Outline of the Book:
I. Preface: The Method and Purpose of Writing, Luke 1:1-4.
II. The Identification of the Son of Man with Men, Luke 1:5-4:13.
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
IV. The Repudiation of the Son of Man by Men, Luke 9:51-19:27.
A. Rejection by Samaritans, Luke 9:51-56.
B. Rejection by Worldly Men, Luke 9:57-62.
C. Commissioning of the Seventy, Luke 10:1-24.
1. Instruction for ministry, vs. 1-11.
2. Warning of Judgment for those who reject the Gospel, vs. 12-16.
3. Lessons on humility in victory, vs. 17-20.
4. Praise to the Father for victory, vs. 21-22.
5. The blessing of being in Christ’s presence, vs. 23-24.
D. Rejection by a Lawyer, (Parable of the Good Samaritan), Luke 10:25-37.
1. The Lawyer’s self-righteous arrogance, vs. 25-29.
2. An object lesson of true righteousness, the Good Samaritan, vs. 30-37.
E. Reception at Bethany, (Martha’s protest), Luke 10:38-42.
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IV. The Repudiation of the Son of Man by Men, Luke 9:51-19:27.
C. Commissioning of the Seventy, Luke 10:1-24.
1. Instruction for ministry, vs. 1-11.
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.”
Only Luke records this mission of sending out seventy disciples to evangelize and heal. Here, Jesus “appointed” them that uses the Verb ANADEIKNUMI, ἀναδείκνυμι that means, “show clearly, appoint, or announce.” It is only used here and in Acts 1:24. It is the emphatic use of the root word DEIKNUMI that suggests some kind of a public sign or proclamation and notification of someone being “designated or “appointed.” It is taken from the political sphere and has the character of a public and official action. Here, it is used to mark out or appoint to an office by some outward sign. We could say, He “ordained” them to this office and service.
Some early manuscripts also have DUO with HEBDOMEKONTA for “seventy two,” as also in vs. 17. “This number is used in Luke 10:1,17 as the number of apostles Jesus sent out to minister (there is some question as to whether Jesus sent out 70 or 72 disciples; a discussion of this is found in Metzger, Textual Commentary p.150). This number may have been based on the 70 elders appointed by Moses (the Sanhedrin) in Numbers 11:16 and perhaps was selected because of its connection with the universal number 7 (see hepta ). The fact that there were 70 nations in the rabbinic conception of the world, (Gen 10), suggests that an apostle was sent out for each nation, pointing to the universal scope of the gospel (Rengstorf, “hepta,” Kittel, 2:634). This theme of universalism is strongly emphasized in Luke.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
Jesus may have looked forward to the day when the gospel would reach to the ends of the earth, Acts 1:8.
Having “two more” would also be interesting compared with Number 11:26ff., where two men (Eldad and Medad) remained in the camp, while the others went to the Tabernacle to receive the Holy Spirit. Yet, the two that remained also received the Spirit and prophesied.
“Sending them is pairs,” is the same way He sent out the 12, according to Mark’s account, Mark 6:7. They were sent out in pairs for two good reasons: 1) Companionship, 2) the Hebraic legal requirement for two witnesses. The second is especially important when we get to vs. 10-18, and the judgment pronounced on the people and city for rejecting the Gospel.
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”.”
In Jesus’ commissioning of these men, He used the word “harvest,” three times, which is the Noun THERISMOS, θερισμός. In secular Greek and the NT, it has a dual usage of both harvesting and reaping. In the NT, it is used as here for winning souls to eternal salvation and for the eschatological judgement that God will bring against the unbeliever, cf. Isa 27:12; Joel 3:13; Mat 13:30, 39; Rev 14:14-16. So here, Jesus is sending out these disciples to evangelize and win souls to eternal salvation, yet, those who reject their message will receive a reaping at the Lord’s Second Advent.
In the harvest or reaping, Jesus is Lord, as He also has the title “Lord of the Harvest.” It is by His Sovereignty and Omnipotence, coupled with His righteousness and Justice that provides this Divine royal title and responsibility. In addition, this freed these laborers from the burden of success. By calling Himself the “Lord of the Harvest,” He reminded the laborers that the harvest, or lack thereof, belonged to Him, not to the laborer. That helps the workers maintain a healthy perspective. The seventy did not need to worry about whether their efforts would succeed or not. God is responsible for the harvest; His workers are responsible to labor faithfully.
Our Lord states that “the harvest is great but the laborers (ERGATES) are few,” this is the principle that although there are many believers, only a few will fulfill God’s plan for their lives in the work of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The problem is not that there is no harvest. The problem is that there are too few laborers, too few Christians doing the work of telling people about Jesus.
Then our Lord tells us to “beseech” DEOMAI, “beg, pray, beseech, or request,” Him to “send out laborers into His harvest,” EKBALLO EGRATES EIS AUTOS HO THERISMOS. Therefore, we should be requesting of the Lord through our prayers that He send out missionaries, evangelist, witnesses, etc., to those lost and dying in this world, so that they can receive the gospel of Jesus Christ and receive salvation. In addition, we should expect to be a part of the answer to that prayer. The godly man answers the call of God with “Here am I,” signifying his willingness to obey God’s command. A host of men and women have answered that call.
And remember, you do not have to be an expert at theology to be a good witness or evangelist. All you need is to have faith like a child, trusting the Lord, unworried about what you do not know but really consumed with what you do know, telling others in the power that comes from prayer.
Therefore, at the time of our Lord’s harvesting and reaping, many will be entered into the Kingdom of God, and all will be without excuse.
Luke 10:3, “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
Mat 10:16, records this in the sending out of the 12 disciples in their first missionary journey. This tells us that there comes a time when the believer must put into action his deepest beliefs and go do the work of the Lord.
Here, we see that those who do step out to proclaim the Kingdom of God do so as “lambs,” AREN, which is only used here in the NT. This is one of three NT words for “lamb.” The more common word is ARNION, diminutive of AREN that means, “little lamb,” and the word AMNOS, John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19.
The lamb is a helpless animal that needs everything provided for it. That is why God gives us His power and authority, and provisions, as we go out into the world. It was also a key animal in the sacrificial worship of God. So, being a lamb is part of our self-sacrificial service to God.
This is contrasted with “wolves,” the plural of LUKOS, used also in Mat 7:15; 10:16; John 10:12 (2x); Acts 20:29. It is used six times in the NT, (the number of man), in the image of wolves as wicked opponents of God’s flock; the sheep. As such, it is used for those that are against God, His plan of salvation, and those who proclaim the Kingdom of God; His workers.
Mat 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
In Mat 10:17-18, it describes the persecution the “wolves,” vs. 16, will bring to the missionary lambs, “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.”
John 10:12, “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.”
Acts 20:29-30, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
In order to live successfully as a lamb among wolves, we are to be “harmless as a dove yet wise as a serpent,” Mat 10:16. The believer is to be in the world, but not of the world.
Vs. 4, is similar to Luke 9:3, and its parallels. It means, do not take any physical / human provisions with you, as God will provide for all of your needs. “No shoes,” means an extra pair. They had one on their feet and were not to carry a second pair.
