Introduction: Welcome to Expound our verse-by-verse study of God's Word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Skip Heitzig: Now in chapter 9, in verse 51, we're told that Jesus set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem. From chapter 9, verse 51, to chapter 19 is the travel log of Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. This is Luke outlining and expanding what Jesus said and did as he makes his way toward the cross. Now, I bring up that verse because it is a turning point in the gospel of Luke. You need to know that. Up to this point Jesus' ministry has been centered in Galilee and Luke has decided, by the Spirit of God, to focus upon the works of Jesus; whereas, now in chapter 10 he's going to focus on the words of Jesus and the rest of book you're going to see a lot more red letters. From the works to the words, from the miracles that Jesus performed to the messages that Jesus spoke.
And why is that? Well, since he's on his way to Jerusalem, he has little time left. And in that time while he is on the road with his men, with his twelve learners, his disciples, those who were apostles, ones who would be sent out, he is prepping them. He is getting them ready. And he is using this time with his words, and the words that he will speak to people, but mostly training them in preparation for what's ahead, what he will accomplish at the cross. So Luke, if you wanted to follow it this way, it may be helpful, Luke in chapters 1, 2, and 3 give us the advent of Jesus Christ, his coming into this world. And then from chapter 4 onward we get the activities of Jesus Christ. But now because he is on the way to the cross, we're going to see the antagonism toward Jesus Christ. He's training his men.
It's from the miracles to the messages, from the words to the works, but there is also an underlying, growing antagonism against Jesus. So another way to look at it: we turn from the revelation of Christ to the rejection of Jesus Christ, and it will culminate at the cross in the---toward the end of Luke. Now, in chapter 10 it begins: "After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before his face into every city and place where he himself was about to go." Do you remember in the last chapter, chapter 9, at the beginning of chapter 9 Jesus sent out twelve? He sent out his men. He sent them out, and they came back, and now Luke is the only one who gives us this information. Now he sends seventy others out like he sent the twelve out.
Why is that? Why does he do this? Let me give you my opinion, my shot at this. Seventy is important to us, when we read through the Bible, we come to seventy after Jethro---not Bodine---Jethro the father-in-law of Moses told Moses, "You know, Moses, you're overworked. You're doing this work alone. You need helpers." That's Exodus, chapter 18. So, by the time we get a few chapters later, Moses has seventy other elders that he picked out, leaders among men who would be captains over hundreds, thousands, fifties, etcetera, seventy of them. Those seventy ruling elders would eventually be known in New Testament times as the---any guesses?---Sanhedrin. The Jewish Sanhedrin is the---was the ruling council of the Jews centered in Jerusalem.
However, something else, in Numbers the tenth chapter (this is after the flood), there are seventy names that are given that represent seventy nations that were developed around the world after the flood. And these were the heads of those families that became seventy nations. It's called, incidentally, the "table of nations" in Numbers, chapter 10, or in Genesis, chapter 10. So, Numbers 10 is the table of nations. One of those chapters is the table of nations. [laughter] It eludes me now. My mind is trying to go back and catalog. Seventy nations are mentioned. When Jesus sent out the twelve, I believe, that corresponds to the twelve tribes of Israel. It's interesting that Jesus chose only twelve who would be the closest to him. And when he sent them out in chapter 9, he gave them very narrow instructions.
Jesus said---and this is Matthew's account. We have to kind of go back and forth in the gospels to get the whole conversation. He said, "Do not go to the Gentiles, do not go to the Samaritans. But go rather only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." In other words, "You twelve are going on a mission to the Jews only." Now he sends seventy others out also to all of the places where Jesus is about to go. I believe that Jesus sending out the twelve corresponds to the gospel going out to Israel, the twelve tribes, to the Jew first, but then the seventy is representative of the gospel going out to the Gentiles also. "The Jew first and also to the Gentiles." "Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. You seventy now go out to all of these villages."
