John T. Willis

Monday, July 09, 2012

Jesus Commissions the Seventy--Luke 10:1-20

Now that Jesus has set his face toward Jerusalem, first he commissions "the seventy" [some ancient versions read "the seventy-two"] to cure the sick and to declare that the kingdom of God has drawn near to the people. This section covers Luke 10:1-20, and falls naturally into three paragraphs. I. Jesus sends the seventy by twos. Luke 10:1-12. a. Luke 9:1-6 reports that Jesus sent the Twelve to preach and heal the people. Now Jesus sends the Seventy. Jesus sends the seventy in twos ahead of Jesus to every town and place where Jesus intended to visit. Jesus probably sends them by twos as tstimony of two witnesses in judicial cases (cf. Num. 35:30; Deut. 19:14), and possibly for mutual support on the journey. Often in the New Testament, Christians go in pairs, not alone, like Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:1, Paul and Silas in Acts 15:40; etc. 10:1. b. Then Jesus gives the seventy SIX instructions. First, pray that the Lord of harvest will send out laborers into the harvest. Only God [not human beings] can reap the harvest. This harvest is both negative to condemn the ungodly and positive to redeem the penitent. c. Second, Jesus sends the seventy as lambs in the midst of wolves, thus defenseless and helpless. All success is the result of God alone, not human beings. 10:3. d. Third, Jesus instructs his followers to trust in him completely: carry no purse, bag, or sandals, nor meet anyone on the road to depend on another human being. 10:4. d. Fourth, Jesus instructs his followers to ask to enter into a house in each town. If that family receives them, give them peace; if not, God will punish them. Be satisfied to eat and drink whatever that family supplies to you. 10:5-8. e. Fifth, Jesus instructs the seventy to cure the sick and tell them that the kingdom of God has come near to you. 10:9. f. Sixth, if a town does not welcome Jesus' followers, they are to wipe off in protest the dust clining on their feet. On that day, it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town. The audience knows very well Yahweh's destruction of Sodom related in Genesis 19:24-28. 10:10-12. II. Jesus utters woes against the towns of Galilee. Luke 10:13-16. a. Jesus declares woes against Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum in Galilee because they rejected Jesus' mighty acts. In contrast, Tyre and Sidon (see Jeremiah 25:22; 47:4; Zechariah 9:2) would have repented "sitting in sackcloth and ashes" (cf. Job 2:8; Jonah 3:8; Isaiah 58:5; Esther 4:2-3) if they had experienced Jesus' mighty deeds. 10:13-14. b. Jesus proclaims that Capernaum will be brought down to Hades, because those who reject Jesus also rejects the heavenly Father, and thus, God will punish them. 10:15-16. III. The seventy return to Jesus to give their report. Luke 10:17-20. a. The seventy return to Jesus with joy, saying that even the demons submit to them in Jesus' name, that is, at the invocation of Jesus' name. 10:17. b. Jesus responds, saying: I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. Satan is the personification of evil or sin. God the Father created Satan to serve God, but Satan rebelled against God and now attempts to bring all human beings to destruction. 10:18. c. Jesus assures the seventy that he has given them authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy=Satan, and nothing will hurt his followers. 10:19. d. Finally, Jesus instructs his followers not to rejoice that the evil spirits submit to them, but that their names are written in heaven, an ancient image drawn from the ancient records of cities or kingdom which listed the citizens who belonged to them. See Exodus 32:32-33; Psalms 69:28; 56:9; 87:6; Isaiah 4:3; 34:16; Daniel 12:1; Malachi 3:16-17; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 3:5; 13:8. 10:20. Our God performs unbelievable deeds. No one can resist or overcome our God. Let us rejoice in HIM ALONE. Share YOUR insights and beliefs and failures and concerns with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


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