“Greet no one on the way,” was given so that they would not get sidetracked. Apparently, Jesus had appointed each pair to go to a specific city location. That was their mission, and they needed to get there and do their jobs. If they greeted others along the way, they would have been delayed, and maybe never reach their designated city.
That is a principle for us too, today. When you know that God has a plan or mission for you, do not get sidetracked by doing other things in other places, because it will hinder or nullify your main objective.
Another way of saying this is: if you are a pastor with the gift of teaching, do not do the work of a deacon with the gift of administration, or the work of others that have the gift of helps, evangelism, etc., or vice versa. Keep focused on the gift, ministry, and effect God given to you, and do your best at it. If we try to do everyone else’s job, we will fail in our own job, and not do the job as God has designed it for those other jobs too. A Quarterback cannot be a lineman. A lineman cannot be a receiver, etc., etc. If we try to do the job God has designed others to do, there will be failure in the long run.
Vs. 5, is similar to Luke 9:4, but then adds vs. 6-9, to explain what they are to do when they are welcomed with positive volition.
First, they greet their potential hosts with “peace,” EIRENE, which is equivalent to the Hebrew SHALOM. Then in vs. 6, if the head of the house returned their SHALOM with SHALOM, it indicated positive volition in that home to the Gospel, that is, they were receptive to the Divine message, and they were to remain at that home throughout their stay in that city. But, if the head of the house DID NOT receive them with a returning SHALOM, it meant negative volition towards the Gospel and they should move on to the next house. That is what “it will return to you,” means. You receive back your SHALOM, so that you can give it to some other home.
Interestingly, as Jesus is the “Lord of the Harvest,” he is also the “Prince of Peace,” Isa 9:6, and salvation through faith in the Gospel of Jesus, brings true peace to those who believe.
In vs. 7, if a home has positive volition, they were to stay at that house throughout their visit to that city, “eating and drinking whatever they gave them.” This was God’s provision for His disciples provided through those with positive volition. This is how God works. He knows who will be positive towards His plan and through them provides for the “workers/laborers,” (i.e., preachers and teachers of His Word / The Gospel of His Kingdom).
In the second half of the verse we have, “For the laborer is worthy of his wages.” This is also stated in the Mat 10:10, for the 12 disciples on their first mission, and in 1 Cor 9:3-14; 1 Tim 5:17-18; 3 John 1:5-8.
1 Tim 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. 18For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages”.”
1 Cor 9:14, “So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.”
1 Tim 5:18 and 1 Cor 9:9, borrow a quote from Deut 25:4, to make the point that the laborer, (preacher or teacher of Bible Doctrine), should earn their living by those who receive their teaching. “The room and food the disciples received while proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom were to be their payment. This would not be charity, but deserved compensation.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.)
Therefore, those with positive volition toward God and His Word should be providing fully for the Pastor, Evangelist, and Missionary, so that they can focus fully on preaching and teaching the Word of God without hindrance and distraction. If the “laborer” of the Lord has to labor inside of Satan’s cosmic system to provide for himself and his family, the wolf will overrun the lamb, and the entire flock will be slaughtered. In fact, as Paul stated in his letter to Timothy, the preacher and teacher “are to be considered worthy of double honor.” In other words, they should be abundantly provided for, so that there never is a concern about their provisions for tomorrow or the next day or the next day. They should be fully relieved of any concern for their provisions, so that they can fully focus on their job of studying and teaching the Word of God to the flock.
In addition, for the one who receives the Word, they should never view the preacher as a charity case or their offerings as charity. It should be viewed as deserved compensation in thanks and honor of what the preacher has provided, which truly is the most valuable commodity or thing in this world.
Finally, “many people think, “The church only wants my money.” Believe me, we do not want your money. That is too little a sum in light of eternity. What we want is your soul, and there is nothing you can give in exchange for your soul. The gospel is about whether you spend eternity in hell or heaven, in condemnation or in love. Don’t give your money to a church if that’s a concern for you. But do give your heart, soul, and life to Christ. Everything else will follow. We do not want what you have; we want you to have our Savior.” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
Our Lord also instructed them, “do not keep moving from house to house.” This is the principle of not hoarding resources from those who are positive towards God and His Word. God knows that some could easily take advantage of the generosity of those with positive volition, so our Lord gives this instruction to not be greedy and take advantage of others. God will provide the worker with what he needs to get the job done. But the worker is not to hoard resources for himself or take advantage of those who have a heart for giving. This also carries the principle of the perception of others. If the disciple moved from house to house, the people of that city might be skeptical as to what their true motive was. The disciple may also get a bad reputation for greed or lust, or swindling. Therefore, to protect the Word of God from being debased, the preacher and teacher must act honorably, especially when money or finances are involved.
In vs. 8, we have the principles of trusting in God for your provisions and being satisfied with them, “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you.” This also includes the principle of showing gratitude and graciousness for what others provide you. When we are satisfied with what God has provided through others, we will be grateful to God and the provider, and we will be gracious in that we will not complain and want more or something else. Being content with what you have been given leads to many other forms of Divine good production and blessings for you and your host.
In vs. 9, we have the principle of reciprocation by performing divine good works to those who have positive volition, “heal (THERAPEUO) those in it who are sick (ASTHENES), and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you”.” In each city, the disciples were to use their delegated power and authority to reverse the physical effects of sin and evil. And when performing a healing miracle, they were to announce that the miracle was just a preview of the Messiah’s full reign.
So, in the second half, we see the principle of preaching the gospel to those who have positive volition along with the message of reassurance of their salvation, especially when we compare the last half of vs. 11, that speaks to those with negative volition; those who rejected the disciples message. In this verse it means to assure them of their eternal security, as “the kingdom of God has come near to you.” It means that they have heard the gospel and received the gospel. And with the sealing of the Holy Spirit, 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30, they cannot lose their salvation.
Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” God does not break His promises; therefore, the believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is eternally saved and cannot lose his / her salvation.
That is eternal security, and these disciples are to share the doctrine of eternal security with those who receive them and their message of the Kingdom of God.
Vs. 10-11, are similar to Luke 9:5 and its parallels in Mat 10:14 and Mark 6:11; cf. Acts 13:51. We noted this “protest” in Luke 9:5.
Luke 10:10-11, “But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, “11Even 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”.”
“Streets,” is the Adjective PLATEIA, πλατεῖα that means, “street or wide road,” it is used for the entrance of the city where a lot of deals went on, including legal matters and marketing. Therefore, this would be a public forum indicating the judgment against its people for “not receiving,” ME DECHOMAI, (i.e., rejecting), the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Next, we have another excellent principle regarding evangelism that is multifaceted. “Dust,” is the Noun KONIORTOS, κονιορτός that was also used in Luke 9:5. It represents the peoples’ rejection of the gospel and that which defiles someone. Therefore, it represents unbelief and sin.
“Clings” is the Verb KOLLAO, κολλάω that means, “join, cling, cleave to, or join oneself to.” It is the word also used for marriage, Mat 19:5, as “the two become one,” as the dust clings to their “feet,” POUS. So here, it means that sin and unbelief are one with this person.