And he is on his way from the north down toward the south, including some Gentile areas. And I think that Luke is drawing this correspondence that we might see, in this kind of foreshadowed form, the universality of the gospel message of Jesus Christ that it's for the whole world. And it brings hope to us, because we are all the way on the other side of the planet earth, and the gospel has come to us. So seventy now go out, and notice the instructions: "And then he said to them, 'The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore' " complain that we need more laborers. [laughter] It doesn't read that, does it? I don't know why so many people do then. They feel that the answer is that they need to complain: "You know, we need more missionaries." "We need more workers around here."
Okay, if we do, then pray, "pray to the Lord of the harvest." God has to call a person, and God has to send people. So what is the answer when you need more workers? Pray to the One who sends out the workers. It's his work. " 'Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers' "---interesting, not supervisors, not foreman, you just need laborers. You just need anyone who would say, "Right over here, Lord, you can use me. Send me. I'll do it." And then he says something interesting: " 'Go your way; and behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.' " "Pray"---now, "Go your way." This will often happen.
I'll just warn you, when you start praying, if you take the harvest seriously, if you take the needs of the world seriously, and go, "Lord, I'm just praying for that country, or for that people group, or for this neighborhood, whatever," you may find the Lord will answer your prayer in an unusual and unforeseen way---he will send you. You're praying about it. You have a heart for it. Now go for it. "Go your way." But this is puzzling: " 'Behold I send you out as lambs among wolves.' " Now that's enough to stop most of us in our tracks and go, "No thanks." How graphic is that? A wolf is a predator, mutilates sheep, has sheep for lunch. "Hey, you guys, I'm sending you out to do my work. And you're like little sheep and there's wolves that want to bite you and kill you all around you." Cool, huh? [laughter]
Doesn't sound that cool, but it does sound adventurous, that I will say. You are "lambs among wolves." When I was a boy I had an interesting dog named Shultz. German name for a German dog, at least in part. But part of this dog that I had was wolf and I was just enamored with the fact that I had a part-wolf as a dog. And it was really cool until one morning Shultz came home and he was in the backyard and he had blood all over him. It wasn't his blood. It was all over his white coat and all over his paws. And we found out that he was going out at night and looking for fresh kill. He would not eat dog food anymore after that. Wouldn't eat---he had become wild again. And we took him to the one we bought it from.
And we had to give it back to him, because he said, "Once a dog does this, it's very difficult to get him to go back to just domestic food." And he said---and he had a big safety---big yard with a safety pen and he was committed to training him. So we had to give him back. But the idea that you're going to go out and face this. This is the graphic illustration of what believers face in the world. Listen, they don't like us. Have you figured that out yet? They're not really amenable to the message. Now, we know it's the good news. It's great news. It's the Jesus could save them from their sins, but they have to admit that they are sinners. It's an offensive message to them. And you have noticed already how reactionary the world is toward those who bear the gospel. You've seen it. You've experienced that harshness and that persecution.
That's why, in another place, Jesus, when they said this, said, "Now be wise as serpents and be harmless as doves." Now, I know some people that are as wise as doves and harmless as serpents. They've got it messed up. They're not too bright when it comes to their approach and they're like snakes. You know, they're about as harmless as a snake. [growing] You know, they're just like, you know, not sheep. You know, they're not---they're like Lambo, I guess, you know, for lack of a better description. [laughter] They're attack sheep. "Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves." And this metaphor, you're to be gentle. You're to be gentle, but not gullible. You're sheep among wolves. Be careful, but be gentle.
And I would just sum it up by saying: there is a sweet reasonableness or an appropriateness with which you and I are to interact and interface with unbelievers. I love the example of Jesus when they asked him about paying tax. And he could have alienated, because there were a couple groups of people: one who thought you should pay tax, and others who are very anti-tax. You know what politics are like when you say anything or mention someone you like, people just get all upset at you. So when they asked Jesus about taxation, listen to what he said: "Well, give the Caesar what belongs to Caesar; give to God what belongs to God." He got his message across, but in a very appropriate and sweet manner. That's being "wise as serpents and harmless as doves" or being sheep that are gentle but not gullible.
