligence to avoid being ensnared by the enemy, but he is not to be so in an evil manner. Thus "craftiness" is qualified with "harmlessness, purity, sincerity."  (Complete Biblical Library)

Matthew 7:15+ “Beware (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

John 15:20  “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

John 16:1-4 “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Acts 9:16+ for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Acts 20:29+ “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;


Go (This a verb calling for motion) -  present imperative - calls for this to be a disciple's lifestyle. The only way for us to fulfill this today is by continual (present tense) filling (Eph 5:18+) and dependence on the Holy Spirit (cp Acts 1:8+).

THOUGHT - All of us are now part of that "greater seventy" for in some of His last words to His disciples Jesus Who had been given "all heaven and on earth" issued our marching orders to "Go therefore and make disciples (matheteuo) of all the nations (Jew and Gentile), baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always (the Spirit of Christ is in us), even to the end of the age (which will abruptly terminate at His Second Coming).” (Mt 28:18-20+

Behold (idouI send (apostello) you out as lambs (aren) in the midst of wolves - Behold (idou) draws attention to what follows and is in the middle voice meaning "you yourself look, see, perceive!" Behold  is aorist imperative a command emphasizing "Listen up now and pay attention to what I am going to say!" DO NOT BE NAIVE! DON'T BE SURPRISED at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you (1Pe 4:12), but expect it! The first thing Jesus does is warn them that the job is dangerous! It comes "pre-packaged" with persecution guaranteed! So be like a lamb but do not be naive.  Jesus is the Sender. Three things are true of the person sent from God. (1) He belongs to the Lord of the harvest, Who has sent him out. (2) He is commissioned to be sent out. (3) He possesses all the authority and power of God's Spirit, Who has sent him out.  Picture  Jesus' metaphor of a lamb. That is what Jesus calls His followers to be like. Praise God that in the coming Millennial Reign of righteousness of the Righteous One, the Messiah, the image of the lamb and the wolf will be inverted ("right side up" because of righteousness reigning!) Read Isaiah 11:6; 65:25. But now the sent ones would (will still today) face fierce opposition to the message of the Kingdom of Christ shining into the kingdom of darkness. Some of the opposition might be violent which is the picture of a lamb not just facing one solitary wolf but wolfs plural! In the midst means the wolves like a hungry wolf-pack are surrounding the sent ones! This calls for continual trust in and dependence on the protection of the Sender, the Lord of the harvest!

THOUGHT - If Jesus says go, yes there will be danger, but know for certain He is ever our covenant Defender, the Protector of those He sends out. "If Christ sends us, we may trust Him to take care of us as long as we are on His errands." (MacLaren)

Spurgeon on lambs - “Defenseless, harmless, into the midst of those who would devour you if I did not send you. It would be foolhardiness to go on your own account; but I send you; and he who sends his lambs among wolves will take care of them.” As I have often reminded you, the lambs and the sheep are very defenseless; and yet, after all, there are more sheep in the world than there are wolves; and although it looked as if the wolves would soon devour the sheep, the wolves are extirpated in many a country, and the sheep are still prized; and it will be so till the end.

NET Note - On the imagery of lambs see Isa 40:11, Ezek 34:11–31, and John 10:1–18.

WOLVES:  In Palestine, wolves were the most common natural enemy of sheep. They roamed the hills and valleys, looking for a sheep that strayed away from the flock or lagged behind. When a wolf found such a sheep it quickly attacked and tore it to pieces. Even a grown, healthy sheep was utterly defenseless against a wolf. Wolves are known to protect their territory. They are ravenous and ready to hunt down, to attack and consume. A snarling wolf with bared teeth is a fearful sight (picture). Imagine a lamb confronted with such a sight! Only a "lamb" filled with the boldness energized by the Holy Spirit could stand firm against such a fearful sight! And what a paradox! As lambs we are to be meek, harmless, non-combative! I really wrestle with that last trait when I am witnessing and the hearer begins to "snarl" at me like a former Mormon (now "atheist") did last week! We need continual filling with the Spirit so that we bear His supernatural fruit, including love and gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22,23+). Paul adds "The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will." (2Ti 2:24-26+)

Brian Bell reminds us that we can go into the harvest field...Confidently - "behold I send you" - He was behind them.  All their authority is found in these 4 words. Mildly - "lambs" - to show gentleness and inoffensiveness. Realistically - "among wolves" - expect contrant opposition. Lambs among wolves? Isn't that like goldfish among piranhas? Unencumbered - "carry neither " - sacrifice even travel  (extras), to show sincerity & trust.  Seriously - "greet no one along the road" speaking of long drawn out empty compliments. Yiddish word "shmoose" conveys the sense here. "Talk in a friendly way, chit-chat, engage in idle conversation, gossip."  Don't waste time, hasten to your destination & get on with your work

Warren Wiersbe - “Any man who takes Jesus Christ seriously becomes the target of the devil,” Vance Havner often told audiences. “Most church members do not give Satan enough trouble to arouse his opposition.” (Borrow Be Compassionate)

Rod Mattoon - We are still lambs among wolves today. In fact, in our modern, so-called civilized time, 160,000 Christians are martyred for Christ every single year across the globe, especially in Muslim and Communist countries (ED: I AM NOT SURE OF THAT NUMBER OR THE STATEMENT THAT MORE CHRISTIANS ARE MARTYRED TODAY THAN AT ANY TIME IN HISTORY. BUT SEE THIS NOTE AND THIS LIST FROM OPEN DOORS). We may not face death in America, YET, but many Christians are harassed and persecuted for their faith in Christ. We all have been sent on a mission to reach even those who are wolves. Jesus warned it would not be easy. Yet, the opposition we face is an opportunity to show strength of character and sincerity of what we truly believe in our heart about the Lord.

Steven Cole - These men went out with a sense of mission. Granted, it was a special mission, and not everyone is commissioned by God to do what they did. But, if we are all commanded to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33), it’s hard to escape the fact that we all should have a sense of mission from God. We may fulfill that mission in different ways, according to our various gifts and situations. But whatever we do for the Lord, we ought to have the seriousness of purpose that comes from realizing that we have a job to do and we will give an account to the Lord of the harvest for what we did about what He told us to do.While the Lord’s instructions to these men were unique for their mission, the overall impression you get is that they were to be focused on their task and not let anything get in the way of their mission. Jesus warns them right off that He is sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves (Lk 10:3). There will be opposition and danger, and they will be helpless by themselves to stand against it; thus, they must depend on God for protection (Ed: And God's Spirit for power!). (The Crucial Message)

Paul gave a similar warning to the elders at the church at Ephesus in his last face to face meeting 

Acts 20:28-31+Be on guard (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. “Therefore be on the alert (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey), remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears."

Paul also warned the saints at Thessalonica

1 Thessalonians 3:3+  so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.

And in some of his last words of warning as he "passed off the baton" to his disciple Timothy, he gave him a promise from God (usually we like God's promises, but read on)...

2 Timothy 3:12+ Indeed, all (HOW MANY?) who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (HOW CAN WE LIVE GODLY?) will be persecuted. (SO THE PROMISE IS PERSECUTION!)

MacArthur on wolves - they would face hostility (cf. Eze 2:3–6; Jn 15:20) and spiritual danger (cf. Mt 7:15; Jn 10:12). (Wolves was) Used to describe false prophets who persecute the true ones and seek to destroy the Church (cf. 7:15; Lk 10:3; Ac 20:29). (See MacArthur Study Bible)

Spurgeon - They must therefore expect trouble, and look to a higher power than their own for protection.

Behold (2400idou  is the second person singular aorist middle imperative of eidon which means to see, perceive, look at. In the NT idou is used as a demonstrative particle that draws attention to what follows. Idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!" Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehov

Send...out (649)(apostello from apo = from, away from + stello = to withdraw from, avoid) means to send off, to send forth, to send out; to commission as a representative, an ambassador, an envoy. "To send off on a commission to do something as one’s personal representative, with credentials furnished" (Wuest) 

Lambs (704)(aren) signifying the young offspring of a sheep, as an animal for slaughter. This is one of three New Testament words for “lamb.” It occurs as early as Homer (Eighth Century B.C.) but by New Testament times had been largely replaced by arnion, a diminutive of aren (literally, “little lamb”) as the more commonly used word. The only New Testament usage is Luke 10:3 where Jesus figuratively portrayed the disciples as “lambs” going out among wolves. Aren is used in the description of the Passover Lamb in Ex 12:5 "‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats." In the coming Millennium "the wolf will dwell with the lamb (Lxx = aren), And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. (Isa. 11:6+, cf Isa 65:25)

Aren in the Septuagint - Ge 30:32; Ge 30:33; Ge 30:35; Ex 12:5; Ex 23:19; Exod. 34:26; Lev. 1:10 = "of the sheep or of the goats, for a burnt offering, he shall offer it a male without defect."; Lev. 3:7; De. 14:21; Dt. 32:14; 1 Sa 7:9; 2 Sa 6:13; 1 Ki. 1:9; 1 Ki. 1:19; 1 Ki. 1:25; 2 Ki. 3:4; 1 Chr. 29:21; Prov. 27:26; Isa. 1:11; Isa. 5:17; Isa. 11:6; Isa. 34:6; Isa. 40:11; Isa. 65:25; Jer. 51:40; Mic.  5:7

Related Resources:

ILLUSTRATION OF LAMBS AMONG WOLVES (from Rod Mattoon) - The mission students captured during China's Boxer Rebellion of 1900 were lambs among wolves. The soldiers blocked all gates but one and placed a cross on the ground. Those students that would trample the cross would be freed, but those who refused would be executed. The first eight students were terrified and trampled the cross. The eighth student, however, was a young girl and refused to do this. Instead, she prayed for strength and went out to face the firing squad. Strengthened by her example, every one of the remaining 92 students followed her to the firing-squad.

As a lamb among wolves, an eighteen year old Scottish girl, Margaret Wilson was tied to a weathered stake on the shores of the sea where she would be covered by cold rolling waves of the tide that would numb her to her bones. What was the problem? Maragaret refused to swear an oath declaring the king as the head of the church. She believed that Christ was the head of the church. Her allegiance was to Lord. For this she was put to death by drowning.

As a lamb among wolves, Polycarp, the bishop of the church of Smyra, was pressured by the Roman proconsul to renounce Jesus Christ or be burned at the stake. His response was not one of hate, but love for the Lord. He said, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?" Before the firemen torched the dry kindling that would embrace his body with searing flames and black smoke mingled with the stench of his burning body, he lifted his prayer to the Lord that He would see in a few moments. The historian Eusebius recorded the prayer of a lamb among wolves who was about to be slain and meet his Lord:

"Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the knowledge of you, I bless you that you have counted me worthy of this day and hour, that I might be in the number of the martyrs. Among these may I be received before you today in a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as you have beforehand prepared and revealed. Wherefore I also praise you also for everything; I bless you. I glorify you, through the eternal High Priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom, with Him, in the Holy Spirit, be glory unto you both now and for the ages to come. Amen."

Then the torches were lit. Before you go any further, read this prayer again and let it sink in. Wow!

As a lamb among wolves, the Bohemian reformer John Hus was a man who believed the Scriptures to be the infallible and supreme authority in all matters. He died at the stake for that belief in Constance, Germany, on his forty-second birthday. As he refused a final plea to renounce his faith in Christ, his last words were, "What I taught with my lips, I seal with my blood."

Peter told us not to be surprised when we suffer. He instructed us to use the suffering as an opportunity to glorify Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:12-16

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.

Related Resources:

They are seen—

1. Among Lions, Psa. 57:4.
2. Among Thorns, S. of S. 2:2.
3. Among Scorpions, Ezek. 2:6.
4. Among Wolves, Luke 10:3.
5. Among Tares as Wheat, Matt. 13:30.
6. Among the Heavenly Host, 2 Kings 6:17.
7. Surrounded by the Lord Himself, Psa. 125:2.

Luke 10:4  "Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way.

Related Passages:

Psalm 115:11  You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. 

Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man. 

Proverbs 3:5   Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 

Isaiah 26:3-4 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. “Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock. 

Luke 9:3+ And He said to them, “Take (present imperative with a negative) nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.


Carry (bastazono money belt (ballantion), no bag (pera), no shoesCarry (bastazo) present imperative with a negative which means do not begin carrying these items. Like the 12 before them, they were to trust the Lord for their needs. He was their Sender and He would be their Provider. Money belt (ballantion) refers to a money bag or purse. Why not carry a money bag? Is this not a question of who do I trust -- God or mammon? God's ambassadors are to trust God for provisions, not worrying about money for food, housing, or clothing (Matthew 6:24-34). Worrying about such things only weighs one down and steals precious time that should be spent in spreading the seed of the Gospel. Not only that, if we are preaching a message of trust in God, it certainly does not hurt for us to be living pictures of dependency on Jesus, our all in all! Bag (pera) refers to a leather pouch, a traveler's bag, a knapsack. BDAG says "Such a bag was part of a Cynic itinerant preacher’s equipment. Antisthenes the Cynic was the first to fold his cloak double [so he could sleep on it] and take a staff and pera with him." Jesus' disciples are not to carry these. This bag would not only be a physical but also a spiritual encumbrance, the latter because we would worry if it were full, etc. When Jesus says no shoes, presumably He means not to pack along a second set of sandals. Going barefoot in the rocky, thorny terrain is not what He was calling them to do (cf Mk 6:9+)!

Spurgeon - The king’s business required haste, and therefore the needless courtesies of life were to be omitted.

Paul learned the power of this truth of a minimalistic missionary writing  "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13+)

Spurgeon - This time, when Christ sent out the seventy, he bade them take no provision, for they might depend upon the kindness of the people. Afterwards, when he was about to leave his disciples, he bade them take both purse and scrip, for they were going among an unfriendly people; but on this first mission be knew that there was a kindly feeling towards them, so he said, “Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes.”

Greet (aspazomai)  no one (note) on the way - Literally "no one on the way greet." Greet (salute, embrace, take leave, pay respects) (aspazomai) is not an encouragement to rudeness because Jewish greetings were generally long and involved (sometimes it might take an entire day!) which would have resulted in an unnecessary delay that would blunt the urgency of their commission. Jesus wants His disciples (you and me included) to STAY ON TARGET, to STAY FOCUSED.

THOUGHT - One of the best ways to maintain this focused mentality is to allow His Word (cf fix your eyes on Jesus - Heb 12:2+, Col 3:1-2) to create in your heart what I call "Vertical Vision", seeing the temporal with eyes and mindset of eternity! It's like having eternity stamped on your eyeballs! That will radically change your "mundane" daily activities into a veritable adventure for the King of kings! (See discussion of "Vertical Vision") You have only a finite amount of time to reap the ripe field (James 4:14+, Ps 144:4! Beloved, do you have this sense of "this one thing I do," a single minded passion for seeking to gather lost souls into the Kingdom of God? If not beg God's Spirit to instill a deep, driving passion in your heart and rest assured, in His perfect timing, He will do it! He is ever ready to accept committed workers into His harvest. The harvest time is fading fast as we move closer and closer to the Second Coming

Steven Cole - They were to travel light and trust God for the provisions they needed. They shouldn’t get distracted by the belongings that they were carrying with them, but should stay focused on their mission. They were to “greet no one on the way.” This did not mean that they were to be rude or unfriendly, but rather that they were not to get distracted with lengthy chitchat that did not contribute to their mission. (The Crucial Message)

Rod Mattoon  on greet no one - What does this mean? In Bible times, if two Arabs of equal rank met each other, they extended to each other the right hand, and having clasped, they elevated the hands as if to kiss them. Each one would draw back his own hand, kiss it, instead of his friend's hand, and then place it upon his forehead. The parties then continued their oriental etiquette and salutation by kissing each other's beard. They gave thanks to God that they were once more permitted to see their friend and they prayed to the Almighty in his behalf. They would inquire of the person's health and the health of their family. The greeting was also accompanied by a large amount of bowing and posturing of the body. Many times they repeated not less than ten times the ceremony of grasping hands, kissing, inquiries, and bowing. These salutations consumed a lot of time. Unfortunately, these greetings would become characterized by insincerity, flattery, and falsehood. Jesus instructed His men to not get bogged down with these salutations. They could give the customary greeting of "Peace," but were not to get bogged down in this oriental custom.

MacLaren - Energetic pursuit of their work, unimpeded by distractions of social intercourse, is meant by the prohibition of saluting by the way. That does not mean churlish isolation, but any one who has ever seen two Easterns ‘saluting’ knows what a long-drawn-out affair it is. How far along the road one might have travelled while all that empty ceremony was being got through! The time for salutations is when the journey is over. They mean something then. The great effect of the presence of Christ’s servants should be to impart the peace which they themselves possess. We should put reality into conventional courtesies. All Christians are to be peacemakers in the deepest sense, and especially in regard to men’s relations with God. The whole scope of our work may be summed up as being to proclaim and bring peace with God, with ourselves, with all others, and with circumstances. The universality of our message is implied in the fact that the salutation is to be given in every house entered, and without any inquiry whether a ‘son of peace’ is there.

Robertson - The peril of such wayside salutations was palaver and delay. The King’s business required haste. Elisha’s servant was not to tarry for salutations or salaams (2 Kings 4:29). These oriental greetings were tedious, complicated, and often meddlesome if others were present or engaged in a bargain.

MacArthur - A greeting in that culture was an elaborate ceremony, involving many formalities, perhaps even a meal, and long delays (see note on 11:43). A person on an extremely urgent mission could be excused from such formalities without being thought rude. Everything in Jesus’ instructions speaks of the shortness of time and the great urgency of the task. (See MacArthur Bible Commentary)

Vincent - Oriental salutations are tedious and complicated. The command is suited to a rapid and temporary mission. Compare 2 Kings 4:29. “These instructions were also intended to reprove another propensity which an Oriental can hardly resist, no matter how urgent his business. If he meets an acquaintance, he must stop and make an endless number of inquiries, and answer as many. If they come upon men making a bargain, or discussing any other matter, they must pause and intrude their own ideas, and enter keenly into the business, though it in nowise concerns them; and, more especially, an Oriental can never resist the temptation to assist when accounts are being settled or money counted out. The clink of coin has a positive fascination to them” (Thomson, “Land and Book”).

Spurgeon - Eastern salutations by the way took up a very long time, the people saying a lot of fine nothings to one another. Christian ministers ought to be excused from many of the lengthy courtesies of life; and if they are not excused, if they are faithful, they will take French leave to be excused. We have not time for all those pretty things that some people attend to. If we are to win souls, we must go to work like the king’s couriers, who turn not aside to attend to anything else, but devote all their energies to the mission on which they are sent.

THOUGHT - The upshot of these instructions from Jesus is that the disciples are to act now in dependence on His power and provision for the hour is urgent. Their mission in a dying temporal world was to be driven by a vision of the eternal world to come. As Jesus said in John's Gospel “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4) As Moses prayed (in context of judgment noted in Ps 90:11) - "So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) As Paul said "making the most (redeeming) of your time, because the days are evil.(Eph 5:16+)

Carry (941bastazo from basis = foot) generally means to take up and hold (Jn 10:31, 20:15, Acts 21:35) or to bear (Mt 3:11, Mk 14:13, Lk 22:10). The meaning common in classic Greek of “to pick up” (Jn 10:31), carry (Jn 19:17), endure (borne - Mt 20:12), remove (Mt 3:11), and the common Koine sense of “to steal” (Jn 12:6). Luke 14:27; John 19:17 refer to carrying the cross. In Acts 9:15 "to bear My Name" means to announce it to "Gentiles and kings and sons." Luke uses bastazo for bearers of the coffin (Lk 7:14), womb that bore Jesus (Lk 11:27), carry one's cross (Lk 14:27) and carrying a pitcher of water (Lk 22:10). 

Bastazo - 27v - bear(8), bearers(1), bearing(1), bore(1), borne(1), carried(2), carried...away(1), carried away(1), carries(1), carry(2), carrying(2), endured(1), picked(1), pilfer(1), remove(1), supports(1), tolerate(1). Matt. 3:11; Matt. 8:17; Matt. 20:12; Mk. 14:13; Lk. 7:14; Lk. 10:4; Lk. 11:27; Lk. 14:27; Lk. 22:10; Jn. 10:31; Jn. 12:6; Jn. 16:12; Jn. 19:17; Jn. 20:15; Acts 3:2; Acts 9:15; Acts 15:10; Acts 21:35; Rom. 11:18; Rom. 15:1; Gal. 5:10; Gal. 6:2; Gal. 6:5; Gal. 6:17; Rev. 2:2; Rev. 2:3; Rev. 17:7

Money belts (905ballantion refers to a purse or pouch, a money bag. The disciples were not to rely on earthly security in their ministry; rather, they were to make for themselves “ballantia which wax not old,” in heaven

Ballantion - 4v - Lk. 10:4; Lk. 12:33; Lk. 22:35; Lk. 22:36

Bag (4082pera is a knapsack, or leather pouch used by travelers. It was used for carrying personal belongings, or food and supplies. An inscription suggests that pēra could be a type of “begging bag” in which funds were collected (Moulton-Milligan).

TDNT says a pera "is the open sack carried on the left hip by a strap over the right shoulder and used by peasants, shepherds, beggars, and wandering philosophers. Jesus is teaching the disciples to rely wholly on God's provision. They are not disappointed in this regard (Lk. 22:35), but Lk. 22:36 reflects a changed situation." (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

Pera - 6v - Matt. 10:10; Mk. 6:8; Lk. 9:3; Lk. 10:4; Lk. 22:35; Lk. 22:36

Greet (salute, embrace, take leave, pay respects) (782aspazomai from a + spao = draw out as a sword, pull, breathe) means to enfold in arms, to welcome, to embrace. To salute one (not in a military sense), greet, bid, wish well to. In classical literature aspazomai can also be used of physical expressions of welcome, such as “embrace” and “kiss.” It is spoken of those who meet (Mt. 10:12; Mk 9:15; Lk 1:40; 10:4; Acts 21:19; Lxx = Ex. 18:7) or separate (Acts 20:1; 21:6). This is one final expression of Paul's paternal love. A salutation on meeting; an expression of good wishes at the opening (or in Hellenistic times times also the close) of a letter. Aspazomai is constantly used in the papyri for conveying the greetings at the end of a letter (Ro 16:3, 5–16, 21–23; 1Cor. 16:19, 20; 2Cor. 13:12; Phil. 4:21, 22; Col. 4:10, 12, 14, 15; 1Th. 5:26; 2Ti 4:19, 21; Titus 3:15; Philemon 1:23; Heb. 13:24; 1Pet. 5:13; 2 John 1:13; 3 John 1:14). In Heb 11:13 spoken of promises to be embraced, to be happy about, based on the fact that they would prove to be particularly welcome. In Acts 20:1 the idea is to that Paul took "his leave" of the brethren and departed for Macedonia. In other words here aspazomai means to say goodbye, to bid goodbye to or to take leave of. In the next chapter aspazomai is used of "greeting the brethren" after which Paul stayed with them. In Acts 25:13 King Agrippa and Bernice "paid their respects" (aspazomai) to Festus. 

William Barclay applies Luke 10:1-16 - This passage tells us certain supremely important things about both the preacher and the hearer.

(i) The preacher is not to be cluttered up with material things; he is to travel light. It is easy to get entangled in the things of this life. Once Dr. Johnson, after seeing through a great castle and its policies, remarked grimly, "These are the things which make it difficult to die." Earth must never blot out heaven.

(ii) The preacher is to concentrate on his task; he is to greet no man on the way. This goes back to Elisha's instruction to Gehazi in 2 Kings 4:29. It is not an instruction to discourtesy; but means that the man of God must not turn aside or linger on the lesser things while the great things call him.

(iii) The preacher must not be in the work for what he can get out of it; he is to eat what is put before him and must not move from house to house seeking better and more comfortable quarters. It was not long before the church had its spongers. There is a work called The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. It was written about A.D. 100, and is the church's first book of order. In those days there were prophets who wandered from town to town. It is laid down that if a prophet wishes to stay in a place for more than three days without working he is a false prophet; and if a prophet in the Spirit asks for money or a meal he is a false prophet! The labourer is worthy of his hire, but the servant of a crucified Master cannot be a seeker for luxury.

(iv) To have heard God's word is a great responsibility. A man will be judged according to what he has had the chance to know. We allow things in a child we condemn in an adult; we forgive things in a savage we punish in a civilized man. Responsibility is the other side of privilege.

(v) It is a terrible thing to reject God's invitation. There is a sense in which every promise of God that a man has ever heard can become his condemnation. If he receives these promises they are his greatest glory, but each one that he has rejected will some day be a witness against him. (Daily Study Bible)

James Freeman - scroll to page 1024 in Manners and Customs 767. Formal Salutations Luke 10:4. Salute no man by the way. This was not designed to forbid them from exercising the usual courtesies of life, in giving a mere salaam ("peace") to those they might meet, as is evident from the very next verse, and also from Matthew 10:12-13. They were, doubtless, allowed to give the usual salutation of “Peace!” See note on John 20:19. But the text is designed to remind them of the importance of their mission, and of the necessity of diligence in its execution. Hence, they were riot to observe the tedious and oft-repeated salutations with which the Orientals love to greet each other. These ceremonies of salutation are numerous and slowly performed. When two friends meet each inquires of the other, again and again, concerning his health and the health of his family; and repeats over and over again the best wishes for his prosperity and peace, thanking God that he is permitted once more to behold his face. These formalities are accompanied by numerous bowings and posturing¨ of the body, and are sometimes repeated as often as ten times, consuming much time and making great delay. Those whom our Lord sent forth were forbidden to do this. A similar injunction was given by Elisha when he sent his servant Gehazi to the Shunamite’s house: “If thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again” (2 Kings 4:29).

ILLUSTRATION - Kasey Baker, one of the sons of our missionaries Keith and Theresa Baker, shared his story of God's protecting hand upon his life in Haiti this week and how God directed his path. Here is what he said:

I was in Haiti on January 12, 2010. It felt like just a normal day in Gonaives, Haiti. I was on my way home from playing basketball just like any other day. Then around 4:30 I started to hear the sounds of screaming and glass shattering all around me. It took me a minute to realize what was happening. I had never been in an earthquake of any size before, much less one of this magnitude. Once the ground stopped shaking I tried to call a few people, but the cell phones were down. I ran home to make sure everything was all right. Thankfully it turned out nobody was hurt. There was a lot of property damage, and the power, telephones, and Internet were out for several days, but thankfully, there were minimal injuries, and loss of life.
Just 90 miles south of me was Port-Au-Prince, the center of the earthquake. It is the capital of Haiti, and home to over 2 million people. The scene resembles a war zone. There are buildings flattened all over the place. There were hospitals full of people that completely collapsed. Just about all the schools in Haiti were in session at the time of the earthquake, and hundreds of those were flattened with the children inside. The National Palace was destroyed. They are already saying 100,000-500,000 people are dead, and those numbers will keep growing and growing. The people that have been to Port-Au-Prince are saying there are dead bodies everywhere.

It wasn't just Port-Au-Prince either. There are several other major cities that were hit equally as bad, and a lot of small villages are34 completely wiped out. The authorities can't start rescuing people from the rubble because the tremors haven't stopped, and even then, they don't have a fire department, or anything like that to go rescue people from the rubble. The people aren't allowed to return to their homes until the aftershocks stop. People can't get to the hospitals because they are gone, or already filled up. There are thugs roaming the streets taking whatever they want. The US Military has sent some troops to clean up, but they can't control that much.

I was supposed to be in Port-Au-Prince that day attending a first aid class, but the truck I was supposed to go in wouldn't start. The building I would have been staying in was the same building that fell on my little second-grade friend, Peterson. It was completely flattened. I should have died in that earthquake, but some divine intervention stopped me from being able to go. Beloved, God directed Kasey's life and He will direct your path, too. (Rod Mattoon )

Travelin’ Light - Bob Gass - A Fresh Word for Today

Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 
(Luke 10:3–4, NIV)

Dr. James McConnell points out that what Jesus said to His disciples was, “Carry no purse”—no hoarding! “No bag”—no involvements! “Greet no man”—no wasting time!

No hoarding! God will bless the man or woman who’ll say, “Every penny you give me above my needs, I’ll use to tell the story to those who’ve never heard.” Imagine standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ with a pile of money invested, while multitudes starve and the world is unreached with the Gospel! What could you possibly say? (See 2 Corinthians 5:10.)

No excess baggage. “Let us strip off everything that slows us down … and let us run” (Hebrews 12:1, TLB). Whatever can get your attention can influence you; whatever can keep your attention can master you! Satan dreads the completion of your assignment. Fight to keep your focus!

Don’t waste time! Question any relationship that doesn’t contribute to your destiny! Paul said, “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed” (2 Thessalonians 3:14). The hour is too late, and the assignment is too urgent! When I lived in Maine, they closed down the schools for a three-week period, and everybody would go into the potato fields to gather the harvest. To wait is to be too late!


Luke 10:5  "Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house.'     


Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace (eirene) be to this house.' - First say present imperative is a command to continually begin their introduction with the words "Peace (Hebrew Shalom) be on this house."Peace be to this house (Judges 19:20+) - This indicates God's blessing was to be upon the house. Peace is supposedly used in its Semitic sense of shalom which is a calling down of wholeness, prosperity and especially salvation on all the souls in the house. This command by Jesus surely echoes Paul's description in Ephesians 6:15 of these seventy men "having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE."  (Eph 6:15+) The Gospel first gives us peace with God (Ro 5:1+), and then gives us the chance to daily experience the peace of God in our heart (Phil 4:6+). The Gospel also brings about peace between men (Eph 2:14+). 

Spurgeon - So that it will not be wasted. Wish well, and your well-wishing will do you good, even if it does nobody else good. Our chickens come home to roost. If they be curses, they will come upon ourselves; if they be blessings, they will bless ourselves as well as others. 

Steven Cole - The disciples are not to be distracted from their mission by moving from house to house in search of the best food and lodging (Lk 10:5-8). Rather, if someone is willing to house and feed them and the person is sympathetic to the mission, they should stay there and get on with the work. While the specific instructions do not apply to us, the main point does: We are not just to dabble in the things of God. We must stay focused on our mission. Jesus commands every believer to “seek first His kingdom and righteousness.” 

ILLUSTRATION A man was fishing without success when he noticed a woman nearby who was reeling in one after another. Frustrated, he finally asked the woman her secret. “Are you fishing for supper or for sport?” she asked. “I’m fishing for sport,” he answered. “Well, there’s your problem,” the woman stated. “I’m fishing for supper.” (Reader’s Digest [11/96].)

We aren’t to ask the Lord to send out hobbyists into His harvest. We’re supposed to pray for workers. Workers are intent on the job, because they’re working for their supper. If we care about the things God cares about, we will entreat Him to send out workers into His harvest field. We can’t sincerely pray for workers if we aren’t one of them. So we should begin to pray, “Lord, what is my mission? What do You want me to do to further Your cause?” Once you figure that out, these verses give at least two warnings:

• Don’t give up because of opposition or rejection. Rather, expect it.

Sheep wandering in the midst of a wolf pack should not expect to have a jolly good time. Most of the opposition that Jesus and His workers encountered came from the religious establishment. When I went into pastoral ministry, for some reason I expected that most of my opposition would come from outside the church. The fact is, unless you try to shut down an abortion clinic or a pornographic bookstore, outsiders don’t really care what you’re doing. The main opposition you face comes from those in the church. Be prepared: If you get involved in serving the Lord, you will be criticized, mostly by those in the church.

• Don’t get distracted by social contacts or material possessions. Rather, stay focused on your mission.
Just as these workers could easily have been distracted by engaging in meaningless chitchat with those they met along the way, we can be distracted by social contacts that are extraneous to our mission. We need to stay focused on our purpose. Jesus was known as the friend of sinners because He went to their social gatherings. But He never went just to socialize. He always went with a purpose, to seek and to save the lost. If you go to social gatherings without a sense of purpose, you’ll get sucked into the world’s meaningless ways and you’ll cease to be a worker in the harvest. The harvest worker’s focus is always, “Where is this person at spiritually and how can I be a part of bringing him or her to the Lord?” Also, we need to be careful not to get distracted by material possessions. While God graciously supplies us with all things to enjoy, we are not to fix our hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God. We are to be rich in good works, storing up the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that we may take hold of that which is life indeed (1 Tim. 6:17-19). (The Crucial Message)

Peace (1515)(eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom- "peace to you".

Eirene can convey the sense of an inner rest, well being and harmony. The ultimate peace is the state of reconciliation with God, effected by placing one's faith in the gospel. In eschatology, peace is prophesied to be an essential characteristic of the Messianic kingdom (Acts 10:36). Peace is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies or inwardly, as in the current context, within the soul. Peace implies health, well-being, and prosperity.

A REAL LIFE ILLUSTRATION OF "PEACE" - Jim Walton was translating the NT for the Muinane people of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. But he was having trouble with the word peace. During this time, Fernando, the village chief, was promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3 days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana, so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left. Fernando was livid because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton had taped the chief's diatribe. When he later translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase, "I don't have one heart." Jim asked other villagers what having "one heart" meant, and he found that it was like saying, "There is nothing between you and the other person." That, Walton realized, was just what he needed to translate the word peace. To have peace with God means that there is nothing--no sin, no guilt, no condemnation--that separates us. And that peace with God is possible only through Christ (Ro 5:1-note). Do you have "one heart" with God today?

Eirene in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:79; Lk. 2:14; Lk. 2:29; Lk. 7:50; Lk. 8:48; Lk. 10:5; Lk. 10:6; Lk. 11:21; Lk. 12:51; Lk. 14:32; Lk. 19:38; Lk. 19:42; Lk. 24:36;Acts 7:26; Acts 9:31; Acts 10:36; Acts 12:20; Acts 15:33; Acts 16:36; Acts 24:2;

Luke 10:6  "If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 


If a man of peace (eirene) is there, your peace (eirenewill rest on (epanapaúōhim; but if not, it will return to you - Note the term of contrast "but" which presents a striking contrast between those receptive to the Gospel of peace and those who reject it, preferring to remain at enmity with God (Eph 2:16+)!  Your peace refers not to what they possessed as men, but the message they possessed from God announcing peace with Him (Ro 5:1+). 

Man of peace - The Greek is more literally "son of peace," which is more accurate because the "Son of" something ("Sons of Thunder" - Mk 3:17+, Sons of Belial [Satan] - Jdg 19:22KJV, 1Sa 2:12KJV,2Sa 23:6KJV, 1Ki 21:10, Sons of this age - Lk 20:34, Sons of disobedience - Eph 2:2, Eph 5:6, sons of light and sons of day - 1Th 5:5) reflected the well-known Hebrew idiom meaning a person characterized by whatever they were the "son of" - thunder, belial, disobedience, light/day or in this case peace. Peace characterized this person who thus was "a peaceful man." This describes a man whose character reveals that peace which he receives from God. Such a man would have been responsive to Christ's messengers, open to the Gospel which alone brings about the miracle of peace with a Holy God through the Cross of Christ. 

Cleon Rogers on man of peace - In the Semitic sense of “one characterized by wholeness,” that is, “one who has been born of peace and is also destined for the peace of others” (Borrow The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament - interesting word study resource)

Robertson on return to you - Common verb anakamptō, to bend back, return. The peace in that case will bend back with blessing upon the one who spoke it.

Wiersbe -  Like Joshua’s army of old, they first proclaimed peace to the cities. If a city rejected the offer of peace, then it chose judgment (Deut. 20:10–18+). It is a serious thing to reject the ambassadors God sends. (Borrow Be Compassionate)

The point of return to you is that the disciple was not to proclaim the message of peace to anyone who was not willing to receive it. Neither the messenger nor the message was to be forced upon anyone. Don't spend your life trying to pound open a closed door! If you see an opportunity to share the Gospel then stay, but if not then leave! Compare Matthew 10:12-15.

Leon Morris -  This figurative language assures the disciples that they will not be trying to convey a blessing to someone who does not wish to receive it. God’s good gifts are not given by magic. (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Spurgeon - No blessing can be lost, if not well bestowed it will come home to the giver. 

Rod Mattoon - Jesus instructs these men on what to when they entered a home. They were to pronounce God's peace on that home. If that person was peaceful, he would enjoy the blessing of peace. If he was not, then God's peace would rest upon the disciples. Those who greeted these men had an opportunity to be a blessing or to reject that opportunity. If the people extended hospitality to these disciples, they were to eat whatever was set before them and be content. Some of those homes may have included non-Jewish families that did not observe the Levitical dietary laws. Jesus told them to willingly eat and drink what was before them and not be distracted by their meals. Jesus also told his disciples to accept hospitality graciously because their work entitled them to it. Preachers of the Gospel deserve to be supported, and it is believers' responsibility to make sure they have what they need.

MacLaren on it will return to you - The reflex blessedness of Christian effort is taught in the promise that the peace, vainly wished for those who would not receive it, is not wasted like spilt water, but comes back like a dove, to the hand of its sender. If we do no other person good, we bless ourselves by all work for others.

Rest on (1879)(epanapaúō from epí = upon + anapaúomai = to rest) means to rely, rest, repose oneself upon, finding comfort or inner security (Ro. 2:17 = only other NT use; Sept.: Mic. 3:11); to rest with the sense of remaining upon (Luke 10:6) Used in the Septuagint of the Holy Spirit resting on men (Nu 11:25, 26) and spirit of Elijah resting on Elisha (2 Kgs. 2:15).

Friberg - basic meaning = rest on; (1) continue, remain with (Lk 10.6); (2) as finding comfort through confident dependence on something rely on, trust in ( Ro 2.17) (Borrow Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

Romans 2:17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

Numbers 11:25 (and Nu 11:26) Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested (Lxx = epanapaúō) upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again. 

Micah 3:11 Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, Her priests instruct for a price And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on (Lxx = epanapaúō) the LORD saying, "Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us."

Luke 10:7 "Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. 

Related Passages:

1 Timothy 5:17-18  The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.

Comment - Note the exact phrase "the laborer is worthy of his wages," which suggests that by the time of Paul's writing 1 Timothy, the Gospel of Luke may well have been known Scripture. 

Luke 22:36+ (CHRIST GIVES DIFFERENT INSTRUCTIONS) -  And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.


Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you Stay (meno) means to tarry, and is a command from Jesus in the present imperative (continually remain in that house). Don't go from house to house. We see this today in laborers seeking to reach "Hidden or Unreached People Groups" where the gospel worker lives among the people group establishing themselves in the community, creating trust and lending credibility to their message of good news. They "preach" the good news with both their life and their lips. And don't be "picky" eaters. You are not going to feed your stomachs, but to feed souls the Bread of life. "They were neither to be beggars nor feasters; but, being refreshed at one hospitable table, they were to go on with their work." (Spurgeon)

The laborer is worthy of his wages - Paul uses this exact phrase in 1Ti 5:18 This statement is quoted by Paul in 1 Timothy 5:18, the only place where a New Testament writer quotes another New Testament passage as "Scripture." This gives incidental confirmation of the New Testament--Luke in particular--as being on a par with the Old Testament Scriptures. (Morris - Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

1 Ti 5:18 - For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

In other words the worker was to be cared for and compensated regarding the necessities (housing, food, drink).  

This  passage is similar to Paul's instructions

1 Cor. 9:14  So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. 

Galatians 6:6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

1 Tim. 6:17-18 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

John touched on this issue in his Third Epistle explaining how the early Church obeyed this principle by providing for its evangelists and teachers so they in turn would not be dependent on those to whom they ministered

Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth. (3 John 5-8).

What they give you - In other words the gospel worker is to receive what they give without complaining. Don't seek better food. MacLaren writes "The suspicion that a Christian worker is fond of good living and sensuous delights robs his work of power. "

George Woods - "Eat what's set before you." You're going to be in Gentile territory. You don't always worry about whether the food's kosher or not. Sit down and eat. Stay. Don't try to weasel yourself into a better house. (George Wood's Sermons)

POSB - The laborer was to live in simplicity, giving all that he had beyond his own needs—giving all to meet the needs of others. He was to seek to meet the needs of men, not to secure the things of this world. What a contrast of value: things vs. people. How mixed up men allow their values to become. (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

Gilbrant - It was not too long before the Early Church had to regulate itinerant preachers. In the Didachē, (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, circa a.d. 100) reference is made to wandering "prophets." In this book of religious order it clearly states if a prophet wished to stay more than 3 days in one place, he was a false prophet. If he asked for money or a meal, he was a false prophet. This seems rather harsh judgment. But it shows how the principle Jesus taught had been abused. (Complete Biblical Library)

Spurgeon - The Jewish Rabbis, in their perambulations, were very particular about food; it is said to have been very difficult to find a dish to their taste. This might be unclean in one way, and that not up to the mark in another; but here the Master exempts his ambassadors from attention to these minor matters. They had something better to do than to be always careful about what they should eat or what they should drink, so he said to them, “Eat such things as are set before you.”

Rod Mattoon  - The Lord also mentioned that if the family was content in caring for them, they were not to go from house to house, but to stay put where they were if the host was offering shelter. For the two disciples to move around from home to home could offend the families who first took them in their care. If the disciples appeared not to appreciate the hospitality offered them, the town might not accept Jesus when He followed them there. In addition, by staying in one place, the disciples would not have to worry continually about getting good accommodations. They could settle down and do their appointed task.

Morris - The disciples are not to go from house to house. That would mean engaging in a social round and being entertained long after they have done their work. There is an urgency about their mission. They must press on. (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

MacArthur on do not keep moving (for lodging) from house to house - The disciples were to carefully select where they stayed (cf. Mt 10:11), but once there, the sole focus was to be on ministry. Contentment with their first host and his accommodations would be a testimony to others while the disciples ministered (cf. 1Ti 6:6). They were to establish headquarters in a village and not waste time moving around or seeking more comfortable housing. (Study Bible)

Robertson on do not keep moving - As a habit, [mē - negative] and the present imperative, and so avoid waste of time with such rounds of invitations as would come.

Eating and drinking - To refuse to eat the host’s bread would be a breach of hospitality.

POSB has an interesting comment that "the method Christ chose for evangelizing was the method of home evangelism (cp. Luke 10:5f). Note this, for it should speak loudly and clearly to us. The disciple was to carefully investigate and search out a receptive family and home. He was to make that home the center for ministry. Note several things about this method.

  1. It emphasizes the family, making it the very hub of ministry.
  2. It stresses stability, security, and settledness. Nothing on earth is to be any more secure and stable than the family. By placing the center of ministry in the home, the Kingdom of God becomes secure and stable.
  3. It centers preaching and ministering in the community, right where people live and walk. It makes the presence of Christ visible to all in day to day living.
  4. It serves as the center from which the message can move out in an ever widening circle, spreading from family to family.

The early church was definitely centered in the homes of committed believers (Acts 5:42; Acts 12:12; Acts 16:40; Acts 20:20; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philemon 2).   (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

James Freeman - scroll to page 1025 in Manners and Customs 768. Formal Visiting Luke 10:7. In the same house remain…Go not from house to house. The exhortation to diligence in their work, alluded to in the last note, is repeated in a different form in this text. As salutations are tedious and frequent, so Oriental etiquette requires much visiting from house to house. This consumes time and takes attention from business; hence our Lord commands his disciples not to do it.

Luke 10:8  "Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you


Whatever city you enter and they receive you - Jesus shifts from individual houses (Lk 10:7) to the city as a whole, as in Lk 10:10–12. They receive  (dechomai)  means that they put the "Welcome Mat" out for you.  Dechomai  is used in a similar context in Matthew where Jesus declared:

And whoever does not receive (dechoma) you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet....40 He who receives (dechoma)  you receives (dechoma) Me, and he who receives (dechoma) Me receives (dechoma) Him who sent Me. (Mt 10:14, 40 - dechomai used 5 times!)

Comment: Here dechomai pictures receiving of one as you would a guest, which helps one understand the figurative uses in other NT passages. TDNT adds that "In Mt. 10:40, 41ff. special importance is attached to receiving the disciples, for since they are the envoys of Jesus, receiving them is receiving him, and therefore God. Through the disciples Jesus himself knocks at the heart’s door. They are the bearers of Christ. Christ is present in them; they continue and extend his mission. More than simple hospitality is involved, and therefore the love expended on them will bring a special reward. The same applies to receiving a child in Christ’s name - Mt. 18:5, 6 - for Christ himself comes in the person of the child, and what is done for the child is done for him. This gives even such an unassuming act a unique significance.- (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

Eat  (present imperative) what is set before you - To refuse to eat would be a breach of Oriental hospitality. This reminds me of the old saying "Beggars can't be choosey." They were not to be focused on the food which perishes, but on the message of the food which gives eternal life. 

Robertson on eat what is set before you - The things placed before you from time to time (present passive participle, repetition). Every preacher needs this lesson of common politeness. These directions may seem perfunctory and even commonplace, but every teacher of young preachers knows how necessary they are. Hence they were given both to the Twelve and to the Seventy.

Morris -  In the area beyond Jordan to which they were apparently going there were many Gentiles and the food offered might not always satisfy the rigorist for ceremonial purity. They were not to be sidetracked into fussiness about food and food laws. (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Receive (welcome) (1209)(dechomai) = middle voice of a primary verb) means to to receive something offered or transmitted by another (Luke 2:28) with a deliberate and ready reception, to receive kindly and so to take to oneself. To take something into one's hand and so to grasp (Luke 2:28, 22:17). To be receptive to someone (Mt 10:14, 40). To take a favorable attitude toward something (Mt 11:14). As illustrated in some of the verses below Jesus used dechomai to describe the way that humble, childlike believers (Mt 18:5), faithful preachers of the gospel (Mt 10:14), and the gospel itself (Luke 8:13; cf. Acts 8:14; 17:11) should be received. It means to welcome as a teacher, a friend, or a guest into one's house. The term was often used of welcoming honored guests and meeting their needs with special attention and kindness. Figuratively receive...kingdom of God (Mk 10:15; Lu 18:17); living words (Acts 7:38);grace of God (2Co 6:1; Jer 9:20;17:23); what is received by ear, hear of, learn (gospel) (2Co11:4)  admit with mind & heart - approve, embrace, follow (Mt 11:14). Receive  exhortation or teaching (2Co 8:17 Pr 10:8; Zep 3:7).

Dechomai in Luke and Acts - Lk. 2:28; Lk. 8:13; Lk. 9:5; Lk. 9:48; Lk. 9:53; Lk. 10:8; Lk. 10:10; Lk. 16:4; Lk. 16:6; Lk. 16:7; Lk. 16:9; Lk. 18:17; Lk. 22:17; Acts 3:21; Acts 7:38; Acts 7:59; Acts 8:14; Acts 11:1; Acts 17:11; Acts 22:5; Acts 28:21

Luke 10:9  and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 

CSB  Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near you.'

ESV  Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'

KJV And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

GWN  Heal the sick that are there, and tell the people, 'The kingdom of God is near you!'

NET  Heal the sick in that town and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come upon you!'

NAB cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'

NIV   Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.'

NLT   Heal the sick, and tell them, 'The Kingdom of God is near you now.'

YLT  and heal the ailing in it, and say to them, The reign of God hath come nigh to you.

Related Passages:

Mark 1:15+ and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (present imperative = calls for this to be one's lifestyle = a believer is a "repenter"!) and believe (present imperative = calls for this to be one's lifestyle) in the gospel."

Matthew 3:2+  (JOHN THE BAPTIST) “Repent (present imperative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for (TERM OF EXPLANATION - EXPLAINS WHY REPENTANCE IS CRUCIAL) the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17+; From that time Jesus began to preach (present tense) and say, “Repent, for (TERM OF EXPLANATION - EXPLAINS WHY REPENTANCE IS CRUCIAL) the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:23+ Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming (present tense) the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. 

Matthew 9:35+ Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming (present tense) the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. 

Luke 4:43+  But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” 

Matthew 10:7+  “And as you go, preach (present imperative), saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.



And heal (therapeuo in cf Lk 9:1, 6+) those in it who are sick - Heal (therapeuo) is a command in the  present imperative (God's commandments always include His enablement - clearly the Spirit was empowering the 70 disciples).  Notice also this verse begins with and (kai) linking it to the previous thought. In other words those souls who receive Jesus' disciples is where healing of the sick can take place.  Luke describes the ministry of our Lord writing “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38+) Easterners are often more impressed by what people do than by what they say, thus religious men are thus expected to have extraordinary powers. (See effect on the tribal leader of A Dead Muslim Woman Raised to Life in West Africa).

The kingdom (basileia) of God has come near (eggizoto you  - The 70 disciples were to proclaim this at the beginning and even if rejected were to proclaim it as they left town! (Lk 10:11). The kingdom of God has come near has an "already" and "not-yet" aspect. In other words God's rule is already present in the hearts of all who have confessed Him as Lord (Ro 10:9-10+) and yet the fullness of His kingdom looks forward to the next age on God's timetable, the Messianic Age, followed by the New Heaven and the New Earth. Has come near (eggizo) means to move closer in space or time and in the perfect tense speaks of past completed action and ongoing results or effect, certainly the ongoing effect in all those who accept the Gospel of the King/Kingdom. 

The Kingdom of God - One must understand that there are at several aspects to the Kingdom of God (see diagram above). The first phase is the invisible, internal Kingdom of God and which He later described as "in your midst” (Lk 17:21+), the Kingdom in which the King reigns in the heart of the person who has accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. To proclaim the Kingdom of God is to preach the Gospel, to proclaim the good news of salvation offered by the King (Jesus) of that Kingdom, explaining how one can enter the Kingdom of God. When the King returns on "the day that the Son of Man is revealed," (Lk 17:30+) the heart of every person will also be revealed as to whether they sought the kingdom of their "self" or the kingdom of the Savior! The future phase of the Kingdom of God is known as the Messianic Age or the Millennial Kingdom.(See more detailed explanation of Jesus' meaning of the Kingdom of God in notes on Luke 17:20-21). Jesus knew the Jews were looking for the future aspect of the Kingdom of God, but His preaching and that of His disciples was to explain how one could enter the invisible aspect of the Kingdom of God in the present and in that way they would be assured of experiencing the visible Kingdom of God in the future.

John MacArthur explains the kingdom of God has come near - The message the seventy proclaimed was that the kingdom of God had come near because the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, was present—the same message proclaimed by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:2), Jesus (Matt. 4:17, 23; 9:35; Luke 4:43), and the apostles (Matt. 10:7). A kingdom is a realm, sphere, or territory ruled by an absolute monarch who functions with absolute authority. In the kingdom of God, He is the “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). In a general sense, all creation is included under His sovereign rule in His universal kingdom (Ps. 103:19), but the kingdom of salvation is the theme of all gospel preaching. Those who enter that aspect of His kingdom through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ submit themselves completely to His authority and receive all the benefits of eternal life. The rest of humanity is in the kingdom of the world (Rev. 11:15+), under the rule of Satan (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Acts 26:18+; 2 Cor. 4:4+; Eph. 2:2+); there are no free agents. The gospel is the good news that sinners can be forgiven, delivered from the kingdom of darkness into “the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13+), and thereby be reconciled to God (Ro 5:10-11+), Who gives them permanent peace, comfort, and joy both in time and eternity. (HALLELUJAH!) (See Luke Commentary)

NET Note on Kingdom of God say - The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20–21.

Steven Cole -  Do you proclaim the kingdom of God by your life and lips? These harvest workers were to heal the sick and to say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Lk 10:9). If their message was rejected, they were still to proclaim as they left town, “Be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near” (Lk 10:11). Thus by their lives (healing) and by their lips, they were to proclaim the message of God’s kingdom. Clearly, that kingdom had come upon these people whether they accepted it or rejected it. I argue that the healing ministry here was unique, in that these men were given power to heal everyone indiscriminately as a sign of the coming of the kingdom age in Jesus. No one in our day is given that kind of gift, since its purpose was unique. But, even so, we are to care for the total person and while we cannot promise God’s miraculous healing on every person, we can and should pray that God would be merciful in healing those who need it. But their greatest need is to come into submission to God as Lord and King. The kingdom of God is that realm in which He rules. By saying that the kingdom had come near, or come upon these people, Jesus was not saying that there was no further fulfillment in the future. The day is still coming when Jesus will return and reign over Israel and the nations in accordance with all that the Old Testament prophets predicted (Acts 1:6; 3:18-24). But the kingdom in its initial phase had arrived in the person of Jesus and the message was that people must submit their lives to the King. The message of the kingdom of God draws a definite line in the sand by announcing peace to those who submit to Jesus as King, but terrible judgment to those who refuse to submit. When the workers entered a home, they were first to announce peace to it. These were not just nice words, but were an actual announcement of God’s blessing if the people accepted and submitted to the message of God’s kingdom. If the people would not accept the message, the pronouncement of peace would return to the worker and it was to be replaced with a terrible warning of certain judgment to come (10:10-15). Darrell Bock comments, “The passage assumes God’s universal sovereign authority and the cruciality of the kingdom message for humankind” (Luke [Baker], 2:1002). Just three years ago, Moody magazine (Jan./Feb., 1996) reported that 49 percent of professing Christians agree that, “All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be Savior or not, will live in heaven after they die.” If that shocking statistic is true, then almost half of professing Christians do not believe what Jesus plainly taught about the judgment to come and hell!  (The Crucial Message)

Heal (2323)(therapeuo from therapon = an attendant, servant) means primarily to care for, to wait upon, minister to. It has two main senses in the NT, one speaking of rendering service (Acts 17:25) and the more common use describing medical aspects such as to take care of the sick, to heal, to cure (Matt. 4:24; 12:10; Mark 1:34; Luke 6:7; 10:9),  to recover health, to restore. Therapeúō means to heal miraculously in Matt. 4:23, 24; 10:1, 8; Acts 4:14. Providing care to improve a situation. 

TDNT on Therapeuo in the NT - 

a. In the NT therapeuo never means “to serve” in a secular sense, and only once in Acts 17:25 does it denote worship. Paul's point here is that the true God has no cultic dwelling and does not need a cultic ministry, so that the therapeuÃein that is suitable for idols is inappropriate to him.

 b. A much more common use is for “healing,” not merely in the sense of medical treatment, but in the sense of the real healing that the Messiah brings. Jesus has power to heal the sick (Lk. 7:21ff.). This is no less a part of his ministry than preaching (Mk. 4:23). No sickness can resist him. He heals many (Mk. 3:10) or all (Mt. 12:15), whether they be ill, lame, blind, maimed, or deaf and dumb, and whenever the need arises even though it be on the sabbath (Mt. 12:10 etc.). Driving out demons is one form of healing. This is done by the word in what is sometimes a violent struggle (cf. Lk. 4:40-41; Mk. 3:10-11). The word also cures ailments or defects, though Jesus will often touch the sick (Mk. 1:41), take their hand (1:31), lay on hands (5:23), or perform acts like those of doctors (7:33; cf. Jms. 5:14). The sick may simply touch him or his garment (Mk. 3:10; 5:28; cf. Peter's shadow in Acts 5:15 and Paul's clothing in Acts 19:12). The healing is total as Jesus, initiating the age of salvation, takes away the sicknesses of the people (Mt. 8:17; cf. Is. 53:4). The actual processes may have parallels in Greek and Jewish records, but the important point is the demonstration that with Jesus God's kingdom has already broken into our suffering world. The real miracle, then, is not the breaking of natural law but victory in the conflict for world mastery. Following up this victory, Jesus commands his disciples to heal the sick. The command itself, received in faith, grants them the power (Mt. 10:1 etc.). The risen Lord repeats the commission, and in Jesus' name the apostles heal the sick and demon-possessed (Acts 5:16; cf. Peter in Acts 3:1ff., Philip in Acts 8:7, Paul in Acts 28:8-9). Healing may be blocked, however, by a false attitude: skepticism in Nazareth (Lk. 4:23; Mk. 6:5), and the weak faith of the disciples in the case of the epileptic boy (Mt. 17:14ff.). (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

Gilbrant on Classical use of therapeuo - At first glance one might be led to believe that therapeuō always means “I heal,” but such is not the case. In fact, therapeuō ordinarily and originally meant “I serve” in secular Greek. Gradually the term suggested “to care” for someone, and finally it acquired the definition of “to heal” or “to render medical treatment” (cf. Beyer, “therapeuō,” Kittel, 3:128f.). The sense of “to serve” could include serving a deity (e.g., Josephus Wars of the Jews 7.10.2; Antiquities 4.4.3).  Use in the Septuagint - Therapeuō translates six Hebrew expressions in the Septuagint in the seven texts which have a Hebrew original. The secular sense of “to care for” or “to serve” is evident (e.g., 2 Samuel 19:24 [LXX 2 Kings 19:24]; cf. Proverbs 19:6; 29:26 [these texts are figurative and almost mean “to do obeisance”]). The “exercise of religious service” is intended in other texts (Isaiah 54:17); a medical usage is attested in Tobit 2:10; 12:3). (Complete Biblical Library)

Therapeuo - 43x in 42v - Usage: cure(1), cured(4), get healed(1), getting cured(1), heal(9), healed(21), healing(5), served(1). - Matt. 4:23; Matt. 4:24; Matt. 8:7; Matt. 8:16; Matt. 9:35; Matt. 10:1; Matt. 10:8; Matt. 12:10; Matt. 12:15; Matt. 12:22; Matt. 14:14; Matt. 15:30; Matt. 17:16; Matt. 17:18; Matt. 19:2; Matt. 21:14; Mk. 1:34; Mk. 3:2; Mk. 3:10; Mk. 6:5; Mk. 6:13; Lk. 4:23; Lk. 4:40; Lk. 5:15; Lk. 6:7; Lk. 6:18; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 8:43; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 9:6; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 13:14; Lk. 14:3; Jn. 5:10; Acts 4:14; Acts 5:16; Acts 8:7; Acts 17:25; Acts 28:9; Rev. 13:3; Rev. 13:12

Therapeuo - 28x in 25v in the Septuagint - 2 Sam. 19:24; 2 Ki. 9:16; Est. 1:1; Est. 2:19; Est. 6:10; Prov. 14:19; Prov. 19:6; Prov. 29:26; Isa. 54:17; Dan. 7:10; 

Kingdom (932basileia from basileus = a sovereign, king, monarch) denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion. Basileia can also refer to the territory or people over whom a king rules 

Kingdom of God - 66x in 66v -   Matt. 12:28; Matt. 19:24; Matt. 21:31; Matt. 21:43; Mk. 1:15; Mk. 4:11; Mk. 4:26; Mk. 4:30; Mk. 9:1; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 10:14; Mk. 10:15; Mk. 10:23; Mk. 10:24; Mk. 10:25; Mk. 12:34; Mk. 14:25; Mk. 15:43; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 7:28; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 9:11; Lk. 9:27; Lk. 9:60; Lk. 9:62; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 10:11; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:18; Lk. 13:20; Lk. 13:28; Lk. 13:29; Lk. 14:15; Lk. 16:16; Lk. 17:20; Lk. 17:21; Lk. 18:16; Lk. 18:17; Lk. 18:24; Lk. 18:25; Lk. 18:29; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 21:31; Lk. 22:16; Lk. 22:18; Lk. 23:51; Jn. 3:3; Jn. 3:5; Acts 1:3; Acts 8:12; Acts 14:22; Acts 19:8; Acts 28:23; Acts 28:31; Rom. 14:17; 1 Co. 4:20; 1 Co. 6:9; 1 Co. 6:10; 1 Co. 15:50; Gal. 5:21; Col. 4:11; 2 Thess. 1:5

Compare to Kingdom of Heaven - 32x in 31v -  Matt. 3:2; Matt. 4:17; Matt. 5:3; Matt. 5:10; Matt. 5:19; Matt. 5:20; Matt. 7:21; Matt. 8:11; Matt. 10:7; Matt. 11:11; Matt. 11:12; Matt. 13:11; Matt. 13:24; Matt. 13:31; Matt. 13:33; Matt. 13:44; Matt. 13:45; Matt. 13:47; Matt. 13:52; Matt. 16:19; Matt. 18:1; Matt. 18:3; Matt. 18:4; Matt. 18:23; Matt. 19:12; Matt. 19:14; Matt. 19:23; Matt. 20:1; Matt. 22:2; Matt. 23:13; Matt. 25:1

Has come near (at hand, approach) (1448eggizo means to approach, draw closer to, draw near, be near, come near. So drawing near in space and drawing closer to some point. In short, to draw near in space. (Mt 21:1, Lk 7:12, 15:1, 25, 18:35. 19:29, 37, 41). Also used of drawing near in regard to time (Lk 22:1). Friberg's summary of eggizo - intransitively in the NT approach, draw near, be near; (1) with the dative of person or place draw near to, approach (Acts 9.3); (2) with eis draw near, approach a place (Mk 11.1); (3) absolutely, of approaching in space be near (Mt 26.46); of approaching in time draw near, be at hand (Lk 22.1); perfect have come (Ro 13.12)

Eggizo is used in a temporal sense in several NT passages...

