Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy.
As the disciples proclaimed the gospel, they would encounter demonic resistance, so they needed to know that they had authority over Satan. Satan has more power than the strongest Christian, but less authority than the weakest Christian.
Imagine a traffic cop, in the middle of an intersection, with a garbage truck barreling toward him. The traffic cop puts up his hand, and the garbage truck comes to a stop. This happens not because the traffic cop has more power than the garbage truck, but because he has more authority. I have given you authority . . . to overcome all the power of the enemy, said Jesus.
Luke 10:20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
Many places keep a record of the people who live there for the purpose of taxation. When a person dies, or moves away, their name is removed from the record book. But if our names are written in heaven, we will never die, or move away, and our names will never be removed. We should rejoice every day that our names are written in heaven.
Luke 10:21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
The religious leaders were highly educated, but were nearly unanimous in their rejection of Jesus Christ. By comparison, many of Jesus’ followers were rather simple. Faith is not a matter of intelligence or education—but revelation. God hid it from the wise, and revealed it to babes.
For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:18-21), wrote Paul.
Soon after he received Jesus Christ as Lord (Colossians 2:6), a young friend of mine shared the gospel with his uncle, who had degrees in philosophy and religion. Predictably, his uncle dismissed him with a scoff. And yet, my young friend knew more about the grace of God than his educated uncle. The reason we believe in Jesus Christ is not because we are smart or educated, but because God has revealed himself to us through the gospel.
Luke 10:22 No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Jesus should get an award for being the only person who was never boring. In one of the most religious places on earth he said, in effect, No one knows God but me, and those to whom I reveal him. We do not know God by induction, deduction or abduction. We know God by introduction, and only Jesus Christ can introduce us. Jesus was accused of many things, but never of being boring.
Luke 10:29 And who is my neighbor?
Jesus was talking to a religious leader about the command to Love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). To help narrow the list, the man wanted to know exactly who his neighbor was, so Jesus replied with a story.
A certain man was robbed, beaten and left for dead. A couple religious leaders passed by, but they did not offer to help. Then someone came who bandaged the man’s wounds, took him to a motel, and paid for his room. Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man? . . . The one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him, Go and do likewise (Luke 10:36-37).
This is a fine story, but Jesus included a twist. The one who helped his neighbor was a Samaritan (Luke 10:33). Samaritans corrupted the Jewish religion, and were hated by Jews for doing so. Jesus’ point was that people we dislike might be better at loving their neighbors than we are, and we should be willing to learn from them.
Luke 10:38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
This was not a small favor, since Jesus and his disciples were more than a dozen men. To receive that many guests, without notice, was an act of genuine hospitality. Jesus was friends with Martha, her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus (John 11-12). He probably stopped by often since they lived near Jerusalem.
[Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!
Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:39-42).
It’s a little surprising that dinner was ever served, or that Jesus was ever invited back. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, while Martha did all the work—and Jesus corrected Martha! But Jesus made his point. It is more important to listen to him than anything else we do. This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him! (Mark 9:7), said God.
Mary knew that sitting at Jesus’ feet was the greatest honor of her life. Paul was educated at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3, ESV), but Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus Christ. Rabbis rarely took women as students, so Mary felt honored.
We also have the honor of sitting at Jesus’ feet every single day. With an open Bible, we can learn from the greatest teacher who ever lived. Then, if we rise to serve him, we will live out the virtues of Mary and Martha—two of Jesus’ dearest friends.
Reflection and Review
Why does Jesus hide the truth from some, and reveal it to others?
With so much need in the world, how do we know who to help?
What does it mean to be a disciple?