Then he says, "'Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. But whatever house you enter, first say, "[Shalom, peace,] peace to this house." ' " What a wonderful thing to come over to somebody's house for dinner and just say, "Peace to this house." You might throw people for a loop a little bit, but try it. " ' "Peace to this house." And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in that same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.' " Don't look for a better place. " 'Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.' " I have discovered it's not that easy to do, because I've traveled to a lot of different places.
And I've had stuff set before me, and I'm going, "Oh, I know it says that, but I really don't want to do this." I was in China once and I was with my pastor, Chuck Smith, and they were giving us the weirdest stuff, turtle, and all sorts of different exotic things. And I kept asking what it was. Chuck didn't want to know. [laughter] And I kept---I was very curious. "So what is this?" And they would explain it to me. And it's like, "Ooh, that's gross." So finally he just said, [impersonating Chuck Smith] "Stop asking." [laughter] I thought, "Good choice." My wife was in a Bedouin tent in Jordan, and they gave her, as the guest of honor---she was with my son---the choicest part of what is the mansaf, the lamb that is brought, and that is the eyeball.
Gouged them out of the head and put them on her plate and she was supposed to eat what was set in front of her. Now she didn't do it, and it's a whole humorous story. I don't have time to get into it, but I---she gave it to the missionary who was sitting next to her. She says, "You live here. You eat it." [laughter] And the missionary said, "No, no, no. It's a great honor to receive these." She says, "Good. I'm honoring you." [laughter] So I have kind of my own theory on this. I think, you know, people have told me, "You know, it's offensive if you don't eat what's put in front of you." And I say, "If I hurled on their table, it would be more offensive than if I didn't eat it, so." I don't want to contra---please, I'm not contradicting the Scripture, I just-I just didn't obey it on that occasion.
" 'And heal the sick and there say to them, "The kingdom of God has come near to you." But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, "The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this that the kingdom of God has come near you." But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.' " Now we have already kind of covered the meaning of these texts when we followed the same instructions given to the twelve, so I'm not going to belabor it here since we did it in chapter 9. But he's saying, "Look, you know, travel light and trust God in this journey." This will not be Jesus' instructions to them perpetually.
This is just a short-term mission, and when you're going on a short-term mission, don't pack, go carry-on, right, go light? Later on in chapter 22, he will ask them, "When I sent you out without a knapsack and without a money bag, and without sandals, did you lack anything?" "No, Lord, we lacked nothing." But then Jesus said, "However, now if you have a money bag, bring it with you. If you have a knapsack, likewise take it, and sandals. And if you don't have a sword, go sell something and buy one." So, one is short term, one is longer term, and there's two different application there. But, "Go in, say, 'Shalom.' If they don't receive the peace, then shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." We talked about that meaning a couple studies ago.
But I do want to read something to you out of Deuteronomy, chapter 20. Now you don't have to turn there. Let me just read it to you. In Deuteronomy 20, in verse 10, listen how similar this is: "When you go near to a city"---Moses is instructing the children of Israel. "When you go near [to a town], to a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it. And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all of the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you, and serve you. Now, if the city will not make peace with you, but make war against you, then you shall besiege it." You first bring a message of peace. If they reject your peace, then you go to war. So, when you go out and share the gospel, you offer peace to people. It's a gospel of peace.
If they say, "We don't want your Jesus. We don't want your gospel," now it's not time to go to war. Don't think I'm going say that to you. But I am going to say that you need to then warn them of the consequences of rejecting the gospel of peace. And there are consequences. It's part of our message. When you tell people the rest of story, what happens when a human being rejects God's offer of peace, that it says in the Old Testament, " 'There is no peace,' says the Lord, 'unto the wicked, ' " well then the fireworks start. " 'But,' " Jesus said in verse 12, " 'I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. Woe to you, Chorazin!' "---is a little down on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. " 'Woe to you Bethsaida!' "---another little town on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
" 'For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum' "---another city on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. That's where Jesus had his headquarters---" 'who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down [to hell] to Hades. He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects me rejects---and he who---rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.' " There's three cities in Jesus' day that are compared to three ancient cities from the past. The ancient cities were Tyre, Sidon, and the city of Sodom. The modern cities in Jesus' day were Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida.