Mt 3:2+ (John the Baptist) "Repent (present imperative = make this your continual practice!), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (perfect tense = to have drawn near and as a result to be present or at hand)."

Comment: At hand is in the perfect tense which means in essence that the kingdom (King) has come and is still present. How so since John is on earth not heaven? He is surely referring to the King of the Kingdom Who had arrived. In fact John been prepared to herald the King's coming [Isa 40:3]. The kingdom has a spiritual aspect, a present physical aspect, and a future eternal aspect, depending on context, but always refers to God's reign over His created and redeemed world and its believing inhabitants. Unbelievers are rebels fighting against His Kingdom.

Mt 4:17+ From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent (present imperative), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (perfect tense)"

James 5:8+ You too be patient (aorist imperative = command for decisive action)strengthen (firmly fix, be resolute, even in face of trials and persecution!) (aorist imperative = command calling for decisive action) your hearts, for the coming (parousiaof the Lord is at hand (= speaks of the Imminency [see notes] of the Messiah's Return).

Comment: The imminent return (parousia) of the Bridegroom should stimulate every member of His Church (the Bride) to patience and persistence. See related discussion regarding the Second Coming.

MacArthur rightly remarks that "Any view of eschatology which eliminates Imminency (believers in every age living with the hope that Christ could come at any moment) is in conflict with all those passages which provide hope for suffering believers by anticipating the Lord’s coming." (See James Commentary)

1 Peter 4:7+ The end (telos = consummation, an achieved goal) of all things is at hand (perfect tense = to have drawn near and as a result to be present or at hand. The Return of Christ = Imminent = it could occur at any moment); therefore (If you are looking expectantly for Christ at any moment, your daily conduct will [or should] be a clear reflection of such a belief), be of sound judgment (aorist imperative = command for decisive action) and sober spirit (aorist imperative = command for decisive action) for the purpose of prayer.

Luke 10:10  "But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say,

Related Passages:

Luke 9:5+ - “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 

Matthew 10:14+  “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.


But whatever city you enter and they do not receive (dechomaiyou - But (term of contrast) introduces a sad reality, that they would not always be received or welcomed. This describes the townspeople not "putting out the welcome mat" for the disciples, refusing to receive their message that the Kingdom had come near. In other words they did not accept with a deliberate and ready reception either the message or the messengers. And we should not expect any different reception today. They are not rejecting us but the Good News and ultimately Jesus! 

Receive is the verb dechomai which means something akin to putting out the welcome mat for someone. Here the Jewish hearers are in effect pulling out the "welcome mat" from beneath the feet of the evangelists, feet which have been shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace" (Eph 6:15+)!  John records of Jesus that "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (Jn 1:11+) Like Master, like students!

As they ministered from place to place,
they would encounter both hospitality and hostility,
both friends and enemies.
--Warren Wiersbe

Go out into its streets  (plateiaand say - Streets refers to the "main street" of the town, where everyone in the city would be able to hear the horrible words of Lk 10:11!  So leave the rejecting homes, go into the broad open streets. The rejectors would have no excuse. Jesus commands them to say (aorist imperative) the condemning words which follow in  Luke 10:11. The short answer for what to do when they reject the message is to walk away! Woe! This might serve in some way to warn those who reject the message and give them pause to ponder its significance. We don't have any record however that some heard the warning and repented. We will have to wait until we come to heaven to find out. To sum it up Revelation refused receives retribution! But in a sense this last clear warning, has inherent within it one last chance that some might hear and receive in light of the stern warning.

Streets  (4116)(plateia) is the feminine form of a related adjective platus that means “broad.” In classical literature it implies the broad places of the city, which in Jewish society was the entrance of the city (Proverbs 1:20). In each New Testament occurrence (e.g., Matthew 6:5; 12:19; Luke 10:10) the context denotes a “street” or “wide road.” It was the “broad street” which would be the main road in the city which would allow the greatest number of people to hear the judgment pronounced in Lk 10:11. It is ironic that the related adjective platus meaning wide is used in the command by Jesus in Mt 7:13+ to “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide (platus) and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it." 

Plateia - 10v -  street(4), streets(5), wide(1). Matt. 6:5; Matt. 7:13; Matt. 12:19; Lk. 10:10; Lk. 13:26; Lk. 14:21; Acts 5:15; Rev. 11:8; Rev. 21:21; Rev. 22:2

Plateia in Septuagint - Gen. 19:2; Gen. 34:10; Gen. 34:21; Jdg. 18:10; Jdg. 19:15; Jdg. 19:17; Jdg. 19:20; 2 Sam. 21:12; 1 Ki. 7:6; 1 Chr. 4:40; 2 Chr. 32:6; Ezr. 10:9; Neh. 3:8; Neh. 4:19; Neh. 7:4; Neh. 8:16; Neh. 9:35; Neh. 12:38; Est. 4:1; Job 29:7; Ps. 18:42; Ps. 55:11; Ps. 119:96; Ps. 144:14; Prov. 1:20; Prov. 5:16; Prov. 7:6; Prov. 7:12; Prov. 9:14; Prov. 22:13; Cant. 3:2; Isa. 15:3; Isa. 33:21; Jer. 5:1; Jer. 9:21; Jer. 48:38; Jer. 49:26; Jer. 50:30; Lam. 2:11; Lam. 2:12; Lam. 4:18; Ezek. 7:19; Ezek. 16:24; Ezek. 16:31; Ezek. 23:32; Ezek. 26:11; Ezek. 28:23; Ezek. 48:15; Dan. 12:2; Amos 5:16; Nah. 2:4; Zech. 8:4; Zech. 8:5; 

Luke 10:11  'Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.'

Related Passage:

Mark 6:11+ “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.”

COMMENT - Luke does not record "listen" but clearly that is implied in receive or not receive the Gospel. The idea inherent in listen is not just to hear to to hear so as to respond or obey. In this case the good news of the traveling evangelists in effect goes "in one ear and out the other!", a modern idiom that means what was heard was immediately dismissed, ignored or forgotten after being heard. 

Matthew 10:14+  “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

Luke 9:5+ - “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 

Acts 13:46+ Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you (JEWS) first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.


Shake Off Your Dusty Sandals!


Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you - The NLT has a good paraphrase "shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate." These were their words but apparently they also spoke with the dusty soles of heir sandals! Their town was no better than a gentile town (from which a Jew would shake off the dusts)! Woe to those cities that heard the precious live giving message of the Gospel and rejected it, for now they would receive only the worthless, lifeless dust of the evangelist's sandals! The shaking of dust from one's sandals symbolized God's rejection of those who rejected the message from His messengers! In short, the declaration and the action (shaking off the dust) was giving them what they wanted which was to walk the way they wanted to walk and not in step with God's gospel! Woe to them! Remember that the kingdom of God had come near to them but they had slammed the door shut in God's face (so to speak). This is why their sin was greater than that of Sodom (Lk 10:12) who had not received gospel light (apparently Lot instead of being a light for Jehovah, blended in with the Sodomite society and had no desire to confront them with the truth.) Obviously they were not to carry out this action with glee but with sadness for these rejecting souls. Similarly when others reject the Gospel we speak to them, we are not to be offended but saddened.

THOUGHT - I fear many of us in America are a lot like Lot - afraid to speak God's good news of salvation in Jesus Christ for fear of rejection and even retaliation! We need to pray like the saints in Acts 4:31+ for "when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness." While the room will not shake, the Spirit will still give us boldness to speak supernaturally, why we are afraid to speak naturally. 

The striking symbolic act of shaking dust off one's sandals was like saying "You have had an opportunity to hear the Gospel of salvation, but you have rejected it and you will receive a just retribution for your rejection." In short if they (their Gospel message) was not received, they had Jesus' permission to declare God’s judgment on those people! Woe! 

J I Packer on preaching damnation (which is what the shaking of dust emblemized) - To announce the reality of hell is a testing and grueling task. The compassion and fellow-feeling that should mark all Christian communicators require us to do it, not with gloating and contempt, but with tears, if not in our eyes, then in our hearts. Any appearance of off-handness in our manner will surely discredit our matter, just because it discredits us as human beings. It is hard to take seriously a message from a messenger who does not appear to take it seriously himself, or at any rate not to feel about it as a good man should. R. W. Dale once said that D. L. Moody had a right to preach about hell because he so clearly did so from a weeping heart.

Rod Mattoon - The Lord presents procedures on what to do if they should enter a town and be rejected. Rejection was a reality. There would be folks that would not embrace the opportunity to put their faith in the Lord. Nothing has changed. The rejection of Jesus continues today, even though His resurrection is confirmed in history. The rejection of their message would not change the message. Even if the people refused it, the Kingdom of God was still near, but those who refused it would miss it. Jesus repeated the instruction of wiping the dust of that town from their feet as a public announcement of their doom.

Spurgeon on our feet wipe off -  We are not to stop and argue; that is no business of ours. We have to tell our message. If men will receive it, we are glad; if they will not hear it, with a heavy heart we turn aside, and go elsewhere. Our work is to proclaim the glorious message of mercy through a dying Saviour, salvation through the great atonement; it is our business to proclaim it and leave it, the responsibility of receiving or rejecting it rests with our hearers.

Robertson on dust of your city - Dust is a plague in the east. Shake off even that. Robertson on wipe off - [apomassometha]. Middle voice of an old verb [apomassō], to rub off with the hands. Nowhere else in the N. T. But [ekmassō], occurs in Luke 7:38, 44. 

Leon Morris - There was a rabbinic idea that the dust of Gentile lands carried defilement, and strict Jews are said to have removed it from their shoes whenever they returned to Palestine from abroad. The disciples’ shaking of the dust from their feet was a testimony against them. It declared in symbol that Israelites who rejected the kingdom were no better than the Gentiles. They did not belong to the people of God. For the practice cf. Acts 13:51....In rejecting the preachers they were not simply rejecting a couple of poor itinerants, but the very kingdom of God, and that has serious consequences. The people have drawn down judgment on themselves. (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

MacArthur on dust - It was common for Jews to shake the dust off their feet—as an expression of disdain—when returning from Gentile regions. Paul and Barnabas also did this when expelled from Antioch (Ac 13:51). This was a visible protest, signifying that they regarded the place as no better than a pagan land. (See MacArthur Study Bible)

Vincent on clings - "Frequent in medical language of the uniting of wounds." Robertson adds "to cling as dust and mud do to shoes. Hence the orientals took off the sandals on entering a house."

The kingdom of God has come near - (see notes on kingdom of God on Lk 10:9) The King's ambassadors have come proclaiming the good news of the King and His kingdom. 

Hendriksen explains that the hearers "must be told that in rejecting Christ’s messengers they are rejecting Him…in fact, they are shutting themselves out! The kingdom cannot be stopped. But rejecters will bring down upon themselves its curse. Let this be proclaimed to them loudly and clearly, in order that they may still repent."  (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel of Luke)

See W R Hutton's 3 page article - "The Kingdom of God Has Come

Luke 10:12  "I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.   

Related Passages:

Matthew 10:15 “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

Matthew 11:20-24+ Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

John 3:18-20+ “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “This is the judgment (the "crisis" - Gk = krisis), that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for (term of explanation - explains why they reject Jesus!) their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.


I say to you, it will be more tolerable (anektoteros) in that day for Sodom - Passages such as Lk 10:12-13 clearly teach that there will various degrees or gradations of eternal punishment depending in part on how much Gospel light was rejected. The greater the light, the greater the degree of punishment. I think of this every time I speak the Gospel to a person and they reject it. If they go their entire life and never repent and believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, they will be faced with eternal punishment worse than the horribly abominable city of Sodom!

THOUGHT - Rejection of the Gospel is a very painful thought to me, especially if I am in a situation where I frequently see that individual to whom I have witnessed. Of course I can still continue to pray for their salvation even if they have soundly rejected the presentation of the Gospel. Interestingly, Sodom's judgment came without warning but at least these Jewish cities received clear warning of coming judgment. 

Cole - Jesus didn’t speculate about the future judgment; He spoke about it with authority (Lk 10:12)! He makes it clear that people will be judged according to the degree of light that they rejected. There will be degrees of punishment in hell. It will be worse for those who heard plainly of Christ and rejected it than for those, such as Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon, that lacked clear witness.  (The Crucial Message)

Spurgeon - Hearing and rejecting the gospel is the crowning sin of all. Whatever else men are guilty of, if they have not rejected Christ, they have not yet reached the summit of iniquity.

Hendriksen - As there are degrees of glory (1 Cor. 15:41, 42), so there are also degrees of punishment (Luke 12:47, 48). Sodom, to be sure, sinned grievously (Gen. 13:13; 19:9, 13; Isa. 3:9; Lam. 4:6; 2 Peter 2:6, 7; Jude 7); but the cities selected by the Lord Jesus Christ for receiving the very special privilege of having his personal representatives sent to them with a pleading and urgent appeal will have sinned even more grievously if they reject their golden opportunity. Therefore, in the day of the final judgment their sentence will be even more terrifying than that which will then be pronounced on Sodom.  (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel of Luke)

Rod Mattoon - Sodom will face God's wrath at judgment day, but cities that rejected the Messiah and his Kingdom will face worse wrath from God. A city as evil as Sodom would be better off than these towns because these folks had been given the opportunity to believe the Messiah. They had seen great miracles and had the Good News preached to them, but they had turned away and had refused salvation. The Lord was making the point that there is accountability in opportunity. Their accountability would be greater because of their opportunity to hear the truth.

We are not sinners because we are skeptics.
We are skeptics because we are sinners.
-- Vance Havner

NET Note - The allusion to Sodom, the most wicked of OT cities from Gen 19:1–29, shows that to reject the current message is even more serious than the worst sins of the old era and will result in more severe punishment. The noun Sodom is in emphatic position in the Greek text.

Luke 10:13  "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes

Related Passages:

Luke 11:32+ “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 

Chorazin (Korazin) and Bethsaida


Woe (ouaito you, Chorazin (note)! Woe (ouaito you, Bethsaida (note)! For if the miracles (dunamis) had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented (metanoeo) long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes - Woe is not a call for vengeance, but an expression of deep regret, of warning (cp. Luke 6:24). The Lord stresses the accountability of opportunity! In the map note the close proximity of Chorazin and Bethsaida to Jesus' "home base" of Capernaum. Are we surprised that Chorazin is a ruin today? But it is even worse, for Jesus was speaking not of temporal ruin (picture of ancient synagogue at Chorazin) but eternal ruin for the Jewish inhabitants of Chorazin who had seen such great supernatural light (miracles) and presumably the miracle Worker Himself. .

Steven Cole  - Verse 13 is mind-boggling: Jesus declares that He knows how those who never heard would have responded if they had heard! Yet even though they would have repented if they had heard, they did not hear and they will be judged for their wickedness and unbelief! But the real warning that we must take to heart is this: These cities that Jesus warns of terrible judgment to come were religious cities that were familiar with Jesus’ message and miracles. Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon were pagan Gentile cities. The warning is that those who sit in church and yet remain unmoved by the offer of peace with God through Christ, those who are familiar with spiritual truths, but who refuse to submit to Christ as Lord-these religious people will be judged far more harshly than raw pagans who are ignorant of the gospel. (The Crucial Message)

J. C. Ryle puts it this way, "We need not run into any excess of riot. We need not openly oppose true religion. We have only to remain cold, careless, indifferent, unmoved, and unaffected, and our end will be in hell. This was the ruin of Chorazin and Bethsaida. And this, it may be feared, will be the ruin of thousands, as long as the world stands. No sin makes less noise, but none so surely damns the soul, as unbelief." 

Rod Mattoon makes an interesting point - We will note here that one of the towns upon which woe is pronounced is Chorazin. It is implied that Jesus did many mighty works there. In the gospel history as we have it, Chorazin is never even mentioned, and we do not know one thing that Jesus did or one word that He spoke there. Nothing could show so vividly how much we do not know about the life of Jesus. The gospels are not biographies. They are only sketches of the life of Jesus.

Robertson on would have repented. Conclusion (apodosis) of second-class condition, determined as unfulfilled. Long ago ([palai]). Implies a considerable ministry in these cities of which we are not told. Chorazin not mentioned save here and Matt. 11:21. The [sakkos] (sackcloth) was dark coarse cloth made of goat’s hair and worn by penitents, mourners, suppliants. It is a Hebrew word, [śaq; שַׂק]. The rough cloth was used for sacks or bags. To cover oneself with ashes was a mode of punishment as well as of voluntary humiliation.

Sackcloth and ashes (see note below) is a combination that occurs 6x in the Bible (Est. 4:1; Est. 4:3; Isa. 58:5; Dan. 9:3; Matt. 11:21; Lk. 10:13) and speaks of profound mourning. 

Vincent on sackcloth - Sackcloth (sakko). From the Hebrew sak: what is knotted together; net-shaped; coarsely woven. It was made of goats’ or camels’ hair (Rev 6:12), and was a material similar to that upon which Paul wrought in tent-making. The same word in Hebrew is used to describe a grain-sack (Ed: If you have ever worn one of these itchy things I used to contact on the farm, you have a greater appreciation for the depth of mourning indicated by the wearing of sackcloth!), and this coarse material of which it is made (Gen. 42:25; Josh. 9:4). So the Greek sage means a pack or baggage. The same root, according to some etymologists, appears in sagene, a drag-net (see Mt. 13:47), and sagos, Latin sagum, a coarse, soldier’s cloak. It was employed for the rough garments for mourners (Esther 4:1; 1 Kings 21:27), in which latter passage the sackcloth is put next the flesh in token of extreme sorrow. Compare 2 Kings 6:30; Job 16:15.

Vincent on ashes were "a sign of mourning. Defiling one’s self with dead things, as ashes or dirt, as a sign of sorrow, was common among the Orientals and Greeks....See 1 Sa 4:12; 2 Sam. 1:2; 13:19; Job 2:12; Ezek. 27:30; Apoc. 18:19. In Judith 4:14, 15, in the mourning over the ravages of the Assyrians, the priests minister at the altar, girded with sackcloth, and with ashes on their mitres. Sir Gardner Wilkinson, describing a funeral at Thebes, says: “Men, women, and children, with the body exposed above the waist, throw dust on their heads, or cover their faces with mud” (“Modern Egypt and Thebes”). Stifling with ashes was a Persian mode of punishment. Compare Apocrypha, 2 Macc. 8:5–7. Herodotus relates that Nitocris, an Egyptian queen, after having drowned the murderers of her brother, threw herself into an apartment full of ashes, in order to escape the vengeance of their friends.

NET Note on Tyre and Sidon - Tyre and Sidon are two other notorious OT cities (Isa 23:1-18; Jer 25:22; 47:4). The remark is a severe rebuke, in effect: "Even the sinners of the old era would have responded to the proclamation of the kingdom, unlike you!"

George Wood says the ancient cities of Tyre and Sidon were "identified by three characteristics. Money mad, arrogant and cruel. They traded, not only in goods, but in slaves and in people. And they had these qualities—arrogant, money mad and cruel." 

Woe (How dreadful!) (3750 - click and select "Phonetics" to hear "ouai" pronounced) (ouai pronounced "oo-ah'ee," an eerie, ominous foreboding sound some say is like the cry of an eagle) is an onomatopoeic word (an imitation of the sound) which serves as an interjection expressing a cry of intense distress, displeasure or horror. It may convey a warning of impending disaster to the hearers. Jesus used "Woe" frequently in the Gospels (see below) often in an eschatological context (Mt 24:19; Mk 13:17).

Most NT uses of ouai are in the context of warning about inevitable, impending judgment, often intermingled with a feeling of pity (Mt 11:21-22, Lk 22:22 = Judas' betrayal). Rev 8:13+ has woe in triplicate which seems to provide the greatest possible emphasis on God's coming judgment on the world, much as the cry of "holy" in triplicate emphasizes His holiness. Indeed, His perfect holiness demands His perfect judgment! In the Lxx a double woe is addressed to unfaithful Jerusalem because of her idolatry and immorality (Ezek 16:23-note). Ouai does not depict sorrow on the part of those who have sinned (as some have mistakenly taught).

ChorazinChorazin (/koʊˈreɪzɪn/Hebrew: כורזים‎‎, Korazim; also Karraza, Kh. Karazeh, Chorizim, Kerazeh, Korazin) was an ancient village in northern Galilee, two and a half miles from Capernaum on a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Bethsaida - Bethsaida, the hometown of Peter, Andrew, and Philip (John 1:44), was a fishing village. Jesus went there often (Mark 6:45; 8:22; Luke 9:10), though we are not told what mighty works He may have done there. Because the Sea of Galilee is so small, Bethsaida was not far distant from Capernaum. Since Bethsaida was the hometown of these disciples, it must have been traumatic for them to hear Jesus' rebuke. (Complete Biblical Library)

Miracles (1411) see dunamis which is the word for inherent power especially supernatural power. Dunamis is from dunamai = to be able, to have power) power especially achieving power. It refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way (power, might, strength, ability, capability), the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.

Dunamis in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:17; Lk. 1:35; Lk. 4:14; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 5:17; Lk. 6:19; Lk. 8:46; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 10:13; Lk. 10:19; Lk. 19:37; Lk. 21:26; Lk. 21:27; Lk. 22:69; Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:22; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:7; Acts 4:33; Acts 6:8; Acts 8:10; Acts 8:13; Acts 10:38; Acts 19:11;

Would have repented (3340)(metanoeo from meta = with, among + noeo = to think, exercise the mind <> from nous = mind - see study = metanoia) means to have another mind. Metanoeo means to change one's mind in respect to sin, God, and self. To turn to God and from sin (Luke 15:7 = "one sinner who repents", 10, cf 1Th 1:9-note). It is not an intellectual decision but a change of mind that issues in a change of behavior. This change of mind may, especially in the case of Christians who have fallen into sin, be preceded by sorrow (2Cor 7:8, 9, 10, 11); but sorrow for sin, though it may cause repentance, is not repentance. Darrell Bock writes "the point is that repentance involves a reorientation of perspective, a fresh point of view. When dealing with God's plan, it means to see that plan in a new way and to orient oneself to it. Luke demonstrates the fruit of repentance expresses itself concretely (Lk 3:10-14). Repentance expresses itself in life, especially in how one treats others." (Gulp!) There can be no genuine conversion without genuine repentance. "This word (repent) was the message of the Baptist, of Jesus, of Peter, of Paul, this radical change of attitude and life." (Robertson)

God uses at least four factors to prompt repentance = (1) The knowledge of God's Truth should prompt repentance (Mt 11:21-24 - where Chorazin, et al refused to repent at the Truth; cp Lk 16:30-31 which also illustrates the sufficiency of the Truth to prompt repentance.) Note the deadly deception - one can have Truth (as well as #2 sorrow) without true repentance! Beware! (2) Sorrow for sin can lead to repentance (2Cor 7:9-10), but the sorrow per se should NOT be confused with true repentance. E.g., Judas felt sorrow for betraying Jesus but did not repent. (3) God's kindness prompts (leads to) repentance (Ro 2:4). (4) Fear of final judgment (as discussed here in Acts 17:30-31) can motivate one to true repentance. Indeed, realization that there is no other way of escape but through Jesus, should cause any "rational" person to repent.

Repentance is not an act separate from faith, but saving faith includes and implies the true change of mind which is called repentance. As noted in the use of the present imperative (see uses below), to repent is not just an event at the time of conversion, but represents an ongoing lifestyle -- we sin daily, and sometimes we get caught in a "rut" (habit) of sin, and so we are daily in desperate need of God's gracious gift of repentance. In the parable of the two sons, our Lord Jesus Christ gives a beautiful illustration of what true repentance looks like (Read Mt 21:28-31 = notice second son changed his mind and his behavior!). 

Albert Barnes wisely said "False repentance dreads the consequences of sin; true repentance dreads sin itself."

Metanoeo - 34x/32v - repent(26), repented(5), repents(3).  Matt. 3:2; Matt. 4:17; Matt. 11:20; Matt. 11:21; Matt. 12:41; Mk. 1:15; Mk. 6:12; Lk. 10:13; Lk. 11:32; Lk. 13:3; Lk. 13:5; Lk. 15:7; Lk. 15:10; Lk. 16:30; Lk. 17:3; Lk. 17:4; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 8:22; Acts 17:30; Acts 26:20; 2 Co. 12:21; Rev. 2:5; Rev. 2:16; Rev. 2:21; Rev. 2:22; Rev. 3:3; Rev. 3:19; Rev. 9:20; Rev. 9:21; Rev. 16:9; Rev. 16:11

QUESTION -  What is the significance of Bethsaida in the Bible?

ANSWER Bethsaida was a small town in Galilee best known in the Bible as the birthplace of three of Jesus’ disciples: Phillip, Peter, and Andrew (John 1:44–45; 12:21). Some scholars suggest that there were two towns called Bethsaida during the time of Jesus, as two cities’ having the same or a similar name was common in those days. The Bethsaida most often referred to in Scripture was located near where the Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee on the north side of the sea.

Bethsaida was the scene of several miracles, enough that Jesus could say, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Matthew 11:21). Bethsaida has come to represent those who have heard the gospel, understood God’s plan of salvation, and rejected it. Jesus implied that their eternal punishment would be harsher than that of those who did not have such a privilege (Matthew 11:22).

One of those miracles performed in Bethsaida was the restoration of sight to a blind man (Mark 8:22–26). It is also likely that the feeding of the 5,000 took place near Bethsaida (Luke 9:10–17). It was also the site of one of Jesus’ most famous miracles: walking on water (Mark 6:45–52). He had sent His disciples on ahead on the Sea of Galilee toward Bethsaida while He spent some time in prayer. Late that night, a strong wind made rowing the boat difficult. In the midst of the disciples’ efforts to keep the boat afloat, they saw a figure coming toward them on top of the waves! They were terrified until Jesus got in the boat with them and the waves instantly calmed. It was on His way to Bethsaida that Jesus walked on water.

Bethsaida is rarely mentioned after Jesus ascended into heaven. Most scholars believe that Bethsaida was renamed Julias (in honor of Augustus’s daughter) by Philip the tetrarch, grandson of Herod the Great, at some point during Jesus’ public ministry. However, all mention of the city disappeared by the second century, and only buried ruins remain.

QUESTION -  What is the meaning of sackcloth and ashes?

ANSWER - Sackcloth and ashes were used in Old Testament times as a symbol of debasement, mourning, and/or repentance. Someone wanting to show his repentant heart would often wear sackcloth, sit in ashes, and put ashes on top of his head. Sackcloth was a coarse material usually made of black goat’s hair, making it quite uncomfortable to wear. The ashes signified desolation and ruin.

When someone died, the act of putting on sackcloth showed heartfelt sorrow for the loss of that person. We see an example of this when David mourned the death of Abner, the commander of Saul’s army (2 Samuel 3:31). Jacob also demonstrated his grief by wearing sackcloth when he thought his son Joseph had been killed (Genesis 37:34). These instances of mourning for the dead mention sackcloth but not ashes.

Ashes accompanied sackcloth in times of national disaster or repenting from sin. Esther 4:1, for instance, describes Mordecai tearing his clothes, putting on sackcloth and ashes, and walking out into the city “wailing loudly and bitterly.” This was Mordecai’s reaction to King Xerxes’ declaration giving the wicked Haman authority to destroy the Jews (see Esther 3:8–15). Mordecai was not the only one who grieved. “In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes” (Esther 4:3). The Jews responded to the devastating news concerning their race with sackcloth and ashes, showing their intense grief and distress.

Sackcloth and ashes were also used as a public sign of repentance and humility before God. When Jonah declared to the people of Nineveh that God was going to destroy them for their wickedness, everyone from the king on down responded with repentance, fasting, and sackcloth and ashes (Jonah 3:5–7). They even put sackcloth on their animals (verse 8). Their reasoning was, “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish” (verse 9). This is interesting because the Bible never says that Jonah’s message included any mention of God’s mercy; but mercy is what they received. It’s clear that the Ninevites’ donning of sackcloth and ashes was not a meaningless show. God saw genuine change—a humble change of heart represented by the sackcloth and ashes—and it caused Him to “relent” and not bring about His plan to destroy them (Jonah 3:10).

Other people the Bible mentions wearing sackcloth include King Hezekiah (Isaiah 37:1), Eliakim (2 Kings 19:2), King Ahab (1 Kings 21:27), the elders of Jerusalem (Lamentations 2:10), Daniel (Daniel 9:3), and the two witness in Revelation 11:3.

Very simply, sackcloth and ashes were used as an outward sign of one’s inward condition. Such a symbol made one’s change of heart visible and demonstrated the sincerity of one’s grief and/or repentance. It was not the act of putting on sackcloth and ashes itself that moved God to intervene, but the humility that such an action demonstrated (see 1 Samuel 16:7). God’s forgiveness in response to genuine repentance is celebrated by David’s words: “You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11)

Luke 10:14  "But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.

Tyre and Sidon
(Click to Enlarge)


But - Nevertheless. Used to break off a discussion and point out parenthetically what was important in it. 

It will be more tolerable (anektoteros) for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment (krisis) than for you. - As discussed above Jesus teaches the intensity of the eternal judgment and suffering will be worse for Chorazin and Bethsaida than for the wicked pagan idol worshiping Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon

More tolerable (414)(anektoteros from anechomai from ana + echo - to hold oneself up against, put up with, forbear, suffer. gen. anektotérou, masc. adj., the comparative of anektós, tolerable, from anécho = to bear) means bearable, endurable, tolerable, sufferable, easier to bear. Able to be endured. The word is used in a Christian letter of the 4th century to describe a sick lady who has gotten better: “Her cond. seems to be more tolerable (ajnektovteron), as she can sit up” 

Anektoteros - 5x in NAS - Usage: more tolerable(5). Not found in the Septuagint.

Matthew 10:15  "Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

Matthew 11:22  "Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

Matthew 11:24  "Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you."

Luke 10:12  "I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.

Luke 10:14  "But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.

Judgment (justice, court, sentence)(2920) krisis from krino = to judge, decide) means a decision or judgment, verdict, justice, court (tribunal). The first use is by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount declaring "‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court." ("in danger of judgment") (Mt 5:21, cp also Mt 5:22) Mt 10:15, 11:22, 24 all describe Jesus' sobering warning to the Jews of a specific future and frightening "day of judgment." (cp "sentence of hell" Mt 23:33, see also 2 Peter 2:9, 11, 3:7, 1 John 4:17) In Jn 5:24 Jesus gives sinners the way of escape, the way to miss the horrible day of judgment (Heb 10:27)! In Mt 12:18 God's judgment is equated with justice, for He is the righteous and just Judge (cp Mt 12:20, 23:23, Rev 16:7). Note the striking contrast in Jn 5:29 "those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment." There is no such thing as reincarnation but only one life, one death, one judgment (Heb 9:27)

Krisis - 47x/46v - court(2), judgment(38), judgments(2), justice(4), sentence(1). Matt. 5:21; Matt. 5:22; Matt. 10:15; Matt. 11:22; Matt. 11:24; Matt. 12:18; Matt. 12:20; Matt. 12:36; Matt. 12:41; Matt. 12:42; Matt. 23:23; Matt. 23:33; Lk. 10:14; Lk. 11:31; Lk. 11:32; Lk. 11:42; Jn. 3:19; Jn. 5:22; Jn. 5:24; Jn. 5:27; Jn. 5:29; Jn. 5:30; Jn. 7:24; Jn. 8:16; Jn. 12:31; Jn. 16:8; Jn. 16:11; Acts 8:33; 2 Thess. 1:5; 1 Tim. 5:24; Heb. 9:27; Heb. 10:27; Jas. 2:13; Jas. 5:12; 2 Pet. 2:4; 2 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:7; 1 Jn. 4:17; Jude 1:6; Jude 1:9; Jude 1:15; Rev. 14:7; Rev. 16:7; Rev. 18:10; Rev. 19:2

QUESTION -  Why did Jesus mention Tyre and Sidon in Luke 10:14?

ANSWERTyre and Sidon, ancient cities of Phoenicia, are mentioned several times in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus mentions Tyre and Sidon in Luke 10 in the context of judgments He was pronouncing against the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida.

Tyre and Sidon are port cities located in modern Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast. Sidon is believed to have existed prior to 2000 BC, with Tyre being just a little younger. The Old Testament mentions Israel’s dealings with these cities, including the Israelites’ failure to conquer Sidon in the conquest of the Promised Land (Judges 1:31), their worship of Sidonian gods on several occasions (Judges 10:6–16; 1 Kings 11), and their obtaining materials from Sidon and Tyre for the building of the temple (1 Chronicles 22:4). King Hiram of Tyre provided many of the temple furnishings for Solomon (1 Kings 7:13–51). Tyrians and Sidonians are also mentioned in helping rebuild the temple in Ezra’s time (Ezra 3:7). Queen Jezebel was a Sidonian (1 Kings 16:31). The Sidonian city of Zarephath was where a widow took care of Elijah and the Lord provided oil and flour for her through the famine; later, the widow’s son became ill, and Elijah raised him from the dead (1 Kings 17:8–24).

The Old Testament also has several prophecies against Tyre and Sidon that predicted a complete overthrow (Isaiah 23; Jeremiah 25; 27; 47; Ezekiel 26–28; Joel 3; Amos 1:9–10; Zechariah 9:1–4). Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre from 585–572 BC. Alexander the Great conquered Tyre in 322 BC, completely destroying the city. The Persian king Artaxerxes conquered Sidon. In short, God’s prophesied judgment came to pass. Later, both cities became prosperous provinces of Rome.

Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities north of Israel, and Jesus had been sent to the Jews (Matthew 15:24). But Jesus still ministered to them: crowds from Tyre and Sidon came to see and listen to Him (Mark 3:7–8). Jesus helped a Syrophoenician woman and commended her faith (Matthew 15:21–28).

Jesus mentions Tyre and Sidon in Luke 10:13–14 (see also Matthew 11:20–24), comparing them to several cities in which He had performed miracles. These cities of Israel had been blessed with Jesus’ presence, preaching, and power, yet they had not repented. Jesus pronounces woes on them, stating that Tyre and Sidon, given the same opportunity, would have turned from their wickedness and been saved: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.” Jesus also says Capernaum is under God’s judgment for their rejection of Christ (verse 15), because “whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me” (verse 16).

Jesus used the pagan cities of Tyre and Sidon to highlight the way God’s chosen people refused Him. The Israelites of Jesus’ day believed themselves to be righteously following God, yet they did not recognize God in their midst. Jesus, in essence, shamed Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum—they, who were supposed to be God’s representatives on earth, refused to listen; yet pagan cities would have quickly repented. Jesus’ comments demonstrate the importance of responsibility and stewardship. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).

God’s desire is for His Word to be known and believed, with the result that people are transformed (see Luke 6:46). To reject the light we’ve been given is to remain in darkness. To spurn the grace of God and reject the Savior is to receive the due penalty for our

Luke 10:15  "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!

  • Capernaum: Lu 7:1,2 Mt 4:13 - Mentioned 16x in NT - Matt. 4:13; Matt. 8:5; Matt. 11:23; Matt. 17:24; Mk. 1:21; Mk. 2:1; Mk. 9:33; Lk. 4:23; Lk. 4:31; Lk. 7:1; Lk. 10:15; Jn. 2:12; Jn. 4:46; Jn. 6:17; Jn. 6:24; Jn. 6:59
  • which: Ge 11:4 De 1:28 Isa 14:13-15 Jer 51:53 Eze 28:12-14 Am 9:2,3 Ob 1:4 Mt 11:23 
  • brought down: Lu 13:28 Isa 5:14 14:15 Eze 26:20 31:18 32:18,20,27 Mt 10:28 2Pe 2:4 
  • Multiple Resources on Luke 10 (includes the sermons below)
  • Luke 10:12-16 A Warning to the Indifferent - John MacArthur
  • Luke 10:1-16 The Crucial Message - Steven Cole

Related Passage:

Matthew 11:23+ And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 

Ruins of Synagogue at Capernaum


And you, Capernaum ("Nahum's village"), will not be exalted (hupsooto heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades (hades) - The question will not be exalted to heaven, will you expects a negative response. Recall that Capernaum was Jesus' "home base" in His Galilean ministry, so this small city would have been "flooded with light" from Jesus. It is intriguing that while Jesus clearly condemns this town, we have no record that the towns people condemned or vilified Jesus, contrary to places like His hometown of Nazareth which attempted to kill Him! Nevertheless Jesus' words make it clear that Capernaum rejected His message despite all of the miracles they witnessed. Once again we see the clear message that miracles do not save! This truth obliterates the argument of the skeptic who says "If I could see a few miracles, I would believe." The fact is they would not believe!  Hades (hades) is the NT equivalent of the OT term Sheol and in the OT is the abode of the dead (not necessarily associated with punishment). Clearly in this context Jesus means that Hades speaks of punishment.

Rod Mattoon - Because Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had not repented, their judgment would be great. These three cities had been given more privileges than the three ancient cities, and therefore, they had more responsibility and accountability. If Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon were destroyed, how could Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum escape? He tells Capernaum they would be thrust down to hell. Wow! This was the headquarters for Jesus' ministry. They saw much and their accountability would be greater....If you have repeatedly heard the Gospel and rejected it, your judgment before God will be greater than someone who has never heard the Gospel. Don't throw away the opportunity to put your faith in Christ. 

Steven Cole - We often hear people say that if they saw a miracle or actually heard Jesus in person, they would believe. Not so! These towns heard Jesus and saw His miracles, but they hardened themselves against Him. They would not submit to Him as King. To hear Jesus’ messengers is to hear Him, and to reject them is to reject Him (10:16). Jesus predicts Capernaum’s demise. They thought highly of themselves (exalted to heaven), but Jesus thought otherwise, and His word stands. The city of Capernaum is now an uninhabited heap of ruins. The same that happened there could easily happen to America. Our nation has had great light, but even many of those who profess Christ show by their disobedient and self-centered lives that they are not subject to His lordship. It is a terrible thing for those with such knowledge to reject the gospel! So our text shouts at us the words: Prayer (do you pray for the harvest?); Mission (do you labor in the harvest field?); Message (do you proclaim by life and lips the kingdom of God?).  (The Crucial Message)

George Wood - On the morning of December seventh, 1941, 353 Japanese airplanes droned through the skies, heading toward Pearl Harbor. Within a couple of hours, America would lose eight battleships, six major airfields, almost all of its planes and two thousand four hundred of its servicemen. The attack happened at 7:50 in the morning. Fifteen minutes before the attack, while the planes were still 137 miles away, two soldiers were on a small radar station in the Hawaiians, scanning a screen. As they scanned the radar screen, they saw dots beginning to emerge on the screen and more dots, until it seemed like their whole radar screen was filled with dots. These two young radar men summoned their commanding officer, a youthful supervisor, a lieutenant. No other officer was around, since it was Sunday morning. The lieutenant looked at the radar scan for a while, and then came to the conclusion that these planes were probably from California. And he dismissed the planes, without another thought, saying these crucial words: "Don't worry about it."That's what Jesus is saying that Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum have done in respect to Him, "Don't worry about it." The ruins of the area today are an eloquent testimony to the truthfulness of what Jesus says. To reject His word is to bring ruin. And, might I add, that their ruin is not only eschatological. We think of it as being end-time—you're going to be ruined in the end. To reject Jesus' Word is existential. It is now. It is to deprive your life of the tremendous vitality that Jesus brings in life, the vigor, the glory, the reason for being, the purity, the wholeness, the healing. To lose that is to lose everything. (Ibid)

Exalted (5312) (hupsoo from hupsos = height, elevation) means to lift up spatially, to raise high. Figuratively, it describes lifting one up to a place of honor, fame, power, or position (to exalt). Hupsoo is used as a reference to the crucifixion in Jn 3:14, 8:28, 12:32, 34.  Hupsoo is used as a reference to the crucifixion in Jn 3:14, 8:28, 12:32, 34 (cp use in Lxx of Ps 9:13 where "affliction" in the Lxx = tapeinosis = low estate, humiliation, which again links "exaltation" [lift me up] with "humiliation".). Hupsoo in other contexts clearly alludes to Jesus' ascension to the right hand of His Father's throne (Acts 2:33, 5:31). It is possible to interpret Jn 12:32 with a "double meaning" as referring not only to His crucifixion but also His exaltation to heaven.

Hupsoo - 16v - exalt(2), exalted(9), exalts(3), lift(1), lifted(4), made...great(1). Matt. 11:23; Matt. 23:12; Lk. 1:52; Lk. 10:15; Lk. 14:11; Lk. 18:14; Jn. 3:14; Jn. 8:28; Jn. 12:32; Jn. 12:34; Acts 2:33; Acts 5:31; Acts 13:17; 2 Co. 11:7; Jas. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6

Hades (86hades is the transliteration of the Greek word Hades (from a = negative + eido = to see) literally means "not seen" or "unseen".  As noted the understanding of Hades is somewhat confusing, as it changes meaning somewhat from as one moves from the uses in the Old Testament into the uses in the New Testament. That said, in the OT Hades was used most often to describe the region of ALL departed souls. Everyone who die, whether righteous or unrighteous, is described as departing to Hades. But as we move into the NT, we see the progressive revelation of the term, so that Hades gains a more restricted sense and refers not to the place of ALL who die (believers and unbelievers as in the OT) but only to the abode of unbelievers. In other words, in the NT Hades comes to be synonymous with what we refer to as Hell. But to confuse the picture a little, you must realize that even in this sense of meaning "Hell" Hades is only a "temporary holding tank" so to speak, because as shown in Rev 20:14 (see below) Hades ceases to exist for it is thrown into the Lake of fire. Don't be confused. Hell is permanent and in Scripture is clearly described as such. The unrighteous dead will be resurrected in their bodies (The "Second Resurrection" - see Births, Deaths, and Resurrections; See Order of Resurrection.) at the Great White Throne judgment in Revelation 20:11-15+ and after being judged for their deeds in the body (to determine the degree of punishment in Hell), they are thrown into the Lake of fire which is synonymous with Gehenna. And as discussed below, Hades is also thrown into the Lake of fire (thus the reason it is referred to as temporary) and is never again described in Scripture.

Other thoughts on Hades - In Homer hades is spelled Haides and means obscure, dark, invisible (Homer Iliad 23.244 [“house of Hades”]). Hades is used in the Septuagint where it translates the Hebrew words for Sheol (See study of Sheol 07585 she'ol) and for death, once for silence (Ps 94:17, 115:17). Hades was the name of Greek god of underworld and then the term for the underworld itself. Hades is pictured as a prison for which Jesus holds the keys (Rev 1:18+).

Friberg's simple summary of Hades (literally unseen place) the place of the dead underworld (Acts 2.27, 32); usually in the NT as the temporary underworld prison where the souls of the ungodly await the judgment (Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Lk. 10:15; Lk. 16:23); personified as following along after Death (Rev 6.8, 20:13,14) (See Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

The reader is strongly advised to do his or her own study of the word Hades as it is used in Scripture and let that study guide the use of the definition in the various lexicons. For example, Vines is a respected conservative lexicon widely used by laymen to aid Greek word study and it has the following entry which I have added a few notes to to explain the lack of consensus among the lexicons and dictionaries on the meaning of hades

Hades, the region of departed spirits of the lost (but including the blessed dead in periods preceding the Ascension of Christ) (Ed note: Not all conservative commentators would agree with that statement)… It corresponds to “Sheol” in the OT. In the AV of the OT and NT, it has been unhappily rendered “Hell,” e.g., Ps 16:10; or “the grave,” e.g., Ge 37:35; or “the pit,” Nu 16:30, 33; in the N.T. the Revisers have always used the rendering “Hades;” in the OT they have not been uniform in the translation, e.g., in Isa. 14:15, “hell” (marg., “Sheol”); usually they have “Sheol” in the text and “the grave” in the margin. It never denotes the grave (Ed note: many would disagree with this statement, e.g., the NIV translates it as "grave" in Acts 2:27, 31 and respected commentators like John MacArthur state that in these verses it is "the NT equivalent of the OT grave or Sheol… here it refers to the general place of the dead" [Ref]), nor is it the permanent region of the lost; in point of time it is, for such, intermediate between decease and the doom of Gehenna. (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)

Related Resources:

QUESTION -  What is the significance of Capernaum in the Bible?

ANSWER - Capernaum is featured in the New Testament but never mentioned in the Old. Capernaum was a city located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is significant in Scripture because Capernaum was the chosen home city of Jesus after He was driven from Nazareth by the religious officials (Luke 4:16, 28–30). Capernaum was also the home of Peter and Andrew and where Jesus called them to follow Him (Matthew 4:18–20). Jesus also found Matthew, a tax collector in Capernaum, and called him to follow (Matthew 9:9).

Jesus referred to Capernaum often and did many of His miracles there (Matthew 8:5; John 6:17–21). He also taught in the synagogue (John 6:59; Mark 1:21). Although Capernaum had been the site of so many proofs of Jesus’ identity, the people there refused to believe, and He included it in a denunciation of several cities: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades” (Luke 10:13–15).

It was in Capernaum that Jesus healed the centurion’s son (Matthew 8:5–13), the nobleman’s son (John 4:46–53), Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30–31), and the paralytic (Matthew 9:1–2). In Capernaum, Jesus cast out an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21–25), raised Jairus’s daughter to life, and healed the woman with the bleeding issue (Mark 5:21–42).

The city of Capernaum represents many who have been exposed to the gospel, may enjoy going to church, and consider themselves Christians by association. The familiarity with Jesus and His Word gives them a false sense of assurance that they are right with God when in reality Jesus will one day say to them, “Away from me, you evildoers! I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21–23). The people of Capernaum heard and saw what Jesus did and said, yet they refused to believe (John 1:12; 12:42). We can speculate as to why: would believing would cost them too much? Would it disrupt their comfortable religious life? Would it challenge them to repent of sin and pride, love the unlovely, and give up all to follow (Luke 9:57–62; 4:25–33; John 6:59–66)? Capernaum had a greater opportunity than most cities to hear and believe in Christ, and the residents would be held to a higher standard of judgment (Luke 10:12; Matthew 11:24). Likewise, we will be judged according to the light we’ve been given (Matthew 5:29; 18:6; Luke 12:42–48). If God did not spare Capernaum due to their lack of faith, He will not spare those today who have heard the message, seen the evidence, and rejected His Son (2 Peter 2:4–10; Hebrews 6:4–6).

QUESTION - What is the difference between Sheol, Hades, Hell, the lake of fire, Paradise, and Abraham’s bosom?

ANSWER - The different terms used in the Bible for heaven and hell—sheol, hades, gehenna, the lake of fire, paradise, and Abraham’s bosom—are the subject of much debate and can be confusing.

The word paradise is used as a synonym for heaven (2 Corinthians 12:3–4; Revelation 2:7). When Jesus was dying on the cross and one of the thieves being crucified with Him asked Him for mercy, Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus knew that His death was imminent and that He would soon be in heaven with His Father. Therefore, Jesus used paradise as a synonym for heaven, and the word has come to be associated with any place of ideal loveliness and delight.

Abraham’s bosom is referred to only once in the Bible—in the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19–31). Abraham’s bosom was used in the Talmud as a synonym for heaven. The image in the story is of Lazarus reclining at a table leaning on Abraham’s breast—as John leaned on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper—at the heavenly banquet. The point of the story is that wicked men will see the righteous in a happy state, while they themselves are in torment, and that a “great gulf” that can never be spanned exists between them (Luke 16:26). Abraham’s bosom is obviously a place of peace, rest, and joy—in other words, paradise.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used to describe the realm of the dead is sheol. It simply means “the place of the dead” or “the place of departed souls/spirits.” The New Testament Greek equivalent to sheol is hades, which is also a general reference to “the place of the dead.” The Greek word gehenna is used in the New Testament for “hell” and is derived from the Hebrew word hinnom. Other Scriptures in the New Testament indicated that sheol/hades is a temporary place where souls are kept as they await the final resurrection. The souls of the righteous, at death, go directly into the presence of God—the part of sheol called “heaven,” “paradise,” or “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23).

The lake of fire, mentioned only in Revelation 19:20 and 20:10, 14-15, is the final hell, the place of eternal punishment for all unrepentant rebels, both angelic and human (Matthew 25:41). It is described as a place of burning sulfur, and those in it experience eternal, unspeakable agony of an unrelenting nature (Luke 16:24; Mark 9:45-46). Those who have rejected Christ and are in the temporary abode of the dead in hades/sheol have the lake of fire as their final destination.

But those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (SEE ALSO BOOKS OF LIFE) should have no fear of this terrible fate. By faith in Christ and His blood shed on the cross for our sins, we are destined to live eternally in the presence of God.

Luke 10:16  "The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me."

CSB   Whoever listens to you listens to Me. Whoever rejects you rejects Me. And whoever rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me."

ESV  "The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

KJV He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

GWN  "The person who hears you hears me, and the person who rejects you rejects me. The person who rejects me rejects the one who sent me."

NET  "The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects the one who sent me."

NAB Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."

NIV "He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

NLT Then he said to the disciples, "Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me."

YLT  'He who is hearing you, doth hear me; and he who is putting you away, doth put me away; and he who is putting me away, doth put away Him who sent me.'

Related Passages: 

Mark 7:9-11+ He was also saying to them (PHARISEES AND SCRIBES), "You nicely set aside (atheteo) the commandment of God (the Fifth Commandment - Honor your father and your mother) in order to keep your tradition. 10“For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (What does Corban) (that is to say, given to God),’

Luke 7:30+ the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected (atheteo) God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

Comment: Refers to the refusal of John’s baptism by the scribes and Pharisees, who thus rejected, not the counsel of John but ultimately the counsel of God even as those who reject Paul's teaching on God's will regarding sexual purity are not rejecting Paul but God, here specifically God the Holy Spirit.

John 12:48 He who rejects (atheteo)  Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 


The one who listens (present tense) to you listens (present tense) to Me, and the one who rejects (atheteo in present tense) you rejects (atheteo in present tenseMe; and he who rejects (atheteo in present tense)  Me rejects (atheteo in present tense)  the One (GOD THE FATHER) Who sent (apostello) Me - When Christ charged His apostles and sent them forth, He told them that as He represented the Father so they represented Him, and, consequently, that anyone who refused to listen to them in effect refused to listen to Him (they were sent out in His Name) and thus rejected Him and the Father. Listens means more than just hear a sound but to hear with attention, to hear with the ear of the mind, to hear effectually as to perform or grant what is spoken and finally to believe something and to respond to it on basis of having heard. As support of this interpretation note that the antithesis of listens in context is rejects! To not listen is to reject the Gospel! Recall that at the Transfiguration, the Father spoke to Peter, James and John commanding them to "Listen to Him (Jesus)!" (Lk 9:35+ - one imagines this especially directed to Peter!)  Rejection of Jesus is tantamount to rejection of God the Father because God is One (cp Jn 10:30) and you cannot say you believe in One member and reject the Other (Beware of the deadly and very deceptive heresy of Oneness Pentecostalism). Those who say something to the effect that "I believe in God but I don't believe in Jesus" are deceived and are believing a lie and will wake up in the place of eternal punishment

THOUGHT- If you present a faithful and accurate Gospel message and are rejected, do not take it personally (I know that is easy to write but not easy to practice!) for they are not so much rejecting you as they are rejecting Jesus which is what Jesus is teaching in this passage. To despise the Gospel message from the messenger of the Lord is to despise Him that sent Him. And remember Jesus' encouraging words in Mt 5:11-12+ “Blessed are you when (NOT "IF" BUT "WHEN" = IT WILL HAPPEN!) people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Spurgeon - If the messenger delivers his message correctly, and as his Master would have him deliver it, the rejection of it, when brought by him, has the same guilt in it as the rejection of Christ himself, and the rejection of Christ is the rejection of God; so Jesus tells us here.

Jeremiah gives us an OT example not listening - "To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed, and they cannot (are unable) listen (Lxx uses same verb as Lk 10:16 = akouo). Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it." (Jer 6:10)

Rod Mattoon - Opportunity speaks of urgency. The opportunity to reach people for Christ today may be lost tomorrow. People get hardhearted and apathetic, making it difficult to reach them. Some die and it is too late to reach them for the Lord. This is why Paul urged us that today is the day to put your faith in Christ if you have never made that decision. 2 Corinthians 6:2

Wiersbe - To hear Christ’s ambassadors means to hear Him, and to despise His representatives means to despise Him. “As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you” (John 20:21; see also 2 Cor. 5:18–21). (Borrow Be Compassionate)

Spurgeon - Christ judges himself to be treated as his ministers are, and therefore it will go hard with those who reject their message and cause them pain.

Steven Cole - Urgency: Do you live and bear witness in light of eternity? Again, I realize that we must be sensitive to people; we can’t grab them by the lapel and shout warnings about hell. But even so, do we have a sense of the urgency of our mission? “That day” (10:12), the day of judgment, is coming soon. Our message is not, “Try Jesus and you’ll feel better and have a happier life.” We must sensitively but plainly warn people that they are sinners who face God’s certain judgment, but they can know peace with God if they will trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Time is short; we must keep eternity constantly in view.

During the 1981 Byron Nelson Golf Tournament in Dallas, a massive tree limb broke off and fell on a spectator who was killed instantly. It happened near the third hole where Charles Coody was playing at the time. Shortly after the accident, he was interviewed on the radio and he said,

“After running over and seeing the accident, I tried to play golf, yet I had no desire to play after that. All of a sudden those three foot putts didn’t seem all that important.”

The suddenness and certainty of death should instill a sense of urgency in us who know what Jesus taught about the judgment to come. We should pray for openings with lost people. We should pray that God’s people would be working in the harvest with a sense of mission. We should clearly proclaim the message, that Jesus is Lord and King, and that people must accept His offer of peace now or face the terrible consequences later.

A few years ago the newspapers ran a story about a guy who jumped from a plane and his parachute didn’t open properly. It took him more than a minute to fall 3,000 feet to the ground. In those circumstances, a minute is a long time! What do you suppose he thought about as he sped toward the ground? I don’t know the answer to that question, although somehow the man survived. If that experience didn’t make him think soberly about eternity, nothing will!

People all around us are plummeting toward eternity without a parachute. Jesus Christ is that chute. If you know that fact, pray for the harvest and for more workers. Go with a sense of mission to labor in the harvest field. Live and speak the message in a way that honors Jesus Christ as Lord and King and that shows lost people His offer of peace. But don’t compromise the urgent warning, that to refuse the offer means certain judgment. In light of eternity, the gospel is the crucial message. We are the messengers.  (The Crucial Message)

Rejects (sets aside, nullifies)(114)(atheteo from áthetos = not placed from a = without + thetós = placed) means to do away with what has been laid down, to set aside and thus to regard as nothing, to declare invalid, to not recognize, to annul (make ineffective, inoperative or nonexistent), to spurn or to despise. In the papyri atheteo was used of loans which were repaid and cancelled and for the rejection of certain officials who were described as inefficient and incapable of doing their duty. Atheteo was also used of grain rejected by the inspector as unfit for food.

This word describes a deliberate choice of one's will (active voice) to reject the Living Word, Christ Jesus and the present tense indicates this was not a momentary lapse of loyalty but a habitual rejection of Jesus which in Jesus' day and today is manifest by the person who rejects Jesus' ambassador of reconciliation. Have you ever been rejected for proclaiming Jesus as the only way to the Father (Jn 14:6), the only Name by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12)? If you have not, then perhaps you need to examine your faith as to whether you are truly His disciple. At the very least you are being disobedient to His great commission (Mt 28:18-20). But at the worst, you are not really a believer in Jesus. As Paul said "Test (present imperative) yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Cor 13:5-note)

Thayer writes that atheteo means "to act toward anything as though it were annulled; hence, to deprive a law of force by opinions or acts opposed to it, to transgress... to thwart the efficacy of anything, nullify, make void, render prudent plans of no effect (1Cor 1:19) reject, refuse, slight (eg, "the grace of God" Gal 2:21) In Classic Greek atheteo is used to describe setting aside of a treaty or promise.

Atheteo - 16x/12v - nullify(1), refuse(1), reject(1), rejected(1), rejects(6), rejecting(1), set aside(3), sets...aside(1), setting aside(1). Mk. 6:26; Mk. 7:9; Lk. 7:30; Lk. 10:16; Jn. 12:48; 1 Co. 1:19; Gal. 2:21; Gal. 3:15; 1 Thess. 4:8; 1 Tim. 5:12; Heb. 10:28; Jude 1:8

Rod Mattoon ists  - Reasons for Rejecting Opportunities

1. Pessimism, Doubt or Unbelief
One reason why people reject the Lord Jesus Christ is because of their pessimism and doubt toward Christ. They do not believe He was the Son of God and that He arose from the grave. They do not believe that eternal life is found only in Him. Their doubt, however, will lead to their doom.

John 3:36—He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Doubt and pessimism will rob you of great blessings and achievements. It is easy to sit around and say, "It can't be done or it can't be true," when in reality it is true and it can be done. When Alexander Graham Bell was developing the telephone, people doubted it would work. When Orville and Wilbur Wright were developing an airplane, people snickered saying it would never work. When runners set their sights on running the four-minute mile, the medical world said it was humanly impossible and dangerous to attempt, yet, in 1954, Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, as did Eamonn Coghlan at the age of forty-one, and Kip Keino at the age fifty-five. Doubt disappears in the face of faith and determination.
Let me ask, "Is pessimism and doubt robbing you of eternal life? Is it causing you to squander opportunities that could lead to great blessing?"

Matthew 13:57-58.... And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

2. A Perverse Lifestyle
Perversity or a love for sinful living, will cause people to reject their opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. People mistakenly conclude that their sin will satisfy them and make them happy, when in reality, it will destroy their lives now and in eternity. Their sinfulness makes them apathetic and indifferent toward God.

