Luke chapter 10

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What does Luke chapter 10 mean?

Books like the gospel of Luke were originally written without division into chapters or verses. Such labels help modern readers locate specific passages quickly. However, they can also imply separations which are not intended by the author. Recently in Luke's account (Luke 9:51), Jesus "set his face to go to Jerusalem." This begins a large segment sometimes referred to as "The Travelogue of Jesus." A "travelogue" is an extended description of one's journeys; in this case, Luke's record of Jesus' experiences runs until just before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28). The text in between shows Jesus transitioning from His public ministry to training His disciples, including a larger group than just the Twelve. He guides them to know how to follow Him more faithfully and to build His church after His ascension. The first events of this account are rough, highlighting the disciples' presumption of power and misunderstanding of the sacrifices they must make (Luke 9:52–62).

In Luke 10, several disciples learn to prioritize their blessings. A lawyer learns his actions are determined by his character. Jesus praises Mary for choosing Him and rejecting what the culture says she should be.

Luke 10:1–12 opens the chapter with Jesus commissioning seventy-two of His disciples to prepare villages for His coming by healing and preaching the kingdom of God. If the towns accept them, the disciples should receive their hospitality. They are to heal the sick, which would validate their claims about the kingdom. If the town rejects them, they are to leave, still proclaiming the kingdom of God has come near. Jesus' instructions are like those He gave to the Twelve (Luke 9:1–6), but the scope is greater.

In Luke 10:13–16, with grief, Jesus pronounces judgment on the cities and towns that reject His message. Despite seeing Him perform many miracles, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum will reject Him. Ironically, if Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon had witnessed Jesus' power, they would have listened to Him. Matthew 11:20–24 gives the same warning.

When the seventy-two return, they are ecstatic that they were able to cast out demons. Jesus reorients their point of view: Satan is and was already defeated. Their real triumph is that they have eternal life (Luke 10:17–20).

Finally, Jesus gives thanks that God has chosen to reveal the truth about Him to these humble followers instead of those who think they know everything (Luke 10:21–24). Because these followers know Jesus, they know God, and that is the greatest blessing they could receive. Matthew 11:25–27 and 13:16–17 place Jesus' words in different contexts.

The next section presents a conversation about the limits of the Law. A lawyer asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus leads him to the Mosaic law and the overall commands to love God and love one's neighbor (Luke 10:25–28). While Matthew 22:34–40 and Mark 12:28–34 record a similar conversation during Passion Week, Luke uses this lawyer to introduce the parable of the good Samaritan.

The parable of the good Samaritan is Jesus' answer to the lawyer who asks who his "neighbor" is. This comes in the context of wishing to know specifically how he can acquire eternal life. Jesus shows that nationality, position, and righteousness do not mean that someone loves. Anyone can love, thus showing they know what kind of character God seeks (Luke 10:29–37).

Luke finishes the chapter with an example of a disciple who understands both the sacrifices and blessings implied by following Christ. Mary of Bethany sits at Jesus' feet, absorbing everything Jesus says. Meanwhile, her sister Martha is in the back of the house, serving as the culture demands. Jesus praises Mary for setting her priorities on what will last (Luke 10:38–42).

This first section of the travelogue ends with Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1–13). Next, the Pharisees reject Jesus (Luke 11:14–54) and Jesus directs the disciples away from earthy leaders and toward God's kingdom (Luke 12:1—13:9). Following are four sections, each including a miracle and teachings about the kingdom and salvation with an intermission to warn against anti-kingdom attitudes (Luke 13:10—19:27). Then, Jesus enters Jerusalem (Luke 19:28).
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