To show the negative volition of these people, the disciples were to “wipe off” their dust (i.e., unbelief and sin), which uses the verb APOMASSO, ἀπομάσσω that is only used here in the NT; another of Luke’s hapaxlegomenas, cf. Acts 13:50-51. Therefore, this protest means the disciple is NOT joining in with their unbelief and sin and is in fact rejecting it. He is rejecting the rejecters and their rejection. Yet, even this action was a further call to repentance, as when a public display was made, all became conscious of the rebuke and judgment. Then, knowing of the rebuke and judgment, it is hoped that the recipient would repent and believe.
This is similar to the mandates in the NT, for church discipline upon an unrepentant member of the local assembly. It is not done out of hate, vilification, or for punishment sake, but out of love with the hopes of repentance! We too sometimes need to protest against those who are unrepentant towards the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Word. Yet, we do it out of love with the hopes of salvation. Unfortunately, many times the recipient does not view it that way and responds negatively. Nevertheless, we are to do our jobs and remember they are not rejecting us but the Lord and His Word. Finally, your protest will be a witness for the prosecution against them in the eternal state, as we will see in vs. 12-16. Therefore, this was a symbol of the people’s rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, those who rejected the apostles who were bringing Christ’s message were acting like heathens and would be held accountable in the Day of Judgment.
As we also previously noted, this was also for the Apostles psyche, in that they were not to take the rejection personally. As such, the people were not rejecting them but the Gospel of Jesus Christ and therefore God and His Plan for their salvation. Jesus used the image to encourage the 12 earlier and the 70 / 72 now, to put rejection behind them and to pursue their cause wherever opportunities arose. So, it was an ominous sign to the rejecting people and an encouraging counsel to the Apostles.
Finally, the disciples were to remind the people that “the kingdom of God has come near.” In other words, they had the opportunity to receive the salvation message along with eternal salvation, but rejected it. Therefore, they will be without excuse on the Day of Judgment, which our Lord explains further in vs. 12-15. This would be the two witnesses against them in the Day of Judgment.
“Those who accept Christ not only enter the kingdom of God but the Kingdom enters them. God’s kingdom is not so much a locale as it is a jurisdiction in the hearts of men. That the people rejected the message did not alter the fact that God was near. In rejecting the messengers, the people were not ridding themselves of the consequences of their actions. As the next verse states, Jesus would give more tolerance to a wicked city that had not heard this message. The people who hear His message and reject it are more guilty than those who populated Sodom.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.)
2. Warning of Judgment for those who reject the Gospel, vs. 12-16. This is paralleled in Mat 11:21-23.
Luke 10:12, “I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.”
“More tolerable,” is the Adjective ANEKTOS, ἀνεκτός that means, “bearable, endurable, or tolerable.” It is used five times in the NT and only in the Gospels, Mat 10:15; 11:22, 24; Luke 10:12, 14. It means a lesser punishment for Sodom than the cities that reject the disciples’ witness.
Mat 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.”
Mat 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.”
On each of these occasions, the context is pronouncing eschatological judgment upon cities which have refused to listen to God’s message of salvation and the offer of the kingdom of God. Notice that these pronouncements also include “Sodom,” (SODOMA, Σόδομα), and Gomorrah as the example, which was already devastatingly destroyed in Gen 19:24-28; Luke 17:29; Rom 9:29; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7.
2 Peter 2:6, “And if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter.”
Jude 1:7, “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”
Therefore, the judgment upon the cities in question in this chapter, would be less than these. Yet, even though Sodom and Gomorrah have already been destroyed as cities, there is still a judgment to be made upon them in the end times, i.e., “in that day,” EN HO HEMERA, or “in the day of judgment,” which we will note below.
Following our Lord’s exhortation to the disciples about being rejected by a city, where He predicted God’s judgment to fall upon such cities in vs. 12, our Lord expands with a prophecy of judgment upon certain cities within Israel that have rejected Him as their Messiah in comparison to gentile city-states.
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.”
“Woe” is the Interjection OUAI, οὐαί in the Greek that our Lord used in Luke 6:24-26, in His warnings of judgment against those who are rejecting Jesus as the Christ, and living unto this world. Matthew records Jesus’ “woe” judgments toward the legalist religious types in Mat 23:13-23, cf. Luke 11:42ff. With the root meaning in the Hebrew “to howl,” it was frequently used in the OT in oracles of impending judgment, Ezek 16:23; Hosea 7:13. So, it has the concept of judgment/warning/sorrow as if to say, “Your present course will lead to your demise, so I will mourn your destruction now.”
It is used 41 times in the NT, as here towards the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida that are warned that the teaching and miracles they witnessed should have been enough for them to believe, but now a harsh judgment awaits them because of their rejection. It is also used to represent the impending woe judgments to the people of the earth during the Tribulation, Rev 8:13; as signaled by the trumpet blasts in Rev 9:12; 11:14; cf. 18:10-19. So, it signals the Trumpet Judgements of the Tribulation.
Jesus compared the stubborn rejection of the two cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida to the cities of Tyre and Sidon, which notoriously rejected God and received the condemnation of Israel’s most revered OT prophets, Isa 23:1-18; Jer 25:15-17, 22; 47:4; Ezek 26:1–28:23; Joel 3:4-8; Amos 1:9-10.
Chorazin, Χοραζίν is a city of Galilee condemned here by Jesus for its failure to repent in response to His miraculous ministry. It is only mentioned in this narrative in the Bible, Mat 11:21; Luke 10:13. Not much is known about this city, and it no longer exists. It is thought to have been about 2 ½ miles north of Capernaum. Its precise location has been lost to history.
Bethsaida, Βηθσαϊδά that means, “house of fish or hunting,” was a village northeast of the Sea of Galilee that we noted in Luke 9:10, where Jesus preached and turned the five loaves and two fish into thousands to feed the people. See also Mat 11:21; Mark 6:45; 8:22. It was also the birth place of the apostle Philip, John 1:44; 12:21, and the city where Andrew and Peter were also from.
Tyre, Τύρος, TUROS, mentioned numerous times in the OT, it was an ancient city-state on the southern coast of Phoenicia. It was one of the main city-states of Phoenicia in the area of Lebanon. The center of Tyre was located on a rocky isle, as the name denotes, a short distance from the coast. This location provided an excellent defense and with a long breakwater it boasted one of the best harbors along the Palestinian coast. The island is now joined to the mainland by a sandy causeway built by Alexander the Great during his siege of 322 B.C. It had a good relationship with Israel at times with trading, but also brought much idolatry to Israel. Therefore, there were several OT judgments brought against it by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, as the city was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar for thirteen years. 587-574 B.C., and conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 A.D. Yet, the final destruction of Tyre did not come until 1291 A.D. by the Muslims. One of the more famous mentions of Tyre is the description of Tyre’s arrogance as compared to that of Satan, with Tyre’s words, “I am a God. I sit in the seat of God,” being the prototypical expression of the Fall, Ezek 28:2-19.
Sidon, Σιδών was also an ancient city-state on the Phoenician coast whose name means, “to hunt or fish;” today it is the modern city of Saida. It is typically always mentioned with Tyre, as it is located just 25 miles to the north of Tyre. We previously noted Sidon in its only usage without Tyre in Luke 4:26; and again with Tyre in 6:17, where people came from the coastal regions to hear Jesus preach.
Luke 4:26, “And yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.”
