Vol. 19, No. 2 – January 12, 2020
IV. The Repudiation of the Son of Man by Men, Luke 9:51-19:27.
C. Commissioning of the Seventy, Luke 10:1-24.
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 “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, and “scorpions,” SKORPIOS), 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!
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-001, 20-002 & 20-003
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!