Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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LUKE - Chapter 10

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Luke 10

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those parts of the Third Gospel that are peculiar to it are commented on here.  For all other parts the reader should consult the Commentaries on the parallel passages in the other Gospels.

I.  THE PUBLIC MINISTRY OF JESUS  3-21 (continued)

5. Ministry on the Journey to Jerusalem  9, 51 -- 18, 34 (continued)

10, 1-12:  The Seventy-two Disciples.  Peculiar to Luke.  But all the saying of Christ, that are recorded here, are given in other contexts in the First Gospel, especially in Matthew's account of the Mission of the Apostles (Matt. 10, 7-16).    1.  Some good manuscripts read seventy instead of seventy-two, but the latter number seems more probable.  These disciples were certainly not on a par with the Twelve.  After the Resurrection their early discipleship as such did not entitle them to an official position in the Church, but they undoubtedly formed the nucleus of the Church at Pentecost (cf. Acts 1, 15).    2.  Cf. Matt. 9, 37.    3.  Cf. Matt. 10, 16.    4.  The same words on the poverty of Christ's missionaries are given in the instruction to the Apostles (9, 3; Matt. 10, 9 f; Mark 6, 8 f).  The words of Christ, and greet no one on the way, are recorded here only; idle conversation on their journeys would only delay and distract the missionaries, but our Lord does not forbid Christians the ordinary greetings of social life.    5 f.  Cf. Matt. 10, 11-13.  The text may also be punctuated, "first say, 'Peace!' to this house."  This seems more probable, for the ordinary Hebrew greeting was Shalom, i.e., Peace, and Christ says that his customary greeting is to be spoken to this house, i.e., to the members of this household.  A son of peace: i.e., one worthy of your "peace" or greeting (cf. Matt.).    7 f.  Cf. 9, 4; Matt. 10, 10b.11; Mark 6, 10.  Christian missionaries are to be contented with whatever food and drink they receive.    9.  Cf. Matt. 10, 7 f.    10-12.  Cf. Matt. 10, 14 f; 11, 24; Mark 6, 11.

10, 13-16:  The Impenitent Towns.    13-15.  The same words of Christ are recorded in Matt. 11, 20-23 in a different context.  It seems from Matthew that our Lord addressed these Woes to Corozain and Bethsaida when He preached there for the last time.  But it is unlikely that Christ returned to these towns of Galilee now that He was on His way to Jerusalem.    16.  Cf. Matt. 10, 40; John 13, 20.

10, 17-20:  Return of the Disciples.  Only in Luke; but cf. the similar words of Christ after the Resurrection in Mark 16, 17 f.    18.  Cf. Isa. 14, 12; Apoc. 12, 9.  Some interpreters understand these words to mean, "At the beginning of the world I beheld Satan's fall from grace" (cf. John 8, 44), with the implication, "Therefore, do not be too proud of your success, lest you fall as Satan did."  But the use of the imperfect tense, I was watching, probably expressing concomitant time here, seems to point to the meaning, "While you were driving out devils during your mission, I was watching how Satan's power was overthrown."    19.  The enemy is Satan.    20.  The casting out of devils is a charismatic grace which does not necessarily imply the possession of sanctifying grace in the exorcist; Christ tells the disciples that they should rejoice less in the former grace than in the latter, or rather in their predestination.  Written in heaven is the same as "written in the book of life" (Apoc. 21, 27).

10, 21-24:  Jesus Draws Men Gently to Himself.    21 f.  The revelation of the Son and of the Father: parallel in Matt. 11, 25-27.  Luke's emphatic In that very hour, contrasted with Matthew's more general At that time, makes it probable that the Third Gospel has this very important saying of Christ in its proper context.    23 f.  The corresponding words in Matt. 13, 16 f were spoken by Christ in regard to the Apostle's good fortune in learning of the mysteries of the Kingdom in parables.  Here they are congratulated upon receiving the revelation of the relationship between Christ and His heavenly Father.

10, 25-37:  The Great Commandment:  The Good Samaritan.    25-28.  There is a similar but distinct discussion of the Great Commandment of charity in Matt. 22, 34-40; Mark 12, 28-34.    29.  Wishing to justify himself: the sense seems to be, "Wishing to show that he had sufficient reason for asking this question and that he was not to be dismissed as a mere schoolboy with such a simple solution of the difficulty" (so Lagrange).  Others explain these words in the sense of "moral justification" thus, "Wishing to show that he was a just man who observed this law."  In any case, this doctor of the law, like the Rabbis whose opinions are recorded in the Talmud, probably limited the meaning of neighbor to fellow-Jews.