Matthew 24:12—And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Hebrews 3:13—But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

3. Pride
Two Texans were trying to impress each other with the size of their ranches. One asked the other, "What's the name of your ranch?" He replied, "The Rocking R, ABC, Flying W, Circle C, Bar U, Staple Four, Box D, Rolling M, Rainbow's End, Silver Spur Ranch." The questioner was much impressed and exclaimed, "Whew! That is quite a name! How many head of cattle do you run?" The rancher answered, "Not many. Very few survive the branding." Beloved, pride has a way of ruining our lives.

Proverbs 16:18—Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Some folks will waste their opportunities to accept Christ as their Savior because of their pride. They are too proud to admit they are sinners. They are too proud to admit their need for a Savior. They are too proud to acknowledge God's authority over their lives.

Daniel 5:20—But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
Nehemiah 9:16—But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,

4. Prejudice against Christ
People also reject Christ because of their bitterness and prejudice toward Him. They have conjured up in their minds all sorts of reasons why they should reject Him. They won't take the time of day to even listen to the Gospel and what Christ has done for them because of their bigotry toward Christians. A closed mind is like a locked, shuttered house. It is secure and quiet, but also dark and gloomy. That is the situation of the hearts of those without the Lord. Someone put it this way about prejudice, "Prejudice is being down on something you are not up on. Prejudice is the child of ignorance. Prejudice is having the answers without knowing all the facts." Let me ask, "Are you rejecting Christ because you THINK you have all the answers without knowing all the facts?" The Samaritans made this mistake in Luke 9. They rejected the opportunity to offer hospitality to Christ because of their prejudice.

Luke 9:51-53... And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, [52] And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. [53] And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

5. Preoccupied with Self and other Matters

According to the Chicago Tribune, on March 3, 1995, a thirty-eight-year-old man who was walking to his temporary job at a warehouse in Rosemont, Illinois, tried to get there by cutting across eight lanes of the Tri-State Tollway. After he crossed the four northbound lanes, however, the wind blew off his hat. The hat flew back across the northbound lanes, and he chased it. There, a semi-trailer truck struck and killed him. He was a man that lost everything by chasing after nothing. People make the same exact mistake today. They waste their opportunity to trust in the Lord because they are distracted and41 preoccupied with other matters in their life that are not important at all. They don't have time for the Lord because of their selfish pursuits.

Mark 4:18-19... And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, [19] And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

6. The Power of God is Forgotten
Another reason why people shirk their opportunity to trust in the Lord is because they have forgotten what He has done. This was the problem in Jesus' day. The towns that witnessed His miracles forgot all about what He did.

Mark 6:52— for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.

In our time, people have forgotten what Christ did on the cross for them and that He arose from the grave.

7. A Perspective of Ungratefulness
Beloved, an ungrateful attitude will cause your heart to harden and crust-over like a dried-out lake bed. The opposite of ingratitude is gratefulness. Gratefulness is expressing or communicating to other people and God the specific ways in which they have blessed and benefitted your life. It looks for ways to bring honor to them. When we are genuinely grateful, we will have an attitude of indebtedness and be motivated to sufficiently express that attitude. A grateful spirit recognizes that in ourselves we have nothing, we are nothing without the Lord, and whatever we have or do we owe to God, our parents, family, and those who have invested their lives into us. The beginning step of gratefulness to God is responding to the opportunity to put your faith in Christ. In so doing, you will be expressing gratefulness for what He did for you on the cross. I like what Jim Elliot said. He said we are a bunch of nobodies who are serving somebody... Jesus Christ. If you ever get to a point in your life where you have nothing left but the Lord, then for the first time you will become aware that the Lord is ENOUGH! He is the One that satisfies and without Him we really have nothing!

Some folks are not grateful because they think they DESERVE every good thing they have and more. It was the rich farmer in Luke 12, that wanted to eat, drink, and be merry. He gave God no credit for his blessings and as a result he expressed no gratitude to the Lord. Unthankful people tend to gripe a lot. Griping is an outward indication many times of an ungrateful heart. Don't go around grumbling because you don't get what you WANT. Be grateful that you don't get what you do DESERVE. If you can't be thankful for what you receive, be thankful for what you escape. Learn to be grateful and think about all the wonderful things that God has done for you. When we forget what He has done, we tend to get hardhearted.

8. Personal Independence
People will waste their opportunity to trust in Christ because they have an independent spirit. They feel they don't need God or anyone else. Some believe they can get to Heaven on their own. Others don't believe in any kind of God, Heaven, or Hell. The nation of Israel in Isaiah's day adopted this kind of attitude and Isaiah cried out against it.

Isaiah 47:8-11... Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: [9] But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. [10] For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. [11] Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put if off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.

Independence of God also leads to incarceration and enslavement to sinful habits and to the consequences of our poor choices and decisions. Those consequences can affect us for a life time. Proclaiming freedom from God means imprisonment to Satan and being shackled by sinful habits. You may think you are free because you are doing what you want to do, but you are enslaved because you have deceived yourself or have been deceived by others. You may think you are strong, but you are really weak. Such was the train of thought and condition at the church of Laodicea. They felt they had no need of anything, when in reality, they needed many things. Their independent attitude robbed them of God's blessings and shackled them. This is what happens when you trust in your own way.

Revelation 3:15-17... I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. [16] So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. [17] Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Proverbs 14:12—There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 

9. Procrastination
Another reason why individuals waste their opportunity to trust in Christ is they procrastinate. They put off the matter until another time because they believe they will have time later to give their life to the Lord when they are ready. They are not hostile to the Lord or the Gospel, they just don't want to make any commitments to Christ right now. King Solomon and James issued a warning about procrastination and making assumptions about the future.

James 4:14—Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Proverbs 27:1—Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. 

Have you been given the opportunity to trust in Christ, but you squandered it? Don't delay any longer. You will be accountable for your opportunity

Luke 10:17  The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."

Greek Hupestrepsan (3PAAI) de hoi ebdomekonta (duo) meta charas legontes(PAPMPN): kurie, kai ta daimonia hupotassetai (3SPPI) hemin en to onomati sou. 

NET  Luke 10:17 Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!"

CSB  Luke 10:17 The Seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name."

ERV  Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us in thy name.

ESV  Luke 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!"

NIV  Luke 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."

NLT  Luke 10:17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!"

Related Passages:

Mark 6:30-31  The apostles *gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. 31 And He *said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)

Luke 9:1+ And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases

Luke 10:9 and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Romans 16:20  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 


The seventy returned with joy (charasaying, "Lord (kurios) even the demons (daimonion) are subject (hupotasso) to us in Your name With (meta) implies companionship and/or fellowship. Picture the 35 pairs on their way back to base camp, each pair accompanied by joy. Saying is in the present tense picturing them as continually expressing their joy as they returned. Notice Lk 10:9 did not mention power over the demonic world (as had been promised to the 12 in Lk 9:1-2), but clearly the 70 experienced this power. They had experienced the promised power in Lk 10:9, but they had also experienced more that what He had promised as conveyed by the words "even the demons..." meaning in addition to that which He had promised. To their delight, the demons were brought under firm control, made subordinate to the 70 in Jesus' Name. And keep in mind the most recent demon encounter by the disciples had proved ineffective (Lk 9:37-40+), but not so for the 70 on this occasion. Clearly the 70 are quick to point to Jesus, stating it was in Jesus' Name, in the full authority of the Person of Jesus, for His Name stands for His Person. 

Spurgeon remarks that "Not one of the (70) lambs had been eaten by the wolves. The Seventy were only told to heal the sick Lk 10:9, but by their testimony they too had received power and authority over the demons. Spurgeon adds "Christ had not mentioned that in the commission. He sent them to heal the sick. The casting out of devils was included, no doubt, but it was not specifically mentioned; and this being an extra beyond the words of their commission, they were especially delighted with it -- Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.”

Bengel remarks "They had two most weighty and sufficient reasons for their joy: 1) because a short while before the disciples had not been able to drive a demon out of a lunatic 2) because, in giving them His instructions, the Lord had indeed made mention in general of healing the sick, but not of casting out demons. They experienced more things (more gifts conferred on them) in the actual effect, than Jesus had expressed.

John MacArthur has a wonderful comment on the joy experienced by the 70 (you may be in a down period of your life - May God grant you grace to let these truths about joy sink down deep into your heart. In Jesus' Name. Amen) - When they consider God and His attributes, most people think of characteristics like holiness, sovereignty, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, justice, wrath, love, grace, and mercy. Rarely considered, however, is God’s joy. In 1 Chronicles 16:27 David said of Him, “Strength and joy are in His place.”The prophet Zephaniah declared to Israel, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (Zeph. 3:17). Jeremiah records God’s promise to Israel, “I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul” (Jer. 32:41), while in Isaiah 62:5 God said to His people that in the future, “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you” (cf. 65:19; Deut. 30:9). God’s joy is the ultimate purpose for which all His attributes function; it is the all-glorious displaying of them that brings Him the fullest joy. God’s attributes ensure not only His eternal joy, but also that of all the inhabitants of heaven. There “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Rev. 21:4). The dominant reality of heaven is unmixed joy forever, which is why the Lord said that those who enter heaven “enter into the joy of [their] master” (Matt. 25:21) and Jude gave the benediction, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24). (Luke Commentary)

Steven Cole on joy and rejoicing - “Congratulations! You have just won the Reader’s Digest Five Million Dollar Sweepstakes!” Would that make you rejoice? “Congratulations! You have just been used of God to move a soul from eternal darkness to eternal light and life!” Now that should make the believer rejoice like nothing else! But all too often, when we hear of a soul being saved, we respond with, “That’s nice. Hey, who do you think will win the Super Bowl?” Whatever makes us the happiest reveals our true values. Do we get more excited about temporal blessings or eternal ones? Do we get more excited about a new car or a new brother or sister in Christ? (What Makes Jesus Rejoice)

Joy (5479)(chara) is a feeling of great pleasure, of inner gladness, or of delight. Joy is an emotion evoked by a sense of well-being. It is a deep feeling of happiness and contentment. Joy in the NT is virtually always used to signify a feeling of "happiness" that is based on spiritual realities (and independent of what "happens"). Warren Wiersbe defined joy as "that inward peace and sufficiency that is not affected by outward circumstances. (A case in point is Paul’s experience recorded in Phil. 4:10-20.) This "holy optimism" keeps him going in spite of difficulties."  (Borrow Be Compassionate)Donald Campbell wrote that "Joy is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing which was promised to those who abide in Christ (Jn 15:11). It does not depend on circumstances because it rests in God’s sovereign control of all things." Joy is a depth of assurance and confidence that ignites a cheerful heart. It is a cheerful heart that leads to cheerful behavior. Joy is not an experience that comes from favorable circumstances but is God’s gift from His Spirit to believers. Joy is a part of God’s very essence (see MacArthur's excellent comment below) and His Spirit manifests this supernatural joy in His children (Galatians 5:22-note, Acts 13:52, 1Th 1:6-note).In sum, Joy is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord.

William MacDonald - Joy is contentment and satisfaction with God and with His dealings. Christ displayed it in John 4:34 (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Adam Clarke defines joy as "The exultation that arises from a sense of God’s mercy communicated to the soul in the pardon of its iniquities, and the prospect of that eternal glory of which it has the foretaste in the pardon of sin."

Barclay adds that "It is not the joy that comes from earthly things, still less from triumphing over someone else in competition. It is a joy whose foundation is God."  (Daily Study Bible)

There is a little chorus I can almost picture the seventy singing as they came back to the Lord... I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy. As an aside remember that...It takes 72 muscles to frown—only 14 to smile!

Lord (2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership rights and uncontested power. Kurios is used of the one to whom a person or thing belonged, over which he has the power of deciding, the one who is the master or disposer of a thing (Mk 7:28) Friberg on kurios - strictly, a substantive of the adjective kurios (strong, authoritative); hence, one having legal power lord, master; (1) in a non-religious sense; (a) one controlling his own property - owner, lord, master (Mk 12.9); (b) one having authority over persons - lord, master (Lk 12.43); (2) as a form of address showing respect - sir, lord (Jn 4.11); (3) in religious usage, as a designation and personal title for God (Mt 1.20) and Jesus Christ (Jn 20.18) (the) Lord; translation of the Hebrew adonai, which in the public reading of Scripture replaced the tetragrammaton yhwh

Kurios in Luke - Lk. 1:6; Lk. 1:9; Lk. 1:11; Lk. 1:15; Lk. 1:16; Lk. 1:17; Lk. 1:25; Lk. 1:28; Lk. 1:32; Lk. 1:38; Lk. 1:43; Lk. 1:45; Lk. 1:46; Lk. 1:58; Lk. 1:66; Lk. 1:68; Lk. 1:76; Lk. 2:9; Lk. 2:11; Lk. 2:15; Lk. 2:22; Lk. 2:23; Lk. 2:24; Lk. 2:26; Lk. 2:39; Lk. 3:4; Lk. 4:8; Lk. 4:12; Lk. 4:18; Lk. 4:19; Lk. 5:8; Lk. 5:12; Lk. 5:17; Lk. 6:5; Lk. 6:46; Lk. 7:6; Lk. 7:13; Lk. 7:19; Lk. 9:54; Lk. 9:59; Lk. 9:61; Lk. 10:1; Lk. 10:2; Lk. 10:17; Lk. 10:21; Lk. 10:27; Lk. 10:39; Lk. 10:40; Lk. 10:41; Lk. 11:1; Lk. 11:39; Lk. 12:36; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 12:41; Lk. 12:42; Lk. 12:43; Lk. 12:45; Lk. 12:46; Lk. 12:47; Lk. 13:8; Lk. 13:15; Lk. 13:23; Lk. 13:25; Lk. 13:35; Lk. 14:21; Lk. 14:22; Lk. 14:23; Lk. 16:3; Lk. 16:5; Lk. 16:8; Lk. 16:13; Lk. 17:5; Lk. 17:6; Lk. 17:37; Lk. 18:6; Lk. 18:41; Lk. 19:8; Lk. 19:16; Lk. 19:18; Lk. 19:20; Lk. 19:25; Lk. 19:31; Lk. 19:33; Lk. 19:34; Lk. 19:38; Lk. 20:13; Lk. 20:15; Lk. 20:37; Lk. 20:42; Lk. 20:44; Lk. 22:33; Lk. 22:38; Lk. 22:49; Lk. 22:61; Lk. 24:3; Lk. 24:34;

Subject (5293hupotasso from hupó = under + tasso = arrange in orderly manner) means literally to place under in an orderly fashion. To subject to, put in submission to, to be or make subject; to submit oneself. In active voice it means subject, bring under firm control, subordinate (1 Cor 15:27, 28; Eph 1:22; Heb 2:5). In the passive voice it means to become subject (Ro 8:20+; 1Cor 15:27, 28; Heb 2:8). It also means subject oneself, be subjected or subordinated, obey (Lk 2:51; 10:17, 20; 1 Cor 14:34; 15:28b; 16:16). Hupotasso involves both involuntary and voluntary submission. The main themes discussed within the contexts containing the word hupotassō are the subjection of powers unto Christ, the submission of men unto Christ, and the subjection of men to one another and to authorities, either out of fear or respect.

Hupotasso - 31v - put in subjection(5), subject(16), subjected(7), subjecting(1), subjection(4), submissive(3), submit(2). Lk. 2:51; Lk. 10:17; Lk. 10:20; Rom. 8:7; Rom. 8:20; Rom. 10:3; Rom. 13:1; Rom. 13:5; 1 Co. 14:32; 1 Co. 14:34; 1 Co. 15:27; 1 Co. 15:28; 1 Co. 16:16; Eph. 1:22; Eph. 5:21; Eph. 5:24; Phil. 3:21; Col. 3:18; Tit. 2:5; Tit. 2:9; Tit. 3:1; Heb. 2:5; Heb. 2:8; Heb. 12:9; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:18; 1 Pet. 3:1; 1 Pet. 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:22; 1 Pet. 5:5

Luke 10:18  And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.

BGT  Luke 10:18 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς· ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα.

KJV  Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

NET  Luke 10:18 So he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

ERV  Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven.

ESV  Luke 10:18 And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

YLT  Luke 10:18 and he said to them, 'I was beholding the Adversary, as lightning from the heaven having fallen;


And He said to them "I was watching Satan fall from heaven - Keep the context in mind, for the 70 had just returned giving Jesus testimony that "even the demons are subject to us in Your name." Notice this passage begins with and the conjunction de which is used "most commonly to denote continuation and further thought development." Clearly in context the "and" links Jesus' declaration with the statement just made by the disciples about the demons. It is as if Jesus now gives His "commentary" on what the 70 had experienced in their demon encounters. And so Jesus addresses their assault on the kingdom of darkness as having an impact against the head of that kingdom, Satan himself. And notice that watching is in the imperfect tense signifying Jesus like a spectator (which is inherent in the meaning of theoreo) looking on as over and over another demon was subjected to the 70 (in His Name). In other words, Jesus was watching as the 70 were exercising authority over one demon after another and another! And it was as if each demon who was subjected to the 70 in Jesus' Name was pictured as a powerful, sudden bolt of lightning striking from heaven. While some writers think Jesus was referring to Satan's original fall (cp Isa 14:12), the context does not support that interpretation (see John MacArthur's excellent comment below).

Brian Bell observes that "While they were expelling the subordinates Jesus was noticing the chief of demons. Jesus was not speaking of Satan being cast out at that precise moment, but that his power had been broken and that he was subject to Jesus' authority."

Ryrie - The power of Satan was broken, and the success of the 70 over demons was proof of it (v. 17).

Tony Garland has an interesting comment on the casting out of Satan from heaven in Revelation 12:9

"And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." 

Garland explains that Rev 12:9 "is the first stage in the de facto fulfillment of what was previously accomplished de jure at Christ’s First Coming (Luke 10:18; John 12:31; 16:11; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14; 1Jn. 3:8). The next stage occurs with his binding in the abyss (Rev. 20:1-3+) after which he is released, but then cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10+)."

John MacArthur explains I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning - Commentators have offered various interpretations of what the Lord meant by this saying. Some argue that it refers to Satan’s original fall (Isa. 14:12), but that incident has nothing to do with the immediate context. Others have suggested several other possibilities: that Christ had in mind His vanquishing of Satan at His temptation; or that He referred to Satan’s subjection to Him by virtue of His own ministry of casting out demons; or the crushing of Satan’s head at the cross, or Satan’s future sentencing to the lake of fire. But the imperfect tense of the verb translated I was watching suggests a continual process rather than a one-time event such as those offerings. Although they were truly triumphs of Christ over Satan, the vivid imagery of lightning, which repeatedly flashes brilliantly and then is gone, suggests a different explanation. The picture here is of Jesus rejoicing as He observed Satan’s kingdom being destroyed one rescued soul at a time through the seventy’s evangelistic ministry. That would continue to be true throughout all the history of the church as God and the holy angels rejoice every time one lost and damned soul is recovered from Satan’s domain (cf. Luke 15:7, 10).(See The MacArthur Commentary)

An older commentary Albert Barnes agrees - "Satan" here denotes evidently the prince of the devils who had been cast out by the seventy disciples, for the discourse was respecting their power over evil spirits. "Lightning" is an image of "rapidity" or "quickness." I saw Satan fall "quickly" or rapidly - as quick as lightning. The phrase "from heaven" is to be referred to the lightning, and does not mean that he saw "Satan" fall "from heaven," but that he fell as quick as lightning from heaven or from the clouds. The whole expression then may mean, "I saw at your command devils immediately depart, as quick as the flash of lightning. I gave you this power - I saw it put forth - and I give also now, in addition to this, the power to tread on serpents," etc.

"While you were expelling the subordinates, I was seeing the master fall."
-- Frederic Godet

Spurgeon - He saw him fall from his power like a meteor, suddenly and hopelessly.

George Wood - They've (the Seventy) seen demons cast out and He says, "I saw Satan fall." There are some who look at that and say, "What Jesus means there is that, in His pre-existence, He saw Satan kicked out of heaven." And He could mean that. But more likely, in the context of what He is saying, it's simply this, "While you were casting out the subordinates—the demons—I was seeing in your activity the fact that I'm casting out the leader of the subordinates, the master of the subordinates—Satan and his work is over. When you get involved in the kingdom, you tramp on snakes and scorpions. Jesus wasn't telling His disciples to go out and be snake-handlers and walk across snake pits. He was symbolically visualizing the work of the enemy as one which lethally stings and He says, "The devil is not going to get you. You're going to walk on his head. Spiritually, he cannot come near you. He cannot touch you. You'll go out with power." (Ibid)

George Truett - When the seventy returned and made their report, Jesus said, "I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven." It was a vision to Christ of the ultimate triumph of the Gospel—a vision of Christ's ultimate triumph everywhere as the Savior of men. He saw a great day coming when Satan should be bruised under the heel of the marching triumph of the Son of God. (Sermon)

Alfred Edersheim on like lightning - "And he is fallen like lightning, in its rapidity, dazzling splendour, and destructiveness."

Watching (2334)(theoreo from theorós = spectator (looks at thing w interest and purpose, careful observation of details) <> theáomai ) = look closely at) describes rapt contemplation of a vision (Jn 2:23 beholding His signs). It denotes calm, intent, continuous contemplation of an object which remains before the spectator. In Jn 1:14 Jesus’ glory was the object of contemplation. In the Septuagint of Ps 66:18 theoreo the object of the contemplation is wickedness!  Theoreo denotes calm, intent, continuous contemplation of an object which remains before the spectator.

Already, But Not Yet—Luke 10:18

[Jesus] said to them,“ I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

If Jesus has won the victory over sin, suffering, and death, why is it that we still sin, suffer, and die? To understand this seeming contradiction, we must recognize the“already, but not yet ”tension of the gospel.

On the one hand, God ’s kingdom has already come in the person of Jesus. As the incarnate God-man, He died on the cross so that through His death and resurrection He might destroy the devil (Hebrews 2:14).

On the other hand, the perfect kingdom toward which He pointed awaits His personal return to earth. We experience the tension of living between the“already, but not yet”aspects of God’s kingdom.

Luke 10 illustrates this tension. Upon returning from preaching, the disciples were jubilant.“Even the demons are subject to us in Your name,”they told Jesus (Luke 10:17). He replied that He had seen Satan“ fall like lightning from heaven” (v.18). He also assured them that nothing would hurt them (v.19). Yet many of them suffered and died as martyrs, and evil is still rampant today.

Even so, we can face whatever comes, for someday we’ll enter fully into the victory Jesus has won. In the meantime, we can take comfort in knowing that nothing shall separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39).By Herbert Vander Lugt 

God’s kingdom has come in Jesus the king,
He died and He rose, redemption to bring;
Yet still we await the glorious day
When Satan and sin no longer hold sway. —D. De Haan

Satan may win some battles, but he has already lost the war.

Luke 10:19  "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.


Behold  (2400)(idou) is a command ("Pay attention!") spoken to get their (and our) attention. 

I have given you authority - Jesus had the right to dispense authority for as He testified in Mt 28:16 " “All authority (exousia) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."

Jesus knew that "the enemy will not give up! Satan would certainly attack Christ’s servants and seek to destroy them. That is why our Lord added the words of encouragement in Luke 10:19. He assured them that their authority was not gone now that the preaching mission had ended, and that they could safely tread on the “old serpent” without fear (Gen. 3:15; Rev. 12:9)." (Wiersbe Borrow Be Compassionate)

Have given (didomi) means to cause one to have something usually of value, in this case supernatural power over Satan and his minions! Even better "given" is in the perfect tense which speaks of the permanence of that gift from Jesus. This is the same tense Peter used in 2 Peter 1:3-note when he wrote "seeing that His divine power has granted (perfect tense) to us everything (including supernatural power over our enemy) pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence."

Authority (1849)(exousia) in simple terms means the right and the might over the kingdom of darkness. Compare Jesus commission of the 12 - "And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases." (Lk 9:1)

Serpents and scorpions - In the context of the statement over all the power of the enemy these creatures are figurative descriptions of Satan's kingdom of darkness. However as noted below the promise was in a sense literally fulfilled in the life of the apostle Paul. 

We see this playing out in Acts when Paul is bitten by a viper

Acts 28:3-6 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god. 

Henry Morris - "Serpents and scorpions have always symbolized the devil, and God has promised that Christ will ultimately crush Satan (Ge 3:15). Thus, in His name, the followers of Christ can also be delivered spiritually from Satan's venom and crush his power over their lives (Ps 91:13; Ro 16:20, 1 Jn 3:8, 5:18)." (Henry Morris)

Parallel passages

Psalm 91:13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down. 

Mark 16:17-18 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 

Tread on serpents - In Romans 16:20 Paul describes the treading on the ultimate "serpent" Satan (see Rev 12:9-note; Rev 20:2-note) prophesying that "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."

Scorpions - Demonic forces are described as scorpions in Rev 9:1-4-note.

This prophecy reminds one of the protoevangelium prophecy in Genesis 3:15-note "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He (Messiah) shall bruise you on the head (cp "tread on serpents"), And you shall bruise him on the heel.” 

Related - Snakes in the Bible

Spurgeon - That is a higher privilege than to be master over demons, or to be able to tread on serpents. That day of miracles is past; but the power of the gospel is a spiritual power the same as before. We still cast out devils; still are men delivered from the dominion of Satan.

And nothing will injure you (cf Acts 21:18) - The Greek has a TRIPLE negative (ouden humas ou me) which makes it a very strong statement! 

While we are all aware that believers through the ages have been harmed and even martyred, Jesus promises that we will ultimately kept or guarded by the power of God. Listen to Peter's description of our great salvation:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5-note)

John writes

We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch (devil cannot habitually touch those born of God) him. (1 John 5:18-note)

Paul gives us the ultimate truth about our divine protection 

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities (~ demonic powers), nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Ro 8:38-39-note).

Luke 10:20  "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven." 


Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you - This command from Jesus is a good reminder for all of us. If we are truly engaged in the Lord's missionary work, we will from time to time see and/or experience remarkable supernatural works. It would be easy to focus on those things (and fall prey to a dangerous, deceptive sense of spiritual pride or superiority! Memorize and live in the truth of 2 Cor 3:5-6-note!). In so doing we might forget the most incredible miracle of all, that our "names are recorded in heaven!" (cf. Phil. 4:3-note; Rev. 3:5-note; Rev 20:15-note).

Spurgeon - The 70 disciples returned from their preaching tour flushed with the joy of success, and our Savior, to refine that joy and prevent its degenerating into pride, bids them rather rejoice that their names were written in heaven. He conducted their contemplations to the glorious doctrine of election, so that grateful thoughts might sober them after successful work; He bids them consider themselves as debtors to divine grace, which reveals unto babes the mysteries of God; for He would not allow their new position as workers to make them forget that they were the chosen of God, and therefore debtors (Sermon)

Criswell on do not rejoice - The conclusion of the Lord's instructions is a caution to the disciples not to become enamored with sensational spiritual events, however significant. Rather, attention should be focused on salvation, the central theme of all prophecy and Scripture as well as the chief concern of Christ's life. The presence of one's name in heaven is of greater significance than any individual spiritual prowess about which one might boast.

Steven Cole -  They were excited about how God had used them in defeating Satan’s forces through their ministry. Jesus is not telling them not to rejoice at all in such victories. Rather, He is putting it in perspective. Our greatest joy should not be in seeing how God uses us to serve Him, but rather in the simple fact that our names are recorded in heaven. Service has its ups and downs; but salvation through God’s grace and the assurance that whom He saves, He keeps, should fill us with steady joy. God’s sovereign grace in saving us should bring greater joy to us than all other joys, because it is eternal. Every joy that the person outside of Christ enjoys is temporal. Did he just win a million dollars in the lottery? Did he just get a promotion in his career? Did he just marry a beautiful young woman? Did he just get elected to a high public office? Don’t envy him for a second. Why envy a man who in a short time will be cast into the lake of fire? If he could only see as God sees, that successful man would gladly and quickly trade places with the person whose name is written in the book of life, even if that saint were suffering from terminal cancer! Our joy is eternal and will only grow greater when we pass into the presence of our Savior!  (What Makes Jesus Rejoice)

Rejoice (5463)(chairo) means to be "cheer" full, calmly happy or well-off. Chairo implies and imparts joy. Chairo is used in a whole range of situations in which the emotion of joy is evoked. To be in a state of happiness and well being independent of what is happening when the Source is the Spirit! 

Henry Morris - The miraculous signs accompanying the seventy on this mission, as well as the apostles and others in the early church, were a special and temporary privilege, given for a special purpose (1 Corinthians 13:8), not to be compared at all to the far greater and everlasting gift of salvation.

But rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven -  (see Phil. 4:3+) God's sent ones were to rejoice more that they had received His mercy and forgiveness than in their power over evil spirits. Rejoice because they have personally experienced the greatest miracle of all, the salvation of their otherwise previously lost soul. Dear reader, have you experienced this miracle of miracles?

Rejoice is in the present imperative calling for this to be the habitual practice of the seventy (and also for us beloved!). This joy can and should be continual because our salvation is eternally secure. When the world, people, circumstances or our adversary steal or attempt to steal our joy, we can, enabled by the Spirit (giving us the desire and the power) make the volitional choice to rejoice in the immutable, incredible truth that our names are recorded in heaven! Indeed all other miracles were ultimately meant to be but signposts pointing men to the Gospel of our salvation, the greatest miracle of all!

Luke records rejoicing of those who had heard the good news of the availability of the forgiveness of sins and justification by faith (context = Acts 13:38, 39)...

When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord (THE GOSPEL); and as many as had been appointed (tasso) to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48+)

When God records our name in heaven, it is final and forever! Why can we say that? Look at the verb Engrapho which is in the perfect tense (in both Lk 10:20 and Da 12:1). You still may be unimpressed and say "So what?" The answer is that the perfect tense speaks of a past completed action with ongoing results or effect. In a word, the perfect tense speaks of permanence of this record in Daniel 12:1 and Lk 10:20! It STANDS WRITTEN! This is another one of those pieces of truth which serve to underscore the fact that a genuine believer cannot lose his or her salvation! Dear believer in Jesus Christ, your name stands written in God's record in heaven where it will forever remain written! Believe it or not!

Related Resource: 

This record of course refers to believers but Jeremiah describes a record of unbelievers - 

O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water (Jer 2:13, 17, Jn 7:37-38), even the LORD.  (Jer 17:13)

The psalmist writes

May they be blotted out of the book of life and may they not be recorded with the righteous. (Ps 69:28)

John speaks of names recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Rev 13:8-note)

Brian Bell - Jesus shared in their joy, but reminded them to rejoice primarily not in being empowered for service, but in having been saved by grace. After all, their work might not always be successful…but their salvation would never change!

Plummer on our names written in heaven - As citizens possessing the full privileges of the commonwealth! (Ed: Our salvation brings protection and privilege).

William Barclay - It will always remain true that a man's greatest glory is not what he has done but what God has done for him. It might well be claimed that the discovery of the use of chloroform saved the world more pain than any other single medical discovery. Once someone asked Sir James Simpson, who pioneered its use, "What do you regard as your greatest discovery?" expecting the answer, "Chloroform." But Simpson answered, "My greatest discovery was that Jesus Christ is my Saviour." Even the greatest man can say in the presence of God only,

"Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy Cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die."

Pride bars from heaven; humility is the passport to the presence of God. (Daily Study Bible)

Spurgeon - To be elect is better than to be endowed with the greatest gifts. When we are likely to become too elated by what the Lord does by us, it will be well to remember that what he has done for us is a far greater and safer reason for joy.

      Bid, Lord, thy heralds publish loud
      The peaceful blessings of thy reign;
      And when they speak of sprinkled blood,
      The mystery to the heart explain.

      Chase the usurper from his throne,
      Oh! chase him to his destined hell;
      Stout-hearted sinners overcome,
      And glorious in thy temple dwell.

Recorded (1449)(engrapho from en = in or on + grapho = to write) means literally (as used here in Lk 10:20) to write in, to enroll, to enter into a register, to record.  Engrapho figuratively speaks of a spiritual impression made on the heart ("You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men." 2 Cor 3:2).  Engrapho means to inscribe formally and solemnly. It was used for the signing of a will, a marriage document, or a peace treaty, and also for the enrolling of a citizen.

BDAG - to record information, esp. names in official documents (inscribed on pillars - Herodotus).... Like the Gk. term engrapho, which can be used of handwriting as well as engraving, the Eng. rendering ‘inscribe’ does double duty for Paul’s imagery and is in harmony with the official flavor (numerous official letters were inscribed on stone) of his prose in 2 Cor 3:2.  (Borrow A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament, and other early Christian literature

TDNT on engrapho

1. Lk 10:20 The references of engraphein are to a. “writing in a letter or petition,” b. “entering in a document,” c. “inscribing on a list,” d. “inscribing the divine words in the Bible,” and e. “entering in the book of life” (Da 12:1 LXX). The Lord's saying in Lk. 10:20 carries the thought that those who belong to Christ are enrolled as citizens of the eternal politeia.

 2. 2 Cor. 3:2-3. What Paul is saying here is that the Corinthians are letters “inscribed” on his heart. The idea of inscribing on the heart or soul is a common one in antiquity, but Paul is probably influenced more by Jer. 31:33 ; Prov. 3:3; also Ex. 24:12; 31:18; 34:1; Ezek. 11:19; 36:26. (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

The only uses of engrapho in the Septuagint are found in Ex 39:14 and Da 12:1. The use in Daniel is powerful and parallels Jesus' words here in Luke 10:20 in the sense that both passages speak of permanence as explained below.

Daniel 12:1+ "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written (Lxx = engrapho in the perfect tense) in the book (Lxx = biblos- book, scroll), will be rescued

James Smith - SENT ONES. Luke 10:1-20.

   Man hath his daily work of body or mind 
   Appointed, which declares his dignity, 
   And the regard of Heaven on all his ways, 
   While other animals inactive range, 
   And of their doings God takes no account. —Milton.

These seventy were appointed by the Lord, and sent forth, two and two, and surely it was a great comfort for them to know that they were going "before His face," and into the very places "whither He Himself would come" (v. 1). May not every sent one now rest in this same assurance, that wherever they go, at His will and in His Name, there shall He manifest His presence. But there is to be no selfish monopolising of this work on the part of the sent ones, for it was to them the Lord said, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He may send forth labourers" (v. 2). In this spirit of prayer, begotten by real love for the Lord and His work, we do become "co-workers together with Him." There are precious lessons here for all who seek to do the will of God.

I. A Great Commission. "Go your ways; behold, I send you forth" (Lk 10:3). They went as—

1. LAMBS. "Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves" (Lk 10:3). They were not sent as rams to fight their way by the power of their heads, but as lambs, entirely under the protection of the ever-watchful Shepherd, and as such they represent heart life more than head life. The influence of love is always more powerful than that of reason. The wolves represent those who live the grossly selfish life—men of the world.

2. FORERUNNERS. "They went whither He Himself would come" (Lk 10:1). As such they were to "salute no man by the way." Their coming into any city or place was a testimony that the King Himself was coming. Have we, as sent ones (Lk 20:17, 18), been animated by a like faith in the promise and power of Christ? Do we expect Him to follow up our word and work in His Name with His own convincing presence?

3. HERALDS. Saying, "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Lk 10:9). From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:19). The kingdom itself was brought near by the very presence of the heralds of it. If the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; Rom. 14:17), then when you come into contact with those who know not God, nor His Christ, does not the kingdom come near to them in you?

4. AMBASSADORS. Jesus said of them, "He that heareth you heareth Me, and he that despiseth you despiseth Me" (v. 16). "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20).

II. A Joyful Testimony.

"They returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy Name" (Lk 10:17).

Those who go at His bidding and in His Name will always have a joyful testimony to bear. They will be more than conquerors. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12). Our foe is not in the form of "flesh and blood" (human), but in the character of wicked spirits which rule the kingdom of darkness—invisible demons—that possess the hearts of men, and that can only be cast out through the power of the Name of Jesus (Eph. 2:2). The works of the devil are still being destroyed in those to whom the Son of God is being manifested (1 John 3:8). Thus, the lifting up of the Son of God is still the power to bring the devils of doubt and uncleanness into subjection (John 12:13).

III. A Suggestive Comment.

"Jesus said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven" (Lk 10:18). What a strange and startling statement, coming as a reply to their exultant account of "devils being subject to them." It appears that Satan shot down from the heavenlies with lightning speed when he saw that his angel demons were being routed and overcome by those seventy messengers of the Son of God. The more we triumph in the Name of Jesus, the more intensely will we be tried and opposed by the powers of darkness. The wrestling mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 implies a real and desperate struggle in very close quarters—wrestlers grip each other.

IV. An Assuring Promise.

"Behold, I give you power to tread on... all the power of the enemy" (Lk 10:19). Although Satan hath come down like lightning in all his power to oppose the mission of Christ through you, I give you power to tread all his power beneath your feet. The sphere of Satan's work is now on the earth. Let us treat all "criticisms" and "teachings" that are opposed to the mind and purposes of Jesus Christ as the "doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1). Take courage from His promise, "I give unto you power" (Acts 1:8). The time has come when the God of peace can bruise Satan under your feet (Rom. 16:20). One of the signs of faith in His Name is the casting out of devils (Mark 16:17).

V. A Source of Joy.

"Rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in Heaven" (v. 20). To have our names written there is a guarantee of deliverance (Dan. 12:1). Overcoming devils is, in the mind of Christ, a comparatively small matter, but to have our names written in the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev. 21:27), and to belong to the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in Heaven, is something to rejoice over, as it is a privilege that will be fruitful of joy and honour through all eternity, for a man may cast out devils and yet himself be a castaway (Matt. 7:22, 23).

Precious Names—Luke 10:20 Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.

No one expected the second anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to be as emotionally charged as the first. But that changed at Ground Zero in New York City when a group of 200 young people began reading the names of those who had died at the World Trade Center. The readers were the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews of the victims. The 2,792 names, precious to those who read them, brought a fresh reminder of those they had loved and lost.

A person’s name represents his identity, accomplishments, and relationships. Someday our name may appear on a memorial plaque or gravestone as a mark of remembrance and honor.

But there is a heavenly ledger that is the most important of all. When Jesus’ followers reported their successful service to Him, He replied: “Do not rejoice in this, . . . but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Then He thanked the Father for making the way to Him simple enough for even a child to understand (v.21).

A child values a loving relationship. In that spirit, we should rejoice that through faith in Christ we belong to God and are secure in His love for all eternity. Our names are precious to Him.By David C. McCasland  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our names are recorded in heaven,
Christ's death this high honor secured;
Believers have now a new standing
That nothing can change—we're assured.
—D. De Haan

When you trust Jesus here on earth He writes your name in heaven.

Luke 10:21  At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight

Amplified  In that same hour He rejoiced and gloried in the Holy Spirit and said, I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have concealed these things [relating to salvation] from the wise and understanding and learned, and revealed them to babes (the childish, unskilled, and untaught). Yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will and choice and good pleasure.

CSB  In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure.

ESV In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

KJV   In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

GWN  In that hour the Holy Spirit filled Jesus with joy. Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from wise and intelligent people and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, this is what pleased you.

NET  On that same occasion Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will.

NAB  At that very moment he rejoiced (in) the holy Spirit and said, "I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.

NIV  At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

NLT At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.

Wuest  At that very hour He rejoiced exceedingly, this rejoicing being energized by the Holy Spirit, and said, I give praise to you, openly and from the heart, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you hid these things from the wise and the learned, and uncovered them to the untaught. Yes, Father, because it was your good pleasure and you willed it so.

YLT In that hour was Jesus glad in the Spirit, and said, 'I do confess to thee, Father, Lord of the heaven and of the earth, that Thou didst hide these things from wise men and understanding, and didst reveal them to babes; yes, Father, because so it became good pleasure before Thee.

Related Passages:

1 Corinthians 1:18+ For the word of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (present tense = in process of perishing), but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (See the full context 1Cor 1:18-2:5)

1 Corinthians 1:26-29+ For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God.

1 Corinthians 3:18+ Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

1 Corinthians 2:14+ But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Luke 9:47-48+ But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite. 

Isaiah 66:2 For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.


At that very time (In that same hour, "at the hour itself", cp Lk 2:38;10:21; 12:12; 20:19) -  An expression of time begging the question "At what time?" Begin to develop the habit of  prayerfully interrogating the Biblical text, for in so doing it will often force you to examine the context. You will be amazed at how good the Scripture (and the Holy Spirit the One Who inspired the Word) is at answering your questions. And every time you pause to prayerfully, humbly ponder the Word, you are in a sense carrying out what I like to call a "mini-meditation!" (See Meditate or Primer on Biblical Meditation). And so the answer to "at that time" is clearly the time when He sent out the 70, who obediently went, and returned with a report of a divinely empowered successful missionary tour.

MacArthur - What produced the ultimate joy for Jesus was the satisfaction of God. The Lord expressed that joy here in the form of a prayer of praise and adoration, the passion of which is evident from the phrases O Father, and Yes, Father

He rejoiced greatly (agalliao) in the Holy Spirit (Lk 3:22; 4:1, 14, 18) - This is the only time in the Scripture where Jesus is described as rejoicing. In (locative of sphere) the Holy Spirit describes supernatural joy energized by the Spirit.

THOUGHT - Jesus' Source is the Spirit, Who is also our Source for supernatural joy independent of the circumstances we might currently be experiencing, whether good or bad. Our manifestation of this joy is predicated on us continually being filled with (controlled by) the same Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18) Who filled (and controlled) Jesus (Lk 4:1, Acts 10:38). This begs the question - Are you daily seeking to meet the challenges you will experience in your power or His power? It will make all the difference in the world whether or not you manifest Spirit energized joy. The lost are watching. They are looking for the supernatural (many times in all the wrong places) but we are to like salty lights set on the top of hill for others to see our good works (e.g., joy in adverse circumstances) and glorify (give a proper opinion of) our Heavenly Father. (Mt 5:16-+).

Robertson - This holy joy of Jesus was directly due to the Holy Spirit. It is joy in the work of his followers, their victories over Satan, and is akin to the joy felt by Jesus in John 4:32-38 when the vision of the harvest of the world stirred his heart. The rest of this verse is precisely like Matthew 11:25-26, a peculiarly Johannine passage in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark. 

POSB - There is the idea of victorious joy because of the glorious triumph over the arch-enemy Satan. (Luke 10:18-20). Note: this joy comes only from the Spirit; it cannot be worked up. It is a joy of confidence and assurance that arises from down deep within—a confidence and assurance that all is well with God and the victory is won over evil. This was the joy experienced by Christ when the seventy returned. Souls had been snatched from the grip of sin and death, for the power of God over evil had been exercised by men. Satan's fall was assured. God would be victorious within the world as the gospel was carried forth by His servants; the Spirit of God stirred Jesus to rejoice greatly over the victory won. (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

Steven Cole - Jesus mentions His own joy on at least two other occasions (John 15:11; 17:13), but here alone it says that He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit. What He rejoiced greatly about was the news of how God’s sovereign grace had resulted in the salvation of souls through the ministry of the 72 (or 70, depending on the textual variant). If thinking on these matters of sovereign grace caused Jesus to exult, then the same should be true for us as we grow to be more like Jesus.  (What Makes Jesus Rejoice)

And said, "I praise (exomologeo - present tense) You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden (apokrupto) these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed (apokalupto) them to infants (nepios). Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing (eudokía) in Your sight (emprosthen) Lord of heaven and earth speaks of God's sovereign rule and reign over all His creation (two other uses  Mt 11:25, Acts 17:24). Take a moment to worship Him by playing and singing the song "Lord of Heaven and Earth." MacArthur says this designation is "a traditionally Jewish designation of the supreme and only God of the universe (cf. Ge 14:19, 22; Ezra 5:11; Isa 66:1). These things refers to things relating to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and in context includes what the 70 disciples had reported (Lk 10:19-20). God the Father had hidden (or concealed) the knowledge about Christ and the plan of redemption for wise and intelligent. The idea of hidden is it was truth that could not be known except by divine revelation, revelation by the Spirit of God. Wise and intelligent speak of the evaluation of people according to the standards of this fallen, God hating world (which is passing away). See Paul's assessment of this "elite group" in several passages from First Corinthians (see above).  Jesus uses the metaphor of infants (nepios) to depict the ones to whom God's truth about the plan of redemption and His Redeemer are spiritually revealed (apokalupto). In other words revealed (apokalupto) signifies the Spirit's removal of a person's spiritual blindness which otherwise conceals from them their need for the Gospel. This spiritual truth was previously hidden but now has had the "lid removed" so that it can be seen (understood) by those who are like infants., unspoiled by worldly learning, childlike, simple people. In short, this profound truth is revealed not to the proud, arrogant, boastful, intelligent, worldly wise, self-righteous, etc, but to the humble, poor in spirit, broken and contrite, those who have nothing to boast about. This is what gave the Father good pleasure (eudokía). 

MacArthur amplifies these things noting that "The antecedent of these things is the revelation of everything concerning Jesus, including His deity, messiahship, the miracles He performed, the gospel, the kingdom—in short, all the features of Christ’s life, ministry, and mission. The Father had sovereignly determined to whom those truths should be revealed, and from whom they should be hidden, and operated within that determination to reveal to the elect what was otherwise not discernible through human wisdom or intelligence. Jesus rejoiced that His Father had not devised a plan of salvation that only the wise and intelligent could comprehend. Salvation is not restricted to the spiritual elite, the worldly wise and the intelligent, such as the well-educated scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, or those claiming elevated, esoteric, secret knowledge, like the Gnostics and the followers of the mystery religions. God has hidden spiritual truth so that it is not discoverable by the most elevated human wisdom apart from His self-revelation in Scripture and regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in minds" (See Luke Commentary)

Robertson - It is an ecstatic prayer in the presence of the Seventy under the rapture of the Holy Spirit on terms of perfect equality and understanding between the Father and the Son in the tone of the priestly prayer in John 17. We are justified in saying that this prayer of supreme Fellowship with the Father in contemplation of final victory over Satan gives us a glimpse of the prayers with the Father when the Son spent whole nights on the mountain alone with the Father. Here is the Messianic consciousness in complete control and with perfect confidence in the outcome. Here as in Matthew 11:27 by the use of wills to reveal him (boulētai apokalupsai). The Son claims the power to reveal the Father "to whomsoever he wills". This is divine sovereignty most assuredly. Human free agency is also true, but it is full divine sovereignty in salvation that is here claimed along with possession ("all things have been handed over to Me" - paredothē, timeless aorist passive indicative) of all power from the Father. Let that supreme claim stand.

The religious leaders thought their access to God was guaranteed through their knowledge and practice of the law. Here Jesus alludes to these Jewish leaders who were ironically (and probably a bit sarcastically) identified as wise and intelligent in contrast to His followers who were depicted as like infants (cf. Mt 18:3-10). God has opened the spiritual eyes of those who are like infants to the truths of the Messiah and His Gospel. (cf Mt 13:10-17).  The wise would include "those claiming elevated, esoteric, secret knowledge, like the Gnostics and the followers of the mystery religions." (MacArthur)

Barclay - "Luke 10:21 tells us of the wisdom of simplicity. The simple mind could receive truths that learned minds could not take in. Once Arnold Bennett said, "The only way to write a great book is to write it with the eyes of a child who sees things for the first time." It is possible to be too clever. It is possible to be so learned that in the end we cannot see the wood for the trees. Someone has said that the test of a really great scholar is how much he is able to forget. After all, Christianity does not mean knowing all the theories about the New Testament; still less does it mean knowing all the theologies and the Christologies. Christianity does not mean knowing about Christ, it means knowing Christ; and to do that requires not earthly wisdom but heavenly grace."  (Daily Study Bible)


You can mark it down - It is impossible for spiritually dead human beings
to know God the Father or His Son unless the Son reveals both.

MacArthur on have revealed them to infants - The contrast is not between being educated and being uneducated, but between being able and unable. In contrast to the notion that these profound truths are only for the elevated elite, Jesus’ chose infants as an illustration of those who understood....young children have nothing to boast of; they have not yet achieved anything in life, they are not educated, and they have no exposure to the world’s wisdom or knowledge. Only those who humbly admit their inability to know God in their own wisdom and knowledge apart from His revelation of Himself can be saved. Jesus was pleased with that truth because it gives all glory to God (cf. 1 Cor. 1:29, 31). Salvation belongs not to the intelligent, wise, proud, conceited, and boastful (1 Cor. 2:14), but rather to those who are admittedly ignorant and foolish, humble, broken, and contrite (Isa. 57:15; 66:2). (See Luke  Commentary)

Tony Evans on infants in the parallel passage in Mt 11:25 - Why did the Lord preface His invitation to intimacy (Evans is referring to Mt 11:28-30) with a statement like this? Because God does not reveal Himself to the proud and the self-sufficient, but only to the humble. Anyone who thinks he is smart enough to fix his own life isn't ready to admit his need and draw close to God. But babies are helpless and totally dependent on their parents. Babies can't do anything themselves. All they can do is cry out in need and wait for someone to help them. To those who recognize their need for God Jesus makes the invitation (Mt 11:28-30). (See Free at Last: Experiencing True Freedom)

David Platt alludes to the need to be like a child or infant writing that "In His mercy, God must reveal Himself to us, which He does through the Son. And as God reveals Himself, we respond, not with unrepentance and indifference, but through human faith. We receive God's truth not with self-righteousness nor with intellectual pride, but with the humble trust of a child, acknowledging our total dependence on the Father." (Borrow Exalting Jesus in Matthew)

Bertram explains the figurative meaning of infants in the passage who writes that Jesus "insists that the gospel is for children or little ones. The term nepioi occurs only in Mt. 11:25 (At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.) (par. Lk. 10:21) and Mt. 21:16 (quoting Ps. 8:2). In the latter passage small children would be at the feast with their parents, but with the literal sense there is probably an extended reference to the lowly, the disciples, and the masses (just as rabbinic exegesis finds in Ps. 8:2 a reference to Israel as a weak and helpless people). Those whom the world does not notice acknowledge Jesus. God has disclosed to them who He is (Mt. 16:17). To them it is given to know the mysteries (Mt 13:11). The story of OT revelation continues as a story of revelation to the simple (cf. Ps. 25:14 ). This is the special point in Mt. 11:25. The cry of jubilation is not just the result of experience but expresses a basic insight into the nature of revelation as God Himself wills it. Jesus,Who is lowly, has come to nepioi (Ed: Those who are like infants or children). This manifests the greatness of divine grace. Being gentle and lowly, Jesus invites the nepioi to himself (Mt 11:29). “These things” in Mt 11:25 is to be taken Christologically. The reference is to Jesus Himself as the revelation of God. Recognition of Jesus, the presupposition of the acceptance of revelation, is fulfilled in the nepioi. The church, attracted to pedagogic models, has always found it hard to stand by this truth. [G. BERTRAM, IV, 912-23] (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

A B Bruce - "The reference in the thanksgiving prayer of Jesus to the 'wise and prudent' suggests the thought that these evangelistic efforts were regarded with disfavor by the refined, fastidious classes of Jewish religious society. This is in itself probable. There are always men in the church, intelligent, wise, and even good, to whom popular religious movements are distasteful. The noise, the excitement, the extravagances, the delusions, the misdirection of zeal, the rudeness of the agents, the instability of the converts—all these things offend them."

NET Note adds that "speaking of something taking place “before” God is a reverential way of avoiding direct connection of the action to Him."

John MacArthur goes fairly deep in giving 3 reasons for Jesus' joy, first asking "What motivated His joy number one? The sovereign pleasure of the Father...“I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” the sovereign, the one almighty one. “That You did hide these things from the wise and intelligent and did reveal them to babes.” And why did God do that? Why? Because, He says, “Yes, Father, thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight.” That’s the answer. He did it because He wanted to do it that way. It was God’s sovereign purpose to reveal the things of the gospel, not to the intellectual, not to the worldly wise, but to the humble and the meek and the lowly. All that was revealed by God is known only to those whom God chose to reveal it to. And the Son, of course, affirmed and acted in that revelation. And so Jesus is rejoicing in spite of circumstances because the Father’s pleasure is being done.....So Jesus’ joy was connected to the sovereign pleasure of the Father. Second point, it was connected to the supreme power of the Son, He Himself rejoiced because of His part in spite of the way things are going. If you look at verse 22 you will see this, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father and who the Father is except the Son.” The only way you’re ever going to know God is to be the recipient of divine revelation. The only one who knows the Father is the Son, the only one who knows the Son is the Father. And you’ll never know either unless it’s revealed to you and that’s the end of verse 22, “And anyone who whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Whatever was going on even though it was only a small group, not many noble, not many mighty, it was the Father’s pleasure to do that and the Son could reveal Himself to anyone He wished to reveal Himself to. No one could know who He was if He didn’t reveal Himself to them … not just on the outside, but on the inside. And so in the end, Jesus rejoiced in the fact that this was the expression of the Father’s pleasure and the Son’s power. He had the power to reveal Himself to any He so chose..... The third thing that brought Him joy, first the sovereign pleasure of the Father, secondly, the supreme power of the Son. Thirdly, the surpassing privilege of the saints. Or you might even say the surpassing purpose of the Spirit because this third point moves to the Holy Spirit’s work. He’s not mentioned here but He’s behind the scenes. Jesus is joyful because of the Father, because of Himself and because of the work of the Spirit. He doesn’t mention the Spirit specifically, but He’s the power behind the truth in Lk 10:23 and Lk 10:24....Lk 10:23, “Turning to the disciples …” He had been talking to the Father, looking up, no doubt, and now He looks back down, turns to the disciples. “He said privately,” privately because He’s only speaking to His own, because what He’s going to say only applies to them. This will be the seventy, the Twelve and whoever else was there, true believers who had sustained following Him, those whose names were recorded in heaven. And He says, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see.” He experienced extreme joy over the blessing that had come to them. He rejoiced in them being blessed. Isn’t it wonderful to think about the fact that the Lord rejoices in blessing us? He finds joy in our joy. He entered in to the joy of the seventy who were rejoicing and now were taught to rejoice because their names were recorded in heaven.  (His sermon goes into greater background to help understand his 3 main points - see Luke 10:25-29 What Makes Jesus Rejoice, Part 3)

Rejoiced greatly (Exulted, "Jumped for joy") (21)(agalliao from agan = much + hallomai = jump; gush, leap, spring up) means literally to "jump much", "leap for joy", skip and jump with happy excitement and so to be exceedingly joyful, overjoyed or exuberantly happy. The picture is one shows excessive, ecstatic joy that is enough to make them leap or skip (even if they don't do that literally). 

William Barclay writes that agalliao "is the joy which leaps for joy. As it has been put, it is the joy of the climber who has reached the summit, and who leaps for joy that the mountain path is conquered." (Daily Study Bible)

Agalliao - 11v - exultation(1), exulted(1), glad(2), greatly rejoice(2), rejoice(1), rejoiced(2), rejoiced greatly(2). Matt. 5:12; Lk. 1:47; Lk. 10:21; Jn. 5:35; Jn. 8:56; Acts 2:26; Acts 16:34; 1 Pet. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:13; Rev. 19:7

Hidden (613)(apokrupto from apó = from, away + krúpto = hide, conceal by covering) means to hide away from the common gaze, thus obscuring or concealing and making something undecipherable or imperceptible. Apokrupto is used in a figurative sense to describe knowledge that cannot be known except through divine revelation (Eph 3:9, 1 Cor 2:7, Col 1:26). It is used in secular Greek writings of a "hidden trade (craft or skill)".

Revealed (601)(apokalupto from apó = from + kalúpto = cover, conceal, English = apocalypse - see study of apokalupsis Eng = apocalypse) literally means to remove the cover from something so it can be seen. Thus apokalupto means to "take the lid off", to remove the cover and thereby to expose to open view that which had heretofore not been visible, known or disclosed. The idea is to make manifest something previously secret or unknown.

Apokalupto - 26v -  reveal(5), revealed(20), revelation is made(1).Matt. 10:26; Matt. 11:25; Matt. 11:27; Matt. 16:17; Lk. 2:35; Lk. 10:21; Lk. 10:22; Lk. 12:2; Lk. 17:30; Jn. 12:38; Rom. 1:17; Rom. 1:18; Rom. 8:18; 1 Co. 2:10; 1 Co. 3:13; 1 Co. 14:30; Gal. 1:16; Gal. 3:23; Eph. 3:5; Phil. 3:15; 2 Thess. 2:3; 2 Thess. 2:6; 2 Thess. 2:8; 1 Pet. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:1

Infants (babes) (3516nepios from  = negative + epos = not able to talk) means literally not speaking and thus a small child above age of a helpless infant but probably not more than three or four years of age. Figuratively as here in Romans nepios refers to a person who lacks experience, is untried or ignorant or simple-minded. In context Paul is referring to the Gentiles. Nepios is the term used by the Jews to designate Gentile proselytes. Paul uses it of one not come of legal age (Ga 4:1). The writer to the Hebrews used it of one spiritually immature (Heb 5:13) as did Paul (1Co 3:1) for they cannot eat solid food (spiritually speaking).

Nepios - 10v - child(5), childish(1), children(2), immature(1), infant(1), infants(4). Matt. 11:25; Matt. 21:16; Lk. 10:21; Rom. 2:20; 1 Co. 3:1; 1 Co. 13:11; Gal. 4:1; Gal. 4:3; Eph. 4:14; Heb. 5:13

Praise (1843)(exomologeo from ek - wholly out from or ex = out or intensify meaning [implies full, frank, open confession, openly or publicly] of homologeo - to say the same thing about from homos = same + lego = speak) means to speak the same thing that another speaks, to fully agree with someone else or to confess by way of giving praise. In this context it means to give praise or thanks - "to make grateful acknowledgements, to give thanks, to sing praises."

Well pleasing (2107)(eudokía) refers to what gives the Father pleasure, in this case the hiding of the truths concerning salvation from those who thought of themselves as wise and clever (perhaps in the world's ways but not in God's ways) and uncovering to individuals who were unskilled and untaught. 

In...sight (1715)(emprosthen from en = in + prosthen = in front of, before <> from pros = toward + suffix --then = denotes direction) means in front of or before. 

George Truett's sermon

When Jesus Rejoiced
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit.—Luke 10:21.

Jesus is represented in the Bible as "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief"; surely, He had occasion overwhelming for both sorrow and grief. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." He was buffeted and despised; He was scorned and rejected; He was maltreated by those whom He sought to help. He came with mercy in His hands and they spat upon Him, trampled Him down and drove Him from their cities. And that went on until, in Gethsemane's garden, His heart was broken by the weight of the great sinfulness of the race, which great penalty He took upon Himself and paid for on Calvary's tree. He had every occasion to be "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

And yet, there was a deep undertone of joy in the life of our Saviour, all the way along. While He wept, there was a deep undertone of gladness. While he sighed, there was also the thrill of joy. He looked ahead to the end; He visualized the last great harvest. He could view final results; He saw ultimate triumphs; He understood His Father's purposes, and He knew that those purposes were not to be thwarted, but would come to blessed fruition by and by. And though at times Jesus seemed overwhelmed with sadness and sorrow, yet there was a great undertone of song and of gladness. "Who, for the joy that was before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

But what is the particular occasion calling for this statement, "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit!" What occasion, what circumstance called forth that expression? The scriptural lesson read a few moments ago brought out those circumstances with clearness and with force. Christ had sent out "seventy others," in addition to the twelve apostles. He had sent them out on a tour of the nearby cities and the towns, and had given them specific directions as to their method of going and working. They went gladly, according to His divine commands. And, after a season, the seventy came back and made their report. They gave an account of their trip. They explained to the Lord something of the results of their labors; and this was what they said, "Master, even the very devils are subject to us, through thy name." One said, "I spoke and the sick man was healed." "And I spoke," said another, "and a demon was driven out." "And I spoke," said another, "and sickness was gone." They all rejoiced at their tremendous and triumphant success on this, their first great soul-saving tour under the command of Jesus. And when they told Him that even the devils were subject unto them, when in Christ's name they bade them depart out of men, Jesus, as if in musing, said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." And then the text goes on, "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit."