The city, like Tyre, was renowned for its trade with merchants, Isa 23:2; Ezek 27:8. It was located on the coast of modern Lebanon, just south of the mouth of the Awali River. It was built on a peninsula jutting out from the coastline, protected from storms by a rocky reef offshore. It was one of the most ancient of the Phoenician city-states, mentioned in Ugaritic inscriptions and in the Amarna letters as early as the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries B.C. One Egyptian inscription lists the town as part of a trading venture which sent fifty ships on routes between Egypt and Phoenicia. Even at that early date, Sidon was mentioned in close connection with Tyre. During that period, Phoenicia was primarily a confederation of city-states such as Byblos, Arvad, Tyre and Sidon. The power of both Sidon and Tyre rested on maritime trade. They exported cedar timber, oil, wine, and dyed material and brought back linen, copper, and other valuables from across the known world. They were known as the merchants of the ancient world. Local industries also flourished, particularly shipbuilding and the production of purple and scarlet dyes from certain kinds of sea snails. A 150-foot high hill still remains, composed of snail shells from the ancient dye industry. Tyre later rose to a dominant position, so that Sidon was evidently included in the territory of Tyre by the time of the Assyrian invasions under Tiglath-Pileser III, 747-727 B.C., and Sennacherib, 701 B.C. Both cities were swallowed up by the conflicts between empires and operated within the spheres of Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman powers. During the Persian period, Sidon became one of the most important administrative centers, and the Phoenician fleet was the functional core of the Persian navy. There were occasional periods of considerable autonomy, but these ended in 20 B.C. under Caesar Augustus. Jeremiah and other prophets announce God’s wrath to come on it, Jer 25:22; Joel 3:4; Zech 9:2; Ezek 28:20-24.
In the NT, Tyre is recorded with Sidon as places where Jesus ministered to Gentiles, Mat 15:21; Mark 7:24, 31, and people from those cities came to hear Him teach in Galilee, Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17. They are mentioned in our narrative in both Matthew and Luke, as Jesus contrasted the inhabitants’ openness to the word and works of God to the lack of response He found in Israel. Paul also passed through Tyre and Sidon on his journey to Jerusalem and spent time with a group of Christians there, Acts 21:3-7.
Jesus stated, “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.” He is saying that if Tyre and Sidon had received the same revelation that was given the cities near Capernaum, the inhabitants would have repented, even going so far as to debase themselves with the familiar symbol of mourning and penitence: “sackcloth and ashes,” cf. Joshua 7:6; 1 Kings 20:31-32; Esther 4:2-3; Job 2:8; 42:6; Isa 58:5; Jonah 3:6-8.
Luke 10:14, “But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.”
“More tolerable,” is used as in vs. 12. It is the Adjective ANEKTOS, ἀνεκτός that means, “bearable, endurable, or tolerable.” It is used five times in the NT and only in the Gospels, Mat 10:15; 11:22, 24; Luke 10:12, 14. On each of these occasions, like here, the context is Jesus pronouncing eschatological “judgment,” KRISIS, upon cities which have refused to listen to His message of salvation and of the arrival of the kingdom of God. The same judgment is made on those who refuse to listen to Jesus’ messengers, Mat 10:15; Luke 10:12; cf. vs. 16.
“In the judgment,” is first referring to the Second Advent of our Lord, when He returns and separates the “sheep from the goats,” i.e., the believing nations from the unbelieving nations, cf. Mat 25:31-46, and secondly the Great white throne judgment when He casts unbelievers into the Eternal Lake of Fire, cf. Rev 21:11-15; Dan 12:2; John 5:29. Given the “woes” to these city-states, the Second Advent is more prominent in this thought.
“Than for you,” indicates the principle, “to whom much is given, much is required,” of Luke 12:48. In other words, because these cities received greater teaching, signs, miracles, and wonders now and over the centuries, compared to the gentile cities, they should have more and greater faith. Yet, because they actually have lesser faith, their judgment will be more severe. The principle of various degrees of punishment for the unbeliever in the Lake of Fire is also noted in Luke 20:45-47; Mark 12:38-40.
And remember that even though Jesus is talking about cities in these passages, it is really the individual people within those cities that will be judged. Yes, Jesus will destroy certain cities and nations in the Sheep and Goat Judgment prior to His millennial reign, so that they will not exist during the millennium. But, the judgment will also fall on the unbelieving people of those places and the unbelievers of nations that remain, as no unbelievers will enter into the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. Therefore, there is a duality to these prophecies our Lord is making.
Luke 10:15, “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!”
Now, Jesus includes Capernaum, cf. Luke 4:23, 31; 7:1, His adopted home base for His ministry, in the eschatological judgment pronouncement. As we have seen in Luke’s Gospels, and the others, Jesus did many works, teaching, signs, and miracles there; maybe more than any other place. They had seen and heard much and been given much, yet, He states that they will not be “exalted to heaven,” but instead, at a future time, will descend into “Hades,” ᾅδης, the place of the underworld, the realm of the dead.
Hades is the temporary holding place for all unbelievers throughout human history that is inside the earth. Originally, there were two compartments in Hades: first “Abraham’s Bosom,” or “Paradise” that was for believers only, and second “the Place of Torments” for unbelievers only, cf. Luke 16:19-31; 23:39-43. At the resurrection of our Lord, He took the believers in Abraham’s Bosom and brought them to Heaven, Eph 4:8, where all believers since go directly to upon their death. Yet, all unbelievers still go to the “Place of Torments,” in Hades. At the end of the Millennial reign, Jesus will resurrect the unbelievers in Hades and cast them into the Lake of Fire, Rev 20:11-15; this is called the Second Death.
Mat 11:23, adds, “… for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.” A little more insult added to injury.
Jesus used heaven and hell to contrast the height of glory and the depth of degradation. This might have been a ridiculing pronouncement in that the arrogance of the Capernaumites might have led them to believe they were an exalted people and city, especially since they had the most famous prophet among them and from them. They probably thought in their own minds that they were special and would be “exalted to heaven,” even though in their hearts, they truly did not believe in Jesus as the Savior/Messiah/King. As such, Jesus predicted the death or destruction of Capernaum and the condemnation of the unbelieving peoples there. Today Capernaum is a deserted archaeological dig, somewhat restored.
These warning must have been quite shocking to the Israelites who received them, because the city of Sodom, had already been destroyed way back in the time of Abraham, Gen 13, and the cities of Tyre and Sidon had numerous judgments proclaimed against them in the OT, as mentioned above. In addition, Chorazin and Bethsaida were Jewish cities, while Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities, and Bethsaid was even the hometown of Peter, Andrew, and Philip. As such, it must have been traumatic for them to hear Jesus’ rebuke. Therefore, this all makes Jesus’ words of rebuke that much stronger against Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. And, to receive a worse state / judgement than those cities, would have been unthinkable and shocking to the Israelites who were God’s chosen people.
This “shock and awe” message from Jesus was designed to wake them up to the reality standing right before them; the Messiah had come; the Kingdom of God was offered to them. Yet, they as a people rejected it.
In addition, the unbelief of Tyre and Sidon was more understandable and bearable than the rejection of the good news in the communities which had seen the Light but chose darkness.
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.”