Bethsaida we know about, a couple of the disciples lived and grew up there, and Jesus visited there and taught there, etcetera. Capernaum, we know a lot about Capernaum. A lot of miracles happened in Capernaum. More miracles happened in Capernaum and more teachings of Jesus happened in Capernaum than any other place recorded in Scripture: the healing of Jairus' daughter, the healing of the nobleman's son, Peter's mother-in-law being healed, the demoniac being delivered, the man being lowered through the rooftop in the house that Jesus touched, the woman with the issue of blood---several of them. They've been "exalted to heaven," meaning, "What you saw in your town and what you heard in your town is unlike what goes on in any other place in history or in any other geographical spot.
"You've been exalted to heaven, and 'to whom much is given, much is required.' " But what's interesting here is the town of Chorazin that he mentions. I visited this place. It's off the beaten path. Most tourists never see this spot. But I went there a couple different occasions. And I was interested it in it because Jesus mentions it. And he implies in this text that this little town saw some of the mighty works of Jesus and heard some of the wonderful teachings of Jesus. However, there's not a single record in the Bible that he did anything there. It's implied that he did, but it doesn't talk about anything specific that he said or did there, which leads me to believe there's probably---well, there is lots about Jesus' life and ministry that we don't know about as John in the end of his book said: "Many other things Jesus did and said which are not recorded in this book."
"But these are written that . . . you might have life believing in his name." The sin of Chorazin is not that they were against Jesus, the sin of Capernaum isn't that they were against Jesus, the sin of Bethsaida isn't that they were against Jesus or that they ever attacked Jesus---it's that they ignored Jesus. Now listen carefully. It is a great offense when God makes an offer of peace to the world and shows up and a message is given, his message, like he did in these places, and miracles are wrought, for people to go, "Okay, Jesus is in town, cool, but my favorite show's on tonight," or, "Nice that Jesus does what he does, but I'm kind of into my thing. And it's not like I'm against him, but does it matter all that much in my everyday life?" They just apathetically ignored him. Heavy, heavy lesson.
" 'And you, Capernaum, exalted to heaven, shall be brought down to Hades. And he who hears you hears me, he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.' " This is one of the greatest verses---J. C. Ryle, the bishop of Liverpool, years ago said this is one of greatest pictures, verses of Scripture that exalts the importance of those in ministry and shows the kind of---um, word escapes me---judgment, for lack of a better term, that faces people who reject emissaries that the king sent, whether it's prophets or preachers or witnesses or Christ himself. So when a king sends out an ambassador or emissary, to reject that ambassador is to reject the King. "They reject you, they reject me. If they reject me, they're rejecting my Father in heaven."
Remember that when people say, "I believe in God, but I just don't---I just---I don't hold Jesus in the same esteem you do. I'm into Jesus, I'm into God generically. I like the concept of God, but not Jesus." You can't have one without the other. If you reject Jesus, you don't know God, you reject God. First John, chapter 2, if you acknowledge the Son, you have the Father also; if you reject the Son, you also reject the Father." It's a package deal. "Then," verse 17, "the seventy returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name.' " These seventy guys had never ever been out before doing something like this. It was a short-term mission to them. And just as Jesus promised, they saw, they experienced power.