Now, what are some of the manifest reasons for His joy on that occasion? Our scripture passage suggests them.

Jesus rejoiced in spirit on that occasion because, for the first time, He beheld the ministries of an aggressive and consecrated group of His followers. Hitherto, only the twelve apostles were at work. Now, seventy others—so far as we know not one of them was a preacher, but laymen, plain, practical people—seventy laymen, so far as we can judge from scriptural teaching, went out on this great missionary tour for their Lord, two by two, just as the twelve apostles had gone. Here, there, and yonder they questioned, and witnessed, and testified, persuaded concerning the things of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus. Marvelous was their success. And so they came back with many trophies of the Lord's saving grace and made their report. It is no wonder that Jesus rejoiced!

At first it might have seemed that the apostles, the Twelve, were to have all the power and do all the evangelistic and missionary work of the kingdom of God. Doubtless the laymen among the many disciples of Jesus had been thinking that such work was not for them. Jesus had sent forth the Twelve and committed unto them great and marvelous power; and it seemed that other people were simply to stay at home and look on and be mere spectators in the great plan. But now "seventy others" were sent out. And when they returned, their report to the Lord was, "Oh Master, we had glorious success. People received us; they heard us; they believed our teaching; and even the devils, when we spoke using thy name, were driven out of demon-possessed people."

For the first time, then, our Lord looked upon the successful work of a group from the rank and file of His followers. Their success brought Him deep joy. It is a significant fact that whenever Christ's church has been content for her preachers to do all the work, that church has waned and declined in spiritual power. It is the divine plan that all the disciples of Jesus shall be His witnesses. The layman is as much called to be a witness for Jesus Christ as the preacher. In a sense, every saved soul is an ambassador for Jesus Christ. And our Lord looked that day upon seventy laymen who had gone out and thrust their sickles into the ripe, waving harvest fields, and had come back with exceeding joy and strength, and with many trophies for their Master. That was what made Him rejoice!

Look, my brethren, for a moment, at the history of the past, and behold how much it means for a layman to be active in the kingdom of God. Abraham, the father of the faithful, was a layman. Joseph, that mighty minister down in Egypt who was such a marvelous illustration of the providence of God, was a layman. Caleb and Joshua, the brave men who went to spy out the promised land, and came back with their minority report, that they were able to overcome and drive out all the armed opposition against them—these men, too, were laymen. Gideon, who fought so valiantly in a time of Israel's sad decline, was a layman. Barak and Jephthah, who fought so valiantly on another occasion, were laymen. Samson, who astonished the lands with his superhuman might, was a layman. Mordecai, who behaved so gallantly at a still different time in Israel's sad decline, was a layman. Nehemiah, who thrilled the people with the great, and daring, and seemingly impossible project of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, was a layman. And in New Testament times, we find many examples of the influence and the power of laymen in the kingdom of God. Cornelius was a layman. Aquila was a layman. Gaius was a layman. Stephen was a layman. Philip, for a while, was a layman. Many great and influential men in the New Testament churches were laymen. Their imprint is seen on the holy pages, and their power to bless has come down through the passing generations.

Our Lord rejoiced on that great occasion because He beheld that day a prophetic vision of the victories that would come to His churches down through the ages whenever their preachers and their laymen, working together, went forth with the life-giving message of the gospel of redeeming love which is centered in Him, the Saviour of the world. Jesus rejoiced with unspeakable joy as He beheld that vision.

The ideal of the kingdom of Jesus is that every man and woman, everyone saved by His grace, shall be a personal herald and witness for Jesus Christ. Everyone. "Would God all the Lord's people were prophets," was the great wish of Moses of old. And the New Testament ideal of a church is that every believer shall be a prophet, though not in the same sense. Every man is not called of God to stand in the pulpit and preach. But every saved man and woman is called of Almighty God to be a witness for Jesus Christ in his speech, his vocation, his position, to the last limit of his power, as much as I am called to preach. That is the divine ideal.

Oh, that we may come to this blessed and glorious ideal! Shall a man be a son and yet have no obligations to his father? Shall a man be a father and yet have no obligations to his child? Shall a man be a husband and yet have no obligations to his wife? Shall a man be a citizen and yet owe no obligations to his state? Shall a man be a Christian and yet owe no obligations to Jesus Christ? Oh, is Christianity just a badge to be worn? Is salvation merely a thing to be possessed? Does it not impose a solemn obligation upon the saved to put forth one's best efforts to win the lost to Christ Jesus, the one and only Saviour? Our Lord rejoiced because on that great occasion His people were measuring up to His divine plan.

And still again, Jesus rejoiced on that occasion because they went forth, when He bade them, with unquestioned obedience to His plain command. When He summoned the seventy around Him and outlined the task He had in mind for them and told them of the dangers, the difficulties, the sad situations in which they would find themselves at times, the men did not waver or hesitate. They went forth with glad, obedient, responsive hearts to His divine command. It is conclusive evidence today that one is a Christian when He desires to obey Christ and does obey Him.

Some years ago in a neighboring town where I went to preach, a railroad man was converted one night. He was a matter-of-fact fellow, accustomed to making decisions and making them quickly. The morning after his conversion he came to see me and said, "I have come to get my orders." That was new language to me and I said, "I don't understand; what do you mean?" He replied, "I am used to obeying. Wires flash out to me several times a day telling me what to do. Last night I received the Son of God to be my Master. What are my orders? Sir, I don't know the Bible; I never read it. But I know I have surrendered to Him. What does He want me to do next?"

That is the spirit of Jesus Christ's true disciple; and I said, "The next thing is an open alignment with His church, an out-and-out placing of yourself on the Lord's side. This you can do by accepting baptism which Christ commanded because it is symbolic of His death, burial and resurrection, and the sign of the death and burial of the old man of sin and the resurrection of the new man in Christ Jesus to walk in newness of life." "Well," he said, "tell the preacher to give me a chance tonight and I will be baptized for I must leave on the train tomorrow morning and it will be some time before I am back." And just like that he took up his duties in the kingdom of God.

The followers of Jesus displayed great boldness. They went to all kinds of people, high and low, rich and poor, good and bad, saying, "In our Master's name we bring you a message, and you will do well to heed it today." And uncounted thousands, even in one generation, heeded the message of those friends of Jesus.

Have you read the story of John Knox's daughter, Jane Welch, who, when her husband was in prison for his fidelity to duty, went to the ruler to make a plea for her husband's life? The ruler said, "If your husband will cease his present activities I will release him." And she looked at the ruler and stretched out her apron and said, "Sir, I would have my husband's head, bleeding here in my apron, before I would have him go back on his duty." Hers was a magnificent tribute to duty. Oh that all Christ's friends would likewise magnify their duty to obey the commands of Christ to be His witnesses even unto the ends of the earth. Those seventy laymen whom Jesus sent out unhesitatingly obeyed His commands. They performed their Christ-assigned task. They did their duty. The results were glorious.

And then Jesus rejoiced because of their success. When the seventy returned and made their report, Jesus said, "I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven." It was a vision to Christ of the ultimate triumph of the gospel—a vision of Christ's ultimate triumph everywhere as the Saviour of men. He saw a great day coming when Satan should be bruised under the heel of the marching triumph of the Son of God.

Sometimes the question is asked: Do missions pay? The answer to that question is a mighty "Yes." This earth has no record comparable to the reports made by Christ's missionaries since the birth of modern missions when William Carey went out to India. Not even the story of the spread of Christianity during the first three centuries of the Christian era is so thrilling as the saga of modern missions during the past century and a half. Obedience to the great Commission of Jesus pays in every way—commercially, scientifically, morally, socially, spiritually, redemptively. Yes, missions pay a thousandfold. No doubt many of the triumphs of modern missions fill the heart of Jesus with joy as did the success of the seventy laymen.

Jesus rejoiced that day because He beheld their joy. They came back and said, "Master, we are very happy. We had a great time. Sick people were healed when we called upon them; devil-possessed people were delivered from their demons; and lonely-hearted ones were made glad when we told them about Thee. Oh, Master, we had a great time!" It made Jesus glad to see their joy in His service. Serving Christ and obeying Him brings us the greatest joy in all this earth. "If you love me, keep my commandments," is His oft-repeated injunction. Let us in this church fill His heart with joy because of our obedience to His commandment. Then, indeed, will we know the joy of our salvation.

My ambition is that our church shall be, from center to circumference, a missionary church. Every true church of the Lord Jesus Christ must be both evangelistic and missionary in principle and practice. And therefore my highest ambition for this blessed church is that every member, from the oldest and the wealthiest to the youngest and the poorest, shall be deeply interested in the salvation of the lost to the remotest bounds of earth.

A recent letter from one of our missionaries in Japan says, "Our missionaries over here pray for you time and time again, because you pray for us." And another from China says, "We missionaries get together and pray for the First Baptist Church in Dallas, because you people pray for us and uphold us, and are holding up our hands." Such expressions fill our hearts with rejoicing and should encourage us to do far more than we have ever done for our noble missionaries and the blessed work they do in obedience to Christ's commands.

The labors of the seventy brought great rejoicing to the heart of Jesus. And we can add to His rejoicing if we will be personal soul-winners and also be informed, loyal, prayerful, generous supporters of world-wide missions. God grant that every member of our blessed church may be possessed of a heart which is twenty-five thousand miles in circumference in its interest, its prayers and its sacrificial giving. Let us this very day bring rejoicing to the heart of our Saviour and Lord, as we lay at His feet our gifts for the cause of world-missions. Let us do this cheerfully, generously, even sacrificially, for His sake.(George W. Truett Library – Volume VI: Who Is Jesus?)

Luke 10:22  "All things have been handed over 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 anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."

Wuest  All things to me were delivered 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 desires to reveal Him. 

Related Passages:

Matthew 11:27, 28-30+ “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows (epiginosko) the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know (epiginosko)  the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (NOW IF THE IMPLICATIONS OF GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY OVER SALVATION DISTURB YOU READ THE VERY NEXT VERSE WHICH SPEAKS OF HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY!) 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

John 1:18+  No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

1 John 5:20+ And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 

John 14:9  Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 6:37, 44, 65 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.... 44 Jesus said "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day..... 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”


All things have been handed over to Me by My Father (pater) - All things means everything without exception. In context this speaks especially to the outworking of the plan of redemption which the Son would bring to pass.Jesus' role in God's sovereign plan would also be a cause for Him to rejoice (Lk 10:21). This also echoes the words in John 3:35 "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand." (see same truth in Jn 5:22-27, 13:3, 17:2,10) Handed over (paradidomi) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone else, to transfer to another, and especially to give over to the power of another. In this case the Father gives the power over all things to the Son. Matthew uses the same verb in the parallel passage Mt 11:27. The aorist tense marks this handing over as depicting a single act at a given time. Robertson commenting on Mt 11:27 says "It is the timeless aorist like edothē ("has been given") in Matthew 28:18 and "points back to a moment in eternity, and implies the pre-existence of the Messiah" (Plummer). The Messianic consciousness of Christ is here as clear as a bell. It is a moment of high fellowship. Note epiginōskei twice for "fully know." Note also boulētai = wills, is willing. The Son retains the power and the will to reveal the Father to men."

No one knows....who the Father is except the Son - John had in fact written that "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."  (John 1:18) In John 1:1 we see that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And in John 1:14 "the Word" becomes a person on earth - "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."  In answer to Phillip's request "Lord, show us the Father" (John 14:8) Jesus declared "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?" (John 14:9)  This is a difficult doctrine and for more discussion you are referred to John MacArthur's sermon What Makes Jesus Rejoice, Part 3 (scroll down about midway to his discussion on Romans 9). 

and no one knows who the Son is except the Father (pater), and Who the Father(pater is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal (apokalupto) Him." - No one (oudeis) means absolutely no one, no exceptions. Knows (ginosko) by experiencing Him which is different that  a mere accumulation of known facts about God. Today many in America know about God (our coins have not yet eliminated the phrase "In God we trust!") but they do not really know Him experientially and personally as the One Who sent His Son to save the world. And the reason they don't know Him is because the Son has not willed to "take the lid off" so to speak of the Father's identity. Spiritual truth can only be spiritually discerned and must be spiritually revealed. My Father is a clear counter to all who say Jesus never said He was divine, need to read this passage. Clearly Jesus is claiming equality with God. How can we be so certain? In John 5:18 we read "For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, (Why did they seek to KILL HIM?) because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." Jesus the Man claimed to be God because He is God! 

Anyone to whom the Son wills (boulomaito reveal - Verses like this make some people chaff, but the verse expresses the truth that the only ones who can truly know God as their Father are those to whom Jesus reveals this otherwise hidden spiritual truth. Jesus made a similar statement in John declaring that "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (Jn 6:44) He added "that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” (John 6:65)

In Mt 28:18 Matthew refers to the Son's sovereignty writing "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All (without exception) authority (And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. = the right and the might) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."

Hendriksen (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel of Luke) - The Son has whatever the sinner needs. He has whatever is necessary for carrying out his mediatorial task. He was endowed with the Spirit of Jehovah, that is, with the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and the fear of Jehovah (Isa. 11:1, 2). All these spiritual qualities and many more have been entrusted to the Mediator by the Father, in order that from him as the Fountain they might flow out to others. Can anything be lacking in the Son’s saving power? No, indeed, for so inexhaustible are his resources that the Father alone knows the Son. It is the Father alone who is able to penetrate to the depths of the Son’s essence, his infinite treasures of wisdom, grace, power, etc. In order to be saved and to live to the glory of God Triune, does the sinner need to know the will of the Father? No one knows who the Father is except the Son … and now notice the significant and very comforting addition: “and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Truly

    Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
    More than all in Thee I find.
  —Charles Wesley
(Play this beautiful choral version of Jesus, Lover of my Soul)

Spurgeon on who the Father is except the Son - You know that he is the Son of God; you know that he is Jesus of Nazareth; but you do not know him, you cannot know him, as his Father knows him. He is known in his fullness only to the Father.

Spurgeon - “Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” No, thou canst not. The Son of God must reveal his Father to thee, or thou wilt never know him.

William Barclay - Luke 10:22 tells of the unique relationship between Jesus and God. This is what the Fourth Gospel means when it says, "The Word became flesh" (John 1:14), or when it makes Jesus say, "I and the Father are one," (Jn 10:30) or, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). To the Greeks God was unknowable. There was a great gulf fixed between matter and spirit, man and God. "It is very difficult," they said, "to know God, and when you do know him it is impossible to tell anyone else about him." (Ed: cp Acts 17:23-note) But when Jesus came He said, "If you want to know what God is like, look at Me." Jesus did not so much tell men about God as show them God, because in Himself were God's mind and heart. (Daily Study Bible)

Robertson adds "The Son claims the power to reveal the Father “to whomsoever he wills.”...This is divine sovereignty most assuredly. Human free agency is also true, but it is full divine sovereignty in salvation that is here claimed along with possession (paredothē fro paradidomi, timeless aorist passive indicative) of all power from the Father. Let that supreme claim stand."

Handed over (betray, commit, entrust, hand over) (3860paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) generally means “to give something to someone.” It is translated in a number of ways in the New Testament, for example: “hand over, deliver up, be taken care of,” or “administered” (cf. Matthew 25:14); or “to deliver, bring on” a tradition, testimony, doctrine, or commandment (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:2; 15:3; Romans 6:17). It is also used with regard to handing someone over to the court (Matthew 10:17). In Matthew 4:12 it is translated “imprisoned” and can also mean hand over to death (Matthew 17:22). Furthermore, it can also mean “betray,” in the sense of “give over” (Matthew 10:4; John 6:64, 71).

Paradidomi in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:2; Lk. 4:6; Lk. 9:44; Lk. 10:22; Lk. 12:58; Lk. 18:32; Lk. 20:20; Lk. 21:12; Lk. 21:16; Lk. 22:4; Lk. 22:6; Lk. 22:21; Lk. 22:22; Lk. 22:48; Lk. 23:25; Lk. 24:7; Lk. 24:20; ; Acts 3:13; Acts 6:14; Acts 7:42; Acts 8:3; Acts 12:4; Acts 14:26; Acts 15:26; Acts 15:40; Acts 16:4; Acts 21:11; Acts 22:4; Acts 27:1; Acts 28:17

Knows (1097)(ginosko) means to know by experience, not merely the accumulation of known facts. Gingrich - 1. know, come to know Mt 13:11; Lk 12:47f; Jn 8:32; 14:7; Acts 1:7; 19:35; 1 Cor 3:20; 13:9, 12; 2 Cor 5:16; 1 Jn 4:2, 6; it struck me Mt 25:24. Imperative = you may be quite sure Mt 24:33, 43; Jn 15:18.—2. learn (of), ascertain, find out Mt 9:30; Mk 6:38; 15:45; Lk 24:18; Jn 4:1; Ac 17:20; 21:34 .—3. understand, comprehend Mk 4:13; Jn 8:43; 10:6; Ac 8:30, Acts 21:37; 1 Cor 2:8, 11, 14; have the law at one's fingertips Ro 7:1.—4. perceive, notice, realize Mk 5:29; 7:24; Lk 8:46; Jn 6:15; Ac 23:6.—5. acknowledge, recognize Mt 7:23; Jn 1:10; choose 1 Cor 8:3; Gal 4:9.—6. euphemistically, of sex relations know Mt 1:25; Lk 1:34.

Ginosko in Luke and Acts -  Lk. 1:18; Lk. 1:34; Lk. 2:43; Lk. 6:44; Lk. 7:39; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 8:17; Lk. 8:46; Lk. 9:11; Lk. 10:11; Lk. 10:22; Lk. 12:2; Lk. 12:39; Lk. 12:46; Lk. 12:47; Lk. 12:48; Lk. 16:4; Lk. 16:15; Lk. 18:34; Lk. 19:15; Lk. 19:42; Lk. 19:44; Lk. 20:19; Lk. 21:20; Lk. 21:30; Lk. 21:31; Lk. 24:18; Lk. 24:35; Acts 1:7; Acts 2:36; Acts 8:30; Acts 9:24; Acts 17:13; Acts 17:19; Acts 17:20; Acts 19:15; Acts 19:35; Acts 20:34; Acts 21:24; Acts 21:34; Acts 21:37; Acts 22:14; Acts 22:30; Acts 23:6

Wills  (1014)(boulomai) refers to a settled desire, one born of or springing from reason and not from emotion.

Steven Cole - Philosophy begins with man and tries to reason toward God, but the finite human mind cannot, in and of itself, grasp the infinite Triune God (note the reference to each person of the Trinity in our text). Jesus’ statement here is a strong assertion of both His deity and His humanity. The fact that all things were handed over to Him by the Father shows Jesus’ humanity; the fact that only Jesus can reveal the Father to us shows His deity, because no mere man nor any created being could reveal the eternal God to us. “As the Son he was equal to the Father, but as man he was beneath the Father and received ‘all things’ from him” (Concordia Triglotta, in R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel [Augsburg Publishing House], p. 591). As God in human flesh, Jesus said to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).But our problem is bigger than just the fact of our finiteness:

    • We are dependent on God to reveal His salvation to us because we are spiritually blind by nature.

As Paul explains, the “natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14, emphasis added). Just as a blind man cannot see a beautiful sunset because he lacks the necessary organs to do so, even so a sinner who does not have the Holy Spirit cannot grasp the things of God. When Jesus gives eternal life to those whom the Father has given Him (John 17:2), He imparts to them the capacity both to understand spiritual things and also to know God personally in

Christ. As Jesus prayed, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Without such spiritual life in Christ, we are no more capable of knowing God than a corpse is capable of seeing and knowing a living person. But being spiritually dead and blind is not our only problem.

    • We are dependent on God to reveal His salvation to us because we are under the domain and power of Satan.

When the 72 returned, they reported to Jesus how even the demons were subject to them in His name (10:17). Jesus concurs by saying how He was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. He further underscores this by saying that He has given them authority to tread on serpents and scorpions without harm (10:19). In the context (10:18, 20), it is clear that Jesus was referring to the power He gave them over Satan and the demons, not to some literal ability to handle snakes or scorpions. The disciples’ success in ministry was “a symbol and earnest of the complete and final overthrow of Satan” (Alfred Plummer, The Gospel According to St. Luke [Scribner’s], p. 278).

The fact is, it takes the defeat of Satan to save a soul, because he has “blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). When God saves us, He delivers us from the domain of darkness and transfers us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13). We cannot free ourselves from this bondage to Satan. God must do it for us (2 Tim. 2:25-26).

    • We are dependent on God to reveal His salvation to us because there is nothing in us that obligates God to reveal Himself to us.

Jesus states that He reveals the Father to whomever He (the Son) wills (10:22). Also, God was well-pleased to reveal His salvation to babes rather than to the intelligent. The phrase “well-pleased” points to God’s sovereign pleasure according to His secret counsel. Clearly, Jesus’ words would make no sense if He revealed the Father to everyone equally. As revealed throughout all of Scripture, God chooses certain individuals and reveals Himself to them, but He lets others continue on in their spiritual darkness. He

chose Abraham, but He did not choose Abraham’s father, brothers, or neighbors. He chose Isaac, but He did not choose Ishmael. He loved Jacob, but He hated Esau. As Paul points out, God did this while they were still in the womb, before they had done anything good or bad, so that His purpose according to election might stand (Rom. 9:11). In case we missed the point, Paul strongly asserts, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Rom. 9:16).

In other words, salvation does not depend on human will or human effort. It depends totally on God’s mercy, not at all on us. Martin Luther comments, “Here the bottom falls out of all merit, all powers and abilities of reason, or the free will men dream of, and it all counts as nothing before God; Christ must do and must give everything” (cited by Lenski, p. 593).

If you fight against this doctrine (and most of us do, at some point), I would suggest that it is because you have too high a view of man and you don’t have a high enough view of God in His absolute holiness. You have too high a view of man in that you think that God is somehow obligated to show mercy to everyone equally. But Scripture is clear that God is not obligated to show mercy to anyone. He could have treated us as He treated the fallen angels, and left us in our condemnation with no Savior. Is God unfair because He condemned all the fallen angels to the abyss without any chance of salvation? Of course not! They rebelled and they have no claim on God’s mercy. The same is true of rebellious, fallen man. In His holiness, God would be perfectly just to condemn the entire human race to hell. But He chose to show mercy to some, which is His prerogative. (What Makes Jesus Rejoice)

Luke 10:23  Turning to the disciples, He said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see

Wuest  And having turned around to the disciples, in private He said, Spiritually prosperous are the eyes that are seeing the things which you are seeing,

Related Passages:

Ephesians 3:4-5+ By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;


Turning to the disciples (mathetes) He said privately - One gets the sense that Jesus had been turned away from them and may have been looking upward as He praised His Father, with arms  uplifted (Lk 10:21-22). His focus was on His Father, but now He turns His attention to (Greek = pros) the seventy.  Privately is a Greek idiom kat idian which means something like "according to that which is private." If there were others around, this discourse for not for their ears but for the seventy. And throughout the subsequent ages only those who have ears to hear [disciples, followers of Jesus] can hear and understand these words Jesus spoke specifically to the disciples.

Hendriksen - Now he turns definitely to the large group of returned missionaries, and away from whatever crowd may have been present. This little touch, graphic and interesting, shows that Luke must have received his information from eyewitnesses. How otherwise would he have known this? Of course, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel of Luke)

Blessed (makarios) are the eyes which see (blepo) the things you see (blepoBlessed (makarios) describes their state of being marked by fullness from God. As Zodhiates wisely says "Makários is the one who is in the world yet independent of the world. His satisfaction comes from God and not from favorable circumstances."  (Borrow The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New TestamentSee (blepo) means more than just able to physically see, but able to perceive enabled (by the Spirit) to discern and understand what their eyes had witnessed physically. Many of their contemporaries saw Jesus, but sadly few of them truly understood Who He was and what was His redemptive purpose. What are the things you see? What had the seventy just experienced? Re-read their description of the things they were blessed to see (Luke 10:17-20+). Of course the greatest sight that blessed their eyes was to see (and understand Who they were seeing) Jesus the Messiah! That will one day be our greatest blessing as believers when "we will see Him just as He is." Hallelujah! (1 John 3:2+). Not only had the seventy witnessed supernatural manifestations of the power of God, Jesus assured them that they would forever be in His presence ("your names are recorded in heaven.") Their eyes had been opened see to eternal truths hidden from worldly wise men (Lk 10:21). 

John MacArthur adds that "The things they were privileged to see and understand include the great truths that the Messiah had come, the salvation of God had been revealed, the work of redemption accomplished, the promised kingdom offered, all the Old Testament prophecies, promises, and covenants fulfilled in Christ, who would make the final offering for sin. Satan had met his conqueror, demons were completely dominated, disease vanquished, nature submissive, death defeated through Christ, and forgiveness and eternal life granted to all who believe." (See Luke Commentary)

NET Note - This beatitude highlights the great honor bestowed on the disciples to share in this salvation, as Lk 10:20+ also noted. See also Luke 2:30+ (Simeon declared "For my eyes have seen Your salvation.")

Robertson - A beatitude, the same adjective as in Matt. 5:3–11. A beatitude of privilege very much like that in Matt. 5:13–16. Jesus often repeated his sayings.A beatitude, the same adjective as in Matt. 5:3–11. A beatitude of privilege very much like that in Matt. 5:13–16. Jesus often repeated his sayings. The expression of [humeis] makes “you” very emphatic in contrast with the prophets and kings of former days.

Spurgeon - Gospel times are happy times. Do we think enough of our privilege in being permitted to live in an age when salvation is fully revealed and plainly preached in all our streets? It is to be feared that the commonness of the blessing has made it cheap in our esteem.

POSB - Jesus said that He himself was the great salvation which the godly prophets and kings of old desired to see and hear. Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. He was the One promised by God down through the ages. (See Isa. 53:1-12.) (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

Disciples (3101)(mathetes from manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics") describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study) and thus mathetes is more than a mere passive pupil. A mathetes describes an adherent ( = sticking fast, someone who believes and helps to spread the doctrine of another) of a teacher. 

Blessed (3107makarios from root makar, but others say from mak = large or lengthy) means to be happy, but not in the usual sense of happiness based on positive circumstances. From the Biblical perspective Makarios describes the person who is free from daily cares and worries because his every breath and circumstance is in the hands of His Maker Who gives him such an assurance (such a "blessing"). As discussed below makarios was used to describe the kind of happiness that comes from receiving divine favor.

Makarios - 49v - blessed(1), blessed(46), fortunate(1), happier(1), happy(1). Matt. 5:3; Matt. 5:4; Matt. 5:5; Matt. 5:6; Matt. 5:7; Matt. 5:8; Matt. 5:9; Matt. 5:10; Matt. 5:11; Matt. 11:6; Matt. 13:16; Matt. 16:17; Matt. 24:46; Lk. 1:45; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 6:21; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 7:23; Lk. 10:23; Lk. 11:27; Lk. 11:28; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 12:38; Lk. 12:43; Lk. 14:14; Lk. 14:15; Lk. 23:29; Jn. 13:17; Jn. 20:29; Acts 20:35; Acts 26:2; Rom. 4:7; Rom. 4:8; Rom. 14:22; 1 Co. 7:40; 1 Tim. 1:11; 1 Tim. 6:15; Tit. 2:13; Jas. 1:12; Jas. 1:25; 1 Pet. 3:14; 1 Pet. 4:14; Rev. 1:3; Rev. 14:13; Rev. 16:15; Rev. 19:9; Rev. 20:6; Rev. 22:7; Rev. 22:14

See...see (991)(blepo) see, look at; (1) of sense perception see (Mt 7.3); (2) in contrast to being blind be able to see (Lk 7.21); figuratively, of spiritual perception - see, understand, be aware of (Jn 9.39; Ro 11.8); (3) of careful observing - look at, regard (Mt 5.28; Jn 13.22); (4) of mental functions; (a) as directing one's attention take notice of, regard, consider (1Co 1.26); (b) as taking warning watch, beware, take heed (Mk 13.9); (c) as mentally perceiving discover, find, become aware of (Ro 7.23)

Blepo in Luke and Acts - Lk. 6:41; Lk. 6:42; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 7:44; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 8:16; Lk. 8:18; Lk. 9:62; Lk. 10:23; Lk. 10:24; Lk. 11:33; Lk. 21:8; Lk. 21:30; Lk. 24:12 Acts 1:9; Acts 1:11; Acts 2:33; Acts 3:4; Acts 4:14; Acts 8:6; Acts 9:8; Acts 9:9; Acts 12:9; Acts 13:11; Acts 13:40; Acts 27:12; Acts 28:26

Luke 10:24  for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them."

ESV For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."

NLT  I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn't see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn't hear it."

Wuest  for I am saying to you, Many prophets and kings desired to see the things which you are seeing and did not see them, and to hear the things which you are hearing and did not hear them.  

Related Passages: 

1 Peter 1:10-12+ "As to this salvation (1Pe 1:9), the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you (see Messianic Prophecies) made careful searches (ekzeteo) and inquiries,(exereunao) seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating (OT prophetic writing were INSPIRED!) as He predicted the sufferings of Christ (first coming) and the glories to follow (second coming). It was revealed (apokalupto) to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look ( parakupto). 



for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished (theloto see (blepo) the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them." - For (gar) is a term of explanation in this case explaining what the disciples were so privileged, so blessed. "The little flock (Luke 12:32) of genuine followers were blessed to see it all and enabled to understand it by the Holy Spirit. They were the humble, broken, contrite, self-denying, cross-bearing, obedient ones, chosen by the Father, to whom the Son revealed Himself through the Holy Spirit. The blessings they received are available to all who accept the Savior’s invitation, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28)." (See Luke MacArthur Commentary)

NET Note - This is what past prophets and kings had wanted very much to see, yet the fulfillment had come to the disciples. This remark is like 1 Pet 1:10–12 or Heb 1:1–2.

William Barclay - Luke 10:23-24 tell us that Jesus is the consummation of all history (cp Eph 1:10+). In these verses Jesus said, "I am the One to Whom all the prophets and the saints and the kings looked forward and for Whom they longed." This is what Matthew means when over and over again in his Gospel he wrote, "This was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying..." (compare Matthew 2:15; 2:17; 2:23). Jesus was the peak to which history had been climbing, the goal to which it had been marching, the dream which had ever haunted men of God. If we desire to express this in terms of modern thought we might dare to put it this Him man meets God; and He is at once the perfection of manhood and the fullness of godhead (Col 2:9+).  (Daily Study Bible)

Steven Cole -  God’s sovereign grace in saving us should bring greater joy to us than any Old Testament saint had. Certainly, all the saints before Christ were saved and looked forward to being with God throughout eternity. But, as the writer to the Hebrews states, “apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:40). Or, as Peter puts it, “the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry.” But, “it was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-things into which angels long to look” (1 Pet. 1:10, 12). Because of this great salvation, we who believe should “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).  (What Makes Jesus Rejoice)

Wished (2309)(thelo) primarily refers to exercising of one's will with the underlying sense of to be willing, to desire, to want or to wish. Thelo "expresses not simply a desire, but a determined and constant exercise of the will." (W E Vine)

To see (1492) (eido) which means to perceive, to become aware of through the senses, to become conscious of. Includes the sense that one comes to understand something. 

Luke 10:25  And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

ESV  Luke 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

KJV  Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Related Passages

Luke 18:18+  A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I DO to inherit eternal life?”

Matthew 19:16-22  And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I DO that I may obtain eternal life?” 

Mark 10:17+ As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I DO to inherit eternal life?” 

Matthew 22:35  One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing (peirazo) Him,


Brooks - The parable of the Good Samaritan introduces the difference between living religiously and living righteously, living under judgment or living in Jesus.

And (literally "kai idou" - "and Behold") a lawyer (nomikos) stood up and put Him to the test (ekpeirazo), saying - Note the NAS does not translate the Greek demonstrative particle idou (behold) (ESV does) which is usually given to arouse the reader's attention. Lawyer (nomikos) is a Jewish expect in the Mosaic law and the Jewish rituals and traditions or as we might say today a man with letters after his name (MDiv, Phd, MD, etc) and he was seeking to see Jesus fail his test question. Contrary to what some commentators say, this is clearly not a friendly encounter, but is a question meant to trip up Jesus. The same word for test (ekpeirazo) was used to refer to the devil's attempt in Lk 4:12+, so in a sense, this Jewish lawyer was serving as a pawn for Satan his father (Jn 8:44). Like his father, the lawyer was a liar for  He was not really seeking truth but laying a trap. He thought he had eternal life by virtue of his self-righteous works. 

It was a good question asked with a bad motive.
-- Warren Wiersbe

Warren Wiersbe - It was expected that rabbis would discuss theological matters in public, and the question this scribe (lawyer) asked was one that was often debated by the Jews. It was a good question asked with a bad motive, because the lawyer hoped to trap our Lord. However, Jesus trapped the lawyer! (Borrow Be Compassionate)

POSB - The lawyer was not seeking the truth. He was not really trying to discover the way to God. His purpose was to trip Jesus, to lead Jesus to discredit Himself by giving some unusual answer that would arouse the people against Him. (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

Saying, "Teacher (didaskalos), what shall I do (poieo) to inherit (kleronomeo) eternal (aionos) life (zoe)?" - This is another way of asking how can I be saved or how can I enter the kingdom of God? It is fascinating to compare this Jewish lawyer with Nicodemus "the teacher of Israel" in John 3:1-16+, and you will note that Nicodemus asks 3 questions in that conversation, but not once did he ask Jesus what he could DO to gain the Kingdom of God. Robertson observes that this means "Literally, "By doing what shall I inherit eternal life?" Note the emphasis on works or "doing" (poiēsas). The form of his question shows a wrong idea as to how to get it." Compare the question in Mt 22:36 - "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Faith Life Study Bible on Mt 22:36 says "Among ancient Jewish legal experts, there was an ongoing attempt to prioritize the commandments. Their debates considered which laws were “light” and which were “weighty.” In this case (Mt 22:35 = another lawyer!), their goal was not to gain insight from Jesus but to induce Him to say something they could use to discredit Him." Joseph Parker quips that "He asked a right question, but he asked in a wrong spirit." Spurgeon adds "What is the way to heaven by my own doings and merits?"

There is a similar question in the 3 synoptic Gospels (see Related Passages above) but in each case it does not appear to have an evil motive - Luke 18:18ff,  Mt 19:16–22, Mk 10:17–22. In that question by the rich young ruler there was still the emphasis on what the person must DO! Jesus is interesting in BEING not DOING, for we could never do enough to save ourselves. This principle has some application to believers who are so busy doing things for Jesus (too often in their own fleshly power, but see the result of such doing in Jn 15:5) rather than "being" (see Mary and Martha below - Lk 10:38-42).

John MacArthur - Of all the questions that could be asked, none is more important than the one in this passage: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”That question’s significance is rooted in the reality that every human soul is immortal. Annihilationism, materialism, reincarnation, and any other view that denies that people will continue to be the persons that they are forever is false. The question is not if people will live forever, but where they will live forever—in heaven, or in hell....This unnamed scribe had a rare privilege whose value is beyond estimation—having a conversation about eternal life with the One who is Himself eternal life (1 John 5:20). In a tragic example of missed opportunity that rivals Judas, the scribe, despite asking the right question of the right person and receiving the right answer, he turned away to face eternal death. Despite its outcome, this incident provides a valuable lesson on doing personal evangelism the way Jesus did it. (See Luke Commentary)

Eternal life refers to endless life and implies that immortality was a belief of orthodox Jews. Here the life referred to is life as God meant it to be lived, rich and full and abundant. Such life can occur only in His presence and by His Spirit's power in a person who has a new heart by grace through faith. The lawyer was not asking about the "other side of the coin," so to speak, that is he was not asking about the eternal life of punishment which is endless misery away from the presence of the the Lord the antithesis to endless bliss in the presence of the Lord.

Eternal life - 41x in 41v all in the NT with most in John's Gospel -  Matt. 19:16; Matt. 19:29; Matt. 25:46; Mk. 10:17; Mk. 10:30; Lk. 10:25; Lk. 18:18; Lk. 18:30; Jn. 3:15; Jn. 3:16; Jn. 3:36; Jn. 4:14; Jn. 5:24; Jn. 5:39; Jn. 6:27; Jn. 6:40; Jn. 6:47; Jn. 6:54; Jn. 6:68; Jn. 10:28; Jn. 12:50; Jn. 17:2; Jn. 17:3; Acts 13:46; Acts 13:48; Rom. 2:7; Rom. 5:21; Rom. 6:22; Rom. 6:23; Gal. 6:8; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 Tim. 6:12; Tit. 1:2; Tit. 3:7; 1 Jn. 1:2; 1 Jn. 2:25; 1 Jn. 3:15; 1 Jn. 5:11; 1 Jn. 5:13; 1 Jn. 5:20; Jude 1:21

MacArthur makes the important point that "In today’s postmodern world, dominated by naturalism, evolution, and humanism, Christians can no longer assume that the people they evangelize understand that they will live forever. The enemy loves to propagate the lie that the present life is all there is, so there is nothing better than to “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32). Yet God has set eternity in the heart of man (Eccl. 3:11), and even those who deny its reality still feel its pull in their hearts. That universal sense of eternity has been expressed in various rituals and traditions involving burying the dead throughout history.

MacArthur goes on to add "In the scribe’s mind, Jesus was a logical person to ask about eternal life, because it was the constant theme of His preaching (Matt. 25:46; Mark 10:29-30; John 4:36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2-3; cf. Acts 13:48; Rom. 2:7; 5:21; 1 Tim. 1:16; Titus 1:2; 1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20; Jude 21). It is here that much modern evangelism is deficient. Talking about eternal life and especially about hell is considered uncouth, and some who profess to be evangelicals question or even openly deny hell’s existence. Jesus, however, described hell in terrifyingly graphic language (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Mark 9:43-48) and said more about it than He did about heaven. Heaven, surprisingly, is also an unpopular topic, since the emphasis is on making things better in the present life. To that end, contemporary evangelism seeks to discover people’s felt needs and then present Jesus to them as the cure for all that is dysfunctional in their lives. But the Bible does not guarantee that a person’s circumstances will improve after salvation." In fact, they may even become worse (Acts 14:22; Rom. 8:17; 1 Thess. 3:4; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12-16). Salvation does bring supernatural peace (John 14:27), strength to endure trials and suffering (2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Peter 5:10), and comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-5) that turns sorrow into joy (Ps. 30:5; John 15:11). But the focus of biblically-based evangelism is not on the comforts of the present life, but on the reality of eternity; on getting people’s attention off this temporary world and onto the everlasting existence by explaining in biblical detail the joys of heaven and the horrors of hell. "(See Luke Commentary)

Disciple's Study Bible - God's requirement for eternal life is to love Him supremely and to love your neighbor as much as yourself. No one can love in these ways without the help which God gives through faith in Christ. See Mk 12:30. Neighbor Love--The lawyer understood what the Law required for eternal life, but he did not understand the full significance of such love. To be valid, such love must be expressed in action. The lawyer sought to limit his neighborliness. He wanted to determine whom he should help. Jesus said he must give unselfish and unlimited assistance to anyone in need, even someone who might hurt his reputation. (Mt 5:44, Lu 6:35,Lu 6:27 = love your enemies!!!) (Borrow Disciple's Study Bible

A lawyer (3544)(nomikos from nomos - law) means related to the law and generally refers to a legal scholar,  an expert in the Mosaiac law, in interpreting Jewish law.

Vincent on lawyer - "Not legal practioners, but interpreters and doctors of the Mosaic law."

Augustus Neander - "He was one of the nomikoi (lawyers), who, as we have said,… differed from the Pharisees in occupying themselves more with the original writings of Scripture than with the traditions."teachers of the law

POSB - Lawyer (nomikos): a profession of laymen who studied, taught, interpreted, and dealt with the practical questions of Jewish law. They were a special group within the profession commonly called Scribes (see Mark 12:28). They functioned both in the court and synagogues (see Lu. 7:30; 10:25; 11:45, 46, 52; 14:3; Tit. 3:13). They apparently dealt more with the study and interpretation of the law.  (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

Zodhiates - Lawyers appear together with the Pharisees in Luke 7:30 and 14:3. Apparently they were from among the Pharisees (Matt. 22:35) and with the scribes (Mark 12:28; Luke 10:25; 11:45, 46, 52) and were experts in the Mosaic law. In all places where the word is employed and legal questions come into consideration, the scribes appear as authorities in questions concerning prophecy (Matt. 2:4; 13:52). It may be inferred that “scribes” is a generic name, and the nomikoí, lawyers, are the specialized ones skilled in law and jurisprudence of the Law of Moses.   (Borrow The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Nomikos - 9v and not in the Septuagint.

Matthew 22:35  One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing (peirazo) Him,

Luke 7:30  But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

Luke 10:25  And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

Luke 11:45  One of the lawyers said to Him in reply, "Teacher, when You say this, You insult us too."

Luke 11:46  But He said, "Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

Luke 11:52  "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering."

Luke 14:3  And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?"

Titus 3:9  But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

Titus 3:13  Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.

Put to the test (1598)(ekpeirazo from ek = intensifies + peirazo = to test, tempt) means to test thoroughly, subject to test or proof. To test in order to understand the quality of something, including imperfections, faults or other qualities.  Robertson notes that ekpeirazo is in "Present active participle, conative idea, trying to tempt Him....The spirit of this lawyer was evil. He wanted to entrap Jesus if possible." Zodhiates - Sinners are said to tempt God (Mt. 4:7; Luke 4:12, Lk 10:25 all previous use ekpeirázō; Acts 5:9 = peirazo; 1 Cor. 10:9), putting Him to the test, refusing to believe Him or His Word until He has manifested His power. (The root verb) Peirázō is predominantly used to try someone in order to show he is not approved of God but reprobate, in the hope that he will break down under the proof. Peirázō is also used for Satan’s solicitations (Matt. 4:1; 1 Cor. 7:5; Rev. 2:10). (Borrow The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Louw-Nida - to try to learn the nature or character of someone or something by submitting such to thorough and extensive testing (Borrow Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : based on semantic domains)

BDAG - The idea is to entrap someone into giving information that will jeopardize the person.  To entice to do wrong by offering attractive benefits, tempt,  Of a midwife who checked Mary’s virginity and was dismayed that she had put God to proof! To entice to do wrong by offering attractive benefits, tempt. Thayer on ekpeirazo in 1 Cor 10:9 - by irreligion and immorality to test the patience or the avenging power of Christ (exalted to God's right hand),  (Borrow A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament, and other early Christian literature

TDNT on secular use -A rare religious use is for tempting the deity by testing the truth of an oracle. (On tempting God TDNT adds) The OT offers many instances of human tempting of God. In Ex. 17:2 Moses asks why the complaining people are putting God to the test. Num. 14:22 contains God's judgment on those who put him to the proof. To tempt God is to fail to accept his power or his will to save. It is to challenge him in doubt and unbelief. True love of God rules out the testing of God (Dt. 6:16-17 ). The strong tradition that one must not tempt God explains the reasoning of Ahaz in Is. 7:12, although in this case the prohibition does not apply, for God offers a sign.....Tempting God. In 1 Cor. 10:9 Paul uses an OT illustration to back up his warning that believers must not “test” or “challenge” God. Heb. 3:8-9 quotes Ps. 95 to the same effect. In Acts 5:9 Peter accuses Ananias and Sapphira of challenging the Spirit by their deceit, for the Spirit sees all things. In 15:10 Peter warns the assembly not to test God by imposing the law on Gentile believers, for by means of the vision God has shown that their freedom from the law is in accordance with his will. (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

Ekpeirazo - 4x in 4v - Usage: put(2), the test(1), test(2), try(1). Matthew 4:7  Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"

Luke 4:12  And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"

Luke 10:25  And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

1 Corinthians 10:9  Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. (Referring to Nu 21:4-9, 5 "The people spoke against God and Moses")

Ekpeirazo - 4x in the Septuagint - 

Deuteronomy 6:16  "You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.

Deuteronomy 8:2  "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

Deuteronomy 8:16  "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.

Psalm 78:18  And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire.

Teacher (Luke's equivalent of a Jewish Rabbi)(1320)(didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught <> cp didaskalía) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. The teacher teaches in such a way as to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught. Someone else has said that "The great teacher is the one who turns our ears into eyes so that we can see the truth." Henry Brooks added that "A (Bible) teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops!" Didaskalos refers to Jesus (the Master Teacher) in 41 of 58 NT uses. Twice Jesus calls Himself Teacher (Mt 26:18, Jn 13:13-14). He is referred to as Teacher by His disciples (Mk 4:38; 9:38; 13:1; Lk 7:40; 21:7), by the Pharisees (Mt 8:19, 12:38), by Pharisees and Herodians (Mt 22:16); Sadducees (Mk 12:19), a teacher of the law (Mk 12:32), Jewish deceivers (Lk 20:21); the rich young ruler (Lk 18:18), tax collectors (Lk 3:12) and His friend Martha (Jn 11:28). As an aside someone has said our great Teacher writes many of His best lessons on the blackboard of affliction.

Richards writes that "Jesus’ teaching focused on shaping the hearers’ perception of God and God’s kingdom, and thus it dealt with the implications of a personal relationship with God. In John’s Gospel, much of Jesus’ public instruction focused on himself and his own place as Son of God." (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words)

Mounce makes the point that when the Jewish leaders called Jesus "Teacher", they may not have been sincere "For instance, in Lk 10:25 an expert in the law comes to test Jesus and calls him didaskalos. However, attempts to expose him as a pretender to the title of teacher are unsuccessful and therefore serve to endorse his status as rabbi (Mt 22:46; Mk 12:34; Lk 20:39). (Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words)

Didaskalos - 58v -  Teacher(41), teacher(10), teachers(8). Matt. 8:19; Matt. 9:11; Matt. 10:24; Matt. 10:25; Matt. 12:38; Matt. 17:24; Matt. 19:16; Matt. 22:16; Matt. 22:24; Matt. 22:36; Matt. 23:8; Matt. 26:18; Mk. 4:38; Mk. 5:35; Mk. 9:17; Mk. 9:38; Mk. 10:17; Mk. 10:20; Mk. 10:35; Mk. 12:14; Mk. 12:19; Mk. 12:32; Mk. 13:1; Mk. 14:14; Lk. 2:46; Lk. 3:12; Lk. 6:40; Lk. 7:40; Lk. 8:49; Lk. 9:38; Lk. 10:25; Lk. 11:45; Lk. 12:13; Lk. 18:18; Lk. 19:39; Lk. 20:21; Lk. 20:28; Lk. 20:39; Lk. 21:7; Lk. 22:11; Jn. 1:38; Jn. 3:2; Jn. 3:10; Jn. 8:4; Jn. 11:28; Jn. 13:13; Jn. 13:14; Jn. 20:16; Acts 13:1; Rom. 2:20; 1 Co. 12:28; 1 Co. 12:29; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 5:12; Jas. 3:1

Inherit (2816)(kleronomeo from kleros = a pebble used in casting lots as in Acts 1:26 and then the allotted portion or inheritance, and so a lot, heritage, inheritance + nemomai = to possess or distribute; see Kleronomos) means to receive a lot or share of an inheritance, inherit a portion of property or receive a possession as gift from someone who has died. Vincent says that this word group describes "an inheritance is originally a portion which one receives by lot in a general distribution. In the New Testament the idea of chance attaching to the lot is eliminated. It is the portion or heritage which one receives by virtue of birth or by special gift."

Kleronomeo -18x/17v - heir(1), inherit(16), inherited(1). Matt. 5:5; Matt. 19:29; Matt. 25:34; Mk. 10:17; Lk. 10:25; Lk. 18:18; 1 Co. 6:9; 1 Co. 6:10; 1 Co. 15:50; Gal. 4:30; Gal. 5:21; Heb. 1:4; Heb. 1:14; Heb. 6:12; Heb. 12:17; 1 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 21:7

Eternal (166aionios from aion) means existing at all times, perpetual, pertaining to an unlimited duration of time (Ro 1:20 - God's power, Mt 18:8 - God's place of judgment, Ro 16:26+ - God's attribute). Aionios (eternal) is the exact antithesis of proskairos (temporal). See additional discussion of aionios in study of eternal punishment, specifically the importance of an accurate understanding of aionios as a refutation of the false teaching of universalism (everyone will be saved). 

Aionios in Luke and Acts - Lk. 16:9; Lk. 18:18; Lk. 18:30; Acts 13:46; Acts 13:48

Life (2222) zoe in Scripture is used (1) to refer to physical life (Ro 8:38+, 1Co 3:22+, Php 1:20+, Jas 4:14+, etc) but more often to (2) to supernatural life in contrast to a life subject to eternal death (Jn 3:36+). This quality of life speaks of fullness of life which alone belongs to God the Giver of life and is available to His children now (Ro 6:4+, Ep 4:18+) as well as in eternity future (Mk 10:30+, Titus 1:2+ on Eternal Life).

Zoe in Luke and Acts - Lk. 10:25; Lk. 12:15; Lk. 16:25; Lk. 18:18; Lk. 18:30; Jn. 1:4; Acts 2:28; Acts 3:15; Acts 5:20; Acts 8:33; Acts 11:18; Acts 13:46; Acts 13:48; Acts 17:25

Neighborly Kindness—Luke 10:33

A certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.

One of the major obstacles to showing compassion is making prejudgments about who we think is worthy of our compassion. Jesus told a parable to answer the question: “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). Or, who qualifies as worthy of our neighborly acts?

Jesus told of a man who traveled on the notoriously dangerous road from Jerusalem to Jericho. As he traveled, he fell among thieves and was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Religious Jews (a priest and a Levite) passed him, but they walked by on the other side, probably for fear of being religiously defiled. But a Samaritan came along and had unconditional compassion on the wounded stranger.

Jesus’ audience would have gasped at this because Jews despised Samaritans. The Samaritan could have limited or qualified his compassion because the man was a Jew. But he did not limit his neighborly kindness to those he thought were worthy. Instead, he saw a human being in need and resolved to help him.

Are you limiting your kindness to the ones you deem worthy? As followers of Jesus, let us find ways to show neighborly kindness to all people, especially to those we have judged as unworthy. By Marvin Williams (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

How many lives shall I touch today?
How many neighbors will pass my way?
I can bless so many and help so much,
If I meet each one with a Christlike touch.

Our love for Christ is only as real as our love for our neighbor.

The Good Atheist Luke 10:25-37

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. —Romans 13:9

When a man learned that an elderly woman could no longer buy her medicine and pay her rent, he came to her rescue. He took her into his home and treated her as if she were his mother. He gave her a bedroom, prepared the food for her meals, bought her medicine, and transported her whenever she needed medical attention. He continued to care for her when she could no longer do much for herself. I was amazed when I learned that this good man was a zealous atheist!

The Jews were shocked by Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, because He put him in a positive light. They despised the Samaritans the way I tend to look down on atheists.

A lawyer had tested Jesus by asking how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what the law said. The man answered that he must love the Lord with all his heart and his neighbor as himself (Luke 10:25-27). He asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (v.29). In Jesus’ story, the Samaritan was the neighbor who showed kindness to the wounded man.

Jesus wanted this parable to challenge His listeners. The stories of the Good Samaritan and the good atheist remind us of this high standard of God’s Word: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9).By Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

To love my neighbor as myself
Is not an easy task,
But God will show His love through me
If only I will ask. —Sper

Needy people need our helping hand.

A Good Neighbor Luke 10:25-37 

Whoever gives . . . only a cup of cold water . . . shall by no means lose his reward. —Matthew 10:42

After telling the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said that we should think of all people we meet as neighbors and do what we can to help them when they are in need.

I generally take this responsibility seriously, but sometimes I fail—as I did recently while vacationing in Arizona. In front of a fast-food restaurant, a young man asked me to help him. He and his wife were about 300 miles from home and had used up their cash to fix their car radiator. They had no checkbook or credit card.

I politely said I had no money to spare. I was being honest because 2 days earlier I had spent $200 for a water pump and was running low on funds. I did have my checkbook and a credit card, so I could have given him a little money and told him about Christ’s love for him—but I didn’t.

I try to soothe my conscience by telling myself I can’t help everybody, or that this man shouldn’t have left home with so little money, but I know I am rationalizing. We must be discerning when giving people money, but in this case I believe I missed a chance to help someone. And this bothers me.

Lord, help us every day to be alert for opportunities to be a good neighbor. By Herbert Vander Lugt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

How many lives shall I touch today?
How many neighbors will pass my way?
I can bless so many and help so much,
If I meet each one with a Christlike touch. —Jones

Acts of kindness are worth more than feelings of love.

Luke 10:26  And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?"

Wuest - And He said to him, In the law what has been written and is on record? In what way do you read it? 


Jesus frequently answered questions with His own question using what is called the Socratic method, i.e., answering a question with a question. In fact, Jesus turned the tables on the lawyer by asking 2 questions. He then complimented the lawyer on correctly citing Lev. 19:18 and Deut. 6:5, but that is about as far as the lawyer got! 

What is written in the Law? - Notice that Jesus addresses the "test" by taking him to the Scripture, a good practice for all disciples to emulate when tested by skeptics! Written is grapho in the perfect tense signifying it stands written and speaks of the permanence of the Word of God. In context Jesus is referring to the Law of Moses. So you are an expert in the Law. So it is only fitting that the lawyer was sent back to the Law! Jesus knew that no one was saved by keeping the Law, and He aimed to drive this lawyer to see the impossibility of keeping the Law.

Paul explains the purpose of the Law - But the Scripture has shut up (enclosed, encircled) everyone under (subject to the power and penalty of) sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. (Gal 3:22-24+) (See pictorial description of the Purpose of the Law).

How does it read to you?" - How do you understand it?" (NET) "How do you read it?" (NIV, ESV, CSB, NLT) "What is your reading of it?' (NJB) Phillips comments "If something has to be done to acquire eternal life, then surely the Law is the place to go."  "As a lawyer it was his business to know the facts in the law and the proper interpretation of the law. The rabbis had a formula, “What readest thou?”

Joseph Parker on what is written in the Law - "Jesus Christ never treated the Old Testament lightly. I am afraid that some of us imagine that we have got beyond the Old Testament, and therefore hardly ever turn to its ancient pages. Believe me, the testaments are one: as the day is one—the twilight and the noon-tide, as the year is one—the vernal promise and the autumnal largesse—so are the testaments of God one. And no man can profoundly interpret the New Testament who is not profoundly conversant with the Old."

Spurgeon - That was a most appropriate answer to a lawyer. “ You ask me what you should do; well, you profess to be a teacher of the law, you ought, therefore, to know what is written in the law.”

Spurgeon - Do any of you want to live by the law? There is the law. Does any man here pretend that he has kept it? Let me ask any man here who would justify himself by his own works, have you thought of God today? How much time have you spent with God? or yesterday, how much of your time did you give him ¾how many minutes? Would you venture to say that you spent a quarter of an hour in prayer? No, perhaps, if it comes to the truth, you did not spend five minutes. Now, if you loved God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your strength, and all your mind, do you think that five minutes would satisfy such a love as that? Oh, no, sirs, you that are unconverted give God no love at all, and how can you think therefore, that you are keeping his law which puts it so strongly, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart? and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself”? Have you ever done that? Neither the first nor the second table have you kept intact.


Wuest - And answering, he said, You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

Related Passages:

Matthew 22:35-40 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” 

Mark 12:28-31+ One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Romans 13:9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

Galatians 5:13+ For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

James 2:8+ If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.


And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."   Like a good Jewish lawyer this man knew the Old Testament and probably somewhat proudly (even self-righteously) quoted from the Pentateuch. In so doing he answered the question in the same way Jesus Himself had answered in Mt 22:35-40; Mk 12:28-31. The key verb is love (agapao) which describes a supernatural, self-less, sacrificial love that is only possible as one is energized by the Holy Spirit. It is this quality of love which God demands of Himself and of the men made in His image. So a command to love in this way should dry any sane person to the end of themselves so that they cry out saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' (Lk 18:13+)

Deuteronomy 6:5+ (part of the famous Jewish Shema beginning in Dt 6:4 repeated 2x/day by devout Jews) “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Leviticus 19:18+ (also quoted in also in Ro 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8) ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. 

John MacArthur - The command calls for total commitment to selfless love (agapaō; the highest kind of love) involving all human faculties, including the heart, soul, strength, and mind. These two commands sum up the Ten Commandments, the first half of which describes how to love God, while the second half describes how to love one’s neighbor. Only those who practice such self-denying love (cf. Luke 9:23) can receive eternal life. (See Luke Commentary )

Robertson - The lawyer’s answer is first from the Shema (Deut. 6:3; 11:13) which was written on the phylacteries. The second part is from Lev. 19:18 and shows that the lawyer knew the law. At a later time Jesus himself in the temple gives a like summary of the law to a lawyer (Mark 12:28–34=Matt. 22:34–40) who wanted to catch Jesus by his question. There is no difficulty in the two incidents. God is to be loved with all of man’s four powers (heart, soul, strength, mind) here as in Mark 12:30.

With all your heart (kardia) - "Literally, out of thy whole heart. The heart, not only as the seat of the affections, but as the centre of our complex being—physical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual." (Vincent)

With all your soul (psuche) - "Soul word is often used in the New Testament in its original meaning of life. See Mt. 2:20; 20:28; Acts 20:10; Ro 11:3; John 10:11. Hence, as an emphatic designation of the man himself. See Matt. 12:18; Heb. 10:38; Luke 21:19. So that the word denotes “life in the distinctness of individual existence” (Cremer)." (Vincent)

With all your mind (dianoia) - "The faculty of thought: understanding, especially the moral understanding." (Vincent)  

With all your strength (ischus) refers  to possession of qualities required to do something or to get something done. A muscular man’s big muscles display his might, even if he doesn’t use them.

NET Note - The fourfold reference to different parts of the person says, in effect, that one should love God with all one’s being.

NIV Study Bible - Elsewhere Jesus uses these words in reply to another question (see Mt 22:35-40; Mk 12:28-31), putting the same two Scriptures together (Lev 19:18; Dt 6:5). Whether a fourfold love (heart, soul, strength and mind, as here and in Mk 12:30) or threefold (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:37; Mk 12:33), the significance is that total devotion is demanded.

