Who Hears You, Hears Me – (Luke 10)

Old Oil-press in Korazim Israel.

Old Oil-press in Korazim Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need look no further than the first verse in the tenth chapter of Luke for an example of minor manuscript differences. A great number of manuscripts that are very old and reliably used for translation state that Jesus sent out seventy others to go into the towns on His way to Jerusalem. But then many others that are very old and reliably used say that it was “seventy and two.” Either way, the gospel message is unaffected by the number.

In the same manner in which Jesus sent out the twelve apostles in chapter 9, He now sends out this group, telling them to go now and as they are – just as He told the twelve.  The statement that He was sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves referred to the persecution that they were bound to encounter in some places. But in addition to the urgency of the mission, it could be that the command not to carry any possessions with them – including a money bag – had also to do with the dangers of being robbed and beaten. Such could happen even today for a pair of shoes.

The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, a paint...

The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, a painting by John Martin (painter), died 1854, thus 100 years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus tells them that if people receive them in a town, they are to eat what is set before them. This would be important for Him to say to them, since they would likely encounter Gentiles, as well as Jews. They were to heal the sick, as Jesus had given them authority and power over demons and disease as well. But regardless of whether they were well received or not, they were to tell the people who the kingdom of God has come near to them. Wherever they were not received, they were to “shake the dust” from their feet – and tell the people they were doing so.

He tells them that it will be better for Sodom and Gomorrah than for those who reject them which, one supposes, could be somewhat metaphoric. But He also says that Tyre and Sidon would have repented if they had seen the wonders He performed in Bethsaida and Chorazin, suggesting that there had been some rejection in the latter two towns that we are not told about in any of the gospels. He also includes Capernaum in these “curses” for lack of faith. Capernaum is just ruins now, some ruins have been excavated at Chorazin, but the location of Bethsaida is not agreed upon by all, so complete was its extinction.

Jesus told them: “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Luke 5 – Levi, the Tax Collector

Luke gives us just five verses in chapter five about the tax collector Levi. As was true of many others in those times, he was known by another name – one that is more familiar to most of us, Matthew. One might wonder why people with the occupation of being a tax collector are spoken of so harshly by people in the Bible (particularly the pious Pharisees).

English: Jesus disputes with the Pharisees. Fr...

English: Jesus disputes with the Pharisees. French School. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 3861. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. Section Q. disputes with the establishment. Mark 10:2-12, 11:27-33, 12:13-27, 12:35-37. http://pdfcast.org/pdf/an-illustrated-commentary-by-phillip-medhurst-on-the-gospel-of-mark-section-q-to-r (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These tax collectors were part of a system of “tax farming.” Although the practice existed in other countries, it was set up in the Roman Empire by the Roman tribune, Gaius Sempronius Gracchus in 123 B.C.  In Roman provinces, the taxes owed to the empire by an entire region might be paid by one wealthy individual, who in turn would “farm out” the collection of taxes from the people. It was a system that fostered corruption and fraud; and any Jew that involved himself in the practice was especially despised by the people.

We are not told specifically that Matthew was guilty of any of those practices, but are left with that impression; and the company he keeps (verse 29) certainly suggests it as well. Just as was true of Peter, Andrew, James, and John, we should not assume that this was Jesus’ first encounter with Levi (Matthew) in his Capernaum “home base.” This was likely a relationship that he had begun to nurture some time ago, and the feast that he prepared for Jesus suggests this as well.

Of course, the Pharisees were scandalized that Jesus was eating with Levi and his tax collector friends, and they and their scribes “grumbled” at his disciples because of his propensity to eat with sinners of all types. His answer was “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” And it is that love that Jesus has for the lost that we must always remember. If Jesus had come to earth today instead of then, what sorts of people would he have been seen with? And what would the reaction be from those of us who try to serve God? Do we spend enough time and energy on, or associate at all with people we believe to be lost?

The Pharisees question the lack of fasting by Jesus’ disciples in the final verses of the chapter. It must be remembered that the frequent fasting that was especially characteristic of the teaching of the Pharisees was not based on any Biblical authority. The Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16:29-31 was the only Scripture that appeared to require fasting. His answer comparing Himself to a bridegroom, and the reference to being “taken away,” would be mysterious to them, but Luke’s readers will understand it in relation to His crucifixion.