Now, I just can only imagine the sheer joy when they came back and they're comparing stories. "You wouldn't believe what happened. I was in this town and this weird guy came up frothing at the mouth. And I said this. Well, he just tamed. Well, I laid my hand on somebody and they got better." Can you just imagine what that meeting was like? Electric. The first time I had the privilege of leading someone to Jesus Christ, you couldn't calm me down. I was so excited, elated. "I shared the gospel. They prayed that prayer." And by the way, it's still exciting to me. Nothing like being used by God. Or the first time I prayed with someone with a little faith, and I saw before my eyes a (afterwards) documented physical healing. I just broke down in tears and I was jumping with joy. I was just elated.
So these seventy come back and it's like, "It worked! It really worked." And then Jesus said something interesting to them. He said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." You see, they're all excited about the battles that they won. Jesus is stepping back and saying, "Let me tell you about the whole war. I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. You saw some infantrymen go down; I saw the commander in chief go down. I was there when he fell from heaven." " 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, be rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.' "
When it comes to the Devil---and I don't really like to think much about him nor do I like to speak much about him. I certainly don't talk to him at all. But when he comes up in the Scripture, we have to ask ourselves a couple of questions, the questions that anybody would ask. Most important question, most obvious question is: Why would God ever create the Devil? Short answer: He didn't. He created a beautiful spiritual being that fell, and in falling from heaven he became our adversary. There are two important Scriptures, you can write them down and look them up later: one is Ezekiel 28 and the other is Isaiah 14. In Ezekiel 28 Satan is called "the anointed cherub that covers."
It seems to describe a being, because it says God created this being, and that this being was in the garden of Eden, and was "the anointed cherub who covers," "perfect in beauty" from the day he was created. So it's as if he had this special place of guarding the throne of God, standing sentry at the throne of God. Some would even say he was the worship leader of heaven. I'd never want to slam worship leaders like that, but . . . . [laughter] He was the "anointed cherub who covers," but he went from "the anointed cherub who covers" to the anointed cherub who covets. He coveted the throne. He saw God on the throne. He was standing sentry and guarding that throne and covering it, so to speak, but watching all of the worship go toward God, and he wanted some to go to him.
He was---he was numero uno, minus uno. And it was that minus uno that really bothered him. So when we get over to Isaiah 14, it says, "How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, [or morning star], son of the morning! For you said in your heart, 'I will exalt myself above the stars of God. I will be like the Most High.' " Five times in that little chapter, in that little section, five times he says, "I will . . . ," "I will . . . ," "I will . . . ." And when he said that in his heart, that turned him. Up until that point there was one will in the universe. Up until that point all was harmonious. There was one perfect will, and that was God's will, and everybody, every being acquiesced to that. But when he said in his heart, "I want that, some of that worship. I want to be like the Most High," and he pushed for status, that's when he fell.
He was cast down, the Bible says, by God himself, cast down out of heaven. And Jesus said, "I remember the day that happened." "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning." I love verse 20 where Jesus tells them who saw a great victory, spiritually speaking, "Don't rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." There's something greater. There's a greater level of joy than even serving the Lord. And don't get me wrong, I love serving the Lord. I thanked the Lord this morning, "Lord, thank you for the great privilege that I get to handle your Word that I get to speak your words to people." What a privilege, but there's something better than the joy of service is the joy of salvation.
I mean, do you ever just stop and think---and if you don't, please start doing this from now on---you're saved. As bad as your life may get, as tumultuous as the trials get, guess what? You're not going to hell. That should be able to get you through so much, because it could be a lot worse. "I can't believe I have all these troubles and trials." Everybody on earth that I've ever met says that---but you're saved. It's going to get better for you. " 'Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.' In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, 'I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them to babes' "---not to the sophisticated, not to the clever, not to the advanced-degreed people, though, I have nothing against that at all.
I mean, who am I to speak? I've got a few myself. But Jesus said, "You didn't reveal them, your mysteries, to them, you revealed them to babes," those who are humble when it comes to their spiritual sophistication. First Corinthians, chapter 1, "You see your calling, brethren, now not many mighty, noble, after the flesh are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise." " 'Thank you, Father that you've revealed it to babes. For even so, Father, it seemed good in your sight. All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal him.' " You see how they both are together, Son and the Father? Jesus said, "You believe in God, believe also in me."