Love your neighbor as yourself - This is the crucial means of evaluating our love for our neighbor because few of us have any difficulty loving ourselves, so that is a perfect measure of our love for others. And as Jesus teaches below this love is based on deeds not words. Furthermore, it should be noted that these two commandments are integrally related so that if we say we love God but don't show love (deeds note just words) to man, we really do not love God! As John says "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." (1Jn 3:18+)

Joseph Parker - "Love of God means love of man. Religion is the divine side of philanthropy; philanthropy is the practical side of religion. We must first be right with God, or we never can be right with man. If we begin by endeavouring to get right with our neighbour, we shall fail. But if we begin by establishing right relations with God, according to the conditions which he himself has laid down, we shall find that being right with God our whole life is elevated and all social relationships are redeemed from error, and our neighbour is loved with a lofty and pure charity." (Inheriting Eternal Life )

QUESTION - What does it mean to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?

ANSWER - “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4–5). This is known as the Shema, taken from the first word “hear” in Hebrew. Modern Jews consider the recital of the Shema both evening and morning to be one of their most sacred duties. It was cited by Jesus as the “greatest commandment in the Law” (Matthew 22:36–37).

This command seems to be impossible to obey. That’s because, in the natural state of man, it is impossible. There is no greater evidence of the inability of man to obey God’s Law than this one commandment. No human being with a fallen nature can possibly love God with all his heart, soul, and strength 24 hours a day. It’s humanly impossible. But to disobey any commandment of God is sin. Therefore, even without considering the sins we commit daily, we are all condemned by our inability to fulfill this one commandment. This is the reason Jesus continually reminded the Pharisees of their inability to keep the Law of God. He was trying to get them to see their utter spiritual bankruptcy and their need for a Savior. Without the cleansing of sin that He provides, and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit who lives in the hearts of the redeemed, loving God to any degree is impossible.

But, as Christians, we have been cleansed from sin and we do have the Spirit. So how do we begin to love God the way we should? Just as the man in Mark 9:24 asked God to help his unbelief, so too we can ask God to help us in areas where we don’t love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is His power that we need to do the impossible, and we begin by seeking and appropriating that power.

In most cases, our love and affection for God grows more intense as time goes by. Certainly, young Christians newly saved are very much aware of the love of God and their love for Him. But it is through the witness of God’s faithfulness during times of struggle and trial that a deep love for God grows and grows. Over time, we witness His compassion, mercy, grace, and love for us, as well as His hatred for sin, His holiness, and His righteousness. We cannot love someone we don’t know, so knowing Him should be our first priority. Those who pursue God and His righteousness, who take seriously the command to love Him above all else, are those who are consumed with the things of God. They are eager to study God’s Word, eager to pray, eager to obey and honor God in all things, and eager to share Jesus Christ with others. It is through these spiritual disciplines that the love for God grows and matures to the glory of God.

Luke 10:28  And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.

Wuest - And He said to him, You answered correctly. Be doing this and you shall live. 


He said to him - Once again quoting from the OT, this time from the OT guide to "holiness" in Leviticus

‘So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.  (Lev 18:5). 

I gave them My statutes and informed them of My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live. (Ezek  20:11, also in Ezek 20:13, 21)

You have answered correctly - (You have responded with discretion) - There was only one problem with the lawyer's answer. No one ever did or ever can perfectly "DO" what the law requires towards God and man. To slip once is to fail. As James 2:10 explained " whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." 

DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE -  Jesus answers his reply with a quote from Leviticus 18:5+ ‘So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD." DO is in the present imperative a command to continually practice sacrificial, unconditional love. Recall that the lawyer had asked what shall I DO, so here Jesus tosses the "DO" back to him! Don't misunderstand -- Jesus is not teaching a works based way to inherit eternal life, but He is saying in essence if you do this perfectly, without one sin, then you will attain eternal life. Of course what Jesus was commanding the lawyer to do was literally impossible and should have served to make him drop to his knees and beg for mercy. Instead, the stubborn, prideful lawyer sought vainly to justify himself or show himself to be righteous, which is exactly what every religion other than Christianity futilely tries to accomplish. They are all unwilling to believe the only work that the Father accepts is the finished work of His Son on the Cross, where He paid the price in full for men's sins (cp Jn 19:30+). So the lawyer's answer was correct so far as the words went. In another passage in Mk 12:34 Jesus commends the scribe for agreeing to his interpretation of the first and the second commandments. That scribe was "not far from the kingdom of God," but this lawyer was "testing" Jesus (Lu 10:25).  

Walter Liefeld - Jesus affirms that the man has answered correctly (orthos, "right," "properly," from which our word "orthodox" is derived). This does not mean that the inquirer has grasped the full meaning of the law, nor does it support the idea held by many Pharisees that by keeping the law, as some kind of contract with God, a person can earn eternal life. (Borrow The Expositor's Bible Commentary)

William MacDonald adds that "At first, it might appear that the Lord was teaching salvation by law-keeping. Such was not the case. God never intended that anyone should ever be saved by keeping the law. The Ten Commandments were given to people who were already sinners. The purpose of the law is not to save from sin, but to produce the knowledge of sin. The function of the law is to show man what a guilty sinner he is." (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Hampton Keathley IV adds - When Jesus tells the man to “do this and you will live,” He is not saying, you can get to heaven by being perfect. He is using the man’s statement and saying, “Assuming it is true for the sake of argument, do it and you will live.” Jesus is just holding up a mirror so the man can see his sin. He makes an accommodating statement - to accommodate the man’s understanding and help him see the truth. Jesus knew the man could never do it. He wanted the man to see it too.  You’ve heard the statement - “You’ve got to get them lost before you can get them saved.” That is what is going on here. Jesus is trying to make the man see his need for salvation. (The Good Samaritan)

Robertson - There was only one trouble with the lawyer’s answer. No one ever did or ever can “do” what the law lays down towards God and man always. To slip once is to fail. So Jesus put the problem squarely up to the lawyer who wanted to know by doing what. Of course, if he kept the law perfectly always, he would inherit eternal life.

MacDonald has an interesting comment - If he could do this from birth to death, he would not need salvation. He would not be lost. But even then, his reward would only be long life on earth, not eternal life in heaven. As long as he lived sinlessly, he would go on living. Eternal life is only for sinners who acknowledge their lost condition and who are saved by God’s grace. (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Phillips - There we have the gospel of good works, the theology of the man who says, "I'm doing the best I can." The Lord overlooked the flaw in this clever lawyer's original question—"What shall I do to inherit?" Usually, an inheritance is received, not earned. In any case, we cannot do anything to gain eternal life for the simple reason that we are incapable of doing anything good enough for God (Rom. 3:9-20). The two passages that the lawyer quoted prove man's incompetence to produce anything good enough for God. No one but Jesus ever loved God with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength. No one but Jesus ever loved his neighbor as himself. Nobody has ever done the best he could. People who imagine that works is the way to heaven stand condemned by their own religion.(Ibid)

Moody Bible Commentary - Jesus' quotation of Lv 18:5—do this and you will live (Lk 10:28b)—brought home the devastating point that perfect obedience to the law was not possible. At this point the lawyer should have realized the inherent error of "works righteousness" implied in his opening question. The lawyer was not ready to give up and so wishing to justify himself (Lk 10:29a) he evasively asked another question—And who is my neighbor? (Lk 10:29b).

Spurgeon - This lawyer was one of those people who know the law, yet do it not. No doubt Jesus struck the nail on the head when he gave him that very pertinent answer, “This do, and thou shalt live.” This lawyer was trying to live by teaching the law, by his knowledge of it, but Christ insists that nothing will do but a practical carrying out of its precepts.

Spurgeon - For “the man that does these things shall live in them;” but who has ever thus loved the Lord his God? Who among the fallen sons of men can thus honor his Maker? Our Lord thus laid open the impossibility of salvation by works. The labours of Hercules are nothing to the work which is required to merit heaven. To love God and our neighbor, according to the measure of the law, has never yet been accomplished by any mere man.

Luke 10:29  But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?

Amplified - And he, determined to acquit himself of reproach, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor? 

Wuest - But he, desiring to show himself to be righteous, such as he wished himself to be considered, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?


 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor (plesion)? - The humble response to the impossible demand of the Law would have been to cry out "I cannot do this. Lord, how can I do this?" Justify (dikaioo from dike = right, expected behavior or conformity, not according to one’s own standard, but according to an imposed standard with prescribed punishment for nonconformity) primarily means to deem to be right. Dikaioo describes the act by which a man is brought into a right state of relationship to God. Dikaioo is a legal term having to do with the law and the the courtroom, where it represented the legally binding verdict of the judge. It is not surprising to see a "lawyer" use this term. He sought in a sense to "pronounce a verdict" (or have it rendered by a judge) that he was in full accordance with requirements of God's law to love God and to love his neighbor as himself. The lawyer wanted to vindicate himself, to clear himself from guilt, accusation, blame, etc, by evidence or argument. So he asks who is my neighbor (plesion)?  Notice he did not ask "Who is God?" He assumed he was fine on that front and besides no one could see into his heart and discern whether he did or did not love God. But to love one's neighbor as one loves himself is a different issue. Vertical love to God can be feigned, but horizontal love is more difficult to fake. So he wants to see how Jesus defines "neighbor." Remember that his "goal" is to discern how to obtain eternal life (salvation). 

As MacDonald observes "If His reference to the law had had its desired effect on the lawyer, he would have said, “If that’s what God requires, then I’m lost, helpless, and hopeless. I cast myself on Your love and mercy. Save me by Your grace!” Instead of that, he sought to justify himself. Why should he? No one had accused him. There was a consciousness of fault and his heart rose up in pride to resist." (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Spurgeon - Expecting the Lord to tell him that his fellow Jew was such; instead of which, the Lord tells him that he ought to be a neighbour to any man and every man in need.

Wiersbe comments "The scribe gave the right answer, but he would not apply it personally to himself and admit his own lack of love for both God and his neighbor. So, instead of being justified by throwing himself on the mercy of God (Luke 18:9-14), he tried to justify himself and wriggle out of his predicament. He used the old debating tactic, "Define your terms! What do you mean by 'neighbor'? Who is my neighbor?"  (Borrow Be Compassionate)

Moody Bible Commentary - The lawyer was attempting to "limit the commandment" so as to make it possible for him to obey it sufficiently enough to merit eternal life. To justify may carry the same sense of "justification" in Paul's writings since Luke was one of Paul's missionary companions and would be steeped in the apostle's theology. Jesus exposed the fallacy of this tactic, and He answered the lawyers' question in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Joseph Parker on wishing to justify himself - "So long as there is any disposition in us to justify ourselves, are we unprepared to receive the gospel."

Keathley - The lawyer asks the question to test him. He is not sincere. That may be the reason Jesus goes along with the assumption that you can earn eternal life. Another thing we see about the lawyer is his self-righteousness. Remember that most parables answer a question and deal with an attitude. The attitude being dealt with in the parable is self-righteousness. The text says the lawyer was “seeking to justify himself.” That by the way was the problem with the nation. Of course we don’t have that problem in our culture. We just write books titled, I’m ok, You’re ok. (Ref)

The Scripture is very clear on how one is justified and it is not by keeping the law... 

"by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin." (Ro 3:20)

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” (Gal 3:10) 

‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’(Dt 27:26)

MacArthur writes that "The only way out of that frightening dilemma is to acknowledge one’s sin (Ps. 32:5; Prov. 28:13; 1 John 1:9), cry for mercy (Luke 18:13), and through faith alone (John 3:16, 36; 5:24; Acts 15:9; Rom. 3:20–30; 4:5; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8–9; Phil. 3:9; 1 Peter 1:9) embrace the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior and only sacrifice for sin (Eph. 5:2; Heb. 9:24–28; 10:12). For such penitent believers God made His Son, “who knew no sin to be sin on [their] behalf, so that [they] might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21)."

NET Note - The expert in religious law picked up on the remark about the neighbor and sought to limit his responsibility for loving. Some believed this obligation would only be required toward the righteous (Sir 12:1–4). The lawyer was trying to see if that was right and thus confidently establish his righteousness (wanting to justify himself). (See Luke Commentary)

Lawrence Richards - Jesus told of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37), who, upon passing a Jewish stranger who had been stripped and beaten by robbers, took pity on him. The Samaritan stopped, helped him to the nearest inn, and took responsibility to pay for his care. After establishing the fact that the neighbor was one who had mercy on the needy stranger, Jesus told his questioner, "Go and do likewise" (Lk 10:37). The story extends rather than narrows the concept of neighbor. In the story, the injured man was a Jew, someone traditionally hostile to Samaritans. There was no bond of personal relationship between the two. They were simply two human beings, one in need and the other able to meet the need. Jesus' message was clear for those who heard him then, and it is clear for us today. Our neighbor is any person we may come in contact with who has a need. And to love one's neighbor means to be moved by compassion to reach out and seek to meet that need. (Borrow Expository Dictionary of Bible Words)

Spurgeon - He probably meant to say, “I have not any neighbours; I have no near relations; my father and mother are dead and gone, I have no brothers and sisters, and therefore I may be excused from the duty of loving anyone else as I love myself.” Jesus did not answer the lawyer’s question, “ Who is my neighbour?” He did not turn the eyes of the man to the poor mendicants who needed charity, but he made him look at himself.
Morris - The famous parable of the good Samaritan, given in response to this question, yields the following answer: my "neighbor" is anyone who has a need that I am able to meet and who is brought to my particular attention by crossing my path. (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

This is loving your neighbor as yourself -- agape love is giving out to another regardless of whether you feel like they deserve it & with the aim to achieve their highest good. This is not humanly possible but only as we are led by the Spirit (Ga 5:16 Ro 8:4 cp Ro 5:5). The ultimate act of loving one's neighbor as one's self was shown at Calvary (Jn 3:16). 

Neighbor (Near) (4139)(plesion from pélas = near, near to or from plesios = close by) literally means near (literal use only in Jn 4:5), quite near, nearby = position quite close to another position. The point is that whoever is near (& Jesus teaching adds "is in need") is my neighbor.

Figuratively, plesion means to be near someone and thus be a neighbor. Generally, plesion refers to a fellow man, any other member of the human family. TDNT explains that "Ho plesion" is the "neighbor," the person next to one" then more generally the “fellow human being.” (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

Robertson adds "The Jews split hairs over this question and excluded from “neighbor” Gentiles and especially Samaritans. So here was his loop-hole. A neighbor is a nigh dweller to one, but the Jews made racial exceptions as many, alas, do today. The word plesion here is an adverb (neuter of the adjective plēsios) meaning ho plēsion ōn (the one who is near), but [ōn] was usually not expressed and the adverb is here used as if a substantive.

Eight of 17 uses of plesion occur in a citation of or allusion to Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love your neighbor (plēsion, Septuagint) as yourself” (Mt 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mk 12:31; Luke 10:27; Ro 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8). It should be noted that the TDNT entry states that "there is allusion to Lev. 19:18 in 12 instances." (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

Vincent on neighbor - Another word to which the Gospel has imparted a broader and deeper sense. Literally it means the one near (so the Eng., neighbor = nigh-bor), indicating a mere outward nearness, proximity. Thus a neighbor might be an enemy. Socrates (Plato, “Republic,” ii., 373) shows how two adjoining states might come to want each a piece of its neighbor’s (τῶν πλησίον) land, so that there would arise war between them; and again (Plato, “Theaetetus,” 174) he says that a philosopher is wholly unacquainted with his next-door neighbor, and does not know whether he is a man or an animal. The Old Testament expands the meaning to cover national or tribal fellowship, and that is the sense in our Lord’s quotation here. The Christian sense is expounded by Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29 sqq.), as including the whole brotherhood of man, and as founded in love for man, as man, everywhere.

Plesion - 17v - near(1), neighbor(16). Matt. 5:43; Matt. 19:19; Matt. 22:39; Mk. 12:31; Mk. 12:33; Lk. 10:27; Lk. 10:29; Lk. 10:36; Jn. 4:5; Acts 7:27; Rom. 13:9; Rom. 13:10; Rom. 15:2; Gal. 5:14; Eph. 4:25; Jas. 2:8; Jas. 4:12

D L Moody - LUKE 10:29. Who is my neighbor?
“Who is thy neighbor?” It is the sufferer, wherever, whoever, whatsoever he be. Wherever thou hearest the cry of distress, wherever thou seest any one brought across thy path by the chances and changes of life (that is, by the Providence of God), whom it is in thy power to help,—he, stranger or enemy though he be,—he is thy neighbor. A. P. STANLEY.

James Freeman - scroll to page 1026 in Manners and Customs 769. Neighbors Luke 10:29. He, willing to Justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor? The Jews gave a very narrow definition of the word “neighbor.” The robbing interpreted it to mean only those who were of the Jewish people. The Gentiles were not considered neighbors.

Luke 10:30  Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead

Amplified - Jesus, taking him up (Ed: Like taking him up on his challenge), replied, A certain man was going from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him of his clothes and belongings and beat him and went their way, [unconcernedly] leaving him half dead, as it happened. 

  • they stripped him and beat him,: Ps 88:4 Jer 51:52 La 2:12 Eze 30:24 
  • Multiple Resources on Luke 10 (includes the sermons below)
  • Luke 10:30-37 The Good Samaritan - John MacArthur
  • Luke 10:25-37 Salvation and Good Works - Steven Cole
  • Multiple devotionals on Luke 10:25-37
  • The Good Samaritan - Hampton Keathley IV
  • Luke 10:25-37 The Good Samaritan - C H Spurgeon
  • See "Rules for Interpreting Parables" - Vernon Doerkson - Excerpt - "Determine the Central Point of the Parable = With but few exceptions the stories of Christ were parables, not allegories. A true parable has but one main point. Christ spoke a parable to drive home the truth He was endeavoring to teach. Dodd calls this "the most important principle of interpretation.” He continues, “The typical parable, whether it be a simple metaphor, or a more elaborate similitude, or a full length story, presents one single point of comparison.” A parable might be likened to a wheel, the central point is the hub, and all the spokes point to the hub. If the hub is off center, the wheel will not perform and function properly." Editorial Comment - With this thought in mind remember that the critical question (in fact the most important question in all of life) the lawyer had just posed to Jesus was ""Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  ( Luke 10:25+) In other words "How can I obtain salvation?" And while Jesus does not actually tell him how to be saved (by grace through faith), He does clearly show how he cannot be saved (by works). And this should have driven the lawyer to see the futility of his works and cry out for mercy and forgiveness. The Law does not save, but it does force us to see our need for a Savior. (cp Gal 3:22-24+)


Ferderic Farrar  calls this "one of His most striking parables."

Jesus replied (hupolambano) "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho -   Jesus doesn't say, but in context probably a Jewish man. The lawyer would be familiar with this road called "The Red or Bloody Way" and this would make the parable very believable to him.

Rod Mattoon explains "It was on this road he was mugged. This road was about 17 miles long and it was a very dangerous path to travel. It was steep. Jerusalem is about 2300 feet above sea level and Jericho, which is near the Dead Sea, is about 1300 feet below sea level. This means that a person traveling from these two towns would travel on a wilderness, desolate road that dropped 3,600 feet in altitude.The narrowness, the ravines, the almost inaccessible cliffs, the caverns, and the sudden turns in this road made it ideal for thieves to ambush travelers and steal their money. They could ambush their victims, and quickly flee almost beyond the possibility of pursuit. You took your life into your hands when you traveled on this route. Travel was so bad that the road was named, "The Red Way or the Bloody Way." It was like a gauntlet of greed and danger. In the 19th century it was still necessary to pay safety money to the local Sheiks before one could travel on it."

Keathley on Jesus replied - The Greek word (hupolambano) means to “take up.” The man had thrown down a challenge and Jesus took him up on it. This is not simply, “Jesus answered him.” The parable is primarily answering the question asked by the lawyer “who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29), but Jesus also indicates in a subtle way the true answer to the lawyer’s first question. (Ref)

John MacArthur comments "This dramatic tale is widely used to teach the importance of helping those in need. In fact, the term “Good Samaritan” has become an idiom for those who demonstrate unusual, sacrificial kindness toward others. But while it is important to help the needy, that is not the point of the story. It is in reality a story about how one inherits eternal life, because that is the question that initiated the conversation to which this story is the conclusion. The Lord offered this story in answer to the scribe’s question, with its somewhat cynical implication that he did love all those whom he considered to be his neighbors. Jesus graciously gave him one more unforgettable, inescapably clear insight into his wretchedness; one more opportunity to acknowledge his sinfulness and cry for mercy." (See Luke Commentary)


William Barclay sets the context on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho - First, let us look at the scene of this story. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was a notoriously dangerous road. Jerusalem is 2,300 feet above sea-level; the Dead Sea, near which Jericho stood, is 1,300 feet below sea-level. So then, in somewhat less than 20 miles, this road dropped 3,600 feet. It was a road of narrow, rocky deifies, and of sudden turnings which made it the happy hunting-ground of brigands. In the fifth century Jerome tells us that it was still called "The Red or Bloody Way." In the 19th century it was still necessary to pay safety money to the local Sheiks before one could travel on it. As late as the early 1930's, H. V. Morton tells us that he was warned to get home before dark, if he intended to use the road, because a certain Abu Jildah was an adept at holding up cars and robbing travelers and tourists, and escaping to the hills before the police could arrive. When Jesus told this story, he was telling about the kind of thing that was constantly happening on the Jerusalem to Jericho road. (Daily Study Bible)

POSB applies this asking "How many are foolish and reckless in life, exposing and destroying their bodies by walking where they should not and by doing what they should not? (cp Pr 22:3)"  (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

Keathley - Notice that Jesus says, “A certain man, a certain priest, a certain levite.” There are no names; parables are representative of real life. (Ibid)

Fell among robbers - Peripipto means to fall amon and so to be surrounded by (peri = around). 

Robertson on robbers - to be surrounded by robbers. A common experience to this day on the road to Jericho. The Romans placed a fort on this “red and bloody way.” These were bandits, not petty thieves. 

Vincent on robbers (plestais). See on Matt. 26:55 (It is more than a petty stealer; rather one with associates, who would require an armed band to apprehend him.) These were not petty stealers, but men of violence, as was shown by their treatment of the traveler. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho passed through a wilderness (Josh. 16:1), which was so notorious for robberies and murders that a portion of it was called “the red or bloody way,” and was protected by a fort and a Roman garrison.

Vincent on stripped. Not of his clothing only, but of all that he had.

Vincent on beat him - (Literally, “placing strokes or blows”) having laid on blows (plegas ~ plagues!). Blows or stripes is the usual sense of the word in the New Testament. See Lk 12:48; Acts 16:23. It has the metaphorical sense of plagues in  Rev 15:1, 6, 8, etc.

Half dead (2253)(hemithanes from hemi- = half + thnesko = to die) describes a state of grievous injury or ill health, even on the verge of death. This is a vivid picture of the brutality of the robbery.

Vincent on leaving him half-dead - "The full force of the expression cannot be rendered into English. The word τυγχάνοντα throws an element of chance into the case. Lit., happening to be half dead; or “leaving him half dead, as it chanced;” his condition being a matter of unconcern to these robbers. The word ἡμιθανῆ, half dead, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament." 

Replied (5274)(hupolambano from hupo = under + lambano = to take) means literally to take from someone, to take up and so to cause to ascend (Acts 1:9 "received Him out of their sight"). Figuratively hupolambano means to take up the discourse (to reply, to introduce a response to a question as here in Lk 10:30, Lxx of Job 2:4; 4:1; 6:1; Da 3:9), or to take up (an idea) in thought (to suppose, think as in Acts 2:15, Lk 7:43, Lxx - Job 25:3). Finally, it could mean to support or help someone, to receive them as a guest, h (3 John 1:8 in context including material help). 

Robertson - to take up literally, and then in thought and speech, old verb, but in this sense of interrupting in talk only in the N. T.

Hupolambano - 5x in 5v - Usage: received(1), replied(1), support(1), suppose(2).

Luke 7:43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."

Luke 10:30 Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.

Acts 1:9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

Acts 2:15 "For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;

3 John 1:8 Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.

Hupolambano - 38x in the Septuagint especially prominent in the Book of Job - 

2 Chr. 25:8; Est. 8:12; Job 2:4; 4:1; 6:1; 8:1; 9:1; 11:1; 12:1; 15:1; 16:1; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1f; 21:1; 22:1; 23:1; 25:1, 3; 26:1; 32:6, 17; 34:1; 35:1; 40:3, 6; Job 42:1 ("Job answered the Lord"); Ps. 17:12; 30:1; 48:9; 50:21; 68:16; 73:16; Jer. 37:9; Dan. 2:30; 3:9, 28;

James Smith - THE GOOD SAMARITAN.Luke 10:30-37.
"He is bound to me, For human love makes aliens near of kin."—Ingelow.

This lawyer, being "willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?" (v. 29). The world has never seen anyone better fitted to answer such a question than Jesus. "He knew what was in man." There are but few who are not willing to justify themselves in their neglect of that mercy (v. 37) which constitutes true neighbourliness. This is a parable, beloved, for the Samaritan's sake. A beautiful reflection of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, unexpectedly coming into contact with a destitute and alien heart. Observe here—

I. A Threefold Misery. He was—

1. STRIPPED OF HIS RAIMENT (v. 30). This certain man in going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, a distance of about eighteen miles, fell among thieves and was stripped. Ever since the fall of Adam this world has been a den of thieves. Every man's business, more or less, is just to get out of others all he possibly can. Only those taught of God can look, not at their own, but at the good of others. All who fall into the clutches of sin and iniquity are sure to be stripped of their raiment of righteousness and of their "garment of praise." The devil is still seeking whom he may devour.

2. WOUNDED (v. 30). He in all likelihood received His wounds in His desperate attempts to withstand the robbers. Our own strength and wits are a poor defence against the sudden onslaughts of evil. The morally wounded and disabled in the battles of life are found lying everywhere along the highways of human concourse. Their name is legion who have sunk into the ditch of a city slum through being stripped of their reputation and having their hopes and prospects wounded to the death (Isa. 1:6).

3. HALF DEAD (v. 30). In this wretched condition he could do nothing but wait and pray. Waiting for the compassion of some loving heart and the kindly touch of some neighbourly hand. To be half-hearted about anything is to be half-dead to the matter. With regard to the things eternal, how many are half-dead and quite unconscious of it. Backsliders in heart (Rev. 3:16). But let us not in our pride condemn this poor outcast, for if we had gone the same way we might have been in the same plight. If we had gone the way of those who are born and reared in the city slum, or in dark heathendom, what better would we be than they are?

II. A Threefold Attitude.
In the Priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan we see three different attitudes toward the helpless and unfortunate. That of—

1. PERFECT INDIFFERENCE. "The priest passed by on the other side" (Lk 10:31). This priest was doubtless on his way home from the Temple service. In the discharge of his ceremonial duties he is very punctilious, and would pass by nothing, but a needy, dying brother by the wayside is unworthy of his notice. "Weighed in the balance and found wanting." No hope can on the Law be built.

2. INTERESTED CURIOSITY. "The Levite came and looked, and passed by on the other side" (Lk 10:32). This man is a type of those who are not a little inquisitive, but who are not even a little compassionate. They want to know, but they don't want to help. This Levite could tell a story about this poor man when he went home, and justify his heartless conduct by saying that the place was too dangerous for him to tarry and lift the fallen. He also by his act is "weighed in the balance and found wanting" (1 John 3:17).

3. PRACTICAL SYMPATHY. "The Samaritan came where he was, and had compassion on him," etc. (Lk 10:33-35). Although the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, this Samaritan in mercy would have dealings with the half-dead Jew. This is the point in the parable. A despised one, compassionates, shows mercy, and saves one who was living at enmity with him, thus manifesting that love of God in Christ Jesus which stoops to show mercy with a self-sacrifice that slays the enmity (Eph. 2:16).

The Good Samaritan bears the features of the despised Nazarene, who comes to seek and save the lost.

(1). "He came where he was." Christ comes to us right where we are. In our stripped and wounded condition we could do nothing for ourselves (Ro 5:6).
(2). "He had compassion on him" (Lk 10:33). His heart was moved toward him. The Salvation of Christ was heart work. "He loved us, and gave Himself for us."
(3). "He bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine." 
Although we are full of wounds and bruises (Isa. 1), Christ can bind up and heal (Luke 4:18). This He does by the oil of His Spirit and the wine of His Word.
(4). "He set him on his own beast." Those whom the Lord lifts up are also set in His own place. "Now are we the Sons of God."
(5). "He brought him to an inn." The saved of the Lord also find shelter and new friendships.
(6). "He took care of him." In the Salvation of Christ there is not only a great deliverance, but also a special providence (Rom. 8:28). He careth for you.
(7). He left a promise concerning him (Lk 10:35). Our Great Shepherd has also left enough for our need during His absence in "the exceeding great and precious promises." "And inasmuch as ye did it unto these, ye did it unto Me." "When I come again I will repay thee."

The Great Lesson. Christ has suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21). "Go thou and do likewise" (Lk 10:37).

Exercise Your Right: Luke 10:30-37

Let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs. —Titus 3:14

Thomas Jefferson, who in 1776 wrote the first draft of the US Declaration of Independence, took it for granted that all of us possess certain God-given, “unalienable rights.” Yet, even in a democracy, there is fierce discussion about who is entitled to what rights.

Christians can look at rights from another perspective. Instead of being concerned about ourselves, we can think about what others need. In that sense, we have the “right” to help others, just as the Good Samaritan did (Luke 10:30-37). This parable is an illustration of our Savior’s own example, for we read in Acts 10:38 that He “went about doing good.”

Believers ought to follow Jesus’ example and be “do-gooders.” Even though that term is often used negatively, we who are grateful for God’s redemptive grace want to share with others the good things He gives to us.

We know that the gospel is far more than a humanitarian message of doing good and being good. It’s the message that God has provided forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of His Son. As we exercise our “right” to help people around us, let’s also prayerfully share with them that good news.  By Vernon Grounds  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

To weary souls along life's road,
Help me, O Lord, to share their load;
To fallen souls enslaved in sin,
Help me, O Lord, their souls to win. —Jarvis

A heart that is open to Christ will be open to those He loves.

Luke 10:31  "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

From Bible Places- The Ascent of Adummim


And by chance a priest (hiereus) was going down (Imperfect tense = was going down) on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by (antiparerchomai) on the other side - This is the only time Jesus used by chance, which means essentially by coincidence. "The phrase by chance adds an initial note of hope and fortune to the expectation in the story. (NET Note) Jerusalem was situated on a hill (about 2500 feet above sea level) and Jericho was lower in fact it was 846 feet below sea level, which amounts to a going down of over 3300 feet. 

John MacArthur reminds us that "Commentators have offered many suggestions as to why the priest avoided the injured man. But all such speculation is pointless, since he was not a real person, but merely a character in the Lord’s story. The point Jesus was making is that because he knew the law’s requirements, he would have been expected to stop and aid the injured man." (See The MacArthur Commentary)

NET Note agrees that "It is not said why the priest passed by and refused to help. It is not relevant to the point of the parable that no help was given in the emergency situation. The text suggests that the priest went out of his way (on the other side) not to get too close to the scene."

Spurgeon - This priest had been up to the temple to perform his part of the service; he was much too good, in his own opinion, to go and touch a man who was wounded, “he passed by on the other side.” He did not like the look of wounds and blood. It is a very convenient thing not to recollect the miseries of your fellow-men. Do not think about their poverty: it might spoil your digestion. Do not think about their drunkenness: you might have to become a teetotaler. Do not think about their sin: you might have to go and preach in the street to them. You can live so easily and pleasantly, and even be a priest and be called “His Reverence,” if you are very careful which side of the road you take. “He passed by on the other side.”

Vincent writes that "The Talmudists said that there were almost as many priests at Jericho as at Jerusalem." Historians say that some 12,000 or more priests and Levites lived in Jericho. So they would frequent the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.

POSB makes an interesting point - There was also a religious rule that made a person unclean for seven days after touching a dead body. This ceremonial ritual caused a priest to lose his turn of duty at the temple. The priest was not about to sacrifice his primary work and privilege for the man.  (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

POSB applies the picture of this religious man passing by - How many put work, even religious works, and busyness before helping others? How many put their church and its ceremony and ritual before the needs of desperate men? How much less would be invested in buildings and facilities if men were seen as half dead travelers who needed our compassion and help? (cp Jesus' words in Mt 25:41-43, see also Lk 12:47, Jas 4:17, Hos 6:6, Micah 6:8)  (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

He passed by (492) is antiparerchomai (anti = over against + parerchomai = to pass by) is used only here (Lk 10:31, 32) in the Bible and means to pass by on the opposite side, emphasizing that the priest and the Levite went out of their way! The active voice indicates this was a volitional choice, a choice of their will. From the pictures of this road it was fairly narrow and they still would have been forced to pass relatively close to the Samaritan. NET Note on he passed by - It is not said why the priest passed by and refused to help. It is not relevant to the point of the parable that no help was given in the emergency situation. The text suggests that the priest went out of his way (on the other side) not to get too close to the scene.

Priest (2409hiereus from hieros = sacred, holy, consecrated to God, used as a noun to mean a sacred place or temple, cp Mark 11:11; cp English derivative "hierarchy" = leadership) is a sacred or consecrated person who serves deity. Priests in the NT refer primarily to the ceremonial officials of Jesus' day, that group of men who offered Temple sacrifices and carried out the other sacred rites associated with the Jewish Temple and Jewish people (cp Heb 8:4) . Most of the uses of hiereus refer to Jewish priests, but Acts 14:13 refers to a priest of the pagan cult of Zeus (patron little g god of the city of Lystra). Jesus is our Great High Priest, which describes His primary ministry in our behalf today (Heb 7:1, 3, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 23), one aspect of that ministry being His continual intercession for us (Heb 7:25, Ro 8:34). Hiereus describes the specific position and not necessarily a priest’s character (e.g., see Lk 10:31 where a priest was a "bad Samaritan" so to speak). In Revelation hiereus describes believers who will rule and reign as priests with Christ the Great Priest (Jesus - Heb 10:21 = See Christ as Priest, Rev 1:6, Rev 5:10, Rev 20:6). Even though the hiereus described religious men, it did not signify necessarily that they were saved (cp Acts 6:7)

Luke 10:32  "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 

Related Passages:

Pr. 21:13 (cp Pr 24:11,12) He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered. 

Ezekiel 34:4 (read Ezek 34:5-10 CONTEXT - Ezekiel addresses Jewish religious leaders...) Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.

James 2:14-16+ What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

1 Jn 3:17-18+ - But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

Comment: Notice how the lawyer actually painted himself into a corner (so to speak). While he may have thought he was fine regarding his love of God, he neglected (or was ignorant of) the truth John records that love of God is shown by our love of man (our "neighbor").


Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side - Levites served in the the Temple, taking care of the provisions, the cleaning, and other practical matters related to the services. He is a representative of religious Jews. 

Why a priest and a Levite? They are representative of those classes of the Jews who would know the OT Laws concerning demonstration of mercy. " He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness (KJV = love mercy; Hebrew =  hesed; Lxx = eleos = mercy), And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8+)

Barclay on a Levite - He seems to have gone nearer to the man before he passed on. The bandits were in the habit of using decoys. One of their number would act the part of a wounded man; and when some unsuspecting traveller stopped over him, the others would rush upon him and overpower him. The Levite was a man whose motto was, "Safety first." He would take no risks to help anyone else. (Daily Study Bible)

Spurgeon on "saw him" -  There are some whose looks are evidently esteemed by themselves to be so very precious, that, when they have given them, they give nothing more. He may have meant, “I will see into it.” There are a great many who are very diligent in their promises to see into a case, but we do not see much come of what they say. They also pass by on the other side. Neither the priest nor the Levite acted as a neighbor to the man who fell among thieves.

Vincent on came...and saw has a slightly different interpretation than Robertson -  Seeming to imply that the Levite went farther than the priest in coming near to the wounded man, and, having observed his condition, passed on.

NET Note agrees with Vincent - The clause containing the aorist active participle (elthōn) suggests that the Levite came up to the place, took a look, and then moved on. 

Robertson on passed by on the other side  -  Second aorist active indicative of ἀντιπαρερχομαι [antiparerchomai], a late double compound here (verses 31 and 32) only in the N. T., but in the papyri and late writers. It is the ingressive aorist ([ēlthen]), came alongside ([para]), and then he stepped over to the opposite side ([anti]) of the road to avoid ceremonial contamination with a stranger. A vivid and powerful picture of the vice of Jewish ceremonial cleanliness at the cost of moral principle and duty. The Levite in verse 32 behaved precisely as the priest had done and for the same reason.

MacArthur comments on the priest and Levite passing by - Despite their circumcision, knowledge of God’s law, and involvement in the religious system, both he and the priest proved themselves unqualified for eternal life. They did not love God, since they did not keep His commandments. Nor did they love their neighbor, since both passed up an opportunity to demonstrate that love. (See Luke Commentary)

Keathley - They were leaving Jerusalem (Ed: from Jerusalem to Jericho - Lk 10:30+) and could not use the excuse that they did not want to touch the man and be unclean for worship. They had already accomplished their duties and were heading home. In fact, the story shows their hypocrisy. They had just been to worship God (love God), but did not help the wounded man (love neighbor). His refusal to love his neighbor casts doubt on his love for God. The Priest was an expert in the law and undoubtedly knew of laws like those in Ex 23:4-5 which commanded that you help your enemy’s donkey if he was lost or overburdened, but he was unwilling to help a human in distress. The Levite was also from the tribe responsible for spiritual leadership of the nation. He also would “know” the law and what was required of him. What did they do? Both ignored the wounded man lying in the road. These two represent people caught up in lifeless religion. They play at church, but it does not affect the way that they live.

Luke 10:33  "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,

Painting by Tissot - click to enlarge


Don't forget, Jesus is telling this story to a scribe or lawyer to answer the question, "Who is my neighbor?" 

But is a term of contrast which marks a striking contrast of the actions ("reactions") of the religious Jews (cp Jas 1:26-27) versus the response of the despised Samaritan (not despised  in God's eyes 1 Sa 16:7)

A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion (splanchnizomai) NKJV = "came where he was"; NET = "came to where the injured man was" NLT has "a despised Samaritan". Came upon him is literally, “came down upon him," emphasizing that the Samaritan did not dodge him. The Samaritans (see map above for location of Samaria) were descendants of colonists whom the Assyrian kings planted in Palestine after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. They were despised by the Jews because of their mixed Gentile blood and their different worship, which centered at Mount Gerizim (Jn 4:20-22). 

Spurgeon - He looked, approached, drew near, “came where he was.” He did not ask him how he got there, or say to him, ‘Why, man, you must have been very foolish to travel alone. My dear friend, next time you come this way, you must come armed. Did you not know this was a very ugly part of the road? And I think you are ill-advised to have been traveling quite so late.” Oh, we have many dear friends who always favor us with their rebukes when our wounds are bleeding! “He had compassion on him.”

NET Note - Here is what made the Samaritan different: He felt compassion for him. In the story, compassion becomes the concrete expression of love. The next verse details explicitly six acts of compassion.

Barclay on a Samaritan - The listeners would obviously expect that with his arrival the villain had arrived. He may not have been racially a Samaritan at all. The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans and yet this man seems to have been a kind of commercial traveller who was a regular visitor to the inn. In John 8:48 the Jews call Jesus a Samaritan. The name was sometimes used to describe a man who was a heretic and a breaker of the ceremonial law. Perhaps this man was a Samaritan in the sense of being one whom all orthodox good people despised. We note two things about him. (i) His credit was good! Clearly the innkeeper was prepared to trust him. He may have been theologically unsound, but he was an honest man. (ii) He alone was prepared to help. A heretic he may have been, but the love of God was in his heart. It is no new experience to find the orthodox more interested in dogmas than in help and to find the man the orthodox despise to be the one who loves his fellow-men. In the end we will be judged not by the creed we hold but by the life we live. (Daily Study Bible)

Related Resources:

He felt compassion (4697)(splanchnizomai from splagchnon = bowel, viscera - see splagchnon note below) means to experience a deep visceral feeling for someone, to feel compassion for, to feel sympathy, to take pity on someone. Compassion is the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. This verb expresses an outward flow of one's life in contrast to our natural tendency toward self centeredness.

It is notable that 8/12 NT uses describe this deep seated emotion in Jesus. It follows that if we desire to imitate Jesus, we need to be men and women of deep compassion!

Zodhiates note on splagchnon - In Class. Gr. writers, it is chiefly spoken of the upper viscera of animals, as the heart, lungs, and liver which were eaten during or after the sacrifice… Figuratively, the inward parts indicating the breast or heart as the seat of emotions and passions. In the NT, of the gentler emotions as compassion, tender affection indicating the mind, soul, the inner man (2Co 6:12, Philemon 1:7, 20; 1Jn 3:17; Sept.: Pr 12:10 (cf. Ge 43:30; 1Kgs. 3:26) The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG)

Splanchnizomai - 12x in the NT - Usage: feel compassion(2), felt compassion(7), moved with compassion(2), take pity(1). (Only found in apocryphal book 2 Macc 6:8.)

Matthew 9:36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 14:14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.

Matthew 15:32  And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, "I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way."

Matthew 18:27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

Matthew 20:34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

Mark 1:41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."

Mark 6:34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

Mark 8:2 "I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat.

Mark 9:22 "It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!"

Luke 7:13 When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep."

Luke 10:33 "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,

Luke 15:20 "So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

QUESTION - What is a Samaritan?

ANSWER - A Samaritan in the Bible was a person from Samaria, a region north of Jerusalem. In Jesus’ day, the Jewish people of Galilee and Judea shunned the Samaritans, viewing them as a mixed race who practiced an impure, half-pagan religion.

Samaritans, as a people distinct from the Jews, are first mentioned in the Bible during the time of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 4:17; Nehemiah 2:10). Both Ezra 4 and a fifth-century BC Aramaic set of documents called the Elephantine Papyri point to a schism between the Jews and Samaritans during this Persian period.

The Samaritans saw themselves as the keepers of the Torah and the true descendants of Israel, from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. They had their own unique copy of the Pentateuch, the first five books of Moses, and believed they alone preserved the original Mosaic religion. Samaritans also had a unique religious system and established their primary worship site on Mount Gerizim. They considered the Jerusalem temple and the Levitical priesthood illegitimate.

The historian Josephus and Jewish tradition trace the origin of the Samaritans to the captivity of the northern kingdom under Assyria in 721 BC. Jews of the northern kingdom intermarried with Assyrians after the captivity and produced the half-Jewish, half-Gentile Samaritan race. When the Jews accused Jesus of being a “Samaritan” in John 8:48, they were rudely suggesting that He was a half-breed, born of an unfaithful mother.

In New Testament times, the Jews despised Samaritans and would have nothing to do with them. The Samaritans were still living primarily around Mount Gerizim (John 4:1–42), but also kept to their own villages (Matthew 10:5; Luke 9:52). Scripture mentions encounters with Samaritans in towns bordering Samaria (Luke 17:11–19) and on roads between Jerusalem and Jericho (Luke 10:29–37).

Jesus met with difficulty when ministering to people in Samaritan villages (Luke 9:52–53) and at one point told His disciples not to enter them (Matthew 10:5–6). Nonetheless, Christ shared the good news with Samaritans, ministering to a Samaritan woman (John 4:4–26) and healing a Samaritan leper (Luke 17:11–19).

The most recognized Samaritan in the Bible is the one in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29–37). A Jewish legal expert had put Jesus to the test, asking Him to explain the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”; specifically, he asked Jesus to define the word neighbor.

That’s when Jesus told His parable of a man in need, portraying the Samaritan as the hero in the story. In the lawyer’s eyes, the Samaritan was the least likely candidate to act lovingly and compassionately to his neighbor. As intended, the story shocked Christ’s audience of prejudiced Jews. The Lord showed that authentic love must transcend all human boundaries of race, religion, nationality, economic class, and educational status.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus told His disciples that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they would be His witnesses in Samaria. In Acts 8 the prophecy was fulfilled, and Samaria became an early mission field for the spreading first-century church: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:4–8).

Several hundred Samaritans survive to this day in Israel and continue to practice their sect of Judaism. The faith concentrates on five affirmations: there is one God, Yahweh; His chief mediator is Moses; the Torah is the vehicle of mediation; the central worship site is Mount Gerizim; and the Messiah will initiate a future Day of Vengeance and Recompense.

Samaritans observe several holy days including Passover; the Feasts of Unleavened Bread, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles; and the “80 days of solemn assembly.” They also celebrate regular Sabbath services. Their most solemn annual festival, Passover, is held on Mount Gerizim with animal sacrifices as prescribed in the book of Deuteronomy.

D L Moody - LUKE 10:33, 34. - Thomas Fuller tells of a knight, one Gervase Scroop, Who received twenty-six wounds in the battle of Edgehill, and was left for dead amid heaps of slain. The next day his son Adrian sought his corpse to give it a decent burial. When found, the body was not quite cold, and the son began to use the means for restoration, which met with entire success, and the knight lived more than ten years, a monument of his son’s affection. There are many souls left as dead, among the slain, along the highways of sin, whom diligent personal effort would rescue. Surprising success often attends this work.

ILLUSTRATION - Such love and sacrifice were demonstrated in WW 2. Ernest Gordon recalls in his book Through the Valley of the Kwai an incident that happened during WW2. After leaving the Kwai prison camp, the Allied prisoners were transported by train to a different location and found themselves on the same track with several carloads of wounded Japanese soldiers.

The Japanese were on their own and had no medical care at all. They were of no further use for fighting in Burma so their superiors packed them into railroad cars and returned them back to Bangkok. They were filthy and their wounds were inflamed, full of puss and maggots. The Allied soldiers understood why the Japanese were so cruel to their prisoners. If they didn't care for their own men, why would they care for enemy prisoners?

The look of death was in the face of the Japanese soldiers. They looked with despair at the Allied prisoners realizing they were waiting to die and there was no one who would help them. They were expendable. Without a word, most of the Allied officers in Gordon's section of the train unbuckled their packs, took out part of their rations and a rag or two, and with water canteens in their hands, went over to the Japanese train. The Japanese guards tried to prevent them from doing so. Gordon said they ignored their warnings and knelt down by these broken men and gave them food and water and bound their wounds. Grateful cries of "Aragatto!" (Thank You) followed the Allied officers when they left.

Gordon marveled at the irony of the situation. Eighteen months earlier they would have destroyed these men in battle and now they were demonstrating love and compassion for their enemies as God had broken down the barriers of hate, anger, and prejudice on those bloodstained railway cars through the power of His love and grace. Their compassion enabled them to fulfill the Lord's command.... "Love your enemies."

Luke 10:25-37

"Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother" (Zechariah 7:9KJV).

 The Good Samaritan in Jesus' parable set a worthy example. He stopped to help a Jewish man, even though he knew that Jews despised Samaritans and that most of his fellow Samaritans hated Jews. He acted sacrificially—his deed cost him time and money. And he took a risk by stopping on that Jericho road—he too could have been at-tacked by a band of robbers.
A friend recently came upon a dangerous situation along the free-way. He saw a truck swerve to miss a reckless driver and then crash into a guardrail. As he approached the scene, he noticed gas leaking from the truck's fuel tank. Fearing an explosion, he screeched to a stop, jumped out of his vehicle, and pulled the dazed driver out of his cab. He was a modern-day Good Samaritan. He too took a risk to help a "neighbor."
If we take seriously Jesus' teaching in Luke 10:25-37, we will sacrifice our time and money to help all kinds of people. We may not have the opportunity to do something dramatic, as my friend did, but we can offer kindness to a discouraged divorcee, a person dying with AIDS, or a misunderstood teenager. Showing mercy to others is a way to express our gratitude to God for His salvation. When we reach out to others, we show our desire to obey Jesus' command to love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves. Getting involved, even when it means taking a risk, is a good risk. —H. V. Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

How much we are willing to sacrifice is the measure of our love.

Eyes Of Compassion. —Luke 10:33

As Francisco Venegas, a school custodian in Colorado, watched the children on the playground, he saw a 9-year-old girl fall off a bench for no apparent reason. Another time he noticed her face twisted in a strange expression. Sensing that something was wrong, Francisco reported what he had seen to the school office.

A few days later, the girl had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. The information that Francisco provided led doctors to perform a brain scan, and they found a tumor. Successful surgery and recovery followed.

Many people have called Francisco Venegas a “good samaritan,” a name drawn from a story Jesus told about three people who saw a man in need. The first two “passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:31-32). But the third, a Samaritan, showed compassion (vv.33-35).

Compassion cannot see someone in need without helping. It accepts the consequences of getting involved because it cannot bear to turn away. Compassion comes from a heart that is tender toward God and fellow travelers on the road of life.

Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan ends with a command for each of us: “Go and do likewise” (v.37). Jesus sees everyone through eyes of compassion, and He calls us to do the same.By David C. McCasland  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When you see someone in need,
Love demands a loving deed;
Don't just say you love him true,
Prove it by the deeds you do.

Compassion is love in action.

Samaritan Kindness—Luke 10:33 

When he saw him, he had compassion.

In her book Kindness: Reaching Out to Others, Phyllis J. Le Peau relates this story: “Some seminary students were asked to preach on the story of the Good Samaritan. When the hour arrived for their sermon, each one was deliberately delayed en route to class. As the students raced across campus, they encountered a person who pretended to be in need. Ironically, not one of the students stopped to help.” Le Peau commented, “After all, they had an important sermon to preach.”

Followers of Christ can preach powerful sermons to the world when they reflect God’s kindness by showing Samaritan kindness to others, and not just talking about it.

What about us? Every time we meet someone in need, we live the parable of the Good Samaritan. Do we take the time and trouble to get involved? Perhaps we can assist a neighbor who is in material need, or lend a sympathetic ear to a troubled person. Maybe we can share the gospel with someone the Lord brings into our lives today. Or will we be like the religious leaders who quickly passed by on the other side and offered no help?

Let’s honor our Lord by responding to the needs of others as He would.By David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our world around us surges—duties vie
For all our time, our energies, our care;
But greater duty urges: Don’t pass by
A hurting heart whose burden we may share.

Kindness is never out of season.

Luke 10:34  and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.


and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. - Read Lk 10:34 again and observe the 6 things the despised Samaritan did for the very one who despised him! The Samaritans feelings resulted in actions not revulsion and rejection as with the religious folks!

Spurgeon - And passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he say him, he had compassion on him and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, denying himself, therefore, because of course he had to walk.  Oil and wine-two very good things for external application, and he used them for that. Wondrous healers these were known to be. They were expensive things too. He had brought them for his own comfort, and he freely used them for this poor man. Then he set him on his own beast; so he had to walk himself. He took the inconvenience. He relinquished his own comfort for the sake of doing good. “And he brought him to an inn and took care of him,” perhaps sat up at night with him, he took care of him after he had got him into the inn. He did not immediately commend him to the care of some paid person, but at first he took care of him. But this good Samaritan had urgent business, and was obliged to go about it.

Robertson on wounds...oil and wine...inn - The word for “wounds” ([traumata = English "trauma"]) here only in the N. T. Oil and wine were household remedies even for wounds (soothing oil, antiseptic alcohol). Hippocrates prescribed for ulcers: “Bind with soft wool, and sprinkle with wine and oil. inn was "A public place for receiving all comers and a more pretentious caravanserai than a kataluma like that in Luke 2:7."

NET Note - The ancient practice of pouring oil was designed to comfort and clean the wounds (Isa 1:6).

Criswell - Oil and wine are found in ancient times as standard medicines, the one soothing, the other antiseptic.

Vincent  on Inn (Greek = pandocheion). Only here in New Testament. From pas, all, and dechomai, to receive: a place of common reception. See on inn (kataluma), Lk 2:7-+. Remains of two khans, or inns, on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem are mentioned by modern travelers. Porter (“Handbook of Syria and Palestine”) speaks of one about a mile from Bethany, and another farther on, at the most dangerous part of the road, an extensive, ruined caravanserai, called Khan el Almah, situated on the top of a bleak ridge. Concerning the former, Hepworth Dixon (“Holy Land”) says: “About midway in the descent from Bethany to Jericho, in a position commanding a view of the road above and below, … on the very spot where search would be made for them, if no such ruins were suspected of existing, stands a pile of stones, archways, lengths of wall, which the wandering Arabs call Khan Houdjar, and still make use of as their own resting-place for the night. These ruins are those of a noble inn; the lewan, the fountain, and the court, being plainly traceable in the ruins.”

Hampton Keathley IV - Samaritans were an inferior mixed race in the Jewish mind. He was considered to be less than human, but look at his actions:

Compassion - In the Greek this stands out because of the prepositions. While the priest and Levite passed by , the Samaritan passed by. He doesn’t pass by on the other side. He moved toward the injured man. This is so significant because you must move toward people in order to love, in order to build relationships. It doesn’t just happen. It isn’t convenient. The Samaritan is moving toward someone who would despise him, if he were conscious. Someone who would not do the same if the situation were reversed.

When you feel like you have no deep relationships with others, perhaps it is because you are waiting for something to happen. You are waiting for someone to move toward you. Perhaps you need to take the initiative and move toward others. It is a scary thing to do because you might be rejected or hurt, but you can’t build relationships unless you do.

Care - He stopped and took care of his wounds (oil and wine were the traveling medicine kit of the day). He put him on his own donkey and the Samaritan walked. He took the wounded man to an inn. It is important to recognize that he took the time to take care of him. I think we sometimes make a donation to a worthy cause to pacify our conscience when perhaps we should have gotten involved. In our society, we are so busy with the rat race of going to work, taking our children to soccer games, going to Bible studies or care groups, etc. that we don’t have time to reach out and help someone else. Even something as small as going out of our way to take someone home would be a Good Samaritan act - a demonstration that we care and love others.

Cost - He gave money to take care of him and put no limit on how much he would spend to see that the wounded man was taken care of. Remember that this is a Samaritan in enemy territory. He has just told one of his enemies (a Jewish landlord), “Here is my VISA card.” Do whatever you need to do to take care of him. Talk about vulnerability!!! This is also significant because vulnerability is also essential for loving others. When you move toward someone else, you might be hurt. But you must be willing to sacrifice and be vulnerable, and take the chance of being hurt.

James Freeman - scroll to page 1027 in Manners and Customs 770. Use of Oil and Wine Luke 10:34. Went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. This was a favorite application for wounds in ancient surgery. It was considered a sovereign remedy, especially for wounds produced by violence; wool, lint, or pounded olive being first laid upon the wound. The wine was supposed to cleanse, and the oil to soothe and heal. The two were sometimes made into a compound.

Luke 10:35  "On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.'


On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you - This is extravagant love of a "neighbor." Two denarii is equivalent to two days' wages for the laborer. See Wikipedia article on Denarius.  As of 2017 the minimal wage in USA is $7.25 so one day's wages would be at least $58 and two day's would be $116! Would you (or I) leave $116 for the motel operator (it wouldn't be a very nice room) not to mention being willing to cover any overage for a total stranger who we knew despised us?

See Kitto's description of DENARIUS with a picture. (another pix)

Vincent on denarii - A denarius, the chief silver coin of the Romans at this time, and of the value of about seventeen cents. We must remember to reckon according to the rate of wages in that day. A denarius was regarded as good pay for a day’s work. It was the pay of a Roman soldier in Christ’s time. In almost every case where the word occurs in the New Testament it is connected with the idea of a liberal or large amount. Compare Matt. 18:28; Mark 6:37; Luke 7:41; John 12:5.

MacArthur - Depending on the quality of the inn, that amount (two denarii) would have paid for the injured man’s room and board for anywhere from three weeks to two months. Here was still another example of the Samaritan’s generous, compassionate love. But he still was not finished. (See Luke Commentary)

Spurgeon  “This is my piece of work. I want to finish it, and as I cannot stop will you kindly supply the ready money, and when I come again, I will repay you?”

Vincent on I will repay you -"The I [of I will repay] is expressed (ego), and is emphatic. Trouble him not for the reckoning: I will repay."

Robertson - I will repay (ego apodōsō). Emphatic. What he had paid was merely by way of pledge. He was a man of his word and known to the innkeeper as reliable.

Rod Mattoon  Can you be an encouragement to someone in need? Is there someone who needs the Lord that you can speak to about Christ? Then do something about it! Be a neighbor! Let me say that we must never imagine that we are merciful because we feel compassionate toward someone in distress. Mercy means active goodwill. This was well understood by the nineteenth-century preacher who happened across a friend whose horse had just been accidentally killed. While a crowd of onlookers expressed empty words of sympathy, the preacher stepped forward and said to the loudest sympathizer, "I am sorry five pounds. How much are you sorry?" Then he passed the hat. True mercy and compassion demands action, involvement, and doing the best you can.

In Elmer Bendiner's book, The Fall of Fortresses, he describes one bombing run over the German city of Kassel: Our B-17 (THE TONDELAYO) was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion, our gas tanks were hit. Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a twenty-millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple.59

On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck. The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell, but eleven, had been found in the gas tanks. Only one was needed to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. Even after thirty-five years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn.
He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer. Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shells, they found no explosive charge. They were clean as a whistle and just as harmless. Empty? Not all of them. One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually, they found someone to decipher the note. It set us marveling. The translated note read: "This is all we can do for you now." It evidently was written by a Czech slave who did the best that he could to get involved in helping the Allied forces in WW2.

Beloved, when we get involved in our church, in the lives of people that need the Lord, in the lives of people that need our encouragement, it will be a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

POSB - Summary
The good Samaritan placed compassion before everything: prejudice, opinion, work, time, energy, and money. The good Samaritan teaches beyond question who our neighbor is. The good Samaritan gave his heart, his compassion, his all in order to help the desperate man.

      1)      The injured man was a Jew. The good Samaritan and the Jew were of different races—races who hated and despised each other. No prejudice has ever run any deeper than the prejudice between these two (see note—Lu. 10:33). Yet the good Samaritan had a sense of common humanity. He was a man who saw another man—not as a Jew and not as an enemy. This was most strange, for the Jews cursed the Samaritans, and there was the likelihood that the injured Jew would curse the Samaritan when he had recovered. However, despite all, the good Samaritan saw a fellow human being in desperate need, and he was moved with compassion for him.
      2)      The good Samaritan gave up his work, time, and energy to help the man. Note what he did. Each step is significant in showing how we are to love our neighbors.

         ⇒      He went to him: went forth, reached out personally to help.
         ⇒      He bound up his wounds: eased his pain.
         ⇒      He poured oil and wine into his wounds: gave of his own goods.
         ⇒      He set him on his own beast: sacrificed his own comfort.
         ⇒      He provided rooming for him: provided the basic necessities.
         ⇒      He took care of him: nursed, looked after him personally.

      Note the time, energy, and money involved in this. Showing love to one’s neighbor is putting love into action; and putting love into action requires time, energy, and money. Love is not just an idea or a feeling toward God. It is practical acts and commitment to help any who need help.

      3)      The good Samaritan saw to it that continued compassion and care were given. Two denarii amounted to somewhere between twenty-four to forty-eight days of room and board, a considerable sum. And note: the good Samaritan said that if it cost more, he would pay it when he returned. The good Samaritan saw a desperate need and did all he could to help.  (Borrow Luke Commentary The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)

Luke 10:36  "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?"  


Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor (plesion) to the man who fell into the robbers' hands? - Like a skilled attorney Jesus forces the lawyer to draw the obvious conclusion and in so doing answering his own question about who is my neighbor. 

