Luke 10 Mission And Ministry.
Luke 10:1-24 Seventy Sent, Satan Falls, The Son Reveals.
Having finished His discourse on the cost of discipleship, Jesus appoints seventy who were to go ahead of Him to those places He intended to visit (v. 1). Seventy was representative of the nations of the world according to Genesis 10. They were sent out in pairs, no doubt for mutual support, but also in fulfillment of the need of two witnesses (Dt. 17:6; Mk. 6:7). Jesus also instructed the people to pray for even more labourers who could be sent into the harvest (v. 2 Cf. Jn. 4:35), but they would go as lambs among wolves (v. 3 Cf. Mt. 10:16). They were given specific instructions. They were to go in haste, taking nothing with them and not stopping along the way for greetings (v. 4 Cf. 9:3-5). They were to enter houses offering peace, and if a “son of peace” were there, that peace would remain (vv. 5-6 Cf. Mt. 10:12). There they were to remain, accepting their provision, “for the laborer is worthy of his wages.” (v. 7 Cf. Mt. 10:11; I Tim. 5:18) This was to be their practice in every city they entered (v. 8). They were to also heal the sick and tell the people that the kingdom of God had come to them (vv. 9-11). “Sodom’s wickedness was proverbial, but rejecting the preaching of God’s kingdom is worse even than Sodom’s deeds.” (NGSB, p. 1624)
However, any city that would not receive them in this way, they were to keep their peace and move on. God would bring judgment later (v. 12 Cf. Mt. 10:15). Jesus said that the nations of Tyre and Sidon would have repented in sackcloth and ashes if they had the revelation that was now being given (vv. 13-15 Cf. Mt. 11:21-23). These seventy, and those who would follow, were those who were sent to preach the gospel, the good news about Jesus. If any rejected them, they were rejecting Jesus, and in rejecting Jesus they were rejecting the Father. There was no refuge for those who might claim that they were only rejecting them, or only rejecting Jesus, but not the Father. Jesus made clear that He and the Father were one (v. 16 Cf. Jn. 13:20). The seventy returned with joy because even the demons were subject to them, to which Jesus replied that He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (vv. 17-18 Cf. Is. 14:12ff; Jn. 12:31). They were given power over the enemy, but they were to rejoice more that their names were “written in heaven.” (vv. 19-20 Cf. Is. 4:3) Jesus Himself rejoiced in the Spirit, that the Father was revealing the truth to “babes.” (v. 21 Cf. Mt. 11:25-27)
The revelation of who the Son is, and who the Father is, is dependent on them and not on any human accomplishment. It is a sovereign act of God, some simply have not been granted true knowledge of who God is (v. 22). Jesus alone had this authority given to Him (Cf. Mt. 28:18; Jn. 1:18; 3:35; 5:27; 6:44-46; 17:2) More even than this, is the further revelation that has come via the Son. The prophets of old longed to look into the things that Jesus was then revealing to His own (vv. 23-24 Cf. Mt. 13:16-17; I Pet. 1:10-11). It is perhaps not surprising that Luke alone would relate this account of the seventy. Taking the gospel of the kingdom to the nations was more of his emphasis, starting with Mary’s song which hearkened back to Abraham and his seed (1:55), and Zacharias’ to the oath sworn to Abraham via covenant (1:72-73). Simeon spoke of His salvation for all peoples (2:31-32). Tyre and Sidon, which Jesus referred to, were pagan cities, and what follows this passage is the famous story about the good Samaritan, and the meaning of being a good neighbour. It is a message of encouragement still, to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, with the knowledge that Satan has been defeated by the Son.