Once again, we see this verse as an encouragement to the witnesser / evangelist. The point is that the hearer of the gospel, who accepts it or rejects it, is not accepting or rejecting you, but is in fact accepting or rejecting Jesus and God the Father, the One who sent Jesus into the World. So, do not take it personally on either account. And if they reject the message shake the dust off your feet and move on, because the message emanates from God himself. Therefore, it is an awe-inspiring statement as Jesus told His disciples that those hearing the message are either accepting or rejecting God, not the messenger. And, those who reject the message would bring condemnation down on themselves; therefore, the disciples should not take the rejection personally.
“Jesus concluded His commissioning speech by underscoring their divine appointment. As envoys of the king, they were due the same respect owed to Jesus. But, more importantly, the seventy could take neither the credit nor the blame for the people’s response to their message. People worship God and receive His Word because they love Him, not because the messenger is particularly tactful or lovable. Many people reject the Lord despite His utter goodness, not because the messenger failed in some way. If the messenger has faithfully delivered the message, nothing more could have been done.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke.)
We also have the reason why anyone is judged at all; the rejection of Jesus Christ. You see the positive person who listens to the disciple preaching and witnessing will receive Jesus, God, and His Word for their life, yet the negative person who rejects the message is rejecting them all. In addition, all who accept the message accept the rule of God; all who reject it are in rebellion against the rule of God. And that is the reason for judgment.
This judgment warning is contrasted with the message of “peace” that the disciple of Jesus brings to the life of the unbeliever. But, if the message is rejected there can be no peace to the wicked, Isa 57:19-21; 48:22. Those who hope for it, while continuing in their sin and iniquity, are self-deceived, Jer 6:14; 8:11, 15; cf. Ezek 13:10, 16. Therefore, peace speaks of our relation to God, as God grants peace to His people, and judgment speaks to an absence or lack of a relationship with God, as the unbeliever will be separated from God for all of eternity.
“Jesus’ interactions with the citizens of Israel didn’t fit the mold of a politician. He didn’t set out to win friends and influence people; instead, He determined to free souls from bondage and then empower them to influence others. He didn’t plan to conquer the world by laying siege to cities; He elected to capture the hearts of people. Jesus, however, never intended to do all of the work Himself. We learn from His example that the work of ministry in the kingdom of God is not the responsibility of a select few. He didn’t set aside a group of clergy to do all the work of evangelism, care, teaching, and the myriad of other tasks in ministry. While He does call some to devote their vocational lives to leading others in this way, the Messiah expects all citizens of His kingdom to shoulder the burden of displacing the dominion of evil and restoring God’s original order on earth. While the Lord can complete the task without our help, He nonetheless has given all of His people a genuine stake in His agenda.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke.)
3. Lessons on humility in victory, vs. 17-20.
Luke 10:17, “The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name”.”
With excitement and “joy,” CHARA, the 72 returned from their evangelizing missions and reported to the Lord of their results. Apparently they were amazed at the authority of the Lord’s name, that even demons were subordinate to them because of His name. They were ecstatic to report their successes in evangelizing and performing miracles, because of the power of the name of Jesus, especially in the exorcism of “demons,” DAIMONION.
As such, joy is the response of those who see God at work through His Servant-Son Jesus, Luke 10:17; 19:37; Acts 8:8; 15:3; cf. Luke 13:17. It characterizes those who put their faith in Him, Luke 8:13, and is a by-product of repentance. It is the result of seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises and plans in our lives, John 3:29; cf. 1 Thes 2:19f. It is also the result of having Jesus Himself in our lives, 1 Peter 1:8.
1 Peter 1:8, “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
The idea of “perfect” or “completed” joy in the present due to Bible Doctrine resident within your soul, is a preview of an even greater future joy we will have in the eternal state, John 15:11; 1 John 1:4; 2 John 12. All of this is possible only because of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
Joy is also the result of the power and authority Jesus has over all things, as even the spiritual world is “subject” to Him. And, because Jesus gives us His power, they are subject to us too. “Subject,” is the Present, Middle/Passive, Indicative to the Verb HUPOTASSO, ὑποτάσσω, that means, “to subject to, put in submission to, to be or make subject, or to submit oneself.” In our passage, it is the world of demons that are subject to the disciples because of the name of Jesus.
The first time this word is used in the NT, is Luke 2:51, for our Lord at the age of 12, who remained under the authority of His parents after the Jerusalem incident. Our passage is an indication of the sovereignty and authority found in Jesus Christ because He is God. In addition, God the Father will place all things in subjection to Him in the eternal state, 1 Cor 15:27-28.
Therefore, we see that joy also comes to our lives when we see the authority of Jesus Christ working in our lives over sin, Satan, and his cosmic system.
Luke 10:18, “And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning”.”
This is an image of the defeat of Satan. It is a picture of his tactical defeat, as the disciples where exercising the authority of Jesus Christ. Satan’s tactical defeats are based on his strategical defeat that Jesus would accomplish at the Cross.
As a picture of our Lord’s Second Coming, Mat 24:27; Luke 17:24; Rev 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18, and the angel who opened the tomb of Jesus, Mat 28:3, (signifying His victory, power, and authority), Satan’s tactical and strategical defeats are described with the Noun ASTRAPE, ἀστραπή, “lighting, light, or ray.”
As Jesus said, He “watched,” THEOREO, “Satan,” SATANAS, “fall,” PIPTO, “from heaven,” OURANOS, which reminds us of what the prophet Isaiah spoke in Isa 14:12, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!”
This is a reference to Satan’s fall from the heavenly realm in punishment for his rebellion in eternity past, an event that occurred before Gen 1:1. At the end of days, Satan will also fall from his place of dominion over the world and suffer eternal torment, Rev 20:10, a consequence of his final defeat. Jesus saw the ministry of the seventy as part of that final fall. As such, we see Satan’s defeat, with the result of his subjection to the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the believer should rejoice with the Lord, as Jesus saw the beginning of the end of Satan’s rebellion against God.
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.
This verse tells the believer that Jesus gave us His power and authority to protect us from the evil one in order to be victorious overcomers experientially.
This “authority,” EXOUSIA, is also noted in Psa 91:13, as being protected from the perils of life and ministry. It is included with vs. 11-12, that were used by Satan in tempting Jesus to throw Himself off of the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem, Luke 4:9-11. It is also noted in the added text at the end of Mark’s Gospel, Mark 16:9-20, that is not found in the two most reliable ancient manuscripts. See vs. 18. Therefore, it is apocryphal and should not be used to establish any doctrines. Nevertheless, Luke’s account here is given by our Lord to the evangelizing disciples as encouragement to go forward in their ministries trusting in Him and the Father in all things and at all times with the expectation of having great courage as they go forward inside of God’s Plan for their lives. As followers of Jesus, we have great authority over the spiritual enemies that lie in our paths.
This authority does not come from the believer but from the Lord. It is Christ who has broken the power of Satan and who will bind him at the end of the ages. The authority of Jesus comes from His completed work on the Cross and from His being one with the Father.