It is doubtful as well that they understood the meaning behind the parable that followed. The new garments and new wineskins are obvious references to the new kingdom and the new covenant. Those like the Pharisees, who are so heavily invested in the old law, will have a difficult time accepting the change.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Extraordinary Things

Luke brings us the story of Jesus healing a paralytic man. This one is told in all three of the synoptic Gospels. In verse 17 of chapter 5, Luke is illustrating just how much Jesus’ notoriety had increased following the cleansing of the leper. Among those who were listening to Him teach were Pharisees and “teachers of the law” (scribes) who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, as well as some from Jerusalem. So the size of this gathering was quite substantial.

Jesus healed a paralyzed man who was let down to Him through a roof (Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:12-26).

Jesus healed a paralyzed man who was let down to Him through a roof (Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:12-26).

Each of the Gospels holds some details not contained in the other two concerning the account of this event, which only serves to make the independent accounts more credible. Though Luke does not say what city Jesus is in at this time, by reading about it in Matthew 9:1-8 and in Mark 2:1-12, we find that He is “at home” in Capernaum. Capernaum was where He lived then – at least “home base.” Luke does not tell us at what home or building He was teaching when this occurred. Wherever they were, the crowd was so large that the men who had brought a paralyzed man on a bed could not get through the thick of it. So they went on the roof and removed enough tiles to lower the bed down to Jesus so that He could heal the man.

Surely, the men that went to all this trouble were relatives of the paralyzed man. Their desperate act of faith certainly got the attention of Jesus. When He told the paralyzed man that His sins were forgiven, it provoked a reaction from the Pharisees and scribes that were present. They were thinking that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy, since only God can forgive sins. It was the thought Jesus expected from them, and He then demonstrated His divine authority by having the paralyzed man walk – not just get up and walk, but carry his own bed with him.

This left the Pharisees and scribes there with the conclusion that Jesus had given them – He has the authority to forgive sins.  Almost everywhere that we read of Pharisees, we read of a negative response from them toward Jesus. But this was not universally the case. It is estimated that there were literally thousands of Pharisees in those days – and though many were blind to the truth where Jesus was concerned, not all of them were. Consider Nichodemus, for example (John 3:1-2).  Here in verse 26, Luke says “…amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe…”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Down To Capernaum

After Jesus left Nazareth in Luke 4, he went down to Capernaum. Here Luke mentions that Capernaum was in Galilee, which of course was for the benefit of Theophilus (and any Gentile reader), where He was teaching people on the Sabbath. Luke said that they were “astonished” at His teaching because His word “possessed authority.” This was an appropriate assessment, as it was a case of the word of God being taught by the Lord. It is with that same authority that He commands an unclean spirit to come out of a man in the synagogue, and the people marvel at that as well. And verse 37 says that “reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.”

Capernaum, Sea of Galilee

Capernaum, Sea of Galilee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verse 38, Jesus goes to the home of  Peter, whose mother-in-law is very ill with a high fever. Here, he shows His authority over even sickness, as the scripture says He “stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.” It is here that we learn that the “reports” about Him that are mentioned in verse 37 have caused a great many people to bring their sick and diseased relatives to Jesus to be healed; and He heals them all (verse 40).  We are also told that demons came out of many, and that they knew He was the Son of God. But Jesus rebuked them. He was not ready for this fact to become known far and wide.

The verses here in Luke and in other parts of the Gospels concerning demons can be difficult for us to understand because such things are so foreign to our experience. But there is much we do not know about where spirits and demons are concerned. For whatever reason, God allowed these spirits to dwell in and among many people just prior to and after Jesus’s time here on earth. We have some opinions about that, which we wrote about here in this article. Hopefully, that may be helpful to you in understanding better, but remember, it is just an opinion – hopefully, an informed opinion, but an opinion, just the same.

Verse 42, says that when it was day, He departed and went to a “desolate place.” This implies that He must have spent all night – from sunset on (see verse 40)  healing people. This verse indicates that He was tired and needed time alone. The people did not want Him to go, and went looking for Him. Verse 43 gives His response: “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” And in verse 44, He begins preaching in synagogues throughout Judea.

For two good articles with pictures of Capernaum, please see this article with an aerial photo and this article with a picture of a partially reconstructed synagogue from Ferrell’s Travel Blog.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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