"Jesus reversed the question the expert in religious law asked in Lk 10:29 to one of becoming a neighbor by loving. “Do not think about who they are, but who you are,” was his reply."(NET Note)

Leon Morris - The answer, of course, is not in doubt. Jesus drove home the lesson with the command, Go and do likewise. The man had asked, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ but Jesus faced him with the question ‘To whom am I neighbour?’ He was an expert in the Law. Now he must think whether the priest and the Levite, who scrupulously retained the moral purity required by the Law, really kept the Law, which likewise enjoined love of the neighbour. (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Hampton Keathley IV - Which of these “proved to be a neighbor?”

The obvious answer is that the Samaritan proved to be the “neighbor” to the wounded man. But the lawyer couldn’t bring himself to say the good Samaritan. That was an oxymoron. He answered, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Notice the significance of the question. What did the man ask? “Who is my neighbor? He was asking who and how much do I have to love. Jesus changes the question and makes the neighbor be the subject. Love does not ask how far do I have to go. Love asks, “What can I do?” Love does not just meet the other person half way. The old saying that marriage is a 50/50 relationship is terrible. If you love, you give 100%. The Samaritan’s actions were a true demonstration of love because he had no prior relationship with the wounded man, he would not gain anything materially from his actions. He would instead lose time and money. And the wounded man probably would not have done the same for him if the situation were reversed.

The Point

How you love people shows your relationship with God. And Israel had failed to keep the elementary principle of the law which was to love. I believe this is the main message of the whole Bible.

Craig Blomberg teaches that parables have as many points as they do major characters. If this is true, then the following points might correspond to the characters in this parable:

Point 1: Even our enemies are our neighbors.

Point 2: Ethnic and social standing are no guarantee of right standing before God.

Point 3: The Samaritan’s actions are an example of what it means to love.

Relation of parable to the kingdom of God

The parable relates to the kingdom program of God by demonstrating what it means to fulfill the ethic of the law which is summed up in the command to love one’s neighbor. The man is asking, what must I do to get in? Jesus tells him what one who is on the inside looks like.

This is so important to understand. What Jesus is doing here is showing the difference between works and fruit. “Works” has the idea of what must I do to get in. But “Fruit” - what you do - is the result of being on the inside.

If the lawyer is asking the question, “How do I get in?” and Jesus is telling him what one on the inside looks like, then we can assume the lawyer is on the outside. How he gets inside becomes the question.

And I think Jesus answers that very subtly.

There is an interesting analogy here that is worth noting. Who was in the ditch? A Jew. What did it take for the Jew to get out of the ditch? He had to trust a despised person to help him. The Samaritan, an outcast, paid the price to get the man out of the ditch.

Who else was an outcast and paid the price to get men out of the ditch of sin? Jesus

How does Jesus answer the lawyer’s question about inheriting eternal life? Allow one who will be called a “Samaritan” by the religious leaders to pay the price for him. Compare John 8:48. Jesus was called a Samaritan by the religious leaders.

So Jesus answered the man’s question about how to inherit eternal life, but it is in a whole different way than he expected.

Three Attitudes displayed:


What’s yours is mine and I’m going to take it.


What’s mine is mine and I’m going to keep it.


What’s mine is yours and I’m going to share it.

  • We must not think that our “membership” in the body of Christ or rituals in our church services satisfy the commands to love God and love our neighbor.
  • When we love our neighbor, we show that we love God.
  • Biblical love transcends boundaries of geography, race, religion, socio-economic status and even convenience. We must love all men equally and well.
  • My neighbor is anyone with a legitimate need for which God has given me the resources to meet that need. 2 Chr 28:5-15, Hos 6:9, Micah 6:6-8
  • Love means moving toward others. It is not convenient.

(The Good Samaritan - from Hampton Keathley IV's entire series of 30 studies on the Parables)

God's Neighborhood—Luke 10:36-37 "Which of these three do you think was neighbor to him . . . ?" And he said, "He who showed mercy..

When Fred Rogers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he wore a sweater and tie, just as he has for 30 years as host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Instead of focusing on his career in public television, he talked to reporters about why we are on this earth—not to amass fortunes or win competitions or make great names for ourselves. The important things, he said, are the small, daily acts that make our world a better place.

Is that what we consider important today? Do we consider the small things important enough to interrupt our plans, rearrange our schedules, tap into our bank accounts?

In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:29-37), a man who was considered racially, socially, and theologically inferior showed mercy to someone who was injured. Jesus commended this Samaritan outcast and said that he was a “neighbor” to the man in need.

According to our Lord and Savior, the world is our neighborhood, and every person in it is our neighbor whom we should love as ourselves.

Today, we will undoubtedly have an opportunity to show God’s love, mercy, and kindness to someone in need. Let’s do it, and make it a beautiful day for a neighbor.By David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

To love our neighbors as ourselves
Is not an easy task,
But God will show His love through us
If only we will ask.

Our love for Christ is only as real as our love for our neighbor.

Luke 10:25-37

WHILE D. L. Moody was attending a convention in Indianapolis on mass evangelism, he asked his song leader, Ira Sankey, to meet him at six o'clock one evening at a certain street corner.

When Sankey arrived, Mr. Moody asked him to stand on a box and sing. Once a crowd had gathered, Moody spoke briefly and then invited the people to follow him to the nearby convention hall. Soon the auditorium was filled with spiritually hungry peo­ple, and the great evangelist preached the Gospel to them. Then the convention delegates began to arrive. Moody stopped preaching and said, 

"Now we must close, as the brethren of the convention wish to come and discuss the topic, `How to reach the masses.'

Moody's action that day illustrated the difference between talking about doing something and going out and doing it.

One of the lessons of the parable of the Good Samaritan is that the person who puts belief into practice is the one who pleases God.

We can get sidetracked so easily in committee meetings and brainstorming sessions, important as they are, while people are dying by the wayside. But there comes a time when talking about how to witness effectively or how best to help others must stop. At some point, we have to go out and do it! —D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Neighborly Love—Luke 10:29-37

It would have been simpler just to buy a new hair dryer. But determined to save a buck, I decided to fix it myself. In order to loosen the screw that was buried deep in the handle, I took out the ultimate handyman’s helper—my pocket knife. As I put pressure on the knife to turn the screw, the blade folded back—on my finger.

I learned a lesson that day: I love myself. And I am urgent about meeting my needs. There was no thought of, “Well, I don’t really have time to stop the bleeding now. I’ll get to it later.” Also, there was a tenderness about how the need was met. I instructed my first-aid team (my wife and kids) to wash my finger gently and then to put the bandage on in a way that would avoid having the hairs on my finger pulled up when it was removed. My thoughts, words, and actions were driven by my love for myself.

To love “your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) requires the same urgent kind of love. It’s a love that notices the need of another person and won’t rest until it’s been met. It’s a gentle, tender love that thinks and acts carefully. It’s the sacrificial and compassionate love that a nameless Samaritan had for a fallen traveler. It’s the kind of love God wants to share with your neighbors through Joe Stowell (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, help me see the heartfelt needs
Of those within my care,
And grant that through my words and deeds
Your love with them I’ll share.
—D. De Haan

You cannot touch your neighbor’s heart with anything less than your own.

Stop To Help Luke 10:30-37

Dr. Scott Kurtzman, chief of surgery at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut, was on his way to deliver a lecture when he witnessed a horrible crash involving 20 vehicles. The doctor shifted into trauma mode, worked his way through the mess of metal, and called out, “Who needs help?” After 90 minutes of assisting, and the victims were taken to area hospitals, Dr. Kurtzman commented, “A person with my skills simply can’t drive by someone who is injured. I refuse to live my life that way.”

Jesus told a parable about a man who stopped to help another (Luke 10:30-37). A Jewish man had been ambushed, stripped, robbed, and left for dead. A Jewish priest and a temple assistant passed by, saw the man, and crossed over to the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came by, saw the man, and was filled with compassion. His compassion was translated into action: He soothed and bandaged the man’s wounds, took him to an inn, cared for him while he could, paid for all his medical expenses, and then promised the innkeeper he would return to pay any additional expenses.

There are people around us who are suffering. Moved with compassion for their pain, let’s be those who stop to help. (ED: WHILE THIS IS AN APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF GIVING HELP, IT MISSES THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THE PARABLE WHICH WAS TO SHOW THE LAWYER THAT HE COULD NOT POSSIBLY FULFILL "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF") - by Marvin Williams (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Reach out in Jesus’ name 
With hands of love and care 
To those who are in need 
And caught in life’s despair.

Compassion is always active.

Luke 10:36-37

Mercy - As Wordsworth put it, "The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."

To a wily, Jewish lawyer Jesus unfolded a three-act play about a good man. In a surprise ending, the story revealed an unexpected white knight—not a priest or Levite but a hated Samaritan. Know­ing that Jesus had trapped him, the legal expert admitted that the expected villain had become a hero because he showed mercy, not because he followed the letter of the law.

The priest and the Levite who passed by the injured man were not really the muscle men of God's Word; they were spiritual weak­lings. They had somehow missed all the Old Testament verses about God's great mercy; they had skipped Micah's claim that good people love mercy (6:8).

Like the two religious men of Jesus' parable, we sometimes for-get that pure religion is looking after those who can never repay us, such as orphans and widows (James 1:27). Our obtuseness comes from not appreciating the great mercy God showed in loving us.

Paul argued that those who understand God's mercy overcome the evil of this world with good (Romans 12:1-21). Our nameless acts of compassion do not go unremembered by Him.

Luke 10:37  And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same.

Amplified - He answered, The one who showed pity and mercy to him. And Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise.

KJV  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

YLT and he said, 'He who did the kindness with him,' then Jesus said to him, 'Be going on, and thou be doing in like manner.'


Gal 6:2 Bear (present imperative) one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (

Heb 13:3 Remember (present imperative) the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. 

Ex 23:3 “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him.

Dt 10:17-19 For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. “So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Pr. 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;

Isaiah 58:6,7 “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 


The one who showed mercy (eleos) toward him - Note how the lawyer still avoids the hated word Samaritan. "The lawyer saw the point and gave the correct answer, but he gulped at the word “Samaritan” and refused to say that." (Robertson)

Spurgeon - He might have said, “The Samaritan,” but he would not, for the Jews hated them. Oh, you lawyer, why did you not say “The Samaritan”? Of course, he did not like to use that word. Oh, no, we never mention them-the “Samaritans.” “The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans;” so he would not honestly say “The Samaritan”; but he made a roundabout of it and said, “He that shewed mercy on him.”  Here was a dismission, and here was a commission too. Jesus dismissed him. “I have nothing more to say to you; ‘Go.’” Here was the commission: “Do thou likewise.” Alas! I am afraid that, after most sermons people get the dismission: “Go;” but they forget the commission: “Go, and do thou likewise.” It is your privilege as well as your duty, O Christians, to assist the needy; and whenever you discover distress, as far as lieth in you, to minister practically to its relief. May we all be enabled to do so by exercising constant love to those who are in need!

NET Note - The neighbor did not do what was required (that is why his response is called mercy) but had compassion and out of kindness went the extra step that shows love. See Mic 6:8. Note how the expert in religious law could not bring himself to admit that the example was a Samaritan, someone who would have been seen as a racial half-breed and one not worthy of respect. So Jesus makes a second point that neighbors may appear in surprising places.

Spurgeon on showed mercy - Compassion is a great gospel duty, and it must be hearty and practical. When we see a man in distress, we must not pass him by as the priest and Levite did, for thus we shall show that our religion is only skin-deep, and has never affected our hearts. We must pity, go near, help, and befriend. All that is needed we must do, so far as it lies in our power, and never leave the needy one till we have seen the matter through. The good Samaritan has earned for himself immortal honour. Let us imitate him by manifesting a brother’s love to those who are in trouble, even though they should happen to be opposed to us in religion, or have been regarded as our enemies. Such conduct will bring glory to God, and go far to recommend the holy religion which we profess. The Lord help us to do so, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

         How beauteous are their feet
         Who stand on Zion’s hill!
      Who bring salvation on their tongues,
         And words of peace reveal!

         How happy are our ears,
         That hear this joyful sound,
      Which kings and prophets waited for,
         And sought but never found.

         How blessed are our eyes,
         That see this heavenly light!
      Prophets and kings desired it long,
         But died without the sight.

Robertson on "go and do thou likewise" (KJV) - Emphasis on “thou.” Would this Jewish lawyer act the neighbor to a Samaritan? This parable of the Good Samaritan has built the world’s hospitals  (BUT AS EMPHASIZED THE MAIN EMPHASIS OF THE PARABLE IS ABOUT PERFECT LOVE OF A NEIGHBOR FOR ONLY THAT WOULD ATTAIN ETERNAL LIFE.)

Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same - Don't lose sight of the main point of this parable! Jesus was answering the question of how to obtain eternal life and this was actually His second answer. He had already told the lawyer "Do (present imperative as your habitual practice) this and live" in Lk 10:28+. So finally the Lord says go and do the same with the implication being that if you do this perfectly you will inherit eternal life. In fact, the lawyer is now clearly backed into the corner with the realization that he could never truly "go and do the same." It was at this point he should have cried out for Jesus to help him. The story ends without knowing whether the lawyer ever humbled himself, repented of his sin and confessed Jesus as his Savior. Most likely he did not but we'll find out in heaven!

Go and do - Both verbs are commands in the present imperative which is a charge to make the demonstration of mercy a "lifestyle," something Jesus was commanding the Lawyer to practice for the rest of his life. If he did, then he would be fulfilling the second part of keeping the Law, continually loving his neighbor as himself. At this point the lawyer should himself cried out to Jesus, "God me merciful to me, the sinner!" (Lk 18:13)

THOUGHT - While this is a parable Jesus used to paint a picture to the lawyer of what it means to truly love his neighbor as himself, there surely is a basic application to all believers show mercy to others in need as our general lifestyle. The only way for a believer to live this way is to daily deny self, take up our cross, follow Jesus (Lk 9:23+), surrendering to the supernatural enabling power of the Spirit Who indwells us and "energizes" us providing us with the desire and the power (Phil 2:13NLT+) "to walk in the same manner as He (Jesus) walked (also enabled by the Holy Spirit!)" (1 John 2:6-+) Think about how it is possible to continually go and do. The only one who can accomplish this is a Spirit filled (controlled) believer (Eph 5:18+)! Then this individual's going and doing represent deeds that demonstrate his or her faith is genuine and therefore that he or she truly possesses eternal life, which was the question that prompted this parable (Lk 10:25+). Of course none of us will ever get a "grade of 100" when it comes to showing compassion to those in need, but demonstration of compassion should at least be our general "direction" (like I often say the true Christian life is not about perfection [that's called Glory] as much as it is about direction! [that's called progressive sanctification]) When we "stub" our spiritual toe, we confess it, repent and move on. 

MacArthur on Jesus' commands to go and do - Obviously, Christ’s point is that neither the scribe nor anyone else is capable of such love. This is an indictment of the whole of fallen humanity, and the only proper response was for him to acknowledge his inability to save himself, and plead with God for mercy and forgiveness. Jesus, God incarnate, stood before him ready to extend forgiveness, grace, and mercy to him. But there is no indication that the lawyer did so; his pride and self-righteousness held him captive and he likely forfeited eternal life. (See Luke Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe - The lawyer wanted to make the issue somewhat complex and philosophical, but Jesus made it simple and practical. He moved it from duty to love, from debating to doing. To be sure, our Lord was not condemning discussions or debates; He was only warning us not to use these things as excuses for doing nothing. Committees are not always committed! One of my favorite D.L. Moody stories illustrates this point. Attending a convention in Indianapolis, Mr. Moody asked singer Ira Sankey to meet him at 6 o’clock one evening at a certain street corner. When Sankey arrived, Mr. Moody put him on a box and asked him to sing, and it was not long before a crowd gathered. Moody spoke briefly, inviting the crowd to follow him to the nearby opera house. Before long, the auditorium was filled, and the evangelist preached the Gospel to the spiritually hungry people. When the delegates to the convention started to arrive, Moody stopped preaching and said, “Now we must close as the brethren of the convention wish to come and to discuss the question, ‘How to Reach the Masses.’ ” Touche!  (Borrow Be Compassionate)

Barclay sums up Jesus' teaching on the Good Samaritan in Lk 10:25-37 - The scribe (lawyer) who asked this question was in earnest. Jesus asked him what was written in the law, and then said, "How do you read?" Strict orthodox Jews wore round their wrists little leather boxes called phylacteries (or toptaphoth), which contained certain passages of scripture--Ex 13:1-10; Dt 13:11-16; Dt 6:4-9; Dt 11:13-20. "You will love the Lord your God" is from Deuteronomy 6:4 and Deuteronomy 11:13. So Jesus said to the scribe, "Look at the phylactery on your own wrist and it will answer your question." To that the scribes added Leviticus 19:18+, which bids a man love his neighbor as himself; but with their passion for definition the Rabbis sought to define who a man's neighbor was; and at their worst and their narrowest they confined the word neighbor to their fellow Jews. For instance, some of them said that it was illegal to help a Gentile woman in her sorest time, the time of childbirth, for that would only have been to bring another Gentile into the world. So then the scribe's question, "Who is my neighbor?" was genuine. Jesus' answer involves three things. (i) We must help a man even when he has brought his trouble on himself, as the traveler had done. (ii) Any man of any nation who is in need is our neighbor. Our help must be as wide as the love of God. (iii) The help must be practical and not consist merely in feeling sorry. No doubt the priest and the Levite felt a pang of pity for the wounded man, but they did nothing. Compassion, to be real, must issue in deeds. What Jesus said to the scribe, he says to us--"Go you and do the same." (ED: AND THIS SHOULD HAVE CONVICTED THE LAWYER CAUSING HIM TO CRY OUT FOR SALVATION FROM JESUS). (Daily Study Bible)

Leon Morris - Throughout the centuries some have delighted to see in the good Samaritan a picture of Jesus. Undoubtedly a moving devotional study can be made centering on Jesus as the good Samaritan of people’s souls. It is even possible that Luke himself thought of Jesus in this way. But it is another thing altogether to see this as the meaning Jesus intended. That seems impossible to maintain. (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Mercy (1656)(eleos) is the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who are recipients of the mercy and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it. The idea of mercy is to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need or to give help to the wretched, to relieve the miserable. Here the essential thought is that mercy gives attention to those in misery.

We are like Jesus when we practice mercy for as Wuest writes eleos is "God’s “kindness and goodwill toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them” (Vincent). Grace meets man’s need in respect to his guilt and lost condition; mercy, with reference to his suffering as a result of that sin. (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

Eleos - 27x/26v - compassion(2), mercy(25). Matt. 9:13; Matt. 12:7; Matt. 23:23; Lk. 1:50; Lk. 1:54; Lk. 1:58; Lk. 1:72; Lk. 1:78; Lk. 10:37; Rom. 9:23; Rom. 11:31; Rom. 15:9; Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:4; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:18; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 4:16; Jas. 2:13; Jas. 3:17; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Jn. 1:3; Jude 1:2; Jude 1:21

James Smith - TRUE NEIGHBOURLINESS. Luke 10:25-37.
"I would dedicate the nation to the policy of the Good Samaritan," was a statement of President Roosevelt, of the U.S.A., in his inaugural address, so much had the parable of the Good Samaritan (in Luke 10:25-37) impressed him. Regarding a good man of God, his biographer remarked concerning his philanthropies, "He never stopped to ask, Who is my neighbour." Precisely; real love to God and man never does. Unmeasured service to all, the outcome of true love, is the order of the day to a real man or woman of God in following the example of the Good Samaritan, our Lord Jesus Christ.

And by the way, note how wonderfully, by this glowing parable, our Lord has rescued from reproach the word, Samaritan. It was the name given in derision to the mixed folk who colonised Samaria after the deportation of the nine and a half tribes to Babylon, and was never repeated by a Jew but in scorn and hatred. To be called a Samaritan was considered a great insult. But our Saviour, by this charming parable, has rescued that word from the pillory.

Another good service has our Lord accomplished by this famous story. The good people of that day had divorced worship from practical service. By this parable our blessed Master united again in holy wedlock, these two branches of Christian conduct, so that we now never conceive them as apart, but the one united with the other.

Who is my neighbour? The rabbis of that day taught that Jews were to "love thy neighbour—in the Law," three words that meant all the difference in the world. By this matchless parable the Lord Jesus taught that every needy one whom we can help, is my neighbour; that neighbourly responsibility has nothing to do with race, church, creed, and social status; that neighbourhood is not a matter of geography, for we can live in close proximity to other folk without being neighbourly. Truly, sorrow, need, sympathy, and help, are of no nationality. This parable forbids all limitations to mercy.
I. The Case.

1. "HE WENT DOWN." This is geographically correct, for Jericho is six hundred feet below the Mediterranean.
2. HE WAS STRIPPED BEFORE BEING WOUNDED. This would never happen in our country. The one attacked would be felled, then robbed. But there is no mistake here. The bandits did not want the garments damaged, as they formed an important part of the spoil. How true to Eastern life. This road was so dangerous that it came to be called "The Red Road"
4. THE PRIEST would be on his way back from exercising his priestly office in the Temple at Jerusalem. Twelve thousand priests resided at Jericho. Why did he pass by? (NOTE THIS IS A PARABLE SO THE FOLLOWING IS SPECULATION. IT WAS JUST MEANT TO BE A STORY ILLUSTRATING A POINT.) Was he so eager to reach his home after his absence? Was he unwilling to be ceremonially defiled, as he may have been? Or was he looking after the safety of No. 1, deciding that the robbers, who had maltreated so seriously this poor fellow, would be lurking behind some of the local rocks, ready to pounce upon any one dismounting to render first aid?
5. THE LEVITE. This is the only mention of the Levites in the Gospels. He did go up to the poor fellow, looked, and then passed by, thus he was guilty of aggravated cruelty.
6. "BY CHANCE." The only time in the Gospels that our Lord used the word, indeed the only occurrence in the New Testament of the word. Our Lord seems to use it with a touch of irony. Really, it was a loving ordering of God. There is no chance in the Christian vocabulary.
7. The Samaritan. The genius of true love (OF LOVING ONE'S NEIGHBOR AS ONE'S SELF!) is shown in his acts (WE WOULD ONLY LOVE OURSELVES THIS WAY). He ignored the possible lurking robbers; he was swift, cool, deft in his actions; he was ready to spend and be spent; he cheerfully sacrificed the use of his beast; the care for the patient at the end of the journey is touching, and we all admire his prudence in not leaving a great sum of money in the host's hand, and his wise hint that he would await his account on his way back. What a combination of compassion blended with shrewdness.


Luke 10:38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.

Amplified -  Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. 

KJV Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

NLT - As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home.

Phillips - As they continued their journey, Jesus came to a village and a woman called Martha welcomed him to her house. 

Wuest - Now, as they were going on their way, He himself entered a certain village. And a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him as a guest into her home. 

YLT And it came to pass, in their going on, that he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman, by name Martha, did receive him into her house,



We cannot state with certainty where this story fits chronologically in the Lord's journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-19:27). We know the village is Bethany because this is where Martha and Mary, and their brother Lazarus lived (John 11:1; 12:1–3) which was about 2 miles from Jerusalem (Jn 11:18). This beautiful story takes place about six months before Jesus' crucifixion. Barclay subtitles this section "The Clash of Temperaments." (Daily Study BibleGodet calls this "one of the most exquisite scenes which Gospel tradition has preserved to us." John MacArthur adds that this short story reveals "the highest priority of the Christian life, that of loving God. It makes a fitting follow-up to the story of the Good Samaritan, which stressed the importance of loving one’s neighbor as evidence of loving God." (See Luke Commentary)

Spurgeon sets the context for this compact classic contrast in Luke 10:38-42 of contemplation and work - Our wise Master next returns to the subject of service, and instructs them by the memorable parable of the Good Samaritan and the wounded man. And then as if they might vainly imagine philanthropy, as it is the service of Christ, to be the only service of Christ, and to be the only thing worth living for, He brings in the two sisters of Bethany. The Holy Spirit meant thereby to teach us that while we ought to abound in service, and to do good abundantly to our fellow men, yet we must not fail in worship, in spiritual reverence, in meek discipleship, and quiet contemplation. While we are practical, like the seventy; practical like the Samaritan; practical like Martha, we are also like the Savior, to rejoice in spirit, and say, “Father, I thank You,” (Lk 10:21) and we are also like Mary, to sit down in quietude, and nourish our souls with divine truths. (Martha and Mary)

Leon Morris expresses an interesting opinion (but not everyone agrees) - “Luke appears not to have placed it in chronological sequence, for Bethany was near Jerusalem and at a later time Jesus was still far from the capital (Lk 17:11). He might have placed it immediately after the preceding parable as a safeguard against any of his readers coming under the misapprehension that salvation is by works. He makes the point that waiting quietly on the Lord is more important than bustling busy-ness”  (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village - Who owned the home Jesus visited? Martha (martha)"lady or mistress" is the lady of the house where sister Mary and brother Lazarus lived. We know from John 11:1 that her home was in Bethany. "Located on the Mt. of Olives' eastern slope, Bethany sat “about two miles” (John 11:18NIV) southeast of Jerusalem. Bethany became the final stop before Jerusalem just off the main east-west road coming from Jericho (cp the road which was the location of Jesus' Parable of the Samaritan - Lk 10:30-37). Being at the foot of the mountain, the people could not see Jerusalem, thus giving Bethany a sense of seclusion and quietness. The road between Bethany and Jerusalem provided a ready avenue for travel across Olivet with the journey taking about fifty-five minutes to walk." (Holman Dictionary; cf Wikipedia)

And a woman named Martha (martha) welcomed (hupodechomaiHim into her home - Martha welcomed Jesus signifying she rolled out the carpet, putting out the "welcome mat" for her Lord. Welcomed is in the middle voice indicating Martha initiated the welcome and personally involved herself in the carrying out of the welcome. Luke used the same word to describe when Zaccheus' received (hupodechomai) Jesus into his home in Lk 19:6+. Rahab the harlot received (hupodechomai) the Israeli spies into her home (Jas 2:25). As Luke 10:10-12 shows not every village welcomed Jesus or His disciples as did Martha.

Alison Trites - As an aside "Jesus urged his followers to practice hospitality (Lk 14:12–14; Mt 25:31–46), and the early church perpetuated this (Ro 12:13; 16:1-2; 1Ti 3:2; 5:10; Titus 1:8; Heb 13:2; 1Pe 4:9; 3Jn 1:5–8)." (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary)

Matthew Henry proposes "Though it was expensive to entertain Christ, for he did not come alone, but brought his disciples with him, yet she would not regard the cost of it… Though at this time it was grown dangerous to entertain him, especially so near Jerusalem, yet she cared not what hazard she ran for his name's sake." (Luke 10)

Welcomed (5264) (hupodechomai from hupo = under + dechomai = receive, welcome) means to welcome, receive into one's home or one's presence. To entertain hospitably as a guest. The idea is to receive one into one's home hospitably. The basic idea of the root verb dechomai is to "put out the welcome mat" so to speak. The prefix hupo- meaning under conveys the picture of receiving under one's roof or of taking under one's care, "as if placing the hands or arms under a person." (Zodhiates Borrow The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament) All the NT uses refer to receiving someone as a guest in one's home. Jason was dragged before the city authorities and accused of welcoming Paul (Acts 17:6,7-+). Rahab the harlot risked her life when she received the Israeli spies (James 2:25). It is worth noting that Luke does not use hupodechomai to describe Jesus' meal with the Pharisee in Luke 11:37-54, as that meeting was less friendly.  Welcome has an interesting etymology - Old English wilcuma "welcome!" exclamation of kindly greeting, from earlier wilcuma (n.) "welcome guest," literally "one whose coming suits another's will or wish," from willa "pleasure, desire, choice"

Martha  (3136) (martha) most agree means mistress or lady. Zodhiates says that "Martha, the sister of Lazarus and Mary. She seems to have been the eldest of the family, as she is always mentioned before Mary and generally portrayed as the mistress of the house. She was more active in practical life than the younger sister, but was deficient in her concentration on the one thing needful. However, she was sincere, devoted, and beloved by Christ (John 11:5). Although she was somewhat overwhelmed by the distractions of daily life, she at last concentrated her faith in the Savior. See Luke 10:38, 40, 41; John 11:1, 5, 19, 21, 24, 30, 39; 12:2." (Borrow The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Martha - 12v - Lk. 10:38; Lk. 10:40; Lk. 10:41; Jn. 11:1; Jn. 11:5; Jn. 11:19; Jn. 11:20; Jn. 11:21; Jn. 11:24; Jn. 11:30; Jn. 11:39; Jn. 12:2

MARTHA - mar'-tha (Martha, "mistress," being a transliteration of the feminine form of mar, "Lord"): Martha belonged to Bethany, and was the sister of Lazarus and Mary (Jn 11:1 f). From the fact that the house into which Jesus was received belonged to Martha, and that she generally took the lead in action, it is inferred that she was the eider sister. Martha was one of those who gave hospitality to Jesus during His public ministry. Thus, in the course of those wanderings which began when "he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerus" (Lk 9:51), he "entered into a certain village"--its name is not stated--and "a certain woman named Martha received him into her house" (Lk 10:38). Martha, whose sense of responsibility as hostess weighed heavily upon her, was "cumbered about much serving," and her indignation was aroused at the lack of assistance given to her by her sister. Her words, "Lord, dost thou not care?" implied a certain reproach to Jesus also, in that she felt He showed a want of sympathy with her efforts and was the cause of Mary's remissness. But Jesus, in tones of gentle reproof, reminded her that for Him not the preparation of an elaborate meal but the hearing of His Word in the spirit of Mary was the "one thing needful" (Lk 10:39-42).

Martha is first mentioned by John--the only other Gospel writer who refers to Martha--in his account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead at Bethany (Jn 11:1-44). The narrative indicates, however, that Jesus was already on terms of the closest friendship with her and her household (compare 11:3,5). In the incident which John here records, Martha again displayed her more practical nature by going out to meet Jesus, while Mary sat in the house (11:20). But she was not behind her sister in her love for her brother (11:19), in her faith in Jesus (11:21 f) and in her belief in the final resurrection (11:24). The power of Him, whom she termed the "Teacher," to restore Lazarus to life even upon earth was beyond her understanding. To the words of Jesus concerning this she gave, however, a verbal assent, and went and informed Mary, "The Teacher is here, and calleth thee" (11:27 f). Yet she remained inwardly unconvinced, and remonstrated when Jesus ordered the stone before the grave to be removed (11:39). Jesus then recalled His previous words to her remembrance (11:40), and vindicated them by restoring her brother to life (11:41-44). After the raising of Lazarus, Jesus then made His departure, but after a short stay in Ephraim (11:54) He returned to Bethany (Jn 12:1). While He supped there, Martha once more served, and Lazarus was also present (Jn 12:2). It was on this occasion that Mary anointed the feet of Jesus (Jn 12:3-8). According to Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9, the anointing took place in the house of Simon the leper, and it has hence been concluded by some that Martha was the wife or widow of Simon. The anointing described in Lk 7:36-50 happened in the house of Simon a Pharisee. But in none of the synoptist accounts is Martha mentioned. For the relationship of these anointings with each other, see MARY, IV. As, according to John, the abode of the sisters was in Bethany, a further difficulty of a topographical nature is raised by those who hold that Luke implies, from the Galilean setting of Lk 10:38-41, that the sisters lived in Galilee. But the information supplied by Luke, upon which this inference is based, is of the vaguest (compare Lk 10:38), and the great division of Luke's Gospel (Lk 9:51 through 18:31) has within it no organic cohesion of parts. In it is mentioned that on two separate occasions Jesus passed through Samaria (Lk 9:52; 17:11). It is therefore more logical to suppose that the events described in Lk 10:38-41, falling within the intervening period, took place in Bethany during an excursion of Jesus to Judea, and formed one of the several visits upon which the friendship recorded in Jn 11:3,5 was built. According to a fragment of a Coptic gospel belonging to the 2nd century (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 38, 39), Martha was present with the other two Marys at the empty grave of Jesus (compare Mt 28:1,11), and went and informed the disciples. C. M. Kerr

QUESTION - Who was Martha in the Bible?

ANSWER - Martha is a significant New Testament figure, a personal friend of Jesus, and someone with whom many women today identify. She lived in Bethany with her sister, Mary, and her brother, Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead (John 11:1–15, 43–44). We meet Martha three times in the Bible, and each event helps to build a profile of this interesting woman.

The Bible first mentions Martha in Luke 10. She is in her home in Bethany, a small town near Jerusalem, where she is hosting Jesus and the disciples. Jesus was well-known to Martha and her siblings; in fact, Jesus loved this little family (John 11:5). On the day that Jesus visited, Martha’s desire was to be a good hostess—to serve the best meal with the best possible presentation, for Jesus’ sake. Her sister, Mary, however, was taking some time out to listen to Jesus (Luke 10:39). As Martha “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Luke 10:40), she became a little cross with Mary and spoke rather abruptly to the Lord: “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (verse 40). In this foolish utterance, Martha implied that Jesus did not care about her, and she gave the Lord a command, demanding that He force Mary to assist in the serving. In her busyness, Martha had taken her eyes off the Savior. Jesus, who was able to see into her soul, diagnosed her problem: she was worried and troubled about the serving and had no peace in her heart. He gently told Martha that a simple dinner was more than adequate, and He reminded her that Mary’s decision to sit at His feet and hear His word was the better choice (verses 41–42).

We see Martha again just after her brother, Lazarus, had died (John 11). The sisters had sent for Jesus when Lazarus fell ill (verse 3), but He did not arrive in time to heal him. When Jesus finally approached Bethany, four days after Lazarus’ death, Martha ran out to meet Him and declared, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (John 11:21–22). Notice Martha’s faith: she firmly believed that Jesus could have healed Lazarus of his illness. And her faith is not diminished by the fact that Jesus had arrived “too late.” Jesus encourages Martha with one of His “I AM” statements: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (verses 25–26). Martha’s response is one of great faith and understanding of Jesus’ divine nature: “Yes, Lord . . . I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (verse 27). Martha’s faith was rewarded that very day as she witnessed her brother’s miraculous resurrection from the dead (verses 43–44).

The third time we encounter Martha in the Bible, she is doing what Martha was known to do—serving (John 12:2). Jesus is again attending a dinner in His honor in Bethany, and Martha is again serving. It is on this occasion that Martha’s sister, Mary, anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume (verse 3). It becomes apparent that Martha was likely a woman of some means, evidenced by the size of her home, the frequency of her hosting dinners, and the expensive perfumed oil her sister owned.

In Martha’s life-changing encounters with Jesus, we see the importance of balancing service with worship, of trusting the Lord even when all seems lost, and of using our material resources for the glory of

Spurgeon paraphrases Lk 10:38-42:

Martha and Mary were two most excellent sisters, both converted, both lovers of Jesus, both loved by Jesus, for we are expressly told that He loved Mary and Martha, and Lazarus. They were both women of a choice spirit— our Savior’s selection of their house as a frequent resort proved that they were an unusually gracious family; they are persons representative of different forms of excellence, and I think it altogether wrong to treat Martha as some have done, as if she had no love for good things, and was nothing better than a mere worldling. It was not so; Martha was a most estimable and earnest woman, a true believer, and an ardent follower of Jesus whose joy it was to entertain Jesus at the house of which she was the mistress. When our Lord made His appearance on this occasion at Bethany, the first thought of Martha was, “Here is our most noble guest, we must prepare for Him a sumptuous banquet.” Perhaps she marked our Savior’s weariness, or saw some traces of that exhaustion which made Him look so much older than He was, and she therefore set to work with the utmost diligence to prepare a feast for Him. She was careful about many things, and as she went on with her preparations, fresh matters occurred to ruffle her mind, and she became worried; and being somewhat vexed that her sister took matters so coolly, she begged the Master to upbraid her. Now Mary had looked upon the occasion from another point of view; as soon as she saw Jesus come into the house, she thought, “What a privilege have I now to listen eagerly to such a teacher, and to treasure up His precious words! He is the Son of God, I will worship, I will adore, and every word He utters shall be stored in my memory.” She forgot the needs both of the Master and His followers, for her faith saw the inner glory which dwelt within Him. She was so overpowered with reverence, and so wrapt in devout wonder, that she became oblivious of all outward things; she had no faults to find with Martha for being so busy; she did not even think of Martha—she was altogether taken up with her Lord, and with those gracious words which He was speaking. She had no will, either, to censure or to praise, or to think even of herself—everything was gone from her but her Lord and the words which He was uttering. See, then, that Martha was serving Christ, but so was Mary! Martha meant to honor Christ, so did Mary; they both agreed in their design, but they differed in their way of carrying it out, and while Martha’s service is not censured (only her being cumbered comes under the censure), yet Mary is expressly commended, as having chosen the good part; and therefore we do Martha no injustice if we show wherein she came short, and wherein Mary exceeded. Our first observation will be this, the Martha spirit is very prevalent in the church of God just now; in the second place, the Martha spirit very much injures true service; and in the third place, the Mary spirit is the source of the noble form of consecration. (See discussion of these 3 observations - Martha and Mary)

Steve Cole - The One Thing Necessary - In their book, First Things First [Simon & Schuster, p. 32], Stephen Covey and Roger and Rebecca Merrill ask this penetrating question: “What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your personal life?” They repeat the question with regard to your professional or work life and then ask, “If you knowthese things would make such a significant difference, why are you not doing them now?” They go on to discuss how we often wrongly let the urgent take priority over that which is truly important.

Let’s direct those questions toward our walk with God: “What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your walk with God?” Then, “If you know this would make such a significant difference, why did you not do it this past week?” I believe that that one significant activity is spending time alone with the Lord in His Word and in prayer. In the language of our text:

Sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to His Word is the one thing necessary in life.

That is the main message of this little story that gives us a glimpse into an incident in the life of Jesus and two sisters who hosted Him for dinner. The story is amazingly concise and yet packed with punch. Luke seems to put it here both to contrast it with the preceding incident and to elaborate upon part of it. In that story, a lawyer challenged Jesus by putting a test question to Him. In this story, Martha welcomed Jesus into her home. There’s a big difference between challenging someone and welcoming Him. Luke wants us to ask ourselves, “Do I put Jesus to the test or do I welcome Him into my life?”In the first story, the lawyer cites the two great commandments, to love God and to love our neighbor, but the emphasis, through the parable of the Good Samaritan, is on love for our neighbor. In this story, we see an example of what it means to love God, as Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. If we only had the story of the Good Samaritan, we might allow service for God to take precedence over devotion to God. But the story of Mary shows us that devotion to God must be the basis of all our service for Him. Worship must undergird our work.

It’s significant that every time we encounter Mary of Bethany in the gospels, she is at Jesus’ feet: here; when her brother, Lazarus dies (John 11:32); and, when she anointed Jesus before His death (John 12:3). It’s also significant that Jesus visited these women and was willing to teach them about spiritual matters. In that culture, many rabbis thought that teaching women was a waste of time. But Jesus took the time to evangelize and teach women, thus showing the value that God puts on every person. And through these women, especially Mary, the Lord teaches us a vital lesson about the main priority that we need to hold on to in the midst of our busy schedules, namely, that of sitting at His feet, which Jesus calls the one necessary thing, the good part.

Probably most of you agree with me, at least theoretically, that consistently spending time sitting at Jesus’ feet ought to be our main priority. But I would guess, based on my own struggles and on my years of pastoral experience, that most of you struggle with doing it consistently. I hope to motivate you by showing you why sitting at Jesus’ feet is the one necessary thing. Then I want to analyze some of the common hindrances we have to overcome if we want to do it consistently. And, I want to show you how to get started. (Luke 10:38-42 The One Thing Necessary)

James Smith - "MARTHA, MARTHA." Luke 10:38-42.

"Nor can the vain toil cease, Till in the shadowy maze of life we meet One who can guide our aching, wayward feet, To find Himself our Way, our Life, our Peace; In Him the long unrest is soothed and stilled; Our hearts are filled."—F. R. Havergal.

The heart that is only half-conquered by Christ's peace will be easily tossed about when assaulted with the "cares of this world." Martha comes before us here as one cumbered and troubled about her work. A weary, burdened servant, just at the point of breaking down. What to her was duty has become drudgery. There is wholesome food for thought here for every servant of Christ. Martha—

I. Received Jesus. "Martha received Him into her house." Being perhaps the oldest in the home the right of receiving guests into the house would be hers. Her receiving Him was the proof of her faith in Him. It is vain and presumptuous for us to talk about our faith in Christ if we have not actually received Him into the house of the heart (see John 1:12).

II. Sat at His Feet. "She had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His words." This word also surely proves that Martha had sat and listened to His words as well as Mary. The faith that received Christ will certainly desire to know His will. This is the second step in the Christian life—learning. "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest. Learn of Me, and ye shall find rest" (Matt. 11:28, 29).

III. Was an Active Worker. She busied herself with "much serving." She was none of those spongy Christians who can do nothing but drink in. There are many whose sole conception of the Christian life is to hear. Martha was not only a hearer, but a doer. She had listened to His words, and she would minister to Him. Her service, too, was no ordinary service. She had planned to do much. The honest, earnest design of her generous heart was to accomplish much for the honour of Jesus.

IV. Became Worried over her Work. "Martha was cumbered about much serving." Tersteegen has said: "We are not always to be seeking, we must sometimes have found Him. The seeker works actively; the finder enjoys quietly." Whenever work for the Lord brings upon us the worry of "carefulness and trouble," we may be assured that we have somehow got out of Christ's yoke, for He says, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. Take My yoke upon you, and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

V. Began to Complain. "Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me." The worried and cumbered worker will soon be found in the ranks of the grumblers. Martha's big task of "much serving" was self-imposed, and she, like all those in similar circumstances, soon got burdened and wearied. God-given work will never be cumbersome when done in His strength. But let it be noted to Martha's credit that she made her complaint, not to her sister, but to her Lord. Those cumbered and grumbling workers who are continually pouring their grievances into the ears of their fellow-servants ought to be shamed out of their cowardliness by the straightforward heroism of Martha. Dare to be honest, and say as she did, "Lord, dost Thou not care?" Have the question of worry settled with your Master. Find out in His presence whether your harassing anxiety about His service is pleasing to Him, or whether there is not some one that He might bid come and help you, or whether you are not "careful and troubled" about things which the Lord has no interest in.

VI. Was Rebuked by the Lord. "Jesus said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful." It is no honour to the Prince of Peace that His servants' hearts should be filled with restless solicitude about His business. "My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). "I would have you without carefulness" (1 Cor. 7:32). "Take no thought (anxious concern) for your life." Your Father knoweth (Matt. 6:25; see also v. 8). If the Lord had bidden Mary go and help Martha He would have partly justified her in her complaint, but, no, He said in substance, "You take too much upon you. The one thing you need is not a helping hand, but a restful heart."

Mary had chosen that good part, and He will not take it from her. There are many Matthews as well as Marthas, whose countenances bear the traces of a worried and troubled heart, even while they are seeking to serve Jesus. "Cumbered about much serving." Cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. Rest in the Lord.

First Things First: Luke 10:38-42

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. —Proverbs 4:7

During World War II, I served as an orthopedic technician in a hospital in England. One day we were cleaning up after putting casts on fractured limbs when I noticed some co-workers goofing off instead of helping. I didn’t hesitate to show my displeasure.

Such incidents are why I usually find myself saying a few words in defense of Martha whenever I preach on Luke 10:38-42. You’ll recall that she was “distracted with much serving” (v.40), while her sister Mary did nothing but listen to Jesus.

It’s easy for me to see Martha’s point of view. In Proverbs, more than a dozen verses rebuke the slothful. And when some first-century Christians quit working and started to freeload off others, Paul laid down the rule: “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).

Our approach to work must be balanced. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is the principal thing.” Martha could have said, “Mary, dinner can wait. I’ll join you in listening to Jesus before getting started in the kitchen.”

Work is vital. But we should not be so obsessed with it that it crowds out worship and spiritual instruction.

Work hard, but keep first things first.By Herbert Vander Lugt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

For Further Study
For more on this topic, read the online booklet
Mary & Martha: Balancing Life’s Priorities

Don’t be so busy doing good that you neglect to do what’s right.

Brilliant Thoughts: Luke 10:38-42

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. —Matthew 11:29

A kind friend who knows my tastes and reading interests gave me a fascinating book for my birthday. It’s called The Most Brilliant Thoughts Of All Time. There’s no question about the wit and wisdom of the short sayings it contains. But are they the most brilliant thoughts of all time?

The book doesn’t contain a single quote from the Lord Jesus. Yet when He lived on earth, even His critics were amazed at His wisdom. They asked in dumbfounded wonder how He knew so much (John 7:15).

Jesus did not have any formal education. He wasn’t the student of a prominent rabbi, like many of the teachers of His day. Yet even the soldiers who were sent to arrest Him reported, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (v.46).

So if we are in search of brilliant thoughts, there are none better than the words of Jesus Christ. Like Mary the sister of Lazarus, we ought to sit at the feet of our Lord and learn from Him (Luke 10:39). Jesus said that choosing to hear His words is “that good part, which will not be taken away” (v.42).

Let’s respond to our Savior’s invitation: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me” (Matthew 11:29). His words are the most brilliant of all time.  —By Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

In the garden of my heart
There is a sure retreat,
Where I may enter, close the door,
And learn at Jesus' feet. 

In the light of Christ's brilliance, the world's wisdom is but a shadow.

Luke 10:39  She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word.

Amplified - And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. 

BBE  And she had a sister, by name Mary, who took her seat at the Lord's feet and gave attention to his words.

CSB Luke 10:39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord's feet and was listening to what He said.

NLT Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught.

Phillips - She had a sister by the name of Mary who settled down at the Lord's feet and was listening to what he said. 

Wuest - And she had a sister called Mary, who also having seated herself beside the Lord’s feet, was listening to His word. 

YLT and she had also a sister, called Mary, who also, having seated herself beside the feet of Jesus, was hearing the word,

Related Passages:

John 11:32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 12:3  Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (NOTE: THIS EVENT IS DISTINCT FROM THE NAMELESS WOMAN IN Luke 7:36-48+)



She had a sister called Mary (note), who was seated (parakathizo) at the Lord's feet, listening to His word (logos) - Seated (parakathizo) at the Lord's feet presents a striking picture of Mary sitting beside (para) and  right in front of the feet of Jesus (pros tous podas ton Kurion.) Listening is in the imperfect tense (see more below) which means over and over, again and again. Here is the One John called the living Logos (Jn 1:1+) now speaking living words (logos)! I get a picture of Mary seated like a baby bird eagerly waiting the next word and "eating" each one, one after another after another. She was not about to let one of His precious words fall to the ground without imbibing it. She was focused on His face, His eyes, and His lips as He spoke forth one golden word after another.

THOUGHT - Listening to His word - Mary had ears to hear (Mt 11:15, Jn 8:43) for as Jesus said the one "who is of God hears the words of God," and Mary was "of God." (Jn 8:47). Listening is akouo meaning in this context to "hear with the ear of the mind" and is imperfect tense, active voice. The active voice means she made a purposeful decision of her will to hear Jesus. This is what we must do every morning -- make that volitional choice to sit still and listen to Jesus in the Word, for indeed Jesus is called "The Word of God." (Rev 19:13+). The imperfect tense views the action of her listening as in progress. The imperfect tense helps us see the flow of action. She took her seat at the feet of her Lord and went on listening to his talk. The image I see is of Jesus speaking a word and Mary opening her mouth like a baby bird eating that word, then of Jesus speaking another word and again Mary eating His word, over and over, as His word went down into and nourished her soul. O to be more like Mary! Her actions remind me of Ps 81:10 where the Lord says "I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." That is what Mary had done, but she did not do what the next verse (Ps 81:11) described "But My people did not listen to My voice; And Israel did not obey Me." So while listening can be just to hear a sound, when God speaks, our listening should be so that we would then know how to obey Him. O may the Spirit enable us to be still like Mary and open our ears to know that He is Lord (cf Ps 46:10)! Amen

What was the first thing Jesus did when He entered the home? Did He asked "Martha, are we having delicious kosher chicken casserole of yours tonight?" Of course not! He knew His time was short and so to what did He give the highest priority but the Word of God! He redeemed the time, knowing that the evil day was drawing nigh within 6 months (cp Eph 5:16+)! He would rather feed than be fed, and so He began by teaching. He was serving up the "bread" the living Word, for He knew that men and women do not live by physical bread alone (even Martha's delicious kosher casserole!) but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God! (Mt 4:4+) Jesus' priority was the Word and Mary made that her priority to hear His Word and so too should we beloved! 

Mary's priority was time with her Lord. Our world buzzes with the word priority, but sadly the focus is on too often on temporal priority and not eternal priority. Priority is a matter that ranks above all others in importance. Priority is derived from the word prior which describes something coming before something else (Ponder that thought!) Priority is status established in order of importance or urgency. In simple terms priority is something (or in Mary's case Someone!) that is very important and must be dealt with before other things. Martha's priority was supper. Mary's priority was the Savior.  

THOUGHT- Mary reminds me of an OT man named Ezra about whom the Scripture says "the good hand of the LORD was upon him" (Ezra 7:9b) and then explains why God's good hand was upon him, stating that  Ezra "had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." (Ezra 7:10-+) Mary was sitting and Ezra was setting, but the effect was the same - the Living Word was the desire of their heart and their highest priority. 

Spurgeon on Mary seated at the Lord's feet - She was free to do so. It was not her house. She need not attend to the hospitalities of it. Her sister was quite equal to it, and so Mary did well to avail herself of the opportunity of sitting at Jesus’ feet, and hearing his word.

Joseph Carroll makes an interesting point - You must not think that Martha alone was busy. Mary also was busy, but concentrating on a different form of service....Mary had chosen (to sit at Christ's feet), and that is always the difference between the person who is satisfied with Christ and the person who is dissatisfied with life. One had made a choice; the other had not. (See How to Worship Jesus Christ)

THOUGHT- We do well to ponder the others the Gospels mentioned who were on their knees before Jesus - Wise men (Matthew 2:11+); Jarius (Mark 5:22+); Women healed (Mark 5:33+); Syrophenician women (Mark 7:25+); Peter, (Luke 5:8+); The Leper (Luke 5:12+); The Gadarene (Luke 8:28+); The Samaritan (Luke 17:16+); Mary (John 11:32).

Charles Simeon on the salvific status of Mary and Martha - We are assured that both of them were Disciples of our Lord. We could not, indeed, ascertain this from the circumstance of his visit to them; (for he sometimes associated with proud Pharisees, and notorious sinners;) but we know it from the strong and mutual affection that subsisted between them. We presume, therefore, that both of them believed in him as the Messiah: both of them looked to him as the fountain and foundation of all their hopes: both of them confessed his name, and were willing to bear his cross: and lastly, both of them desired to make his will the rule of their conduct.

Wiersbe  (Borrow Be Compassionate) - Mary of Bethany is seen three times in the Gospel record, and on each occasion, she is in the same place: at the feet of Jesus. She sat at His feet and listened to His Word (Luke 10:39), fell at His feet and shared her woe (John 11:32), and came to His feet and poured out her worship (John 12:3). It is interesting to note that in each of these instances, there is some kind of fragrance: in Luke 10, it is food; in John 11, it is death (John 11:39); and in John 12, it is perfume. Mary and Martha are often contrasted as though each believer must make a choice: be a worker like Martha or a worshiper like Mary. Certainly our personalities and gifts are different, but that does not mean that the Christian life is an either/or situation. Charles Welsey said it perfectly in one of his hymns:

    Faithful to my Lord’s commands,
    I still would choose the better part;
    Serve with careful Martha’s hands,
    And loving Mary’s heart.

It seems evident that the Lord wants each of us to imitate Mary in our worship and Martha in our work. Blessed are the balanced!  (Be Compassionate)

Darrell Bock - Jesus commends the hearing of the word at his feet. To take time out to relate to Jesus is important. The language of the passage recalls Deuteronomy 8:3 ("man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD."). In a sense Mary is preparing to partake in the "right meal" (Deut 6:1-8). What she has done by sitting at Jesus' feet will remain with her. This meal will last. Jesus is not so much condemning Martha's activity as commending Mary's. He is saying that her priorities are in order. To disciples Jesus says, "Sit at my feet and devour my teaching. There is no more important meal." (Discipleship: Looking to Our Neighbor, to Jesus and to God Luke 10:25-11:13)

At the feet of Jesus, list'ning to His word;
Learning wisdoms lesson from her loving Lord;
Mary, led by heav'nly grace,
Chose the meek disciple's place.
At the feet of Jesus is the place for me;
There a humble learner would I choose to be.
—Sacred Songs and Solos

Spurgeon has an entire sermon entitled Love at Leisure on Mary seated at the Lord's feet - There shall be four heads which you will not forget—love at leisure sitting down. Love in lowliness, sitting at Jesus’ feet. Love listening—she heard His Words. Love learning—she heard His Words to a most blessed purpose. All the while she chose the good part.

It is notable that every time we read about Mary of Bethany in the Gospels, she is at the feet of her Lord! What a pattern of love and humility (lowliness) for us to seek by God's power to imitate!

John 11:31-32 (Context - Brother Lazarus' death) Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 12:1-3  Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Comment: Mary not only was concentrating in listening to her Lord, but she was also compelled by the Spirit to serve her Lord in the profoundly spiritual way of anointing His feet. Sitting at the Master's feet prepares us for spiritual service ("anointing the Master's feet") which transcends time and eternity, just as Mary's act of anointing will remain "fragrant" forever. Are you consciously choosing to begin your day sitting at the feet of your Lord and Master? See related resources -

Gene Brooks - Mary sat: This Mary is the same one who anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair (Mt 26:6-7; Jn 11:1-2; 12:3; To sit at the feet of a respected rabbi was the position of a disciple. In Acts 22:3 Paul says he was instructed at the feet of Gamaliel, a leading rabbi of Jerusalem (Luke 8:35, Acts 22:3NRSV). Mary’s initiative in taking such a position at Jesus’ feet and learning was actually shocking for most Jewish men, surely for the disciples. Rabbis did not have female disciples. Girls did not receive a formal education. APPLICATION: Jesus shatters cultural expectations by affirming the status of a woman as his disciple. Jesus is the greatest liberator of women the world has ever known. Henry Blackaby in his study, Experiencing God, says that “a love relationship with God is more important than any other single factor in your life. Everything in your Christian life, everything about knowing Him and experiencing Him, everything about knowing His will depends on the quality of your love relationship with God. If that is not settled, nothing in your life will be right. Your walk with the Lord is the single most important aspect of your life. If it is not as it should be, nothing else will function properly. So make sure you are investing your life, your time, your resources in things that will last, not in things that will pass away. You must recognize that God created you for eternity, or you will invest in the wrong priorities (Matt 6:33). (The Priority of His Presence)

Warren Wiersbe writes that "Worship is at the heart of all that we are and all that we do in the Christian life. It is important that we be busy ambassadors, taking the message of the Gospel to lost souls. It is also essential to be merciful Samaritans, seeking to help exploited and hurting people who need God’s mercy. But before we can represent Christ as we should, or imitate Him in our caring ministry, we must spend time with Him and learn from Him. We must “take time to be holy.” (Borrow Be Compassionate)

Ray Pritchard - Mary only appears for certain three times in the gospels—Luke 10, John 11, and John 12. In all three places she is always in the same place—at the feet of Jesus. We never see her anywhere else. In our text she is at Jesus’ feet listening to his words. Consider what this means: Sitting—Quietness; At the Lord’s Feet—Closeness; Listening—Attention; To his Word—Submission. Those four words reveal Mary’s heart: quietness, closeness, attention and submission. She is utterly devoted to the Lord and wants nothing more than to be near him. Listening is hard work. It’s not easy to sit in a classroom (or in a church sanctuary!) and listen carefully for 20 or 30 or 40 minutes. Sooner or later, the mind tends to drift off. It’s a rare compliment if someone says, “He’s a good listener.” Many of us listen only as long as we need to figure out what we’re going to say next when our turn comes to talk. Mary was a truly good listener.....Who is serving the Lord—Martha or Mary? The answer is, both are serving the Lord. Martha is serving him by preparing the meal, and Mary is serving him by listening quietly at his feet. But who is in the better place at this moment? Mary is. She is able to hear what her Master says and is ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Martha is so distracted that she can’t hear anything Jesus is saying.

MacArthur - Mary’s attention was riveted to the most powerful, clear, truthful teacher who ever spoke. Mary demonstrated the attitude of a true believer. (cp Lk 6:47 in contrast to Lk 6:41, cp Lk 8:15, 11:28, James 1:22, 1 Thes 2:13)....Mary understood that the highest priority for a believer is to hear the truth that has come from heaven (cf. John 8:43–47). (See Luke Commentary)

Several descriptions in the psalms would befit Mary - 

 But his (her) delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (Ps 1:2)

Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee. (Ps 119:11)

O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. (Ps 119:97)

Spurgeon eloquently describes Mary's listening  - LOVE LISTENING. She is down there in the place of humility, but she is where she can catch each word as it falls, and she is there with one purpose. She wishes to hear all that Christ has to say and she wishes to hear it close at hand. She wants to hear the very tones in which He speaks and the accents with which He delivers each precept. She loves to look up and see those eyes which have such meaning in them and that blessed Countenance which speaks as much as the lips themselves. And so she sits there and she looks with her eyes toward Him as a handmaid’s eyes are to her mistress. And then, with her ears and her eyes, she drinks in what He has to say....Listen to what He is saying to you by Providence.....Listen also to what the Spirit says in your soul. Listen, for it is not till you get your soul quiet that you can hear what the Spirit of God is saying. I have known such a clatter of worldliness or pride, or some other noise in the soul of man, that the still small voice of the Holy Spirit has been drowned to the serious detriment of the disciple..... Some people hear the words but do not receive them—but there sat Mary where, as the words fell, they dropped upon her as snowflakes drop into the sea and are absorbed! So each word of Jesus dropped into her soul and became part and parcel of her nature—they fired and filled her very being! (Love at Leisure)

Oh, to be more with Jesus! This is true life.
Oh, to hear Jesus more! This is true service. 
Oh, to love Jesus more! This is true treasure. 
Oh, to abide with Jesus, and never dream of going beyond him! This is true wisdom. (Notes)

Leon Morris - Mary’s rightful role as a listener in this incident is significant. In Jesus’ day, it was not considered appropriate for a Jewish woman to be instructed by a teacher; her role was largely restricted to domestic life, and thus, it was not expected that she should assume the role of a disciple, listening as a pupil to her teacher. Thus, Jesus’ instruction here is clearly countercultural: “This strong affirmation of a woman’s right to listen to the Lord speak and to be concerned with spiritual matters gives a clear indication that the Kingdom of God is for all who will listen and believe in Jesus. Luke’s Gospel often mentions how people from all types of different backgrounds and minority groups needed to hear the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Here is one of the clearest statements that Jesus intended women also to be recipients of his teaching and his rule” (Gardner 1995:448). (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Aitken (quoted by D L Moody) -   At Jesus’ feet. At Jesus’ feet—that is our place of privilege and of blessing, and here it is that we are to be educated and fitted for the practical duties of life. Here we are to renew our strength while we wait on Him, and to learn how to mount on wings as eagles; and here we are to become possessed of that true knowledge which is power. Here we are to learn how real work is to be done, and to be armed with the true motive-power to do it. Here we are to find solace amidst both the trials of work, and they are not few, and the trials of life in general; and here we are to anticipate something of the blessedness of heaven amidst the days of earth; for to sit at His feet is indeed to be in heavenly places, and to gaze upon His glory is to do what we shall never tire of doing yonder.

