“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.
Worthy of his wages. Those who proclaim the gospel ought to get their living from the gospel (1 Cor. 9:14). These are the instructions Jesus gave when he sent out the Twelve (Matt. 10:9–14). He repeats them here to the seventy (Luke 10:1). Paul also gave these instructions to Timothy (1 Tim. 5:18).
Jesus’ own ministry was funded by the support of many (see entry for Luke 8:3). Although the One who fed 5000 and who turned water into wine hardly needed financial support, he received it to give us an example to follow. It is not the unbelieving Gentiles who fund gospel ministers. It is the Body of Christ (e.g., Rom. 15:24, 2 Cor. 1:16, 1 Tim, 5:18, Tit. 3:13).
“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.
Repented. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of God’s grace and forgiveness” (see Mark 1:15). Jesus is talking about people who heard the gospel but refused to believe it.
“And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!
Hades; see entry for Matt. 16:18.
And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
(a) A lawyer was an expert in the Law of Moses. There seems to have been little difference between lawyers and scribes.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is bracketed by a dialogue between this lawyer and Jesus. In their exchange, the lawyer asks two questions (here and in verse 29), while Jesus also asks two questions (in verses 26 and 36).
(b) Test him. The lawyer wanted to see how skilfully Jesus would handle his question possibly with the aim of getting him to say something against the Law of Moses.
(c) What shall I do to inherit eternal life? This is an odd question because there is nothing you can do to inherit eternal life. An inheritance is a gift that you get it when someone dies.
Like the lawyer in this story, some people are confused about salvation. They think that if they are basically good people, God will have to admit them into his kingdom. Such people are truly lost for they are relying on their self-righteousness. Salvation comes to us by grace, like an inheritance or gift. You cannot earn it. You can only receive it by faith (Eph. 2:8).
This same question was put to Jesus by wealthy Jewish official (Luke 18:18).
(d) Inherit eternal life. Eternal life is an inheritance to receive not a wage to be earned, and in Christ we have it.
In Christ we are heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14), heirs of eternal life (Matt. 19:29, Mark 10:17, Eph. 1:14, Tit. 3:7), and heirs of blessed and gracious life (Eph. 1:3, 1 Pet. 3:7, 9). See entry for Inheritance.
(e) Eternal life is living forever in union with Jesus; see entry for John 3:15.
And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”
(a) The Law refers to the Law of Moses, the commandments, ordinances, punishments, and ceremonial observances given to the nation of Israel through Moses (Jos. 8:31). This law is sometimes referred to as the law of commandments (Eph. 2:15) or the law of the Jews (Acts 25:8). See entry for The Law.
(b) How does it read? Like a good rabbi, Jesus responds to the question with a question. “How does it read?” He understands that sometimes there is a difference between what is written and how it is read.
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.”
(a) Love the Lord. The lawyer gives a summary of the law that he might have heard from Jesus himself (see Mark 12:29–31).
Under the old law-keeping covenant, you were commanded to love the Lord your God with all your heart (Deut. 6:5, 10:12). The flow was from you to the Lord. But in the new covenant of grace, we love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). It is because we know the love of Christ (Eph. 3:19) that we are able to walk in his love (Eph. 5:2), keep ourselves in his love (Jude 1:21), and remain in his love (John 15:9, 10, 1 John 4:12, 16).
(b) The Lord your God. Most of the time when Jesus spoke about God, he called him Father (see entry for Luke 2:49). But when speaking to those under the law, he sometimes called him Lord God.
(c) Your soul. The original word for soul is psuche, from which we get the word psychology. This word is sometimes used in scripture to describe the soul-life we inherited from Adam, as opposed to the zoe– or spirit-life we receive from Jesus. See entry for New Life.
(d) Love your neighbor. This law, which comes from the law of Moses (Lev. 19:18), was quoted by Jesus more than once (Matt. 19:19, 22:39, Mark 12:31). James called it the royal law (see entry for Jas. 2:8).
(e) As yourself. “Loving others as yourself” can be contrasted with “Loving others as I have loved you” (see entry for John 13:34).
Under the old covenant, you provided the love and whatever else was needed to fulfil the law. But in the new covenant, we are able to love others because of the love we have from God (1 John 4:19). Under the old, you were the supply, but in the new, God supplies all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Php. 4:19).
And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”
(a) Correctly. From a law-keeping perspective, the answer given by the lawyer was a model answer. It was identical to one Christ gave in Matt. 22:37–39.
