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Lu 10:1-24. MISSION OF THE SEVENTY DISCIPLES, AND THEIR RETURN.
As our Lord's end approaches, the preparations for the establishment of the coming Kingdom are quickened and extended.
1. the Lord--a becoming title here, as this appointment was an act
truly lordly [BENGEL].
3-12. (See on Mt 10:7-16).
10. son of peace--inwardly prepared to embrace your message of peace. See note on "worthy," (see on Mt 10:13).
12-15. (See on
16. He that, &c.--(See on Mt 10:40).
17. returned--evidently not long away.
18. I beheld--As much of the force of this glorious statement depends on the nice shade of sense indicated by the imperfect tense in the original, it should be brought out in the translation: "I was beholding Satan as lightning falling from heaven"; that is, "I followed you on your mission, and watched its triumphs; while you were wondering at the subjection to you of devils in My name, a grander spectacle was opening to My view; sudden as the darting of lightning from heaven to earth, lo! Satan was beheld falling from heaven!" How remarkable is this, that by that law of association which connects a part with the whole, those feeble triumphs of the Seventy seem to have not only brought vividly before the Redeemer the whole ultimate result of His mission, but compressed it into a moment and quickened it into the rapidity of lightning! Note.--The word rendered "devils," is always used for those spiritual agents employed in demoniacal possessions--never for the ordinary agency of Satan in rational men. When therefore the Seventy say, "the devils [demons] are subject to us," and Jesus replies, "Mine eye was beholding Satan falling," it is plain that He meant to raise their minds not only from the particular to the general, but from a very temporary form of satanic operation to the entire kingdom of evil. (See Joh 12:31; and compare Isa 14:12).
19. Behold, I give you, &c.--not for any renewal of their mission,
though probably many of them afterwards became ministers of Christ; but
simply as disciples.
20. rejoice not, &c.--that is, not so much. So far from forbidding it, He takes occasion from it to tell them what had been passing in His own mind. But as power over demons was after all intoxicating, He gives them a higher joy to balance it, the joy of having their names in Heaven's register (Php 4:3).
21, 22. Jesus . . . said, &c.--The very same sublime words were uttered by our Lord on a former similar occasion (see on Mt 11:25-27); but (1) There we are merely told that He "answered and said" thus; here, He "rejoiced in spirit and said," &c. (2) There it was merely "at that time" (or season) that He spoke thus, meaning with a general reference to the rejection of His gospel by the self-sufficient; here, "In that hour Jesus said," with express reference probably to the humble class from which He had to draw the Seventy, and the similar class that had chiefly welcomed their message. "Rejoice" is too weak a word. It is "exulted in spirit"--evidently giving visible expression to His unusual emotions; while, at the same time, the words "in spirit" are meant to convey to the reader the depth of them. This is one of those rare cases in which the veil is lifted from off the Redeemer's inner man, that, angel-like, we may "look into it" for a moment (1Pe 1:12). Let us gaze on it with reverential wonder, and as we perceive what it was that produced that mysterious ecstasy, we shall find rising in our hearts a still rapture--"Oh, the depths!"
23, 24. (See on Mt 13:16, 17).
Lu 10:25-37. QUESTION OF A LAWYER AND PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN.
25. tempted him--"tested him"; in no hostile spirit, yet with no tender anxiety for light on that question of questions, but just to see what insight this great Galilean teacher had.
27. Thou shalt, &c.--the answer Christ Himself gave to another lawyer. (See on Mr 12:29-33).
28. he said, &c.--"Right; THIS do, and life is thine"--laying such emphasis on "this" as to indicate, without expressing it, where the real difficulty to a sinner lay, and thus nonplussing the questioner himself.
29. willing--"wishing," to get himself out of the difficulty, by throwing on Jesus the definition of "neighbor," which the Jews interpreted very narrowly and technically, as excluding Samaritans and Gentiles [ALFORD].
30. A certain man--a Jew.
31, 32. came down a . . . priest . . . and a Levite--Jericho, the
second city of Judea, was a city of the priests and Levites, and
thousands of them lived there. The two here mentioned are supposed,
apparently, to be returning from temple duties, but they had not
learnt what that meaneth, 'I will have mercy and not sacrifice'
33. Samaritan--one excommunicated by the Jews, a byword among them,
synonymous with heretic and devil
34. oil and wine--the remedies used in such cases all over the East
and elsewhere; the wine to cleanse the wounds, the oil to
assuage their smartings.
35. two pence--equal to two day's wages of a laborer, and enough for several days' support.
36. Which . . . was neighbour?--a most dexterous way of putting the question: (1) Turning the question from, "Whom am I to love as my neighbour?" to "Who is the man that shows that love?" (2) Compelling the lawyer to give a reply very different from what he would like--not only condemning his own nation, but those of them who should be the most exemplary. (3) Making him commend one of a deeply hated race. And he does it, but it is almost extorted. For he does not answer, "The Samaritan"--that would have sounded heterodox, heretical--but "He that showed mercy on him." It comes to the same thing, no doubt, but the circumlocution is significant.
37. Go, &c.--O exquisite, matchless teaching! What new fountains of charity has not this opened up in the human spirit--rivers in the wilderness, streams in the desert! What noble Christian institutions have not such words founded, all undreamed of till that wondrous One came to bless this heartless world of ours with His incomparable love--first in words, and then in deeds which have translated His words into flesh and blood, and poured the life of them through that humanity which He made His own! Was this parable, now, designed to magnify the law of love, and to show who fulfils it and who not? And who did this as never man did it, as our Brother Man, "our Neighbor?" The priests and Levites had not strengthened the diseased, nor bound up the broken (Eze 34:4), while He bound up the brokenhearted (Isa 61:1), and poured into all wounded spirits the balm of sweetest consolation. All the Fathers saw through the thin veil of this noblest of stories, the Story of love, and never wearied of tracing the analogy (though sometimes fancifully enough) [TRENCH]. Exclaims GREGORY NAZIANZEN (in the fourth century), "He hungered, but He fed thousands; He was weary, but He is the Rest of the weary; He is saluted 'Samaritan' and 'Demoniac,' but He saves him that went down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves," &c.
Lu 10:38-42. MARTHA AND MARY.
38. certain village--Bethany
which Luke so speaks of, having no farther occasion to notice it.
39. which also--"who for her part," in contrast with Martha.
41. Martha, Martha--emphatically redoubling upon the name.
42. one thing, &c.--The idea of "Short work and little of it suffices
for Me" is not so much the lower sense of these weighty words, as
supposed in them, as the basis of something far loftier than any
precept on economy. Underneath that idea is couched another, as to the
littleness both of elaborate preparation for the present life and
of that life itself, compared with another.