As a result, the believer is able to “tread on the serpents and scorpions.” “Tread,” is the Present, Active, Infinitive of the Verb PATEO, πατέω that means, “to tread on, trample, treat with contempt or disdain.” It has the connotation of victorious army conquering a city, and in the Bible is also used as a picture of God’s judgment, Joel 3:13; Isa 63:2ff; Luke 21:24; Rev 11:2; 14:19-20; 19:15. In our verse it has the connotation of “to treat with contempt as would a victor who has conquered.” We are the victors in Christ and we have conquered sin and Satan, (i.e., “serpents,” OPHIS, [used for Satan, 2 Cor 11:3; Rev 9:19; 12:9, 14-15; 20:2] and “scorpions,” SKORPIOS [used for demons, Luke 11:2; Rev 9:3, 5, 10; cf. Ezek 2:6]), cf. Isa 26:6; Mal 4:3; Rom 16:20.
Isa 26:6, “The foot will trample it, the feet of the afflicted, the steps of the helpless.”
Mal 4:3, “‘You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
“Over all the power of the enemy,” EPI PAS HO DUNAMIS HO ECHTHROS, “hated, hostiles, enemy, the enemy (Satan).” Therefore, we march victoriously over sin and Satan, because they have been judged and defeated by God.
When He states, “nothing will injure you,” ADIKEO, “do wrong to, injure, hurt, or act unjustly,” this does not mean we will not have trials and tribulations in our lives. It is an assurance to us, because of Jesus’ victory at the Cross and that the light of God is stronger than the darkness of the enemy, that we will be victorious even unto death. Though there may be physical and mental perils and harm, we will never be defeated spiritually, because we are already a part of the kingdom of God.
Therefore, we see the encouragements that Jesus gave the disciple who is going out to the mission field in the great warfare of the Angelic Conflict. For our encouragement He tells us: The message is God’s, the harvest is God’s, and now our protection and provision are God’s responsibility. Knowing that, we should rejoice!
Luke 10:207, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
This verse tells the believer that our true rejoicing should be based on being made a victorious overcomer positionally because we are eternally saved with eternal security of our salvation.
In addition, Jesus is cautioning us not to rejoice at the outwardly spectacular that so many often do, but to rejoice in the solid ground of our salvation: i.e., that our names are written in the Book of Life. As such, our greatest joy should be in the assurance that our name is written in the Book of Life, and that we have eternal salvation with eternal security.
The Book of Life, Ex 23:33; Psa 69:28; 139:16 Dan 12:1; Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27.
The “Book of Life,” Phil 4:3, also known as the “book of life of the Lamb who has been slain,” Rev 13:8, is a great registry that our Lord keeps in heaven that begins with the names of every member of the human race, Psa 139:16. It is predominately talked about in the book of Revelation, where it will be the final registry of all believers only who are able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Dan 12:1; Phil 4:3; Heb 12:23.
Dan 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 in the book, will be rescued.”
Phil 4:3, “Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.”
It appears from Scripture that the names of every member of the human race are entered into the “Book of Life” from the foundation of the earth, but as people leave earth through death, if they have not believed in God’s plan for their salvation, not believed in Jesus Christ, their names are erased or blotted out of the Book of Life, Ex 32:33; Deut 29:20; Psa 9:5; 69:28; Rev 3:5.
Psa 9:5-6, “You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins, and You have uprooted the cities; the very memory of them has perished.”
Rev 3:5, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
Comparing Rev 13:8; 17:8, the language their seems contrary to the principle that everyone starts out in the Book of Life, but these verses are viewed from the finality of the use of the book, when at the Great White Throne Judgment of Jesus Christ in Rev 20:12, 15, the final roll call will show that the unbelievers name has been blotted out of the book as if it were never entered. So, these passages are speaking from God’s viewpoint of eternity. And because their names did not remain in the book, due to their rejection of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, as Savior, they will be cast into the Eternal Lake of Fire, and not be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God, Rev 21:27.
Rev 21:27, “And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
As such, God is speaking from His omniscience and speaking from eternity. Just as Jesus was slain before the foundations of the world, Heb 4:3: 1 Peter 1:20, with John 8:58, even though it literally did not occur until His First Advent on earth, so too are those who are and will remain unbelievers. They are known by the Father from eternity past. Therefore, in God’s omniscience, they are not in the Book of Life from “the foundation of the world,” even though they are literally in the book until their death, at which time they are blotted out.
Therefore, being recorded in the Book of Life is a source of motivation and encouragement as the Lord personally reminds the overcomer not only of the safety of his heavenly citizenship, but of the special acknowledgment the Lord Himself will give him before the Father and before His angels, Rev 3:5; Heb 12:23.
Heb 12:22-23, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.”
Rev 3:5, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
“Even as Jesus rejoiced with the disciples, celebrating their victory over evil, He lifted their eyes from the immediate to view everything with an eternal perspective. Their ability to command demons to depart is but a temporal triumph. The victory of eternal consequence is their eternal life in the kingdom of God. Moreover, their significance in the kingdom doesn’t come from their accomplishments in ministry, but that God has claimed them as His people.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke.)
4. Praise to the Father for victory, vs. 21-22. This is paralleled in Mat 11:23-27.
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”.”
In this passage, we see our Lord rejoicing as a result of: 1) The tactical victories of the disciples on the missionary field, and 2) For the soon to be strategic victory over sin and Satan that would be won upon the impending Cross. Both are part of God the Father’s great plan. In our Lord’s rejoicing He does something wonderful, He praises the Father in a prayer like hymn with thanksgiving.
The word for “rejoiced” here is the Aorist, Middle, Indicative of the Verb AGALLIAO, ἀγαλλιάω that means, “rejoice, be overjoyed, rejoice exceedingly, or exult.” It denotes “rejoicing” to the fullest extent. We noted this word in Luke’s first and only other use in Luke 1:47, which was Mary’s great praise after finding out she would give birth to the Savior, called the Magnificat. This type of rejoicing may accompany singing. Therefore, this praise of the Father may have been sung by Jesus.
We also see that Jesus was being led by God the Holy “Spirit,” (HO PNEUMA) in this rejoicing praise. So we see all three members of the Trinity in this passage.
This “praise,” EXOMOLOGEO, ἐξομολογέω means, “to confess fully, acknowledge, praise, or promise,” is acknowledging God the “Father,” PATER, and His wonderful plan of salvation that would defeat sin and Satan. Notice that this word is also used in the promise Jesus makes to the believer whose name is written in the Book of Life, in Rev 3:5, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
Here, we see three aspects of Jesus’ praise of the Father.
1. The first part of Jesus’ praise of the Father, is that He calls Him “Lord, KURIOS, of heaven, OURANOS, and earth, GE.” He is the Sovereign of the angelic realm, the human realm, and all of creation. He is the ultimate decision maker for all of His creation.
2. In the second part, Jesus praises God’s Sovereign plan of salvation by stating, “that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”
“Hidden,” is the Aorist, Active, Indicative of the Verb APOKRUPTO, ἀποκρύπτω that means, “keep hidden from, hide from, conceal, or hide from sight.” It is used 6 times in the NT. Here, Jesus is praising the Father for making His plan of salvation so simple that even “babes / infants,” NEPIOS, could understand it. Yet, we also see a condemnation towards the arrogance of the unbelievers who are “wise,” SOPHOS, and “intelligent,” SUNETOS, “understanding, discerning, prudent or wise.” These are both used in a demeaning sense here, in that these people may have some worldly wisdom and understanding, but they have failed to grasp the things of the spiritual realm. This is similar to why Jesus said He spoke in parables; the believer would understand them, while the unbeliever would not. Therefore, the good news of the gospel is easily understood by the simplest of minds, and the good news is so simple that wise people sometimes overlook it.
