As we begin with chapter 10, it appears the sending of the 12 apostles in chapter 9 was so successful that Jesus now sends out 70 of his followers. Jesus gives the same instructions to the 70 that he gave to the 12. But this time, Luke tells us that Jesus sent them to them specifically to the cities he was going to go to himself. Here Jesus also makes the statement, “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” (v 3, NASB) His point is clear. The world is a dangerous place, and it is hostile toward the followers of Christ. He also includes a warning of the fate that will be faced by those who do not receive the message.
All seems to go well, as we get to the next section, we read that “The seventy returned with joy.” (v 17) They were utterly amazed at what had happened. They said, “even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (v 17) Jesus, while clearly pleased, does give them one caveat, “do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” (v 20) No matter what amazing things we can do through God’s power, they are nothing when compared to the incredible gift of life found in Christ.
Jesus then praises the Father for what has happened. He then reminds the 70 that they should consider themselves blessed because they have seen what those in the past had only dreamed of.
This leads to a lawyer asking Jesus the ultimate question, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (v 25) Jesus has a short give and take that result is Jesus affirming that the key is to “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.” (v 27) The lawyer is not fully satisfied and asks, “who is my neighbor?” (v 29)
In response, we find the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the story, a man is beaten, robbed, and left for dead. After this, three individuals pass by the first two were religious leaders who not only passed by but moved to the other side of the road to ensure they avoided him. The third, however, not only stopped to help him but also put him on his own “beast,” took him to an inn and paid for his care. The noteworthy part of this, of course, is that this third man is a Samaritan. A mixed-race group, despised by Jewish people. Jesus then asked the lawyer, “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor.” (v 36) The lawyer is backed into a corner and must admit that it is the third individual. Jesus tells him, and us that it is the action that we must take.
Luke finishes the chapter by telling of Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary and Martha. As is often the case, Jesus spends his time teaching in their home. Here Jesus finds himself in the middle of a family argument. Martha, being the domestic minded person she was, spent the whole time in the kitchen and in preparation of food, while Mary simply sat at Jesus’ feet listening to his teaching. When Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her, Jesus does not do it. Rather, he tells her, “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.” (Vv 41 – 42)
My take away is 1) We go, as the Lord sends us, into a dangerous world. 2) Jesus will provide us all we need to serve him. 3) The most important thing is to have our names written in heaven. 4) Our name is written in heaven through our love for God and our love for our neighbor. 5) Our neighbors are anyone in need. And 6) spending time learning at the feet of Christ is more important than our other labors. This is not to say that our other labors are not important, but they pale in comparison.