Seated (869)(parakathizo from pará = by, near + kathízo = sit down, appoint, settle) means to sit down near, to seat oneself near. (Luke 10:39; Job 2:13). This is every saints preferred position, a position of privilege. Do you (I) begin each day on your knees, listening to His Word?

NET Note on seated - This reflexive makes it clear that Mary took the initiative in sitting by Jesus. The description of Mary sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to him makes her sound like a disciple. Compare Luke 8:35 "The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened."

The Mishnah speaks of a similar position: “Let thy house be a meeting-house for the Sages and sit amid the dust of their feet and drink in their words with thirst.” Mary’s initiative in taking this position is particularly shocking, since rabbis did not have women disciples. Girls did not even receive a formal education; they were taught only in household duties like sewing and weaving. In the Mishnah it is said that “if any man give his daughter a knowledge of the Law it is as though he taught her lechery.” (Mark Strauss  Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds)

Word (message, statement, utterance) (3056logos from légō = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. Although Lógos is most often translated word which Webster defines as "something that is said, a statement, an utterance", the Greek understanding of lógos is somewhat more complex. See discussion of "The Logos" (Jesus Christ) in John 1:14-Commentary In the Greek mind and as used by secular and philosophical Greek writers, lógos did not mean merely the name of an object but was an expression of the thought behind that object's name. Let me illustrate this somewhat subtle nuance in the meaning of lógos with an example from the Septuagint (LXX) (Greek of the Hebrew OT) in which lógos is used in the well known phrase the Ten Commandments.

Logos in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:2; Lk. 1:4; Lk. 1:20; Lk. 1:29; Lk. 3:4; Lk. 4:22; Lk. 4:32; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 5:1; Lk. 5:15; Lk. 6:47; Lk. 7:7; Lk. 7:17; Lk. 8:11; Lk. 8:12; Lk. 8:13; Lk. 8:15; Lk. 8:21; Lk. 9:26; Lk. 9:28; Lk. 9:44; Lk. 10:39; Lk. 11:28; Lk. 12:10; Lk. 16:2; Lk. 20:3; Lk. 20:20; Lk. 21:33; Lk. 22:61; Lk. 23:9; Lk. 24:17; Lk. 24:19; Lk. 24:44; Acts 1:1; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:40; Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4; Acts 4:29; Acts 4:31; Acts 5:5; Acts 5:24; Acts 6:2; Acts 6:4; Acts 6:5; Acts 6:7; Acts 7:22; Acts 7:29; Acts 8:4; Acts 8:14; Acts 8:21; Acts 8:25; Acts 10:29; Acts 10:36; Acts 10:44; Acts 11:1; Acts 11:19; Acts 11:22; Acts 12:24; Acts 13:5; Acts 13:7; Acts 13:15; Acts 13:26; Acts 13:44; Acts 13:46; Acts 13:48; Acts 13:49; Acts 14:3; Acts 14:12; Acts 14:25; Acts 15:6; Acts 15:7; Acts 15:15; Acts 15:24; Acts 15:27; Acts 15:32; Acts 15:35; Acts 15:36; Acts 16:6; Acts 16:32; Acts 16:36; Acts 17:11; Acts 17:13; Acts 18:5; Acts 18:11; Acts 18:14; Acts 18:15; Acts 19:10; Acts 19:20; Acts 19:38; Acts 19:40; Acts 20:2; Acts 20:7; Acts 20:24; Acts 20:32; Acts 20:35; Acts 20:38; Acts 22:22; 

Spurgeon on the Mary spirit - While she was sitting at Christ’s feet, she was forming and filling the springs of action. You are not losing time while you are feeding the soul; while by contemplation you are getting purpose strengthened, and motive purified, you are rightly using time. When the man becomes intense, when he gets within him principles vital, fervent, energetic, then when the season for work comes he will work with a power and a result which empty people can never attain, however busy they may be! If the stream flows at once, as soon as ever there is a shower, it must be little better than a trickling rivulet; but if the current stream is dammed up, so that for a while nothing pours down the river bed, you will, in due time, when the waters have gathered strength, witness a torrent before which nothing can stand. Mary was filling up the fountain head; she was listening and learning, feeding, edifying, loving, and growing strong; the engine of her soul was getting its steam ready, and when all was right, her action was prompt and forcible, and meanwhile, the manner of her action was being refined. Martha’s actions were good, but if I may use the word, they were commonplace. She must make a great feed for the Lord Jesus, just as for any earthly friend; the spiritual nature of Christ she had forgotten; she was providing nothing for it. But Mary’s estimate of Christ was of a truer order. She looked at Him as a priest; she viewed Him as a prophet; she adored Him as a king. She had heard Him speak about dying, and had listened to His testimony about suffering, and dimly guessing what it meant, she prepared the precious spikenard that before the dying should come she might anoint Him. The woman’s deed was full of meaning and of instruction; it was indeed an embodied poem; the odor that filled the house was the perfume of love and elevated thought; she became refined in her actions by the process of musing and learning. Those who think not, who meditate not, who commune not with Christ, will do commonplace things very well; but they will never rise to the majesty of a spiritual conception, or carry out a heart-suggested work for is not your thoughtless service, performed while your souls are half asleep—it is that which you do for Christ with eyes that overflow, with hearts that swell with emotion, it is this that Jesus accepts. May we have more of such service, as we shall have if we have more of sitting at His feet! (Martha and Mary)

QUESTION -  Who was Mary of Bethany in the Bible?

ANSWER - Mary of Bethany is one of the most beautiful characters in all of Scripture, and we can learn valuable lessons from studying her life. Mary was the sister of Martha, and her brother was Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. We see Mary three different times in the Bible, beginning with the incident in the home of her sister, Martha (Luke 10:38-42), where Jesus, and presumably the disciples who travelled with Him, were being entertained. Martha was so distressed and “distracted with much serving” and frustrated that her sister wasn’t helping that she actually rebuked Jesus, accusing Him of not caring that Mary sat at His feet while she did all the work. Jesus’ response gives us our first insight into Mary of Bethany. Jesus commended her for “choosing the better,” meaning that Mary’s desire to be near her Lord and hang onto His every word was far more beneficial than running herself ragged with preparations for a meal. Jesus further said that choosing the better thing, learning of the Lord, would not be taken away from Mary.

By “choosing the better,” Jesus meant that those whose priority in life is Christ, the knowledge of Him, and nearness to Him have chosen what will last through eternity, such as the “gold, silver and costly stones” referred to in 1 Corinthians 3:11-12. From this incident, we learn that those who are distracted with the mundane and earthly are building upon the foundation which is Christ with “wood, hay and straw,” materials which will not stand the fires that come to us in times of testing, nor will they be remembered in eternity. Martha’s rebuke of Jesus gives us insight into her heart and mind as she tried to make everything perfect and was so distracted that she lost sight of whom she was speaking to. Mary’s silence, which we will see again in another incident, indicates a lack of concern for herself, especially for defending herself. When we focus on Christ, He becomes our greatest passion and our tendency to self-absorption dims and fades.

The second incident in which Mary and Martha appear occurs in John 11 with the raising of their brother, Lazarus, from the dead. When Mary hears that Jesus has come and is calling for her, she immediately leaves the assembly of mourners in her home and rushes to meet Jesus. So great is her love for Him and her desire to please and obey Him that she leaves those who had come to comfort her to place herself in the arms of the greatest Comforter mankind has ever known. Jesus sees her great sorrow and weeps along with her, even though He knows her sadness is going to be short-lived and that her brother will be restored to her momentarily. In the same way, when we sorrow and grieve, our greatest comfort is found in Jesus, whose compassion is boundless. When we place our hand in the nail-scarred hand, we find comfort, peace and security, and we learn the truth of Psalm 30:5b: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

The third and final time we see Mary of Bethany is just days before Christ’s crucifixion (John 12:1–8). A meal had been prepared, Martha was again serving while the resurrected Lazarus reclined at the table with Jesus and the disciples. At some point, Mary poured a pint of very expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. In spite of criticism from Judas Iscariot about the waste of the costly substance, Mary said nothing. Rather, Mary allowed Jesus to defend her, which He does, saying that she has kept this perfume for His burial and has done a beautiful act of service to Him.

We see two amazing things about Mary here from which we can take our example. First, she seems to know that the time of Jesus’ death on the cross was at hand, a fact that had escaped the disciples in spite of Jesus’ clear declaration of this truth. No doubt Mary contented herself with listening to her Lord and meditating on His words, while the disciples bickered about who would be greatest among them in the kingdom. By doing so, they missed the important truths Jesus was teaching them about His upcoming death and resurrection (Mark 9:30-35). How often do we miss spiritual truths because we are self-focused and overly concerned for our rewards, our status and our reputation among men?

Second, we see in Mary a settled conviction and confidence in her Lord, so much so that she is not compelled to defend herself in the face of criticism. How often do we jump at the chance to justify ourselves in the eyes of others who criticize and mock us, particularly where our faith is concerned? But if we, like Mary, make sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him our priority, we will have her depth of understanding, her passion for Christ, and her complete faith in His plan for our lives. We may not have Jesus sitting in our living rooms in person, but we have His Word, the Bible, and from it we have all the knowledge and understanding we need to live a life of secure and confident faith like Mary of

The Best of All Places      "Sitting at the feet of Jesus" Luke 10:39+

We learn in the Gospels of nine prostrations before the Saviour.

1, Wise men (Matthew 2:11+);

2, Jarius (Mark 5:22+);

3, Women healed (Mark 5:33+);

4, Syrophenician women (Mark 7:25+);

5, Peter, (Luke 5:8+);

6, The Leper (Luke 5:12+);

7, The Gadarene (Luke 8:28+);

8, The Samaritan (Luke 17:16+);

9, Mary (John 11:32).

I. Mary Learned the Secret of His Person at Jesus Feet (Luke 10:42)

Only at His feet can we be taught by Him. Cumbered and worried with much service we will never have time to be at His feet. If we have not time to sit there we will not have time to learn.

II. Mary Learned the Secret of His Purpose at Jesus Feet (John 11:32)

Only there could she understand why Lazarus died and why Martha and herself must be plunged into the deepest sorrow. To the grave she led him and there at the very place of deepest sorrow, came the highest joy.

III. Mary Learned the Secret of His Passion at Jesus Feet

This was revealed when she anointed Him for His burial. The secret was out and everywhere her testimony has been told. See Matthew 26:12-13. As I write this I help to fulfil the Lord's prophecy.

Do you sit at Jesus feet? Have you learned these three secrets? - Ian Paisley

Too Much To Do?: Luke 10:38-42

One thing I have desired of the Lord, . . . that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. —Psalm 27:4

I’m usually a happy person. Most of the time I can take on as much work as anyone can give me. But some days there just seems to be too much to do. The schedule may be so full of meetings, appointments, and deadlines that there’s no room to breathe. Life often contains too much work, parenting, home improvement, and other responsibilities for one person to handle.

When that happens to me—as it may happen to you—I have some options. I can retreat into a shell of inactivity and leave everyone who is depending on me out in the cold. I can slug my way through, moaning as I go and making everyone wish I had chosen option one. Or I can get my perspective realigned by reminding myself what Jesus said to Martha (Luke 10:38-42).

Jesus told Martha that she had become “distracted with much serving” (v.40). He reminded her that her sister Mary had chosen the one thing that would never be taken away (v.42). Like many of us, Martha got so wrapped up in her service that she forgot the most important thing—fellowship with her Lord.

Are you overwhelmed? Don’t lose sight of your priorities. Spend time with the Lord. He will lift your load and give you the right perspective.By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The many tasks we face each day
Can burden and oppress,
But spending time with God each day
Can bring relief from stress.

To keep your life in balance, lean on the Lord.

Juggling —Luke 10:39-40

A woman in North Carolina is a mother who juggles—literally. In fact, her whole family can perform simultaneous feats of aerial exchange with everyday household items. Imagine the excitement at her dinner parties!

Many of today’s women are jugglers too, whether they are businesswomen or stay-at-home moms. The task of completing the mundane stuff of life usually falls in the laps of women—especially mothers. The women of the 21st century have all sorts of things in the air at once—from frying pans and strollers to appointment calendars and mortgage payments. It can all become quite overwhelming.

Society places a premium on those who can maintain a hectic schedule and get it all done. So women who pause to sit “at Jesus’ feet” (Luke 10:39-40) are sometimes considered unproductive. But Jesus commended Mary for taking time to be with Him (v.42). Certainly work had to be done, but Mary made the best choice.

Men, you can help women find the time to be with Jesus by pitching in with the daily activities. Women, choose to stop the daily juggling long enough to spend a few moments with the Lord.By Dale Beaver  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Take time to be holy,
The world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone.

"As the dishes sit and soak, take your Bible and do the same." —Grandma Beaver

Too Busy To Know God?. —Luke 10:39

One day when I was waiting to board a plane, a stranger who had overheard me mention that I was a chaplain began to describe to me his life before he met Christ. He said it was marked by “sin and self-absorption. Then I met Jesus.”

I listened with interest to a list of changes he had made to his life and good deeds he had done. But because everything he told me was about his busyness for God and not his fellowship with God, I wasn’t surprised when he added, “Frankly, chaplain, I thought I’d feel better about myself by now.”

I think the New Testament character Martha would have understood that stranger’s observation. Having invited Jesus to be a guest at her home, she set about doing what she thought were the important things. But this meant she couldn’t focus on Jesus. Because Mary wasn’t helping, Martha felt justified asking Jesus to chide her. It’s a mistake many of us make: We’re so busy doing good that we don’t spend time getting to know God better.

My advice to my new airplane friend came from the core of Jesus’ words to Martha in Luke 10:41-42. I said to him: “Slow down and invest yourself in knowing God; let His Word reveal Himself to you.” If we’re too busy to spend time with God, we’re simply too busy.By Randy Kilgore  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Savior, let me walk beside Thee,
Let me feel my hand in Thine;
Let me know the joy of walking
In Thy strength and not in mine.

Our heavenly Father longs to spend time with His children.

Luke 10:40  But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." 

Greek e de martha periespato (3SIPI) peri pollen diakonian epistasa (AAPFSN) de eipen (3SAAI) kurie ou melei (3SPAI) soi hoti e adelphe mou monen me katelipen (3SAAI) diakonein (PAN) eipe (2SAAM) oun aute hina moi sunantilabetai (3SAMS)

Amplified -  But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]! 

BBE But Martha had her hands full of the work of the house, and she came to him and said, Lord, is it nothing to you that my sister has let me do all the work? Say to her that she is to give me some help.

CSB But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, "Lord, don't You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand."

ESV  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."

GWN But Martha was upset about all the work she had to do. So she asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me."

KJV But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

NET But Martha was distracted with all the preparations she had to make, so she came up to him and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work alone? Tell her to help me."

NIV But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

NLT  But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me."

Phillips - But Martha was very worried about her elaborate preparations and she burst in, saying, "Lord, don't you mind that my sister has left me to do everything by myself? Tell her to get up and help me!"

Wuest - But Martha was going around in circles, over-occupied with preparing the meal. And bursting in upon Jesus she assumed a stance over Him and said, Lord, is it not a concern to you that my sister has let me down to be preparing the meal alone? Speak therefore to her at once that she take hold and do her part with me. 

YLT and Martha was distracted about much serving, and having stood by him, she said, 'Sir, dost thou not care that my sister left me alone to serve? say then to her, that she may partake along with me.'


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But (de)(term of contrast) What is Luke's contrast? Mary sitting contemplatively at Jesus' feet, listening to His Word in contrast to Martha scurrying around, fussing and fretting as she frenetically made preparations for their meal!

Martha was distracted (perispáowith all her preparations (diakonia) - Martha was being pulled this way and that. The imperfect passive pictures Martha as drawn here, then there, in essence being drawn every which way in her busyness, except to the feet of Jesus, the good way Mary had chosen. Literally she was "distracted by much service." Hospitality was highly valued in Jewish society and in fact the honor and even reputation of a woman was associated with her hospitality. Perhaps this fact was preeminent in Martha's mind. When we think more about what others think of us than about what God thinks of us we are very likely to be distracted from what is of eternal importance in life. Note also that given the honor that was associated with excellent hospitality, one might see how Martha could easily rationalize her complaint against Mary as legitimate. Notice the word preparations (diakonia) is most often translated ministry in the NT. Perhaps Martha saw serving as her "ministry."

THOUGHT- The lesson is clear that if we are serving the Savior instead of sitting before the Savior, we have our priorities inverted. The order should always be sit before the Savior, then serve for the Savior.

The harder Martha worked,
the more worked up she became!

Spurgeon - She wanted to get so much ready, to have everything nice. So she came almost scolding the Master. She was out of temper, surely, that day. She had got to be troubled. Dear friends, it is not wrong to labour and to work and do all we can, but it is wrong to grow cumbered with it, to get fretful, anxious, worried about this thing and that. You will not do it any better. You will probably do less, and you will do it worse. She was “cumbered about much serving.”

Spurgeon - Martha was not blamable for serving, nor for serving much, but for being distracted with care, when she should have been listening to her Lord. Mary wisely judged that it would better please the Lord for her to hearken to his teaching than to offer him a grand entertainment. What were joints and dishes to him! He had far rather receive an attentive ear than any or all the other attentions which the kindest hostesses could offer him. (The Interpreter)

Spurgeon - Funds, and encouraging accounts, and well-arranged machineries are well if they exist as the outgrowth of fervent love—but if they are the end-all, and the be-all, you miss the mark! Jesus would be better pleased with a grain of love than a heap of ostentatious service!  (Martha and Mary)

Leon Morris - The fact that Martha complained to Jesus about her sister’s lack of help in preparing the meal indicates that her “work,” or “service” (diakonia Lk 10:40), had become a burden, lacking in joy and fulfillment. Her hospitality had become a source of anxiety and trouble, distracting her from paying personal attention to the guest of honor, Jesus. Mary, by contrast, had taken time for Jesus personally, making him feel at home and listening to his teaching with appreciation and delight. Jesus reproved Martha for developing an unkind, critical spirit that was marring her otherwise commendable service. (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Hendriksen says, "Such an elaborate meal was not at all necessary. Besides, there are things which in excellence and importance far surpass eating." (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel of Luke)

Ray Pritchard - In verse 40 we are told that Martha was distracted with many preparations that had to be made. The King James Version uses a picturesque word to describe that distraction. It says that Martha was “cumbered,” an old word related to our modern word “encumbered.” To be cumbered was to be heavily burdened, as if you were wearing a concrete straightjacket. The Greek word is perispao, which means a mind pulled in a thousand directions. One moment she’s worried about the roast, the next the rolls, the next the dessert, and the next she’s wondering why Mary doesn’t come and help her. Jesus told her she was worried and upset. The word “worried” has the idea of a mind in pieces. And the word “upset” means to cause trouble. She is going to speak her mind and spread the misery around!

As Warren Wiersbe rightly reminds us "Few things are as damaging to the Christian life as trying to work for Christ without taking time to commune with Christ. “For without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).....Whenever we criticize others and pity ourselves because we feel overworked, we had better take time to examine our lives. Perhaps in all of our busyness, we have been ignoring the Lord. Martha’s problem was not that she had too much work to do, but that she allowed her work to distract her and pull her apart. She was trying to serve two masters! If serving Christ makes us difficult to live with, then something is terribly wrong with our service! The key is to have the right priorities: Jesus Christ first, then others, then ourselves. It is vitally important that we spend time “at the feet of Jesus” every single day, letting Him share His Word with us. The most important part of the Christian life is the part that only God sees. Unless we meet Christ personally and privately each day, we will soon end up like Martha: busy but not blessed." (Borrow Be Compassionate)

Jesus was present and as the Psalmist writes "In Thy presence is fullness of joy" (Ps 16:11) but this would hardly describe the experience of poor Martha! She was having what I like to call a "pity party" (I never do that of course! Do you?) In fact, she had clearly lost her joy, because she had lost focus of her priorities. Have you ever heard the little mnemonic for "J.O.Y."? Jesus first Others next Yourself last - And that "spells' true joy in His presence!

Joseph Carroll warns however "if we do not keep close to the Lord, we will fall into self-pity and a complaining spirit." (like that to which Martha fell prey). (See How to Worship Jesus Christ:

Distraction makes us oblivious to the presence of the Lord. And when we try to serve God without his presence we become angry and bitter with him and his servants. We also try to use the Lord to control others—“Tell her to help me.” Distraction can even lead to the arrogance of commanding God.

The harder Mary worked the more "worked up" she became! In English distracted means having attention drawn away from something on which it should be focused (in this case JESUS!). Distraction is the process of diverting the attention of an individual or group from a desired area of focus and thereby blocking or diminishing the reception of desired information (TIME WITH JESUS!) Distraction is caused by the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention. Distractions come from both external sources, and internal sources. External distractions include factors such as visual triggers, social interactions, music, text messages, and phone calls. There are also internal distractions such as hunger, fatigue, illness, worrying, and daydreaming. Both external and internal distractions contribute to the interference of focus. Beloved, what is distracting your today, drawing your attention away from the King of kings, your eternal Friend, Christ Jesus?

Robertson - Imperfect passive of perispaō, an old verb with vivid metaphor, to draw around. One has sometimes seen women whose faces are literally drawn round with anxiety, with a permanent twist, distracted in mind and in looks. 

With all her preparations - Young's Literal = "about much serving." Martha was preparing the physical food to feed the Anointed One, while Mary was taking in the spiritual food which would prepare her for her later work of anointing the Anointed One's feet!  (John 12:1-3) In this story Martha wants her efforts to be recognized, to be noticed, whereas in a later episode she quietly prepares the meal with no complaints (John 12:1-3). She seems to have been transformed (cp 2 Cor 3:18+). She must have learned from Jesus' words in Lk 10:42, learning to listen to Him and partaking of the "good part" by sitting and listening and meditating to the Word of the Lord and by worshiping the Lord of the Word. 

Spurgeon - if you want to serve God, as I trust you do, I charge you first be careful of your own souls. Do not begin with learning how to preach, or how to teach, or how to do this and that. Dear friend, get the strength within your own soul, and then even if you do not know how to use it scientifically, yet you will do much! The first thing is to get the heart warmed! Stir up your manhood! Brace up all your faculties! Get the Christ within you—ask the everlasting God to come upon you! Get Him to inspire you, and then if your methods should not be according to the methods of others, it will not matter, or if they should, neither will it be of consequence, having the power of the Holy Spirit, you will accomplish the results. But if you go about to perform the work before you have the strength from on high, you shall utterly fail. Better things we hope of you. God send them. Amen.


And she came up to Him and said,She came up is "the ingressive aorist here and really means stepping up to or bursting in or upon Jesus. It is an explosive act as is the speech of Martha." (ATR) Note to whom Martha addresses her comments, not to Mary, but to Jesus! In effect she reproached Jesus for monopolizing Mary to Martha's hurt. 

Lord (kurios), do You not (ou - absolutely not) care (melo - present tense - continually!) that my sister has left me to do all the serving (diakoneo) alone? Then tell her to help (sunantilambanomai) me - Notice that Martha calls him Lord (kurios) which supports that she was a believer in Him as the Messiah and Savior (cf her words in Jn 11:24). Do you not care has a strong negative (ou) before the verb indicating Martha expected Jesus to respond to her complaint by rebuking her sister. Has left is imperfect active saying she kept on leaving me. The implication is clearly that Mary had been assisting Martha until she was attracted by the presence of Jesus. Tell her is a command (aorist imperative) to Jesus Who she feels is the key to getting Mary off her knees and in the kitchen! 

MacArthur - (Martha's) misguided priorities finally caused Martha to lose the joy of serving. She became more and more flustered, agitated, and frustrated, until finally she became angry. The target of her anger was her sister who, instead of helping with the chores, was sitting there listening to Jesus. (See Luke Commentary)

John MacArthur adds that for Martha to "so rebuke the One Who is “compassionate and gracious” (Ex. 34:6; 2 Chr 30:9; Neh. 9:17, 31; Pss. 103:8; 111:4; 116:5; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2) and cares for His people (1 Peter 5:7; cf. Ps. 34:15; Matt. 6:26–30) is one of the most foolish and graceless statements anyone ever made to Jesus.....After falsely accusing Him of not caring, Martha then presumed to tell the Lord exactly what to do, implying that her will and her plans were more important than His. She had lost her perspective; she was totally out of control; her view of reality was severely skewed. Martha was worried about the bread that feeds the body, while Mary’s focus was on the Bread of Life that feeds the soul (cf. John 6:33, 35, 48, 51). (See Luke Commentary)

Ivor Powell - Spiritual appetite is always an indication of a healthy soul. In any case, Mary would have been useless in the kitchen, when her heart was in the parlour. 

Spurgeon applies these passages to the body of Christ - The Martha spirit shows itself in the censuring of those persons who are careful about Christ’s word, who stand up for the doctrines of the gospel, who desire to maintain the Ordinances as they were delivered unto them, and who are scrupulous, thoughtful, and careful concerning the truth of God as it is in Jesus.....The Martha spirit crops up in our reckoning so many things necessary. Martha believed that to entertain Christ there must be many things prepared, and as to leaving one of those things out—it could not be! Our Lord would have been satisfied enough with the simplest fare: a piece of fish or of a honeycomb would well have contented Him.....The censurable quality in the Martha spirit appears in the satisfaction which many feel with mere activity. To have done so much preaching, or so much Sunday school teaching; to have distributed so many tracts, to have made so many calls by our missionaries; all this seems to be looked at as end rather than means; if there is so much effort put forth, so much work is done—is it not enough? Our reply is, it is not enough! It is nothing without the divine Blessing. Brothers and sisters, where mere work is prized, and the inner life forgotten, prayer comes to be at a discount....It will be an evil day for us when we trust in the willing and the running, and practically attempt to do without the Holy Spirit. This lofty estimate of mere activity for its own sake throws the acceptance of our work into the shade. The Martha spirit says, if the work is done, is not that all? The Mary spirit asks whether Jesus is well-pleased or not. All must be done in His name, and by His Spirit, or nothing is done. Restless service, which sits not at His feet, is but the clattering of a mill which turns without grinding corn; it is but an elaborate method of doing nothing!....Once more, Martha’s spirit is predominant in the church of God to a considerable extent, now, in the evident respect which is paid to the manifest, and the small regard which is given to the secret. All Regenerated persons ought to be workers for God, and with God, but let the working never swamp the believing, never let the servant be more prominent than the Son! (Martha and Mary)

W. Jay reminds us "WE MAY MEET WITH HINDRANCES IN RELIGION FROM THOSE WHO SHOULD BE OUR ASSISTANTS. Such are friends and relations. Michal ridicules the holy joy of David (2 Sa 6:20-23). A brother may discourage a brother. A sister may reproach and repel a sister. Our foes may be those of our own household. Yea, even by religious friends and relations we may sometimes be injured. They may be wanting in sympathy. They may censure and condemn our actions from ignorance of our circumstances and motives." (Biblical Illustrator)

Ray Pritchard - When verse 40 says that Martha “came to him,” the translation obscures the force of the original Greek, which means something like, “Martha exploded out of the kitchen.” When she couldn’t take it anymore she marched up to Jesus, rolling pin in one hand and a bowl of green beans in the other, and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left all the work to me. Tell her to help me.” It’s hard not to smile when we read those words because all of us have been there at one time or another. And we’ve all said something similar when we’ve felt let down and abandoned by those we thought were going to help us....When Martha says, “Lord, don’t you care?” she really means to say, “Lord, you don’t care at all because if you did, you would have told Mary to go to the kitchen and help me.”...She is both criticizing Jesus and blaming her sister. Underneath this are her real problems: unrealistic expectations, misplaced priorities, and misdirected anger. To say it another way, Martha’s problem is that she doesn’t think she has a problem. She thinks everyone else has a problem but her. As long as she could blame someone else, she didn’t have to face what was in her heart. She is busy but not blessed. Jesus has come to her home but she is so stressed out that the joy has been replaced by frustration and anger. And oddly enough, her desire to serve Christ actually pulls her away from time with Christ. The good is crowding out the best.....In his book When I Relax, I Feel Guilty, Tim Hansel has a wonderful phrase for the Marthas of the world. He calls them “Weary Servants of the Impossible.” Because they feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, they attempt to “do it all” even if no one will join them. (The Harried Homemaker: Christ Speaks to the Problem of Compulsive Busyness)

Matthew Henry - In Martha's preparations for Jesus there was "something commendable" ("respect to our Lord Jesus") and "something culpable" ("distracted by all the preparations"). Henry adds that "The inordinacy of worldly cares and pursuits is often the occasion of disturbance in families and of strife and contention among relations."

In his poem "Sella," William Cullen Bryant wrote of

How beautiful the law of love
Can make the cares and toils of daily life

Augustus Neander - "It is wholly contrary to the sense of history to interpret this narrative (as some do) so as to make Martha represent the practical and Mary the contemplative tendency, and thence to infer that Christ ascribes superiority to the latter. The antithesis is between that turn of mind which forgets, in a multiplicity of objects, the one fundamental aim; and that, on the other hand, which devotes itself solely to the one object from which all others should proceed."

Related Resources:

Distracted (4049)(perispáo from perí = around + spáo = to draw) means to draw different ways at the same time, to be pulled away and figuratively to distract with cares and responsibilities. In the NT perispao is only found in the passive voice meaning to be drawn around in one's mind because one is so preoccupied with cares or business. Only in Luke 10:40. 

Vincent on perispao - The verb means, literally, to draw from around (peri). Martha’s attention, instead of centering round Jesus, was drawn hither and thither. The peri-, around, in composition with the verb, is followed immediately by another peri-, “about much serving.”

Preparations (1248)(diakonia is probably derived from dioko = to pursue, "to be a follower of a person, to attach one's self to him:" - Vincent) means the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature serve, including such mundane activities as waiting on tables or caring for household needs—activities without apparent dignity. Diakonia is related to diakonos, a servant, not in his relation (like doulos) but more in regard to his activity. The term covers both slaves and hired servants. A diakonos (deacon) does diakonia (service - Php 1:1, 1Ti 3:8, 12, Ro 16:1) Diakonia can refer to serving food or serving the Word of God (Acts 6:1,4)! Diakonia can refer to the ministry of the Spirit (2Cor 3:7) and to angels in their service to saints (Heb 1:14). Paul's dying words testify to the importance of diakonia, as he charges his disciple Timothy to fulfill his ministry (diakonia).

Barclay - the main idea which lies behind diakonia is that of practical service. It is from its kindred word diakonos (1249) that we get our English word deacon. It may be that a man will never have the privilege of standing forth in public and proclaiming Christ; but there is no man who cannot every day show the love of Christ in deeds of service to his fellow men.

MacArthur "The basic idea in both words always had to do with humble, submissive, personal service, not simply with an office or a particular function."

Diakonia - 32v - ministries(1), ministry(19), mission(1), preparations(1), relief(1), serve(1), service(7), serving(2), support(1). - Lk. 10:40; Acts 1:17; Acts 1:25; Acts 6:1; Acts 6:4; Acts 11:29; Acts 12:25; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:19; Rom. 11:13; Rom. 12:7; Rom. 15:31; 1 Co. 12:5; 1 Co. 16:15; 2 Co. 3:7; 2 Co. 3:8; 2 Co. 3:9; 2 Co. 4:1; 2 Co. 5:18; 2 Co. 6:3; 2 Co. 8:4; 2 Co. 9:1; 2 Co. 9:12; 2 Co. 9:13; 2 Co. 11:8; Eph. 4:12; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:11; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 2:19

Care (concerned)(3199melo means to concern oneself, to be of interest to. To care for, take an interest in, think about. It is a care or concern to someone, i.e. someone cares. To be an object of care.

Melo - 10v -  care(2), cares(1), concerned(4), defer(2), worry(1). Matt. 22:16; Mk. 4:38; Mk. 12:14; Lk. 10:40; Jn. 10:13; Jn. 12:6; Acts 18:17; 1 Co. 7:21; 1 Co. 9:9; 1 Pet. 5:7

Left (2641kataleipo from kata = intensifies or strengthens the meaning of leipo + leipo = to leave behind, forsake, to be wanting or deficient) literally means to leave behind or leave remaining (of a person or place - Mt 4:13, 16:4, 21:17, Heb 11:27). Kataleipo is often used to indicate abandoning a heritage, giving up riches, and leaving one's native land. Figuratively kataleipo was used to mean "neglect" (Acts 6:2+). Kataleipo conveys a strong sense of to abandon or forsake (as forsaking true Christianity 2Pe 2:15). To cause something to be left over and so to remain in existence (Ro 11:4, Heb 4:1 = a promise remains). To leave without help (Lk 10:40). In the passive to remain behind (1Th 3:1, John 8:9). To leave alone in the sense of disregard as describing those who sail past a place without stopping (Acts 21:3) Kataleipo can mean to cease an activity (eg, give up a vice) but there are no uses with this sense in Scripture.

Kataleipo - 24v - forsaking(1), kept(1), leave(4), leaves behind(1), leaving(3), leaving behind(1), left(8), left behind(1), left...behind(1), neglect(1), pulled free(1), remains(1). Matt. 4:13; Matt. 16:4; Matt. 19:5; Matt. 21:17; Mk. 10:7; Mk. 12:19; Mk. 12:21; Mk. 14:52; Lk. 5:28; Lk. 10:40; Lk. 15:4; Lk. 20:31; Jn. 8:9; Acts 6:2; Acts 18:19; Acts 21:3; Acts 24:27; Acts 25:14; Rom. 11:4; Eph. 5:31; 1 Thess. 3:1; Heb. 4:1; Heb. 11:27; 2 Pet. 2:15

Serving (waiting on) (1247diakoneo - derivation uncertain cp diakonis = in the dust laboring or running through the dust or possibly diako = to run on errands) means to minister by way of rendering service in any form or to take care of by rendering humble service. Gingrich on diakoneo = 1. wait on someone at table Lk 12:37; 22:26f; Jn 12:2.—2. serve generally, lit. and fig. Mt 4:11; Mk 10:45; Acts 19:22; 2Ti 1:18; 1Pt 1:12; wait on Mt 27:55. Take care of Acts 6:2; 2Co 3:3. Help, support Mt 25:44; Lk 8:3; Heb 6:10.—3. serve as deacon 1Ti 3:10, 13. 

Diakoneo - 32v - administered(1), administration(1), cared(1),, do...the serving(1), serving(1), minister(3), ministered(2), ministering(3), servant(1), serve(4), serve as deacons(1), served(2), served as deacons(1), serves(5), services...rendered(1), serving(4), take care(1), wait(1), waited(3). Matt. 4:11; Matt. 8:15; Matt. 20:28; Matt. 25:44; Matt. 27:55; Mk. 1:13; Mk. 1:31; Mk. 10:45; Mk. 15:41; Lk. 4:39; Lk. 8:3; Lk. 10:40; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 17:8; Lk. 22:26; Lk. 22:27; Jn. 12:2; Jn. 12:26; Acts 6:2; Acts 19:22; Rom. 15:25; 2 Co. 3:3; 2 Co. 8:19; 2 Co. 8:20; 1 Tim. 3:10; 1 Tim. 3:13; 2 Tim. 1:18; Phlm. 1:13; Heb. 6:10; 1 Pet. 1:12; 1 Pet. 4:10; 1 Pet. 4:11

Help (4878)(sunantilambanomai from sún = together, + antilambáno = to support, help <> antí = over against + lambáno = take, hold) means literally to take hold of anything with another and so to give assistance by sharing a burden. To lend a hand together with, to come to aid of, to take hold of opposite together, to co-operate (assist). The only other NT use is by Paul in Romans 8 - In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; (Ro 8:26) Robertson - The Holy Spirit lays hold of our weaknesses along with (sun) us and carries His part of the burden facing us (anti) as if two men were carrying a log, one at each end.

This verb sunantilambanomai depicts the action of a person coming to another’s aid by taking hold over against that person, of the load he or she is carrying. The person helping does not take the entire load, but helps the other person in his endeavor. 

Vincent - The verb consists of three elements: λαμβάνω, to take hold; σύν, together with; ἀντί, reciprocally—doing her part as Martha does hers. It might be paraphrased, therefore, take hold and do her part along with me. It occurs only here and Rom. 8:26, of the Spirit helping our infirmities, where all the elements of the verb are strikingly exemplified.

In sum, sunantilambanomai is a beautiful word, to take hold oneself (middle voice) at his end of the task (anti) together with (sun) one. (Robertson)

Sunantilambanomai - 3x in the Septuagint - Ex 18:22, Nu 11;17, Ps 89:21 

Exodus 18:22  "Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with (Lxx = sunantilambanomai) you.

Numbers 11:17  "Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear (Lxx = sunantilambanomai) the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone.

James Smith on use of sunantilambanomai in Ro 8:26 - The Lord Jesus Christ is mighty to save a sinner; the Holy Spirit is mighty to help a saint. The word "Comforter" has been variously translated. The terms "Advocate," "Paraclete," "Helper," have been used. In Romans 8:26, we read that "The Spirit helps our infirmities"— literally takes hold with me. The same word is used in Luke 10:40, but nowhere else in the New Testament. "Bid her therefore that she help me." The Holy Spirit has come, as one Who is willing and mighty to "take hold with me," that I might be helped in doing the will and work of God. Amen.

Adrian Rogers gives this illustration - I heard of two little boy scouts who were supposed to do a good deed every day. They came back to the scout troop, and they were all beat up and disheveled, and their clothing was torn. Somebody asked them what was wrong. They said, "Well, we went out to do our good deed." They said, "What did you do?" They said, "Well, we helped a little lady across the street." They said, "How did you get so torn up?" They said, "She didn't want to go." Many times we are doing things for our Lord that He doesn't want done for Him, because we've not been at His feet being quiet before Him.

Warren Wiersbe - In these days, when life can easily be pulled apart and when so many voices tell us what to do, we need to be like Mary and keep our priorities straight. We must make time daily to sit at the feet of Jesus, listen to his Word, and receive truth that is good, needful, and lasting. If we do this, we will please the Lord. There is a time for being a servant like Martha, but it is important that we first take time for worshiping, loving, and learning at the feet of Jesus. This is true preparation for acceptable service. In that day, rabbis seldom taught female students, but Jesus was pleased to teach Mary, and he will teach you and me by his Spirit if we come to his feet. Worship and meditation must always precede service, for without Jesus we can do nothing (Jn 15:5).

Spending time with Jesus will also enrich us spiritually. Martha was worried about food for the body, but Mary’s priority was food for the soul. “Do not labor for the food which perishes,” Jesus said, “but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6:27). God’s word is bread, milk, meat, and honey for the soul (Deut. 8:3; Ps. 119:103; 1 Pet. 2:2–3; Heb. 5:12–14). With her healthy spiritual appetite, Mary was in good company with people like Jeremiah (Jer. 15:16), Job (Job 23:12), and Jesus (Matt. 4:4). Jesus warned us that the cares of this life—like the preparation of meals—can choke the soil of our souls and make it difficult for us to receive the seed of the Word (Luke 8:14). It is essential that we cultivate an appetite for the Word of God and not live on substitutes. Don’t settle for secondhand nourishment; let the Spirit teach you directly from Scriptures. That even applies to books like this one, for books are supplements to Bible study, not substitutes for Bible study and meditation. 

Sitting at the feet of Jesus means you will be criticized. Satan doesn’t mind if your Bible sits on a table or in a drawer, he just doesn’t want it to get into your heart and bless you. Martha criticized her sister and her Savior and tried to tell them what to do. Criticism from believers hurts far more than criticism from unbelievers, and we must learn to expect it and not be crippled by it. Let Jesus defend you just as he defended Mary. The safest place is at the feet of Jesus.

But the blessing is this: spending time daily with Jesus will give you lasting influence. When Mary anointed Jesus, he told her that she would be a blessing to Christians around the world (Matt. 26:13), and she has been! Our lives, our prayers, our worship, and our service can reach around the world and bear fruit for eternity, but we won’t know about it until we see Jesus.

We must make the choice. Mary made her choice and God blessed her for it.

I have chosen the way of truth . . .
I have chosen Your precepts.
Psalm 119:30, 173

(See New Testament Words for Today: 100 Devotional Reflections)

Distracted By Serving. —Luke 10:40

Not long ago, I spent 2 weeks teaching at a Christian college overseas. While traveling, I wrote out a prayer list that I determined to use every day. I was greatly enriched by keeping this commitment to pray, and I returned home confident that I would continue the practice.

I didn’t! Soon I was so busy with church, family, and work that I prayed only in bits and snatches. I had lapsed into one of the most common snares of all —choosing the good and rejecting the best.

Then I read the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. I saw that I was like Martha, “distracted with much serving” (v.40) and neglecting Christ. I needed to say no to some of the good things I was doing and make room for the best. I needed to be thanking, praising, and worshiping God, and interceding for my family and friends.

But even times of prayer can degenerate into legalism, just another item on a “spiritual” to-do list. Prayer can be a distraction if it becomes an obligation instead of a privilege and an essential part of our relationship with God.

Jesus praised Mary because she had “chosen that good part” (v.42). What about your priorities? Are you neglecting God because you’re too busy serving Him?By David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Is God impressed with gifts you bring?
Your work, your skills, each little thing?
Oh yes, He values what you do,
But what He wants is time with you. 

We must spend time with the Master before we can have a servant's heart.

Are You Distracted? —Luke 10:40

In data collected from over 20,000 Christians in 139 countries, The Obstacles to Growth Survey found that, on average, more than 40 percent of Christians around the world say they “often” or “always” rush from task to task. About 60 percent of Christians say that it’s “often” or “always” true that the busyness of life gets in the way of developing their relationship with God. It’s clear that busyness does distract us from our fellowship with Him.

It seems that Martha too allowed busyness to distract her from spending time with Jesus. When she welcomed Him and His disciples into her home, she was occupied with preparing the food, washing their feet, and making sure they were comfortable. All of these things had to be done, but Luke seems to intimate that Martha’s busyness in preparation degenerated into busywork that distracted her from reflecting on Jesus’ words and enjoying time with Him (Luke 10:38-42).

What about us? Are we rushing from task to task, allowing the busyness of life and even work for Jesus to distract us from enjoying sweet fellowship with Him? Let’s ask God to help us diminish our distractions by making Jesus our focus.By Marvin Williams

Lord, I don’t want to miss out on moments of intimacy with You. Help me not to be so busy that I fail to devote time each day to prayer and reading Your Word. Amen.

If you are too busy for God, you are too busy.

Luke 10:41  But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things

Amplified -  But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 

CSB The Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things,

NLT But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!

Phillips - But the Lord answered her, "Martha, my dear, you are worried and bothered about providing so many things. 

Wuest - And answering, the Lord said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and excited about many things, 

YLT And Jesus answering said to her, 'Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and disquieted about many things,

Related Passages:

Matthew 6:25-34+  “For this reason (or "Therefore" as in KJV, NET, ESV, NIV versions - TERM OF CONCLUSION BEGS QUESTION "WHAT REASON?" - Mt 6:24+) I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.



But the Lord answered and said to her "Martha, Martha, you are worried (merimnao [be sure to check this word study] in present tense - continually) and bothered (turbazo in present tenseabout so many things - First notice what He did not say. He did not rebuke her for making preparations or showing hospitality, an important aspect of ancient culture. After all she could not call in an order to have pizza delivered! Martha had both inward anxiety and outward agitation. As we see in the next verse, Jesus may be preparing Martha to hear the truth that only one dish was really necessary for the meal instead of the "many" about which she was so anxious. Ultimately He, the Bread of life (Jn 6:35, 48), was the main "dish!" Martha's problem was that she focused too much on being the perfect hostess, attempting to prepare an elaborate meal, when one dish would have been sufficient. What if she had recalled Jesus miracle of feeding the 5000 and simply brought one loaf and one fish to the table? Do you think they would have gone hungry? (Rhetorical question of course!) Not only would Martha have had more time with her Lord, but she may have even witnessed a miracle of multiplication of the bread and fish. THOUGHT - I wonder how often we are so earthly tethered and temporally focused that we miss the beauty of the Lord, even missing "miracles" that He works around us, but we are too busy to even notice? Just a thought to ponder.  Martha, Martha (Lk 10:42NLT "My dear Martha." Phillips = "Martha, my dear.") Generally, the repetition of the name of the person seemed to indicate a message of special importance as shown by other examples in Scripture - see Abraham (Ge 22:11); Moses (Ex 3:4); Samuel (1 Sa 3:10);  Jerusalem (Mt 23:37) Simon (Lu 22:31), Saul (Acts 9:4, 22:7, 26:14)

Alison Trites adds this note on Martha, Martha - The reply of Jesus is sensitive and tender and perhaps indicates a tendency for Jesus to occasionally use doubled words (note “Simon, Simon” in Lk 22:31). There are several instances in the Bible where a name is repeated in a significant manner for emphasis: Abraham (Gen 22:11), Jacob (Gen 46:2), Moses (Ex 3:4), Samuel (1 Sa 3:4, 10), and Saul (Acts 9:4; 26:14)....Jesus is saying that Martha is worried over too many things. (Luke, Acts - Cornerstone Bible Commentary)

Spurgeon - Agitated, distressed Martha was afraid that something would go wrong with the dinner. She had too much on her hands (Ed: Or as we might  say today "too much on her plate!") — too much on her brain. That led her to blame her sister Mary, and to try to get the Lord to blame her too. There is a strong tincture of self-righteousness in Martha’s speech.

Leon Morris on you are worried (merimnao) - Jesus repeatedly warned his disciples against undue anxiety, as he does Martha. They were not to worry about the cares of everyday life (Lk 12:22; cf. Matt 6:25, 34), for this is unproductive and incompatible with faith in a loving heavenly Father, who cares for the needs of his children (Lk 12:23–30). Even in the face of trials, disciples were not to “worry about how to defend yourself or what to say” (Lk 12:11–12; cf. Matt 10:19–20); God would supply all their needs if they would make his Kingdom their primary concern (Lk 12:31; cf. Matt 6:33; Phil 4:6–7; 1 Pet 5:7). (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Ivor Powell paraphrases Jesus' words "Martha, your mind is in a turmoil for your thoughts are being pulled two ways at once. You try to listen to me; you continue to think about the tasks in the kitchen. You are agitated beyond measure. Martha, Martha!"

So many things - Not just one thing but many! Martha was a consummate multi-tasker, but the task was getting the better of her abilities! Is this not a message for all of us? How often do we allow so many things to worry and bother us? Things can often overwhelm us. So what is the secret of contentment? It is being content with Jesus like Mary and not with things. Paul alludes to this secret in Philippians

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned (NOTE: This is not automatic!) to be content in whatever circumstances I am (Ed: cf Mary sitting and me serving). I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (And what is the secret?) I can do all things through Him (JESUS) Who (endunamoo in present tense - continually) strengthens me. (Php 4:11-12+ Php 4:13+)

As stated elsewhere in these notes, praise God it does appear that Martha learned the secret of being content in whatever circumstances she was in. How do we know? In John 12:1-3 we read

Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving (NO DESCRIPTION OF HER BEING WORRIED AND BOTHERED); but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary (STILL CHOOSING THE "ONE THING!") then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

And on this occasion in John 12 where Mary is again at Jesus' feet, Martha is clearly present, but we see no spirit of complaining or self-pity that would in any way detract from Mary's act of worshipful service. Martha was content in serving Her Lord supper and content for her sister to serve her Lord by anointing His feet. Martha was a transformed woman, surely because she had learned the secret of the one thing needful! O how we all need to learn this secret and probably many times over as our heart is so prone to wander! God enable by Thy Spirit to pray like David...

Make me know Thy ways, O LORD;
Teach me Thy paths.
Lead me in Thy truth and teach me,
For Thou art the God of my salvation;
For Thee I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:4-5

THOUGHT- If you are bothered about something, it's important to you and you are worried about it. Martha's problem was the lack of balance, her failure to see life in proper perspective. When we focus intently on the temporal, we are almost guaranteed to miss out on the eternal. How's your vision today? Are you like Mary, who had "Vertical" (eternal) vision, or like Martha who had "Horizontal" (temporal) vision? See discussion of Vertical Vision

Are worried (anxious)(3309)(merimnao from merimna = anxious care from meris = part, in turn from the verb merizo = to distract, to divide, to draw different directions - which is exactly what anxiety does to most of us!) means to be drawn in different directions and expresses a strong feeling, often to the point of being burdened. Although this can be a "positive" concern, in most of the NT uses it refers to an anxious concern, based on apprehension about possible danger or misfortune, and so it means to be worried about, to be anxious about, to be apprehensive (viewing the future with anxiety or alarm), to be unduly concerned, to be burdened with anxious care or cumbered with many cares and in simple terms to worry.

Merimnao - 19x/17v- anxious(1), care(1), concerned(5),, worried(4), worry(6), worrying(1). Matt. 6:25; Matt. 6:27; Matt. 6:28; Matt. 6:31; Matt. 6:34; Matt. 10:19; Lk. 10:41; Lk. 12:11; Lk. 12:22; Lk. 12:25; Lk. 12:26; 1 Co. 7:32; 1 Co. 7:33; 1 Co. 7:34; 1 Co. 12:25; Phil. 2:20; Phil. 4:6

Worry has a fascinating etymology which can be traced back to the Old High German "wurgen" which means "to strangle" which is what worry does to our joy! Webster adds that in "dialect British" worry means to "choke" or to "strangle". The first definition of "worry" in Webster is "to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat", and then "to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort" and "to afflict with mental distress or agitation = make anxious". (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield, Mass)

Vincent on worried - The cognate noun is μέριμνα, care, which was formerly derived from μερίς, a part; μερίζω, to divide; and was explained accordingly as a dividing care, distracting the heart from the true object of life. This has been abandoned, however, and the word is placed in a group which carries the common notion of earnest thoughtfulness. It may include the ideas of worry and anxiety, and may emphasize these, but not necessarily. See, for example, “careth for the things of the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:32). “That the members should have the same care one for another” (1 Cor. 12:25). “Who will care for your state?” (Phil. 2:20). In all these the sense of worry would be entirely out of place. In other cases that idea is prominent, as, “the care of this world,” which chokes the good seed (Matt. 13:22; compare Luke 8:14). Of Martha; “Thou art careful” (Luke 10:41). Take thought, in this passage, was a truthful rendering when the A. V. was made, since thought was then used as equivalent to anxiety or solicitude. So Shakspeare (“Hamlet”):"The native hue of resolution Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought." And Bacon (Henry VII.): “Hawis, an alderman of London, was put in trouble, and died with thought and anguish.” Somers’ “Tracts” (in Queen Elizabeth’s reign): “Queen Catherine Parr died rather of thought.” The word has entirely lost this meaning. Bishop Lightfoot (“On a Fresh Revision of the New Testament”) says: “I have heard of a political economist alleging this passage as an objection to the moral teaching of the sermon on the mount, on the ground that it encouraged, nay, commanded, a reckless neglect of the future.” It is uneasiness and worry about the future which our Lord condemns here, and therefore Rev. rightly translates be not anxious. This phase of the word is forcibly brought out in 1 Peter, 5:7, where the A. V. ignores the distinction between the two kinds of care. “Casting all your care (μέριμναν, Rev., anxiety) upon Him, for He careth (αὐτῷ μέλει) for you,” with a fatherly, tender, and provident care.” (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Larry Richards offers a well reasoned assessment of merimnao explaining that 

The verb originally meant "to care," or "to be concerned about." When used by the Greeks concerning the future, both words came to connote anxious expectation. When used of the present, the words expressed an aching sense of grief. The meaning of any term, however, is defined by the way it is used. It is the way that Jesus and the writers of the Gospels and Epistles, guided by the Holy Spirit, used words that filled them with their biblical meaning...

According to the Bible, anxiety is often legitimate. The word indicates first of all a sense of concern for self and/or for others. In 1Co 7, for instance, it is used to express the commendable concern of a person for his or her spouse (1Co 7:33, 34) and the concern of each "about the Lord's affairs," that is, how to "please the Lord" (1Co 7:32). Paul speaks of the daily "pressure of [his] concern [merimna] for all the churches" (2Co 11:28) and states that God's purpose in the body is that each part have "equal concern [merimnao] for each other" and that "if one part suffers, every part suffers with it" (1Co 12:25, 26). Even in speaking of the "worries of this life" (Mt 13:22; Mk 4:19), Jesus is simply stating a fact of life. We are living in this present world, and there are necessary concerns that each individual must attend to.

But while it is legitimate to have concerns that we will at times experience as demanding pressures, there is a limit to their legitimacy. The "worries of this life" may so dominate our attention that they make God's Word unfruitful in our lives (Mt 13:22; Mk 4:19). The pressures of legitimate concerns can cause us to so focus on worldly matters that we forget to relate our needs and our worries to the Lord. (Borrow Expository Dictionary of Bible Words)

Bothered (5182)(turbazo from túrbē =  a crowd, tumult, related to thórubos (2351), noise, uproar) means in the active sense to make noise, an uproar, to disturb, stir up, to cause trouble. In the NT, figuratively, in the passive sense turbazo means to be troubled, bothered or disturbed in one's mind. This is the only use of turbazo in all of the Scripture.  Turbazo from turbe (crowd, tumult) is the etymological root of our common word turbulent which means violently agitated or disturbed; tumultuous, having a chaotic or restless character or tendency, Causing unrest or disturbance, characterized by unrest, disorder, or insubordination; of a liquid, agitated vigorously; in a state of turbulence; one in which there is a lot of uncontrolled change. This gives quite a picture of Martha's emotional state! In Luke 10:41 anxiety refers to Martha’s mental distraction; turbazē, to her external agitation (Plummer, International Critical Commentary, 28:291).

ILLUSTRATION - The Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details!" (Luke 10:41NLT)

Dr. E. Stanley Jones plunged into his work in India with passion, but unbearable heat and hard work shattered his nerves. He was sent home, but Jones returned a year later only to collapse again. In this state, Jones went to the city of Lucknow for meetings. One night, he suddenly felt the Lord asking him: Are you yourself ready for this work to which I have called you?

"No, Lord, I am done for," Jones said. "I have reached the end of my resources." If you will turn that over to Me and not worry about it, I will take care of it.

"Lord," Jones said, "I close the bargain right here." A great peace settled into his heart. "I knew it was done! Life—Abundant Life—had taken possession of me. I was so lifted up that I scarcely touched the road as I quietly walked home that night.... I went through the days, working far into the night, and came down to bedtime wondering why in the world I should ever go to bed at all, for there was not the slightest trace of tiredness of any kind."

Jones served more than forty years in India, becoming one of the most famous missionaries of his generation. If we're always worried about "all these details," we'll break down. But if we turn them over to the Lord, He'll take care of them—and of us!



  • Distracted = drawn all around at same time
  • Running in circles with busyness
  • Worried = inward anxiety
  • Bothered = outward agitation
  • Work leading to "words"


  • Position?  Seated at Jesus' feet
  • Practice? Listening with an open heart
  • Fulfilling her greatest need - Sit at Jesus' feet and listening to His Word
  • Word leading to Worship

Jesus desires our fellowship over our service

  • Are you Martha not knowing which way to turn?
  • Choose to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to His Words.
  • Get on your knees and open the Living Word

Look around and be distressed
Look within and be depressed
Look at Jesus and be at rest.
-- Corrie Ten Boom

Luke 10:42  but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Amplified -  There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her. 

CSB but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her."

ESV but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

KJV  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

NET  but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her."

NIV  but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

NLT  There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."

YLT  but of one thing there is need, and Mary the good part did choose, that shall not be taken away from her.'

BBE  Little is needed, or even one thing only: for Mary has taken that good part, which will not be taken away from her.

GWN  There's only one thing you need.?worth worrying about, there is only one thing you need."> Mary has made the right choice, and that one thing will not be taken away from her."

NAB  There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

Phillips - Only a few things are really needed, perhaps only one. Mary has chosen the best part and you must not tear it away from her!"

Wuest - but of few things there is need, or of one, for Mary chose out for herself the good portion, which is of such a nature that it shall not hastily be snatched away from her.

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 30:19  “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” 

Psalm 17:15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

Psalm 27:4  One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. 

Psalm 73:25   Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. 

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 

Click to enlarge


J. Dwight Pentecost said “To be occupied with Christ is more important than to be occupied for Christ.”

But only one thing is necessary for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." - What was the need to which Jesus refers? What was Mary doing? She was listening. Jesus was speaking and certainly was teaching.

THOUGHT - That is the deepest need of every man or woman's soul, God's Word. The vitality of our spiritual lives depend on our intake of the Word (1Pe 2:2+). We make the choice to imbibe the living and active Word and the Spirit takes that Word in our heart and supernaturally (yea, even mysteriously) transforms us from glory to glory into greater degrees of Christlikeness (2 Cor 3:18+). By the Word ingested we grow in faith (Ro 10:17+). Jesus summed up our need in His refutation of the devil's temptation declaring to the Tempter "It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” (Mt 4:4, cp Lk 4:4). Of course just hearing (or reading or studying) the Word of God is not enough. We have to obey it for the Spirit to use it in our life to transform us. Jesus said "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Lk 11:28) As Don Whitney says "No factor is more influential (Ed: cp "one thing...necessary") in making us more like the Son of God than the Spirit of God working through the Word of God."

Knowing Christ must come before serving Christ
or else our service will be barren and our hearts will be frustrated.
-- Ray Pritchard

Donald Whitney adds "No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture (Ed: Cp 1 Peter 2:2). The reasons for this are obvious. In the Bible God tells us about Himself, and especially about Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God. The Bible unfolds the Law of God to us and shows us how we’ve all broken it. There we learn how Christ died as a sinless, willing Substitute for breakers of God’s Law and how we must repent and believe in Him to be right with God. In the Bible we learn the ways and will of the Lord. We find in Scripture how to live in a way that is pleasing to God as well as best and most fulfilling for ourselves. None of this eternally essential information can be found anywhere else except the Bible. Therefore if we would know God and be godly, we must know the Word of God—intimately." (ED: Like Mary did by sitting at His feet!) My pastoral experience bears witness to the validity of surveys that frequently reveal that great numbers of professing Christians know little more about the Bible than Third-World Christians who possess not even a shred of Scripture. We may nod in agreement that we must know God’s Word intimately, yet spend no more time in His Word than those who have no Bibles at all. So even though we honor God’s Word with our lips, we must confess that our hearts—as well as our hands, ears, eyes, and minds—are often far from it. Regardless of how busy we become with all things Christian, we must remember that the most transforming practice available to us is the disciplined intake of Scripture.(Borrow Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life 24)

Mary chose the (most) important over the urgent,
the better (best) over the good.