(b) Do this. The law says, “Do this and live,” but no one ever kept the holy standard of the law. For this reason Paul called the law a ministry of death (2 Cor. 3:7). In contrast with the law, the gospel declares “believe and live” (John 3:15–16).
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
(a) Village. Bethany, a village about two miles from Jerusalem (see entry for John 11:18).
(b) Martha was the sister of Lazarus and Mary. All three were disciples of Christ. Martha had faith in Jesus the Son of God (John 11:27), and Jesus loved her (John 11:5). Martha was servant-hearted (John 12:2), but her attention to her duties sometimes distracted her from more important things (Luke 10:40).
(c) Her home suggests that Martha was the elder sibling (John 11:5). See also the entry for John 12:2.
She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.
(a) Mary of Bethany is remembered for anointing the feet of Jesus (John 12:3), but her more significant deed was sitting at the feet of Jesus.
Mary of Bethany crossed an ancient line. She stepped across the threshold, entered the front room where the men normally sat, and placed herself at the Lord’s feet, like a disciple. Any other rabbi would have blanched and waited for her to leave. But Jesus commended her courageous act and encouraged Martha to follow her example (Luke 10:42).
Mary was one of six women named Mary in the New Testament; see entry for Matt. 1:18.
(b) Seated at the Lord’s feet. Jesus discipled women. He welcomed them into his circle and trained them, something that would have been unthinkable to the rabbis and sages. Teaching women was a waste of time, said Rabbi Eliezer. “It would be better to burn the words of the law than teach them to women.”
When Jesus outlined the qualifications of a disciple (see Luke 9:23), he made no restrictions for gender. Although Socrates and a few others made noises about educating women, Jesus actually did it. As a true pioneer of women’s education, he took them on as disciples and trained them. If women enjoy equal educational opportunities today, it’s because Jesus and those who followed him refused to conform to a sexist system that denied women the right to learn.
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.”
(a) Martha was distracted. Martha was doing a good work. She was literally serving the Lord. But her good work was a dead work because it distracted her from the better work of receiving from Jesus.
Martha’s priorities were misplaced and consequently she became stressed and upset. She did not realize that Jesus did not come be served but to serve (Matt. 20:28). The one who fed 5000 had little need of Martha’s cooking.
(b) Do you not care? Many hard-working Christians have gotten angry with the Lord because their tanks are empty.
(c) Tell her to help me. In Martha’s plea we hear echoes of the prodigal’s elder brother. “I am out here slaving for you, while you’re relaxing in there with that lazy bones sister of mine.” If Jesus was any other guest, Martha would have a case. It’s not fair for one person to do all the work. But Jesus is no ordinary guest, and her sister made the better choice (see next verse).
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
(a) Worried and bothered. Being worried and bothered about many things is a sign that your life is out of balance. God wants you to live carefree and untroubled by worry. He wants you to cast your cares on him knowing that he cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7).
(b) Many things compete for our attention and it is easy to become burdened and distracted. The only way to stay healthy and sane is to keep the main thing the main thing. Like Mary, we need to choose the good part.
(c) Chosen the good part. Martha chose to serve while Mary chose to sit and Mary made the better choice.
When it comes to serving people, it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). But when it comes to the Lord, we are more blessed when we receive from the abundance of his grace. God is a Giver (Matt. 7:11, John 3:16, Rom. 8:32, Jas. 1:5, 17). When we allow God to be God and impart his love and grace into our lives, we are empowered to bless others with the grace we have received. Martha was a giver, while Mary was a receiver and this made all the difference.
(d) One thing is necessary. Receiving from Jesus is priority number one.
Contrary to what some believe, the one thing that is necessary is not serving the Lord like Martha; it is receiving from the Lord like Mary. The one thing that is essential is receiving life from the Author of Life. It is trusting in his finished work and resting in his righteousness.
What about loving and serving others? We cannot love unless we have received the love he has for us (1 John 4:19). Nor can we forgive unless we have received his forgiveness (Eph. 4:32). And we cannot serve, unless he has first served us. We cannot give what we have not received.
Jesus does not call for a balance between works and rest. There is no balance. When it comes to grace there is only the restful posture of faith. We dare not insult the Giver by bringing offerings and sacrifices that we have slaved for. His gifts are for sale. They are freely received or they are not received at all.
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- Luke 10:7
- Luke 10:13
- Luke 10:15
- Luke 10:25
- Luke 10:26
- Luke 10:27
- Luke 10:28
- Luke 10:38
- Luke 10:39
- Luke 10:40
- Luke 10:41-42