30-37.  The Good Samaritan.  This story is told in such a graphic manner that some have thought that it represents a definite historical occurrence.  But it seems more probable that this, like the other parables, is simply the story of an imaginary but by no means impossible event.    30.  Possibly our Lord was actually on this road between Jerusalem and Jericho when He spoke the parable.    31 f.  One might have thought that the priest and the Levite would be more charitable than other men, but Christ tells us that even they failed on this occasion.    33.  On the contrary, the Samaritan would ordinarily be hostile to a Jew.    34.  Oil and wine were the common remedies for bruises and cuts among the Orientals.  The wine was used for its cleansing, astringent properties, the oil for its soothing and healing effects.    36 f.  The lesson taught by Jesus in this parable is that we have an obligation of practising charity towards all men, even those who may hate us (cf. 6, 27-36).  The neighbor, whom, according to God's command, we must love as ourselves, is every man with whom we come in contact.

10, 38-42:  Martha and Mary.    38.  A certain village: although Luke does not tell us its name, it was certainly Bethany.  There is little reason to doubt the identity of the Martha and Mary who are mentioned here, with the sister of Lazarus of Bethany.  The characters of these women as drawn here agree perfectly with the busy, practical Martha and the quiet, contemplative Mary of the Fourth Gospel--a further confirmation of the historical accuracy of St. John's Gospel.    42.  Only one thing is needful: this is commonly understood as referring to the only essential thing in life, i.e., serving God and saving one's soul.  But since the best Greek manuscripts read, "Few things are needed or only one," some commentators understand this of the meal which Martha was preparing.  Christ could well have meant His words to have both this practical sense and the higher spiritual sense.  Our Lord does not condemn Martha for her efforts to serve the Master in His temporal needs.  But He does defend Mary's seeming idleness, for in listening attentively to His words of wisdom she is more pleasing to Him than Martha is.  This is the classical text for proving the superiority of the contemplative life over the active life: cf. also 1 Cor. 7, 32-35.

Confraternity Bible:

The Seventy-two Disciples  1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy-two others, and sent them forth two by two before him into every town and place where he himself was about to come.  2 And he said to them, "The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few.  Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest.

3 "Go, behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves.  4 Carry neither purse, nor wallet, nor sandals, and greet no one on the way.  5 Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house!'  6 And if a son of peace be there, your peace will rest upon him; but if not it will return to you.  7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they have; for the laborer deserves his wages.  Do not go from house to house.  8 And whatever town you enter, and they receive you, eat what is set before you, 9 and cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'  10 But whatever town you enter, and they do not receive you---go out into its streets and say, 11 'Even the dust from your town that cleaves to us we shake off against you; yet know this, that the kingdom of God is at hand.'  12 I say to you, that it will be more tolerable for Sodom in that day than for that town.

The Impenitent Towns  13 "Woe to thee, Corozain! woe to thee, Bethsaida!  For if in Tyre and Sidon had been worked the miracles that have been worked in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.  14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.  15 And thou, Capharnaum, shalt thou be exalted to heaven?  Thou shalt be thrust down to hell.

16 "He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you, rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me."

Return of the Disciples  17 Now the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the devils are subject to us in thy name."  18 But he said to them, "I was watching Satan fall as lightning from heaven.  19 Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the might of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you.  20 But do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; rejoice rather in this, that your names are written in heaven."

Jesus Draws Men to Himself  21* In that very hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I praise thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and prudent, and didst reveal them to little ones.  Yes, Father, for such was thy good pleasure.  22 All things have been delivered 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 him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

23 And turning to his disciples he said, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!  24 For I say to you, many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and they have not seen it; and to hear what you hear, and they have not heard it."

The Great Commandment  25 And behold, a certain lawyer got up to test him, saying, "Master, what must I do to gain eternal life?"  26 But he said to him, "What is written in the Law?  How dost thou read?  27* He answered and said,
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength, and with thy whole mind;

And thy neighbor as thyself." 
28 And he said to him, "Thou hast answered rightly; do this and thou shalt live."  29 But he wishing to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

The Good Samaritan  30 Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell in with robbers, who after both stripping him and beating him went their way, leaving him half-dead.  31 But, as it happened, a certain priest was going down the same way; and when he saw him, he passed by.  32 And likewise a Levite also, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by.  33 But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed came upon him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion.  34 And he went up to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.  And setting him on his own beast, he brought him to an inn and took care of him.  35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more thou spendest, I, on my way back, will repay thee.'

36 "Which of these three, in thy opinion, proved himself neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?"  37 And he said, "He who took pity on him."  And Jesus said to him, "Go and do thou also in like manner."

Martha and Mary  38 Now it came to pass as they were on their journey, that he entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed him to her house.  39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also seated herself at the Lord's feet, and listened to his word.  40 But Martha was busy about much serving.  And she came up and said, "Lord, is it no concern of thine that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her therefore to help me."

41 But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things; 42 and yet only one thing is needful.  Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not be taken away from her."


21: The truths of the kingdom of God are hidden from the worldly-wise and prudent, but revealed to the spiritually humble and docile.  The uniqueness of Christ's Sonship (i.e., His equal power and perfection with the Father) is among these revealed things.

27: Deut. 6, 5; Lev. 19, 18.