Ray Pritchard - Many good things that occupy us can squeeze out the “one thing” that ought to be at the center of life. Perhaps an illustration will help. How do you develop a child into a world-class pianist or a gold-medal gymnast or a world-renowned soloist? There is only one way. You must start when the child is only two or three years old. Someone must say, “One thing is needful.” And everything else must take second place. Get up early, practice for hours each day, week after week, year after year. To be the best, you must give up what others call a “normal” life because what you want is not “normal” at all. The “one thing” must take precedence over the “many things.” There is no other way to the top. Jesus is saying something like this: “Martha, you are so busy serving me that you have no time for me to serve you. I appreciate your love and I recognize that your motives are good, but your heart is divided and distracted. Your zeal to serve me has pushed me to the edge of your heart. Martha, I want to be at the center of everything for you. That is far more important that preparing a fancy meal in my honor.” How did it happen that Mary was in the “better” place? Answer: She chose it. Given the same opportunity that Martha had, she chose to go to the living room and sit at Jesus’ feet. It did not happen by chance; it never does. You will never end up at Jesus’ feet by accident. You must choose to go there or it will never happen. Mary did not know when or if Jesus would return to her home. She wanted to spend time with him while he was there. She knew there would always be other meals to prepare, but she might never have another chance to be with Jesus. That’s why she was willing to leave some things undone if necessary in order to be with Jesus. She chose the important over the urgent, the better over the good. And that is why the Lord commended her. This passage is not about cooking versus praying or the active life versus a life of contemplation. It’s about the divided life verses the focused life, a life of frantic activity versus a life centered on knowing Christ.....One writer notes that something eternal is cooking in this home in Bethany, but it’s not in the kitchen. That meal will soon be consumed and forgotten. But the meal Jesus is serving in the living room will last forever. Don’t miss the one while you are preparing the other.....I love the final phrase of the text where Jesus declares that what Mary has gained “will not be taken from her.” What she gained, she would have forever. Meals come and go. Sometimes mothers complain along these lines: “I work for hours to prepare a nice meal and then it’s gone in ten minutes.” But time with Jesus is yours forever. I’m sure Mary never forgot that wonderful day when she sat at Jesus’ feet drinking in every word. In the end this story is about the danger of distraction while doing good things. The one thing we need most is to sit at Jesus’ feet. It will not happen by accident. And others will not always understand. Including, sometimes, our loved ones.

This passage is...about the divided life verses the focused life,
a life of frantic activity versus a life centered on knowing Christ.

Steve Cole gives four reasons why we should make sitting at the Lord’s feet the main priority in our life (note see his sermon for elaboration on each of the four topics below).





D. L. Moody put it, ‘A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it." Nothing is more necessary and no source is more essential than the Word of God.


Related Resource

Spurgeon - “Thou hast forgotten much. Looking after many things, thou hast failed to remember the chief, the only needful thing.” And so he let her still sit there, and hear his blessed words. “Oh, that I could for ever sit With Mary at the Master’s feet. Be this my happy choice!”  I shall not tell her to leave my instruction said our Lord or to get up from the position which she occupies. No, you may go about your work, she is honouring me as much as you are, if not more. This did not mean that Mary was perfect, or that Martha was wholly to be condemned. Both needed to learn much from Jesus, and Mary was more in the way of it. Still Martha was doing good service. But you will see that Mary could do something for Christ too when the time came. 

Spurgeon - She was more spiritual than her sister, and was wise for so being. The active Christian must one day cease from his activity, but the contemplative spiritual believer may continue to sit at Jesus’ feet throughout the whole of life, and even in death itself. To learn of Jesus and live in communion with him is the highest privilege of saints. (The Interpreter).

Leon Morris observes that "Few Gospel stories have been subjected to greater mishandling than this one. Through the centuries, Mary has often been idealized at the expense of Martha, and in the Middle Ages, Mary was used as a model to exalt the contemplative life over the active one. However, that is to misuse the text and to misunderstand the context. “Martha need not be criticized for her ambitious behavior. For her actions reveal her loyalty to the Lord Jesus. Her true character is displayed in her honesty and steadfast faith” (Gardner 1995:444)." (Borrow The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary - Tyndale NT Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe - Often in my pastoral ministry, I have asked people with serious problems, “Tell me about your devotional life.” The usual response has been an embarrassed look, a bowed head, and the quiet confession, “I stopped reading my Bible and praying a long time ago.” And they wondered why they had problems! According to John 12:1–2, Martha must have learned her lesson, for she prepared a feast for Jesus, the Twelve, and her brother and sister—that’s fifteen people—and did not utter one word of complaint! She had God’s peace in her heart because she had learned to sit at the feet of Jesus. (Borrow Be Compassionate)

Mary has chosen the good part - It is as if Jesus was saying (and I will paraphrase) "Martha, you are preparing many dishes for us to eat, but Mary has prepared the one dish you cannot fix in the kitchen!" How much better to "eat" the words from the Bread of Life, words that feed the soul that lives forever, than to eat the bread that feeds the body which is decaying and is destined to soon die! (cf 2 Cor 4:16).


One master passion in the breast,
Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.
—Alexander Pope.

God grant us grace that we do not let many things
crowd out the one thing that is needful. Amen

Jesus' gave us another version of "one thing" needful in His Sermon on the Mount...

But (for contrast see Mt 6:31-32) seek (present imperative - make this the habit of your life. The only way to obey is to be filled daily with the Spirit who gives us the desire and power [Php 2:13NLT] to seek) first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (Matthew 6:33-+)

Spurgeon -  Lord, enable me to be a non-anxious one. May I be so eager after heavenly things, that I altogether leave my earthly cares with thee! Let us spend life on the one thing, and it will be well spent: as for the twenty secondary objects, they also will be ours if we pursue the one thing only. 

Mary's choice reminds us of David's great words in Psalm 27...

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)

Spurgeon's Comment One thing. Divided aims tend to distraction, weakness, disappointment. The man of one book is eminent, the man of one pursuit is successful. Let all our affections be bound up in one affection, and that affection set upon heavenly things. 

Have I desired—what we cannot at once attain, it is well to desire. God judges us very much by the desire of our hearts. He who rides a lame horse is not blamed by his master for want of speed, if he makes all the haste he can, and would make more if he could; God takes the will for the deed with his children. 

Of the Lord. This is the right target for desires, this is the well into which to dip our buckets, this is the door to knock at, the bank to draw upon; desire of men, and lie upon the dunghill with Lazarus: desire of the Lord, and to be carried of angels into Abraham's bosom. Our desires of the Lord should be sanctified, humble, constant, submissive, fervent, and it is well if, as with the psalmist, they are all molten into one mass. Under David's painful circumstances we might have expected him to desire repose, safety, and a thousand other good things, but no, he has set his heart on the pearl, and leaves the rest. 

That will I seek after. Holy desires must lead to resolute action. The old proverb says, "Wishers and woulders are never good housekeepers, "and "wishing never fills a sack." Desires are seed which must be sown in the good soil of activity, or they will yield no harvest. We shall find our desires to be like clouds without rain, unless followed up by practical endeavors. 

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. For the sake of communion with the King, David longed to dwell always in the palace; so far from being wearied with the services of the Tabernacle, he longed to be constantly engaged in them, as his life long pleasure. He desired above all things to be one of the household of God, a home born child, living at home with his Father. This is our dearest wish, only we extend it to those days of our immortal life which have not yet dawned. We pine for our Father's house above, the home of our souls; if we may but dwell there for ever, we care but little for the goods or ills of this poor life. "Jerusalem the golden" is the one and only goal of our heart's longings. 

To behold the beauty of the Lord. An exercise both for earthly and heavenly worshipers. We must not enter the assemblies of the saints in order to see and be seen, or merely to hear the minister; we must repair to the gatherings of the righteous, intent upon the gracious object of learning more of the loving Father, more of the glorified Jesus, more of the mysterious Spirit, in order that we may the more lovingly admire, and the more reverently adore our glorious God. What a word is that, "the beauty of the Lord!" Think of it, dear reader! Better far—behold it by faith! What a sight will that be when every faithful follower of Jesus shall behold "the King in his beauty!" Oh, for that infinitely blessed vision! 

And to inquire in his temple. We should make our visits to the Lord's house inquirers' meetings. Not seeking sinners alone, but assured saints should be inquirers. We must inquire as to the will of God and how we may do it; as to our interest in the heavenly city, and how we may be more assured of it. We shall not need to make inquiries in heaven, for there we shall know even as we are known; but meanwhile we should sit at Jesus' feet, and awaken all our faculties to learn of him.

One thing, etc. A heavenly mind gathers itself up into one wish and no more. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, which I will require." Grant me thyself, O Lord, and I will ask no more. The new creature asks nothing of God, but to enjoy God: give me this, O Lord, and for the rest, let Ziba take all. I will part with all to buy that one pearl, the riches of heavenly grace. Jeremy Taylor. 

One thing. The first thing, then, is David's choice, summarily described in the word, "one thing." So Christ confirmeth the prophet's word, while he called Mary's choice, "one thing." Lu 10:42. And that for these three reasons: First, because it is not a common but a chief good. If there be any good above it, it is not the chief good; and if there be any good equal unto it, it is not alone. Next, because it is the last end which we mind eternally to enjoy; if there be any end beyond it, it is not the last, but amidst, and a degree to it. All mids and ends are used for it, but it is sought for itself, and, therefore, must be but one. Thirdly, it is a centre whereunto all reasonable spirits draw. As all lines from a circle meet in the centre, so every one that seeketh happiness aright meeteth in the chief good, as the only thing which they intend, and, therefore, must be one. William Struther, (Treasury of David - Psalm 27)

We are also reminded of Paul's words in Philippians...

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13-+, Phil 3:14-+)

John MacArthur - David’s single focus (Ps 27:4) was on beholding and meditating on the beauty of the Lord, and Paul’s was on pursuing Him so as to be conformed to His likeness. Both are illustrations of the highest priority for believers—the deep, transforming knowledge of God.

Ray Pritchard - Note the fierce concentration implicit in his words: “one thing I do.” Here is a secret that applies across the board. To excel in any area of life, a person must say, “This one thing I do,” not “These 20 things I do.” A single-minded focus in any endeavor generally wins a great reward.

  • A great artist must say, “One thing I do.”
  • A gifted teacher must say, “One thing I do.”
  • A championship athlete must say, “One thing I do.”
  • A single parent raising her child must say, “One thing I do.”
  • A student who wants to graduate with honors must say, “One thing I do.”

Greatness in any arena comes to those who can say with the Apostle Paul, “One thing I do.” In his case, it meant looking to the heavenly goal of winning the prize. That phrase covers all that God has for us when we finally stand before Jesus Christ and hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

One hundred years ago a young man (William Borden of Borden's milk) from a wealthy family entered Yale University. His family intended that after completing his degree he would enter a suitable career in America. But God gripped his heart with the needs of China and he volunteered to go to that country with the gospel, much to the dismay of his family and friends. He left America but never made it to China, succumbing to a disease before reaching that distant shore. After his death, a note was found in his effects that summarized his life: “No reserve, no retreat, no regrets.” I wonder how many of us could say the same thing?

Spurgeon on one thing I do - He says, “This one thing I do,” as if he had given up all else, and addicted himself to one sole objective—to aim to be like Jesus Christ. There were many other things Paul might have attempted, but he says, “This one thing I do.” Probably Paul was a poor speaker—why did he not try to make himself a rhetorician? No, he came not with excellence of speech. But you tell me Paul was busy with his tent making. I know he was—what with tent-making, preaching, visiting, and watching night and day, he had more than enough to do. But all these were a part of his pursuit of the one thing—he was laboring to serve his Master perfectly, and to render himself up as a whole burnt offering unto God. I invite every soul that has been saved by the precious blood of Christ to gather up all its strength for this one thing—to cultivate a passion for grace, and an intense longing after holiness. Ah, if we could but serve God as God should be served, and be such manner of people as we ought to be in all holy conversation and godliness, we should see a new era in the church. The greatest need of the church at this day is holiness. (Onward - sermon on Php 3:13-14)

James Smith - ONE THING.

  1. One Thing Lacking: The inclusiveness of the Lord's claims (Mark 10:21).
  2. One Thing Needful. The blessedness of giving the Lord our trust, love and attention (Luke 10:42).
  3. One Thing Done. The value of definiteness and concentration upon the things of God (Phil. 3:13).

John Butler - One thing is needful refers to the welfare of the soul. Nothing is more important. It is to take precedence over all other concerns in life. Yet, the world puts little priority on the welfare of the soul. They are more likely to call it "the one thing needless" since they put every pursuit in life ahead of spiritual pursuits. However, Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33-+) which expresses heaven's priorities. (Sermon Starters)

Charles Simeon on one thing needful - The care of the soul, by whatever terms we describe it, is justly called “the one thing needful.” Were we indeed to judge by the conduct of the world at large, we should rather call it, ‘the one thing needless;’ since every pursuit, however trifling, is preferred before it. But there is nothing of such value as the soul; the whole world, in comparison of it, is a mere vanity. Nor is there any difference in this respect between the rich and the poor: the souls of all are of equal value in the sight of God; all are equally concerned to secure eternal happiness. There is no situation where an attention to our spiritual interests can be dispensed with; no situation wherein the concerns of eternity should not be uppermost in our minds. Other things may be desirable; but the care of the soul is needful, absolutely, universally, and indispensably needful.

Chuck Smith - Mary was the one who later, just a week before He was crucified, took a pound of extremely expensive perfume, which Judas estimated the cost several thousand dollars and poured it over the head of Jesus as He sat at supper. Judas claimed that it was a waste and should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus however again defended Mary's expressions of devotion for Him and commanded Judas to leave her alone, she had done this special act of love for His burial. It seems that Mary was always being criticized for her pure devotion for Jesus, but it should be noted that Jesus always stood up for her and defended her love for Him.....When Satan tempted Jesus to turn the stones into bread when He was hungry. Bread was necessary, but Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." With Martha, it was bread alone. Mary had chosen to also listen to the word that came forth from the mouth of God (ED: He Who was "the Living Bread" of God John 6:51). John tells us that Jesus loved Mary and Martha. They shared a special relationship with Him. He loved Martha the doer, and Mary the communer.. They both shared a special place in His heart. He did not like Martha the complainer. If you want to do, that is fine, but don't complain about it. If you give your time to doing, do not neglect the time for communing also.

Necessary (Need(5532)(chreia from chraomai = to use, make use of or chreos = a debt) means a necessity, what is needed or the occasion of need.

For (gar) is a term of explanation, in this case explaining the one thing. 

Mary has chosen the good part - The best dish on the table, fellowship with Jesus! This is the spiritual application of the metaphor of the dishes on the table. Salvation is not "the good portion" for Martha had that also.  (Robertson)

Henry Morris - Today, we can only sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His word by reading and meditating on the Scriptures. Important as our daily responsibilities may be to meet our material needs, we should somehow make time for this “good part.” The Lord assures us that, if this is our desire, He will provide the time, as He did with Mary.

Frederic Godet - "In this defence of Mary's conduct there is included an invitation to Martha to imitate her at once...."The expression in which Jesus justifies His rebuke is at once serious and playful. According to the received reading, One thing only is needful, the thought might be: 'A single dish is sufficient.' But as it was certainly not a lesson on simplicity of food that Jesus wished to give here, we must in that case admit a double reference, like that which is so often found in the words of Jesus (John 4:31-34): 'A single kind of nourishment is sufficient for the body, as one only is necessary for the soul.'"

Matthew Henry - "The one thing needful is certainly meant of that which Mary made her choice—sitting at Christ's feet, to hear his word."

Hurry is the working of the flesh; faith, like God, works at leisure.
-- D L Moody

Gene Brooks - Love for God is best expressed in listening and responding to Jesus’ words, not in busily ‘doing’ for him. The story of Mary and Martha is a warning. Even Jesus’ own followers will fare no better than the first generation that followed Moses if like Martha they place priority on ‘doing.’ Remember that generation? They did not operate on faith. They operated on fear. They did not trust the Lord to lead them into the Promised Land, a place they had never been. They didn’t know if they had the resources, but they did not trust the Lord to provide them, either. They died in the Wilderness. Their bones bleached in the desert sun because of their unbelief (Heb 4). Luke says that Jesus’ followers will fail too if they don’t put their priorities on the right things. Like Mary, we must emphasize the disciple’s duty to maintain an intimate personal relationship with God (Luke 10:38-42).(The Priority of His Presence)

William MacDonald - The Lord now centers His attention on the word of God and prayer as the two great means of blessing (10:38-11:54). Mary sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word, while Martha was distracted by her preparations for the Royal Guest. Martha wanted the Lord to rebuke her sister for failing to help, but Jesus tenderly rebuked Martha for her fretfulness! Our Lord prizes our affection above our service. Service may be tainted with pride and self-importance. Occupation with Himself is the one thing needful, that good part which will not be taken away. "The Lord wants to convert us from Marthas into Marys," comments C. A. Coates, "just as He wants to convert us from lawyers into neighbors." (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Charles R. Erdman - While the Master does appreciate all that we undertake for Him, He knows that our first need is to sit at His feet and learn His will (Ed: How? By hearing His Word!); then in our tasks we shall be calm and peaceful and kindly, and at last our service may attain the perfectness of that of Mary when in a later scene she poured upon the feet of Jesus the ointment, the perfume of which still fills the world. 

William Barclay has an interesting take on Luke 10:38-42 - Think where Jesus was going when this happened. He was on his way to Jerusalem--to die. His whole being was taken up with the intensity of the inner battle to bend his will to the will of God. When Jesus came to that home in Bethany it was a great day; and Martha was eager to celebrate it by laying on the best the house could give. So she rushed and fussed and cooked; and that was precisely what Jesus did not want. All he wanted was quiet. With the cross before him and with the inner tension in his heart, he had turned aside to Bethany to find an oasis of calm away from the demanding crowds if only for an hour or two; and that is what Mary gave him and what Martha, in her kindness, did her best to destroy. "One thing is necessary"--quite possibly this means, "I don't want a big spread; one course, the simplest meal is all I want." It was simply that Mary understood and that Martha did not. Here is one of the great difficulties in life. So often we want to be kind to people--but we want to be kind to them in our way; and should it happen that our way is not the necessary way, we sometimes take offence and think that we are not appreciated. If we are trying to be kind the first necessity is to try to see into the heart of the person we desire to help--and then to forget all our own plans and to think only of what he or she needs. Jesus loved Martha and Martha loved him, but when Martha set out to be kind, it had to be her way of being kind which was really being unkind to him whose heart cried out for quiet. Jesus loved Mary and Mary loved him, and Mary understood. (Daily Study Bible)

Chosen (1586)(eklego or eklegomai - middle voice from ek = out, out of, out from + légo = select, choose) means to choose out or select out for oneself (middle voice is reflexive and this verb is only in the middle voice in the NT). The idea in eklego speaks of the sizable number from which the selection is made. It implies the taking of a smaller number out of a larger.  Jesus "chose twelve" disciples (Lk 6:13, cp Jn 6:70, 13:18, Acts 1:2). God the Father called Jesus "Chosen One" (Lk 9:35). In a parable Jesus described guests who "had been picking out the places of honor." (Lk 14:7). Jesus reminds His disciples "you did not choose Me but I chose you." (Jn 15:16, "out of the world" = Jn 15:19) "God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith." (James 2:5).

Martin Luther was a bit hard on Martha - "Martha, your work must be punished and counted as naught...I will have no work but the work of Mary." His words may reflect his past history of a works mentality and his reaction against works based "salvation." It is not so much that Martha's works counted for naught, but that her attitude needed an adjustment. If the church had all Mary's and no Martha's, it would be in a mess! Martha's work was necessary, but it lacked the proper perspective. The reality is that as followers of Jesus we need to cultivate a Martha and a Mary mindset in order to be properly balanced in the Christian life, manifesting an activist and a contemplative lifestyle. The issue in this story was a matter of not one totally wrong (Martha) and the other totally right (Mary), but was more a matter of priorities. Our priority should always be to listen to and learn from the Living Word of God (like Mary) before we carry out the service for the Lord (like Martha). And given that the will of the Lord is best discerned in the Word of the Lord, we will then be more likely to do our work in the center of the will of the Lord. Or stated another way, we will be more likely to do our work abiding in the Vine and bear much fruit, for as Jesus cautioned apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal value (John 15:5). Jesus was not hungering the preparation of lentils and lamb from Martha, but was desiring the person of Martha, for the one dish she could not prepare was her relationship with God. And the only way to prepare that "dish" was by abiding at His feet, savoring His "soul food." Here's the upshot: To get our service to the Lord right, we must give our priorities right. We must let Jesus minister to us before we go out to minister for Him. Isn't that what Jesus said in essence when He said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. (Mk 12:30-31). Love God first like Mary, then you can love your neighbor like Martha! If we invert the order, we end up like Martha, distracted, worried and bothered about so many things! We end up feeling overworked and under appreciated! But if our priority is Jesus first, we will experience His Spirit enabling us to accomplish the works He has prepared for us (Eph 2:10) and we will do it with Spirit given joy and contentment! Have you inverted this supernatural order and placed work before worship? If so, then confess it, repent, and begin tomorrow morning with that "Quiet Time" that's been "much too quiet" for a long, long time. (See Thoughts on the Quiet Time)

ILLUSTRATION - In a Scandinavian country there is a lovely statue of Christ that stands in a town square. The statue is noteworthy because the face of Jesus is not visible to those who stand in front of the statue. When a traveler complained, “I cannot see his face,” a man replied, “If you wish to see his face, you must kneel at his feet.”....The world says, “Don’t just sit there, do something.” And Jesus says, “If you are worried and distracted, don’t just do something, take time to sit at my feet.” Did you see the gospel in our text? It is there very clearly. We are not saved by doing, not even by our good doing of good deeds, not even by righteous service done in Jesus’ name. We are not saved by doing but by not doing. We are not saved by giving but by receiving. When we give up our doing and kneel in simple faith at Jesus’ feet, then and only then are we saved. (Ray Pritchard)

Rich Mullins wrote a simple song that speaks of one thing needful...PLAY HIS SONG


   Everybody I know says they need just one thing
   And what they really mean is that they need just one thing more
   And everybody seems to think they got it coming
   Well I know that I don't deserve You
   Still I want to love and serve You more and more
   You're my one thing

   Save me from those things that might distract me
   Please take them away and purify my heart
   I don't want to lose the eternal for the things that are passing
   'Cause what will I have when the world is gone
   If it isn't for the love that goes on and on with

   My one thing
   You're my one thing
   And the pure in heart shall see God ...

   Who have I in Heaven but You Jesus
   And what better could I hope to find down here on earth
   I could cross the most distant reaches of this world
   But I'd just be wasting my time 'cause
   I'm certain already I'm sure I'd find You're

   My one thing
   You're my one thing
   And the pure in heart shall see God ...

   Every night every day
   You hold on tight
   Or you drift away
   You're left to live
   With the choices you make
   Oh Lord please give me the strength
   To watch and work and love and sing and pray

   Who have I in Heaven but You Jesus
   And what better could I hope to find down here on earth
   I could cross the most distant reaches of this world
   But I'd just be wasting my time 'cause
   I'm certain already I'm sure I'd find

   My one thing
   You're my one thing
   And the pure in heart shall see God ...

Can you sing Mullins' song and really mean it?
Do your priorities show Jesus is your one thing?

Robert Morgan - This One Thing - The phrase one thing occurs several times in the Bible, pointing to God's priorities for us. The word priority comes from the term prior, something coming before something else. Here are some ultimate priorities for us:

  1. Worship God! "I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord" (Ps. 27:4). 
  2. Put Christ above all else! "You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have.... Then come, follow Me" (Mark 10:21). 
  3. Sit at Jesus' feet studying His Word! "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41). 
  4. Tell what Jesus has done for you! "One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I can see!" (John 9:25). 
  5. Don't look backward but forward! "One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus"! (Phil. 3:13-14). 
  6. Be ready for Christ's return! "Dear friends, don't let this one thing escape you:... the Day of the Lord will come like a thief" (2 Pet. 3:8, 10). 
  7. Beware lest the many things crowd out the one thing today. (My All in All) 

Spurgeon's Sermon Notes - Luke 10:39—"And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word."

The family at Bethany was highly favored by being permitted to entertain our Lord so often.

They all appreciated the privilege, but Mary made the wisest use of it.

Martha sought to serve the Lord with her very best.

Mary was full of love to Jesus, as we know by her anointing him, and therefore she also would serve him with her very best.

She did so by attending to his words.

She was a wise and saintly woman, and our Lord commended her chosen method of service.

It will be safe, therefore, for us to follow her example.

Let us learn from the woman who sat as a learner at the feet of our Lord, and thus taught us to choose the good part.

Here we see—

I. Love at leisure. "Which also sat at Jesus' feet."

When the evening comes on, and all the members of the family are around the fireside, then love rests and communes, forgetting all care, happily at home, oblivious of the outside world, and of time itself.

Like Mary—

We would feel ourselves quite at home with Jesus our Lord.

We would be free from worldly care—leaving all with Jesus.

We would even be free from the care of his service, the battle for his Kingdom, and the burden of the souls committed to our charge.

We would sweetly enjoy the happy leisure which he provides for us, as we muse upon the rest-giving themes which he reveals so clearly, and makes so true to us—

His work for us, finished, accepted, abidingly effectual, and perpetually overflowing with priceless blessings.

His great gifts received, which are greater than those to come.

All other needful and promised blessings of grace, sure to come in due season. Romans 8:32.

All our future, for time and for eternity, safe in his dear hands.

Let us, without fear, enjoy leisure with Jesus—leisure, but not laziness:—leisure to love, to learn, to commune, to copy.

Leisure in a home where others are cumbered. See verses 40–42.

Leisure to sit, and to sit in the most delightful of all places.

II. Love in lowliness. "At Jesus' feet."

In this lowliness let each one personally copy Mary.

Say unto yourself, "I choose the feet of Jesus to be my place."

Let me be—

Not a busy housewife and manager, which any one may be, and yet be graceless; but—

1. A penitent, which is an acknowledgment of my unworthiness.

2. A disciple, which is a confession of my ignorance.

3. A receiver, which is an admission of my emptiness.

This posture befits me when I think of what I was, what I am, what I must be, what my Lord is, and what he is to me.

Let me bless his condescending love, which permits me this bliss.

III. Love listening. "And heard his word."

She could not have heard if she had not been at leisure to sit, nor if she had not been lowly, and chosen to sit at his feet.

Be it ours to hear that love-word which says, "Hearken, O daughter, and consider": Psalm 45:10.

Listening to what Jesus says in his Word, in his creation, in his providence, and by his Spirit in our soul.

Listening to the tones and accents with which he emphasizes and sweetens all that he says.

Listening to himself. Studying him, reading his very heart.

Listening, and not obtruding our own self-formed thoughts, notions, reasonings, questionings, desires, and prejudices.

Listening, and forgetting the observations and unbeliefs of others.

Listening, and bidding all cares lie still, that they may no more disturb the reverent silence of the heart.

How sweet! How instructive! How truly "the good part"!

IV. Love in possession.

She had obtained her Lord, his love, his presence, his word, his fellowship, and she sat there in full enjoyment to delight her soul with that which she had so joyfully lighted upon.

She had in this one thing supplied her soul's necessity, and so she sat down in perfect satisfaction.

She had her Lord's promise that she should not be robbed of it, and she sat down in full assurance, to be happy in her possession

Her Lord's promise assured her that she should not lose the good part, which she had chosen,—

By a cold word from her Lord.

By the angry expostulation of her sister.

By any future affliction, or temptation, or occupation.

Nor even by death itself.

Now, then, she rests in resolute constancy: she has reached her ultimatum: she will go no further than her Lord and his word.

Oh, to be more with Jesus! This is true life.

Oh, to hear Jesus more! This is true service.

Oh, to love Jesus more! This is true treasure.

Oh, to abide with Jesus, and never dream of going beyond him! This is true wisdom.

Quiet Morsels

Behold Mary, all reverence, all attention, all composure, feeding on the doctrine of eternal life—she "sat at Jesus feet." She wisely and zealously improved the opportunity given her for the good of her soul. "This is my summer, my harvest: let me redeem the time."—Jay.

Mary sits to hear the word, as Christ used to sit when he preached the word (Matthew 5, Luke 14, John 8); to show that the word is to be preached and heard with a quiet mind. In a still night, every voice is heard, and when the body is quiet, the mind most commonly is quiet also.… When our minds are quiet, we are fit to deal with heavenly matters; therefore the doctors conferred sitting in the temple, and God delights to deal with us when we are most in private; he appeared to Abraham sitting in the door of his tent. (Genesis 18) The Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles, and filled all the house where they were sitting. (Acts 2) The eunuch, sitting in his chariot, was called and converted by Philip's preaching. (Acts 8)—Henry Smith.

Whether shall we praise more, Mary's humility, or her docility? I do not see her take a stool and sit by him, or a chair and sit above him; but, as desiring to show her heart was as low as her knees, she sits at his feet. She was lowly set, and richly warmed with his heavenly beams. The greater submission, the more grace. If there be one hollow in the valley lower than another, thither the waters gather. Bishop Hall.

Dr. Chalmers' complained: "I am hustled out of my spirituality."

At the feet of Jesus, listening to His word;
Learning wisdom's lesson from her loving Lord;
Mary, led by heavenly grace,
Chose the meek disciple's place.

At the feet of Jesus is the place for me;
There a humble learner would I choose to be,
Sacred Songs and Solos.

Vance Havner's sermon entitled "One Thing—"

To the rich young ruler Jesus said, "One thing thou lackest." Money, position, morality, idealism, these were not enough. There is a goodness among moderns that is dangerous because so deceptive. It is the goodness of the young ruler. It is fine moral character, sincere and well-meaning, lit up with a desire to find life eternal. It frequently joins church, teaches a class, prays in public, is honest and aspiring. But it lacks one thing, and because of that tragic lack, its possessor goes away grieved when the real cost of discipleship is counted. We have a serious problem today in splendid men and women of sterling qualities who will not utterly renounce everything to follow Jesus in a life of faith. Their very virtues become hindrances because they count on them and ask, "What GOOD THING shall I do?" instead of forsaking their own poor righteousness, as did Paul his legal blamelessness, and counting only on the merits of Christ. To be sure, Jesus asked this young man to renounce his money, not his goodness; but the request showed up what sort of goodness he had. Promising qualities avail nothing if we are unwilling to "hate father and mother," to forsake anything, however dear, that hinders the life of surrender and trust.

"But one thing is needful," said Jesus to the worried Martha. It is not a sit-down-and-do-nothing preachment. There must be practical Marthas in the kitchen. Notice the words, "Martha was cumbered"—"Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things." He was not reprimanding her for working, He was gently reproving her for worrying. "But one thing is needful—restful communion with Me" We can commune with Him in the kitchen, but most of us are only cumbered, careful and anxious. Even in our practical Christian activities we become vexed and harassed. Our poor services will pass away, but contemplative communion with Him is that good part which shall not be taken away. Our sole business is to live in constant, abiding fellowship with Christ. If we become more interested in what we are doing for Christ than in what He is doing for us, we have reversed things and we shall end up as did Martha, cumbered instead of communing. But one thing is needful for the believer, to stay spiritually at His feet, hearing His word. Our hearts can sit at His feet while our hands work in the kitchen.

"This one thing I do," said Paul. He had found, long before, that there was one thing he lacked, and he tells us about it in this same chapter. He enumerates his good points before he knew Christ. It reminds us of the rich young ruler. He was blameless according to law-righteousness. Then he learned that there was one thing needful, "the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Now that he has felt his lack and received the one thing needful, there is one more "one thing," and that is something to do. Nothing we can do will help until we have moved through these first two stages: then, there will be plenty to do. There is something to forget, "those things which are behind"; there is something to reach toward, "those things which are before"; there is something to press toward, "the mark" the goal; there is something to work for, "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Let these be the milestones of your spiritual experience: One thing I lack; one thing is needful; one thing I do.

The love of worldly possessions entangles the soul and prevents it from flying to God.—Saint Augustine

Herbert Lockyer - Jesus did not tell Martha that she had neither part nor lot in Him, or that she was allowing the cares of this life to choke the seed. He recognized that she was working for Him, but reminded her that she was permitting her outward activities to hinder her spiritually. Because of wrong emphasis regarding her necessary labor, her inner communion with her Lord was being hindered. In her restless activity Martha felt that her sister carried "her quiet, peaceful, faith-engendered mysticism" too far. H. V. Morton says that in our Lord's reply to Martha's complaint there can be traced a play of ideas, and that His words can be interpreted—Martha, Martha, you are busy with many courses when one dish would be quite sufficient. Mary has chosen the best dish, which shall not be taken away from her. The term "careful" refers to inward worrying anxiety. Martha was mentally solicitous, anxious with a divided mind which is forbidden (Matthew 6:22-31; 1 Corinthians 7:32). "Troubled," means disturbed, distracted outwardly about many things or dishes. Fausset comments that "Much serving has its right place and time (I Thessalonians 4:11; II Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Timothy 5:14), but ought to give place to hearing when Jesus speaks, for faith whereby the good and abiding portion is gained, cometh by hearing" (Romans 10:17). The "good part" Mary chose was bias in the direction of that which is spiritual.

John Bisagno - Martha Luke 10:38–42

1. True Service to God Consists of More Than Mere Activity

Martha was in the kitchen, wondering what she had gotten herself into. She was busy preparing a great meal and the aroma filled the house. As she cooked, Jesus was speaking, about what we do not know, but we do know that her sister, Mary, was sitting at Jesus’ feet, intently listening. Perhaps Martha’s blood pressure was like one of those pots on the fire—warming up, then simmering, and finally boiling. Martha worked herself into a frenzy, her plate full in more ways than one. How could it be fair for her to slave over a hot oven while her sister was loafing? Finally, she could take it no longer and marched in to speak, not to Mary, but to Jesus.

Martha may well be the most underrated woman in the New Testament. She truly loved the Lord, or else she never would have invited Him into her home and set about to prepare Him a wonderful meal. She was an industrious and hospitable woman but, unfortunately, a good deal of what she was doing was for Martha, as well as for the Lord. I imagine that Martha thought she was going to get the support of Jesus in this situation. Instead, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” Martha reminds each of us that our strengths can become our weaknesses when they are carried to extremes. With all her good qualities, Martha lacked sensitivity. She was not sensitive to what a special time this was in the life of her sister, and could have been for her.

Few are more tempted at this point than pastors. Trying to build their churches larger and larger and dealing with the pressures of meetings, deadlines, conferences, and counseling can become substitutes for genuine spirituality. Certainly there are priorities in life and in ministry. If the pastorate is anything, it is an endless pressure to choose between the good and the best. But we deceive ourselves when we exchange quiet time and solitude with God for endless busy activities.

Perhaps saddest of all is to never learn that when we put first priority on our time alone with Him, our day is actually less hectic, for He goes before us to organize our day and smooth our way. Give Him ten minutes in the morning and it will take fourteen hours to do your day’s work. Give Him an hour and you may accomplish the same in eight.

2. Time with God Is the Only Absolute Imperative in Life

Jesus said, “Mary, you are disturbed and working on many projects, but only one thing is necessary, and that is to do what Martha is doing … hearing my Word, listening to my voice, learning at my feet.” What a statement! That is all you really need. To hear His voice and know His Word will teach us His will, make us effective, lead us to right decisions, and positively affect everything in our lives. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Everything else can be let go, delayed, or pushed into distant second place in your life, but miss the priority to be with Him in the morning, and nothing else will be truly successful at all.

Worship is always more important than worry and work. Intellectually we can agree with that statement, but is it reflective of the way we really live? Jesus knew that His time was short. He was on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified, and I’m guessing that food was not a high priority during those hours before he began his final trials. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that worship is not a high priority in many lives today. I am not talking just about corporate worship, but private worship, as well. Mary was not in the synagogue, and she was not in a public worship service. She was in the privacy of her own home, sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Worry is a draining emotion and occurs in people of all temperaments and personality types. Probably nothing is quite as damaging to worship as worry, for worry takes our eyes off Christ and puts them on ourselves and our problems. It says to God, “I’m not sure You can handle this situation, so I’m going to carry it around and wrestle with it.” What about you? Are you worried about something? Has it begun to affect both your private and your public worship? Give that worry over to God and enjoy some serious time resting in His wonderful presence.

3. Our Reward Is a Relationship, Not a Religion

We do not serve Christ in order to get a paycheck. Some of us have the good fortune of having our material needs met by being employed in ministry. But even in our case, if we are doing it for a paycheck we won’t last very long. Mary enjoyed her reward, which was personal friendship with Jesus. She knew that the best way to grow a relationship is to spend time together, and she was doing just that. Mary could have been the one to get angry, instead of Martha. The sister on the floor could have resented the sister at the sink. Mary could have grabbed Jesus by the hand and taken Him into the kitchen, complaining, “Why don’t you tell Martha to quit being so productive and to take some time to be reflective. Jesus, don’t You think she should be a little more like me?”

Most of us have full plates, literally and figuratively. They may be full of work or worry, strengths that have become weaknesses. Jesus wants you to do more than endure life. He wants you to enjoy the relationship and not suffer through the burden of a religion. As He was there for Martha and Mary, He is there for you and me. All we have to do is take serious time to get to know Him. (From Principle Preaching - John Bisagno)

Occupied FOR or WITH Jesus?
 Martha in the kitchen, serving with her hands;
    Occupied for Jesus, with her pots and pans.
   Loving Him, yet fevered, burdened to the brim,—
    Careful, troubled Martha, occupied for Him.
   Mary on the footstool, eyes upon her Lord;
    Occupied with Jesus, drinking in His word.
   This the one thing needful, all else strangely dim:
    Loving, resting Mary, occupied with Him.
   So may we, like Mary, choose the better part.
    Resting in His presence—hands and feet and heart;
   Drinking in His wisdom, strengthened with His grace;
    Waiting for the summons, eyes upon His face.
   When it comes, we're ready, spirit, will, and nerve;
    Mary's heart to worship, Martha's hands to serve;
    This the rightful order, as our lamps we trim,—
    Occupied with Jesus, then occupied for Him

Worship: Not Just "One More Thing"

If worship is just one thing we do, everything becomes mundane. If worship is the one thing we do, everything takes on eternal significance. —Timothy J. Christenson,

   This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' thru,
   My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
   The angels beckon me from heaven's open door,
   And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

One of the great dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God.—C. S. Lewis

Luke 10:38-42
Too Busy To Know God?
October 13, 2011 — by Randy Kilgore

One day when I was waiting to board a plane, a stranger who had overheard me mention that I was a chaplain began to describe to me his life before he met Christ. He said it was marked by “sin and self-absorption. Then I met Jesus.”

I listened with interest to a list of changes he had made to his life and good deeds he had done. But because everything he told me was about his busyness for God and not his fellowship with God, I wasn’t surprised when he added, “Frankly, chaplain, I thought I’d feel better about myself by now.”

I think the New Testament character Martha would have understood that stranger’s observation. Having invited Jesus to be a guest at her home, she set about doing what she thought were the important things. But this meant she couldn’t focus on Jesus. Because Mary wasn’t helping, Martha felt justified asking Jesus to chide her. It’s a mistake many of us make: We’re so busy doing good that we don’t spend time getting to know God better.

My advice to my new airplane friend came from the core of Jesus’ words to Martha in Luke 10:41-42. I said to him: “Slow down and invest yourself in knowing God; let His Word reveal Himself to you.” If we’re too busy to spend time with God, we’re simply too busy. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Savior, let me walk beside Thee,
Let me feel my hand in Thine;
Let me know the joy of walking
In Thy strength and not in mine.

Our heavenly Father longs to spend time with His children.


But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42.

Martha was busy preparing a good meal and our Lord did not mean that it was unimportant. But Martha was flustered and bothered over matters of secondary importance and our Lord was emphasizing what matters most, our communion with Him. To hate father and mother in comparison to our love for Him was a similar emphasis. Even our religious activity, though sincere and well-intended, can take precedence over sitting at His feet. Ephesus was busy but had left her first love. (And we can be at so many church meetings that we neglect the home, which is the other side of the coin!)

Luke 10:38-42

The Good Part - Martha was gently rebuked by Jesus, not because she worked hard to prepare His dinner but because she neglected a more important concern. She had been so busy making a perfect meal that she failed to nourish her soul with the spiritual food Mary was receiving through fellowship with Him. The fact that Martha was anxious about her work indicates that her priorities had gotten out of line. Mary, however, had “chosen that good part,” which would not be taken away from her (v. 42).

An unknown author has captured the lesson of Luke 10 in these poetic words:

Martha in the kitchen, serving with her hands,
Occupied for Jesus with her pots and pans.
Loving Him, yet fevered, burdened to the brim,
Careful, troubled Martha, occupied for Him.

Mary on the footstool, eyes upon her Lord,
Occupied with Jesus, drinking in His word.
This one thing was needful, all else strangely dim;
Loving, resting Mary, occupied with Him.

So may we, like Mary, choose the better part:
Resting in His presence, hands and feet and heart;
Drinking in His wisdom, strengthened by His grace;
Waiting for the summons, eyes upon His face.

When it comes, we’re ready, spirit, will, and nerve;
Mary’s heart to worship, Martha’s hand to serve;
This the rightful order, as our lamps we trim:
Occupied WITH Jesus, then occupied FOR Him!”

The Christian life is not confined
To church one day a week;
God wants us to obey His Word—
Each day His will to seek. —Sper

Worship God on Sunday, then walk with Him on Monday.

An agnostic professor tells his students that as an 8-year-old child he used to give a Christian testimony that moved people to tears of joy. Now, however, he has rejected his former belief in Jesus. His influence has led many young men and women to renounce the faith they once professed. 

When we say yes to Jesus as Lord,
We pledge to take Him at His Word;
If we're sincere He'll give us the grace
To follow till we see His face. —DJD

Faith in Christ is not just a one-time choice but a lifetime challenge.

In his early years, British statesman Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914) taught Sunday school. His favorite Bible verse was Genesis 12:5, "They went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came" (KJV). 

That verse was a motto well-suited to a man of his iron will. It also gave him a biblical basis for citing two qualifications for success in life. One is to have the right destination—"They went forth to go into the land of Canaan." The second is to keep going after we have started—"into the land of Canaan they came." 

Keeping Christ uppermost in our lives will keep us headed right and will give us the strength to keep going. —HWR 

My life, my love I give to Thee,
Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
My Savior and my God! —Hudson

We conquer by continuing.

In the earliest days of the Christian church, martyrs laid down their lives rather than deny their faith in Christ. And even in our own generation, thousands of believers have suffered imprisonment, persecution, and death. In fact, more people have perished for their commitment to Jesus in the last hundred years than in all previous centuries put together. 

Although we may be spared from such costly loyalty to Jesus Christ, we may experience rejection by family and friends, or we may encounter misunderstanding, ridicule, and loneliness. Yet, oh, what we gain for all eternity! And even in this world there are blessed gains that more than outweigh any losses. 

What may seem to be loss will prove, by God's grace, to be gain. As believers, we are guaranteed to be winners. --VCG  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When Jesus said to follow Him
Regardless of the cost,
He promised He would surely give
Much more than would be lost.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. --Jim Elliot

The host of a radio program told about a man who described his religious views by saying, "I'm a Christian on Christmas and Easter." He seemed to think Christianity was a parttime proposition. 

Following Jesus is a fulltime commitment. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you can be a parttime Christian. --JDB  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

In all the little things of life,
Your will, Lord, may I see;
In little and in great alike,
Help me to faithful be!

The Christian life has no time-outs.

 When long and steep the path appears
Or heavy is the task,
Our Father says, "Press on, My child;
One step is all I ask." --DJD

Several years ago I read an article about the importance of counting the cost before making a major purchase. The advice is particularly appropriate for those of us who overspent this past Christmas season. 

The writer illustrated his point by adding up the actual cost of the gifts listed in the popular song "Twelve Days of Christmas." The result was a lot less romantic than the song itself. All the gifts given in the name of love have their price. 

A pear tree was figured at $14, one partridge--$15, two turtle doves--$10, three French hens--$36, four calling birds--$140, five golden rings--$1,000, six geese a-laying--$1,260, and so on. The total tab for all 12 days came to $10,314.92. (And that was not figured at today's prices.) 

Counting the cost is also important in our commitment to Christ. He made this clear in Luke 14, when He talked about what it takes to be His disciple--loving Him more than family relationships, our possessions, or even our own life. 

Giving your life in service to Christ and others can be very rewarding. But let's remember what Jesus said. Being His disciple has its price, and we must carefully count the cost. --MRD II  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When called to do a work for Christ,
We can't ignore the cost;
For if we fail to think it through,
Our efforts may be lost.

Following Jesus costs more than anything--except not following Him.

Pam Sneddon was taking a class in photography. For one assignment, she chose her 6-year-old daughter as her subject and asked her to sit on a serene hillside. Close by was an apple tree in full bloom. Pam just couldn't resist. She gave the tree a prominent place in the picture. 
    Pam was surprised when her instructor pointed out a problem with the photo. The apple tree distracted from her primary focus, the little girl. 
    "See how it catches the eye," the instructor said. "It competes with your subject. You need to choose one subject and leave the other out." 
This observation applies to more than good photography skills. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must center our attention only on Him. Like amateur photographers, we are often attracted to the "apple trees in full bloom." We pay more attention to our hobbies, friends, family, or work. 
    Christ commands our attention because He is "the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality" (1 Tim. 6:15-16). That may mean relegating something we deem to be important to the background--or cropping it out of the picture altogether. 
Whatever distracts us from Jesus has to go. As the preeminent One, He must be the single focus of our lives. --DCE 

In Christ alone the earth shall find its answer,
A refuge from its doubts, its fears, its strife;
This God-revealed-in-flesh, this precious Savior,
Forever is the Way, the Truth, the Life! --Calenberg

If Christ is the center of your life, you'll always be focused on Him.

A woman who was facing the trials of growing old asked missionary J. Robertson McQuilkin, "Why does God let us get old and weak?" McQuilkin thought a moment and then replied, "I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical. But the strength and beauty of old age is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary so we'll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty that is forever. And so we'll be eager to leave the temporary, deteriorating part of us and be truly homesick for our eternal home. If we stayed young and strong and beautiful, we might never want to leave." 

Are you in life's springtime? Trust God's timing to fulfill your dreams. Are you in life's summer or autumn? Face your daily challenges head-on. And if you feel the chill of winter, strive to know God better. His presence can make every season of life one of strength and beauty. --DJD  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Only this hour is mine, Lord--
May it be used for Thee;
May every passing moment
Count for eternity.

Dedication to Christ is not a one-time choice but a daily challenge.

Many years ago, a young heavyweight fighter held the world boxing title. But his reign was short-lived. He was a power hitter--strong as a bull. But he hadn't learned how to avoid getting hit. He also had a problem exercising self-discipline in his social life. As a result, he soon lost his title. 

This boxer's experience is duplicated all too often in the spiritual arena. Many talented Christians make a fast start in the Lord's service. But without an overall plan to conquer the enemy, they are soon defeated. 

The apostle Paul said that in his battle with sin he tried to make every blow effective. He did not want to be like a boxer whose punches merely strike the air (1 Cor. 9:26). The apostle was a competitor who disciplined himself to make all his moves count toward the ultimate decision. 

Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 show the strategy that is needed to endure spiritual battles and to have a lifetime of effective service for the Lord. He said the Christian life takes commitment, knowledge, stamina, and love, which are gained through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Yes, to have a victorious Christian life, we need a comprehensive strategy for winning. --MRDII (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Come, Lord, and give the vision
To arm me for the fight;
Make me an overcomer
Clothed with Your Spirit's might.

Life is a series of battles--are you training to win?

No matter what has happened in your past, are you letting God shape your present and your future? --HVL  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I've lost sight of all beside;
So enchained my spirit's vision,
Looking at the Crucified.

To reshape your life, conform your life to Christ

All for Jesus, all for Jesus! 
All my being's ransomed powers:
All my thoughts and words and doings, 
All my days and all my hours.

To live for Christ, we must die to self.

Make God number one in your life, and your dearest pastime on earth will become only a "slow fourth." --DCE  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Let me hold lightly the things of this earth;
Transient treasures, what are they worth?
Moths can corrupt them, rust can decay;
All their bright beauty fades in a day.

An idol is anything that takes the place of God.

John McNeil tells the story of a young eagle he had raised with a flock of chickens. The out-of-place bird had never learned to fly. One day McNeil thought he would teach this bird how, so he tried throwing it up in the air. But each time the bird would look down and fall to the ground. Then he had an idea. Lifting the eaglet's head, he made it catch a glimpse of the bright sun above. That did it! The eagle pushed out its wings. Then, lifting its head with a shriek, it jumped from his hand and began to soar higher and higher until it was lost to sight in the face of the sun. Many Christians find themselves in a similar state. If they could just get their eyes off the things of this earth and off other people and on the Son, they would soar on the wings of the Spirit to higher levels of spiritual maturity and blessing. --Henry G. Bosch  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

To soar spiritually, look to the Son.

The life that counts must toil and fight,
Must hate the wrong and love the right,
Must stand for truth, by day, by night--
This is the life that counts.

Christ gives us the courage of our convictions.

Oswald Chambers: The “Go” Of Unconditional Identification Mk10:21.The rich young ruler had the master passion to be perfect.  When he saw Jesus Christ, he wanted to be perfect like Him.  Our Lord never puts personal holiness to the fore when He calls a disciple; He puts ABSOLUTE ANNIHILATION  of my right to myself and IDENTIFICATION with Himself-a relationship with Himself in which there is no other relationship.  

Lu14:26 (“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”) has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, but with UNCONDITIONAL IDENTIFICATION with Jesus Christ. Very few of us know the absolute “go” of ABANDONMENT to Jesus.
    ‘’Then Jesus beholding him loved him.” The look of Jesus will mean a heart broken forever from allegiance to any other person or thing.  Has Jesus ever looked at you?  The look of Jesus transforms and transfixes.  Where you are “soft” with God is where the Lord has looked at you.  If you are hard and vindictive, insistent on your own way, certain that the other person is more likely to be in wrong than you are, it is an indication that there whole tracts of your nature that have never been transformed by His gaze.
    “One thing thou lackest ...’’ The only ‘’GOOD THING” from Jesus Christ’s point of view is UNION WITH HIMSELF and nothing in between.
    “Sell whatsoever thou hast . . .” I must reduce myself until I am a mere conscious man, I must fundamentally renounce possessions of all kinds, not save my soul (only one thing saves a man-absolute reliance upon Jesus Christ)-but in order to follow Jesus.  “Come, and follow Me.” And the road is the way He went.

The Key To Missionary Devotion  3Jn7 
    Our Lord has told us how love to Him is to manifest itself. “Lovest thou Me?” “Feed My sheep”--IDENTIFY yourself with My interests in other people, not, identify Me with your interests in other people. 1Co13:4-8 gives the character of this life, it is the life of God expressing itself. The test of my love for Jesus is the practical one, all the rest is sentimental jargon.

    Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of Redemption wrought in me by the Holy Ghost Who sheds abroad the love of god in my heart, and that love works efficaciously through me in contact with everyone I meet. I remain loyal to His Name although every common-sense fact gives the lie to Him, and declares that He has no more power than a morning mist.

    The key to missionary devotion means BEING ATTACHED TO NOTHING AND NO ONE saving OUR LORD HIMSELF, not being detached from things externally. Our Lord was amazingly in and out among ordinary things; His detachment was on the inside towards God. External detachment is often an indication of a secret vital attachment to the things we keep away from externally.

    The loyalty of a missionary is to keep his soul concentratedly open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women Our Lord sends out on His enterprises are the ordinary human stuff, plus dominating devotion to Himself wrought by the Holy Ghost.

A Bond-Slave of Slave Ga 2:20 
    These words mean the breaking of my independence with my own hand and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me up to the point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He will not  put me through it. It means breaking the husk of my individual independence of God, and the emancipating of my personality into ONENESS WITH HIMSELF, not for my own ideas, but for absolute loyalty to Jesus. There is no possibility of dispute when once I am there. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ--”For My Sake.” It is that which makes the iron saint.
    Has that break come? All the rest is pious fraud. The one point to decide is--Will I give up, will I surrender to Jesus Christ, and make no conditions whatever as to how the break comes? 
    The passion of Christianity is that I deliberately sign away my own rights and become a bond-slave of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I do not begin to be a saint.

One student a year who hears God’s call would be sufficient for God to have called this College into existence. This College as an organization is not worth anything, it is not academic; it is for nothing else but for God to help Himself to lives. Is He going to help Himself to us, or are we taken up with our conception of what we are going to be? 

How Can I Personally Partake In The Atonement? Ga 6:14 
    The Gospel of Jesus Christ always forces an issue of will. Do I accept God’s verdict on sin in the Cross of Christ? Have I the slightest interest in the death of Jesus? Do I want to be IDENTIFIED WITH HIS DEATH, to be killed right out to all interest in sin, in worldliness, in self--to be so IDENTIFIED WITH JESUS that I am spoilt for everything else but Him? The great privilege of discipleship is that I can sign on under His Cross, and that means death to sin. 
    The proof that your old man is crucified with Christ is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ.

    Every now and again, Our Lord lets us see what we would be like if it were not for Himself; it is a justification of what He said--”I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  
    That is why the bedrock of Christianity is PERSONAL, PASSIONATE DEVOTION TO THE LORD JESUS. We mistake the ecstasy of our first introduction into the Kingdom for the purpose of God in getting us there; His purpose in getting us there is that we may realize all that IDENTIFICATION WITH JESUS CHRIST MEANS.
    We have to learn to see things from Jesus Christ’s standpoint. Our judgment is warped in every particular in which we do not allow it to be illuminated by Jesus Christ.

Does My Sacrifice Live? Ge22:9 
    This incident is a picture of the blunder we make in thinking that the final thing God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives. Not—I am willing to go to death with Thee, but—I am willing to be IDENTIFIED WITH THY DEATH so that I may sacrifice my life to God. We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this blunder, and the same discipline goes on in our lives. God nowhere tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having—viz. LIFE WITH HIMSELF. It is a question of loosening the bands that hinder the life, and immediately those bands are loosened by IDENTIFICATION WITH THE DEATH OF JESUS, we enter into a relationship with God whereby we can sacrifice our lives to Him.
    It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a ‘’living sacrifice,’’ to let Him have all your powers that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus. This the the thing that is acceptable to God.

Interest Or Identification?” Gal 2:20.
    The imperative need spiritually is to sign the death warrant of the disposition of sin, to turn all emotional impressions and intellectual beliefs into a moral verdict against the disposition of sin, viz., my claim to my right to myself.  Paul says—“I have been crucified with Christ”; he does not say “I have determined to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will endeavour to follow Him”—but “I HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED  WITH HIM IN HIS DEATH.” When I come to such a moral  decision and act upon it, then all that Christ  wrought for me on the Cross is wrought in me. The free committal of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the chance to impart to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.
    ‘’...nevertheless I live. . . . “ The individuality remains, but the mainspring, the ruling disposition, is  radically altered.  The same human body remains but the old satanic right to myself is destroyed.
    “And the life which I now live in the flesh. ..’’  not the life which I long to live and pray to live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh, the life which men can see, 
    “I live by the faith of the Son of God.’’ This faith is not Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ, but faith that the Son of God has imparted to him ‘’the faith of the Son of God.”  It  is no longer faith in faith but faith which has overleapt all conscious bounds, the identical faith of the Son of God.

The Missionary Watching ‘’Watch with Me.’’  Mt 26:40 
    ‘’Watch with Me’’—with no private point of view of your own at all, but watch entirely with Me,. In the early stages we do not watch with Jesus, we watch for Him. We do not watch with Him through the revelation of the Bible; in the circumstances of our lives. Our Lord is trying to introduce us to IDENTIFICATION WITH HIMSELF in a particular Gethsemane, and we will not go; we say—’’No, Lord, I cannot see the meaning of this,it is bitter.’’ How can we possibly watch with Someone Who is inscrutable? How are we going to understand Jesus sufficiently to watch with Him in His Gethsemane, when we do not know even what His suffering is for? We do not know how to watch with Him; we are only used to the idea of Jesus watching with us.
    The disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not understand what He was after. In the Garden of Gethsemane they slept for their own sorrow, and at the end of three years of the closest intimacy they ‘’all forsook Him and fled.’’
‘’They were all filled with the Holy Ghost’’—the same ‘’they,’’ but something wonderful has happened in between—Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection and Ascension; and the disciples have been invaded by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord had said—’’Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you,’’ and this meant that they learned to watch with Him all the rest of their lives.

    “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever LOSES HIS LIFE for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it.” 
    Beware of any hesitation to ABANDON to God. It is the meanest characteristics of our personality that are at work whenever we hesitate, there is some element of self-interest that won’t submit to God.
    The great aim of the Holy Spirit is to get us ABANDONED TO GOD.
    When God’s voice will come you do not know, but whenever the realization of God comes affair in the faintest way imaginable, RECKLESSLY ABANDON. It is only by ABANDON that you find HIM.
    Jesus Christ always brings us back to one thing--’Stand in right relationship to Me first, then the marvelous doing will be performed in you.’ It is a question of ABANDONING all the time, not of DOING.
    Vacillation in a crisis is the sign of an UNABANDONED nature. An ABANDONED nature never can vacillate because there is nothing to weigh; such a nature is completely ABANDONED to another.
    We are in danger of getting the barter spirit when we come to God, we want the witness before we have done what God tells us to do.”Why does not God reveal Himself to me?” He CANNOT, it is not that He will not, but He cannot, because you are in the road as long as you won’t ABANDON ABSOLUTELY to Him. Immediately you do, God witnesses to Himself, He cannot witness to you,but He witnesses instantly to His own nature in you. If you had the witness before the reality, it would end in sentimental emotion. Immediately you transact on the Redemption, and stop the impertinence of debate, God gives on the witness. As soon as you ABANDON reasoning and argument, God witnesses to what He has done, and we are amazed at our impertinence in having kept Him waiting.

    God nowhere tells us TO GIVE UP THINGS for the sake of giving them up; He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having, viz. LIFE WITH HIMSELF.

    If you are ABANDONED to God and do the duty that lies nearest, God will not ABANDON you; but if you trust in your wits and bring in the amateur providence idea, He will have to ABANDON you, and there will be heartbreaks and distresses that He is not in at all. Present the whole thing where it ought to be presented--in ABANDONMENT TO GOD, and He will engineer everything in His own way.

    To SURRENDER TO GOD is not surrender to the fact that we have surrendered. That is not coming at all. To come means that we come to God in COMPLETE ABANDONMENT and give ourselves right over to Him and leave ourselves in His hands.

    We must ABANDON TO GOD at all costs. ABANDON is of infinitely more value than self-scrutiny.

...what is needed in spiritual matters is RECKLESS ABANDONMENT TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, reckless and uncalculating ABANDONMENT, with no reserve anywhere about it; not sad, you cannot be sad if you are ABANDONED ABSOLUTELY.

The tendency is strong to say--”O God won’t be so stern as to expect me to give up that!” but He will; “He won’t expect me to walk in the light so that I have nothing to hide,” but He will; “He won’t expect me to draw on His grace for everything” but He will.

Whenever the call is given for ABANDON TO JESUS CHRIST, people say it is offensive and out of taste. The counterfeit of ABANDON is that misleading phrase ‘Christian service.’ I will spend myself for God, I will do anything and everything but the one thing He asks me to do, viz., GIVE UP MY RIGHT TO MYSELF TO HIM. God can do what He likes with the man who is ABANDONED TO HIM. Many of us are subtly serving our own ends, and Jesus Christ cannot help Himself to our lives; if I am ABANDONED TO JESUS, I have no ends of my own to serve.

Devotionals - these have been incorporated into the commentary above.