As such, the wise and intelligent in this passage are those who are wise and intelligent in the ways and things of the world, (i.e., Satan’s cosmic system), yet, they are infants when it comes to knowing God and His plan for salvation. On the other hand, those who are wise and intelligent regarding the things of God and His plan for salvation are considered to be childish in their thinking by those of the world.
Paul stated it another way in 1 Cor 1:17-31, where the foolishness of God is greater (or better) than the wisdom of man.
“Revealed,” is the Verb APOKALUPTO, ἀποκαλύπτω that means, “to reveal, uncover, or disclose.” In reality, the Father has not hidden anything from the unbeliever. Everything has been made available, “revealed,” for them to come to salvation and believe. Yet, because of the unbeliever’s negative volition, they will not come to understand the things of God, especially the Cross of Jesus Christ.
This word was prior used by Luke in Luke 2:35, speaking to what the name of Jesus would do to Mary and all the people, “And a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
As the sovereign God, He has made the final decision as to who will be in the Book of Life and who will not be. Yet, His sovereign decision includes the free will He has given to both angels and man to make their own decisions. This is the “thoughts of many,” noted in Luke 2:35. But, because God is also omniscient, “all knowing,” He has taken man’s and angels’ free will into account. Therefore, knowing of man’s and angels’ negative volition toward Jesus and His Cross, God has decide to exclude them from the final entries in the Book of Life, while including the names of those He knows will accept Jesus as Savior. In perfect righteousness and justice, allowing for the free will of man and angels, God the Father is able to make the final decision on each creature’s fate.
3. The third part of Jesus’ praise states, “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.” Here Jesus praises the Father for satisfying His own righteousness and justice, therefore being propitiated and well-pleased.
“Was well-pleasing,” is the Verb GINOMAI, “to be, come to be, be done, etc.,” with the noun EUDOKIA, εὐδοκία that means, “goodwill, favor, good pleasure, wish, desire.” It was God’s good pleasure to establish the plan of salvation in this way, i.e., through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Luke uses this word only here and in 2:14, at the birth announcement of our Lord by the Angel to the shepherds in the fields. That announcement spoke to God’s good pleasure to bring peace/salvation to mankind through His Son.
“In your sight,” uses the Preposition, EMPROSTHEN, ἔμπροσθεν that means, “in front of, before, or ahead,” with the Pronoun SU, “you.” The translators turned it into an idiom rather than saying literally, “In front of You.” It speaks to the foreknowledge of God the Father, who knows the free will volition of every member of the human race. And in this usage, speaks to the Divine Decree of God for the history of mankind, including the Father’s plan for salvation.
The Doctrine of Divine Decree is another method of assigning to God the position of “first cause of all that exists.” Divine Decree means there is one comprehensive plan in which all things have their place and by which they proceed. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asserts that it is “His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.”
The term Divine Decree is an attempt to gather up into one designation that to which the Scriptures refer by various designations. For example:
- The Divine purpose, Eph 1:11.
- Determinate counsel, Acts 2:23.
- Foreknowledge, 1 Peter 1:2; 1:20.
- Election, 1 Thes 1:4.
- Predestination, Rom 8:30.
- The Divine will, Eph 1:11.
- The Divine good pleasure, Eph 1:9, as also in our verse.
With God there is one immutable decree embracing in itself every detail of human and angelic history, even the falling of a sparrow. Yet, to understand it, we put it in terms of order or linkages like a train as it were. That is why Acts 15:18 (KJV) says, “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” Divine Decree is then the doctrine describing the predetermined plan of God for the creation and continuation of man and has application to angels as well. It states the fact that God originates and executes “whatsoever comes to pass.”
The Decree of God is His eternal and immutable will, regarding the future existence of all events which will happen in time and the precise manner and order of their occurrence, including angelic and human history. The definition emphasizes that the omniscience of God knew simultaneously in eternity past everything that would happen in human history, (the thought, action, and decision of every person in his life), furthermore, everything in relation to all of the things pertaining to it.
In relation to God’s good pleasure in providing salvation to man, the Bible reveals there are 5 aspects of God’s Divine Decree that rightly define His Plan of Salvation for all of mankind. They are called the Divine Decrees of God and this order of the five decrees is called in theology “Infralapsarianism.”
- God Decreed to create all Men.
- God Decreed to permit man to fall.
- God Decreed to provide salvation for men, (the Cross of Jesus): unlimited atonement.
- God Decreed to elect those who would believe in Jesus and leave in just condemnation all who do not believe.
- God Decreed to apply salvation to those who believe.
This order correctly places election (#4) after the provision of salvation (#3) for all men and then, based on God’s election, salvation is applied to the elect who have freely believed (#5). In comparison, Supralapsarianism, also called “Ultra Calvinist,” begins the decrees with Election (#4). This means there is Election for some to be saved and for all others to be elected to eternal condemnation even prior to being created, falling, and being provided a Savior. They say that God elects the believer to His Kingdom and elects the unbeliever to be condemned to the Lake of Fire regardless of their free will volition. By putting Election first, they remove man’s free will, which the Bible clearly does not teach. Compare John 15:19; Rom 11:5-7; Eph 1:1-15; 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:1-2.
John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
Rom 11:5-7, “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. 7What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened.”
Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
1 Peter 1:1-2, “To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”
Infralapsarianism rightly understands the Bible and God’s election based on His foreknowledge of man’s free will, not excluding it. Therefore, God elects the believer after He knows a person will believe in Jesus. Likewise, God never elects a person to go to the Lake of Fire. In fact, because all are born into this world spiritually dead, we are all born destined to the Lake of Fire. But, God has provided His Son as Savior for all the world, and allows man to choose for or against His Son. That is why the names of the unbeliever are first recorded in the Book of Life, and then after their death, if they remain as an unbeliever, their name is blotted out or erased from the Book of Life, as we have noted above.
As such, “God’s good pleasure” or that which is, “well-pleasing in His sight,” regarding His plan of salvation for mankind, would not be possible if He predetermined a man’s destiny before creating him, allowing him to fall, and providing salvation for him. But because God did those three things first and then elected the believer and left the unbeliever in their sinful state destined to the Lake Fire, His righteousness and justice are satisfied and He is pleased to have provided His Son for salvation to all. “While humanity seeks wisdom from centers of higher learning to give us answers and lead the way, and while earthly leaders recruit only the brightest and the best, Jesus chooses the least qualified, unworthy individuals to achieve supernatural victory.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke).
Luke 10:21, “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.” Cf. Mat 28:18; John 3:35; 10:15; 17:2; Heb 1:2.
John 3:35, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.”
Mat 28:18, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth”.”
In the first part of this verse, we see that in the humanity of Jesus Christ, He has received all things from God the Father. As God, Jesus has always possessed “all things,” but now, based on His completed work upon the Cross, the future point of which Jesus is speaking, in His humanity He will receive all things from the Father. This is in fulfillment of Dan 7:13-14, “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. 14And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”
This also goes back to Jesus’ comment about the demons being subjected to the disciple in His name. It goes back to Jesus “seeing Satan falling like lighting from heaven.” It speaks to the authority the humanity of Jesus will receive upon completion of God’s Plan for Salvation where everything will be in subjection to Him.
1 Cor 15:27, “For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.”
Eph 1:22, “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.”
Heb 2:8, “For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.”
These quote Psa 8:6, that along with Psa 8:5 reads, “Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown Him with glory and majesty! 6You make Him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.”
Among many other things, it includes the defeat of sin, Satan, and his cosmic system that are once and for all under the God-man Jesus’ authority. And, because of the great humility of Jesus, along with His love for the Father, and His praise of the Father’s great plan of Salvation, Jesus will immediately give His authority to the Father.
1 Cor 15:28, “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
Next, we have a message of the relationship between Jesus and God the Father who intimately know each other. “And no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son,
The Lord rejoices in the oneness He and the Father share. In fact, all the three Persons of the Trinity are always in harmony with each other and know each other intimately, since all are of the same nature, the one true God.
The word “except” comes from two Greek words, EI and ME, that literally reads, “if not.” This gives a better understanding of what Jesus is saying, in that who knows the Son or Father, if not each other. It does not mean that they are the only ones to know each other. It says that they know each other best, or better than anyone else. Then in the following point, “and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal (APOKALUPTO) Him,” tells us that we can also know the Father. But, to know Him we must know Jesus, because Jesus is the one who “reveals” who He is. That is why Jesus could say to Thomas in John 14:6b “No one comes to the Father but through Me,” and, to Philip in John 14:7-11.
Jesus said in His high priestly prayer in John 17:26, “And I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus’ statement highlights that the revelation of God’s grace is in Jesus Christ. Further, mankind comes to the Father through the Son. There is only one door by which to enter. In God the Father’s great plan of salvation, He has designed His Son to be the conduit for salvation and the conduit to know Him. Therefore, when we believe in Jesus for salvation, we can know who Jesus is. When we know who Jesus is, we know who God the Father is.
“The Greeks, which were Luke’s primary audience, taught that it was impossible to know God. They thought that man’s intelligence was incapable of discerning who God is. And even if a man were able to understand God, he would be unable to explain God to someone else. Yet, the major flaw in this aspect of Greek philosophy was that it focused on man’s limited intellect. However, because God is spirit, He must be spiritually discerned, 1 Cor 2:6-14. Intellectual pursuit and “natural revelation” only brings one to a knowledge that God exists. The Holy Spirit must reveal the person of God to each individual. When Jesus came He taught that we could know God. In essence He said, “If you want to see God, look at Me.” Jesus embodied all the divine characteristics. He is fully God and fully man.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary – Luke).
We also see in this passage, the sovereign authority of Jesus to reveal the Father to mankind, “anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal.” “Wills,” is the Verb BOULOMAI, βούλομαι in the Present, Middle Deponent, Subjunctive that means, “will, be willing, desire, incline, or intend.” It speaks to the sovereign decision of Jesus to make known God the Father to others, just as the Father had the sovereign decision as to whether Jesus would go to the Cross or not, Luke 22:42, “Saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done”.” These two verses are the only times Luke uses BOULOMAI. So, we see that in our verse it represents the sovereign will of Jesus, yet this too takes into consideration God’s Divine Decrees, as Jesus desires to reveal who the Father is to all of mankind, but will only reveal it to those with positive volition; those who have faith in Jesus.
And remember, at any time the unbeliever can change their mind about Jesus and His Cross and believe for salvation, with the result of also receiving further revelations about God the Father, if he remains positive towards God’s Word, i.e., the mind of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as a result of the Father placing all things in subjection to Jesus, because of His completed work upon the Cross, winning the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict, we see the God-man exercising His sovereign authority in the communication of Bible Doctrine to humanity regarding God the Father. This should bring comfort to His disciples throughout the ages; as Jesus is known, so is the Father.
5. The blessing of being in Christ’s presence, vs. 23-24. This section is paralleled in Mat 13:16-17, after the section where Jesus explained why He speaks in parables.
Luke 10:23, “Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see”.”
After His public hymn prayer of praise to God the Father, Jesus turned to the 12 “disciples” MATHETES, and “privately,” IDIOS, told them how blessed they were to be alive at this time and to be experiencing these things. Jesus often spoke privately to the 12, taking them aside from the crowds. As their teacher, He wanted the attention and intimacy that privacy brings. That is another good reason for “face to face” teaching if at all possible. The Lord has your full attention without distraction. You are more teachable and able to learn more.
“Blessed” is once again MAKARIOS that is used for the beatitudes in both Matthew and Luke. It means, “blessed, fortunate, happy,” and sometimes even “congratulations,” as here. Yet, here it does not lose the idea of God’s blessings upon someone with the result of inner happiness. So, both are in view.
These disciples are very fortunate to have been born when they were in order to see these things, as Jesus explains compared to OT saints. Likewise, in comparison to Paul, these disciples are very fortunate to be in the presence of our Lord during His First Advent, 1 Cor 15:8.
1 Cor 5:8, “And last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
Therefore these individuals were very blessed to have been in the physical and visible presence of our Lord. Yet, our Lord later tells us that those who were not in His presence and believe in Him are very blessed, John 20:29, cf. 1 Peter 1:8.
John 20:29, “Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed”.”
1 Peter 1:8, “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
These disciples were very blessed because they were able to witness the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Messiah, the King of Israel, and participate in it too. This too speaks to God’s Divine Decree in that God is the sovereign decision maker as to when each person is born into the world and what their ministry will be here on earth, Job 10:8-10; 14:5; Psa 139:16; Eccl 11:5; Acts 17:26-28; 1 Cor 12:4-7.
Psa 139:16, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”
Acts 17:26-28, “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children’.” Cf. Jer 1:5; 29:11; Eph 2:10
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.”
Our Lord is stating that many OT saints, “prophets and kings,” PROPHETES and BASILEUS “desired,” THELO, to learn from Him directly as the disciples were. These disciples are learning about Jesus and the Father through the eye gate, “seeing,” BLEPO and EIDON, and through the ear gate, “hearing,” AKOUO.
This reminded the disciples that throughout the OT times, people were looking and waiting for God’s promised Messiah, and now He was here. This also emphasizes the blessing these men were receiving, because great and noble leaders were looking for Him, yet He chose fishermen, tax collectors, and commoners to reveal these things to. This should be a great cause for their rejoicing, as it was for Jesus.
Likewise, you and I live in fantastic times, where the revelation of Jesus is seen like never before. The OT saints struggled to see the coming Messiah through various prophecies, but you and I can look with 20/20 hindsight into all the prophecies of His First Advent and see them in complete fulfillment, and view forward through the empowering and enabling Holy Spirit, into the thing yet to come. They looked forward with fragmentary vision. We look backward to the Cross and the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ. We can now know the mind of Jesus Christ and know who the Father is like never before through His Word. We have “insider knowledge,” of Jesus, God the Father, and His great plan of salvation. As members of the body of Jesus Christ, we have been pulled aside privately and intimately by the Lord so that He can give us the glories of the gospel and rejoice in Christ our Savior. As Chuck Swindoll calls this, it is the “beatitude of privilege” that the disciples of Jesus received, just as we continue to receive today in the Age of Grace.
So, let us not take for granted this great privilege we have been given, and instead rejoice in it with the motivation to excel more and more each day in the plan of God the Father, to His glory!