So somebody will say, "All roads lead to God." Well, they do in one sense, they all lead to the judgment hall of God. All of you will stand before God one day. But there's only one path, one way, one person, one name that gets you in God's presence---saved---and that is, Jesus. The Son and the Father, package deal, they go together. "Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, 'Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear when you hear, and have not heard it.' "Think of Jeremiah, think of Isaiah, think of Daniel, predicting the coming of Messiah, longing for that day, but not being able to see it. "You guys, you see it. You've heard what they only dreamed about."
"Behold, a certain lawyer stood up"---now this is not like a modern-day lawyer. This is an expert in the laws of Moses. This is a religious---like a scribe, but somebody who has studied the laws of Moses. And these guys loved to talk and discuss and deliberate and write oral law about what you'd do in a certain case. "A certain lawyer stood up, tested him, saying, 'Teacher what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' " It's a good question. It's a good question, but it's the wrong motivation. It's a bad motivation, because he didn't say it because he really wanted to know, he said it because he wanted to test him. "I'm going to test him. I want to see if he can come up with an answer to this." So it wasn't like he really wanted deeply to know the answer; he just wanted to see in Jesus could answer it.
So, good question, bad motivation. And also, it was the wrong presupposition. He says, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What do I need to do to earn favor?" It's interesting, "[Jesus] said to him, 'What is written in the law?' " "I mean, you're an expert of the law. You're a lawyer. You study the laws of Moses." " 'What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?' " So please note that Jesus in dealing with a guy who's all about the Old Testament law, Jesus doesn't say, "Oh, put away your Old Testament. Let me tell you something fresh." He sends him right back to the Old Testament. Right? Because that's the language he's used to. Just like Paul when he stood in Athens on the Areopagus, he spoke the language that the Greeks would be familiar with.
He quotes a couple of their writers that aren't believers at all that were ancient philosophers. He quotes them in there and he's reaching them at a level that would be helpful to the Greek mind even as Jesus, knowing this would be helpful to this scribe, this law-of-Moses guy. So he says, " 'What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?' So he answered and said, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind.' "I'm sure he even said it in such a way." 'And your neighbor as yourself.' " he knew the answer to this question. He had studied this and recited this from youth. "And [Jesus] he said to him, 'You've answered rightly' " Ta-da! You get an 'A' on the test. Now watch---" 'Do this and you will live.' "
That's what this lawyer believed and Jesus said to him, "Good, do that and you will live. What do you need to do to inherit eternal life? Do all of that and live." Now, this is a hypothetical. When he sends him back to the law and he says, "Okay, good. You said it right. Now go do that and live," it's a hypothetical. Because let me ask you a question: Have you ever in your life met someone who did that? Have you ever met someone who has kept the law and all of the time did all of that? I've never met someone. I am not that person. I have never met a person who's done it. Listen, I read the Ten Commandments and I don't go, "Oh, hallelujah!" I go, "Uh-oh, [laughter] it says don't do that; I did that. And then it says don't do that; I've done that. And then . . . yeah, in my heart I did that."
And then it says if you think, "Well, I never did that. I've never killed anyone," then it says, "Don't covet." Oops, now that's internal. You've done that. So he takes him back to the law and he says, "What does it say?" "Well, it says this." "Right on. Go do that." That's the law. The law says, "Do this and you will live." That's not what grace says. Grace says, "Live and you will do this." "Live, live! I give you eternal life. It's a gift. You can't earn it. Live!" "I believe in Jesus." Good, you have life. "Live and you will do this." The law says, "Do this and you will live." Nobody can do this. What this should have done when Jesus said, "Do that and live," it should have caused the man to be honest and then humble, and say, "Well, that's the problem, Lord, there's been times when I've done one of those things, but I have not consistently through a lifestyle of my own accomplished these things.
"I am hopeless and helpless and I need forgiveness." That's what the law is intended to do, by the way. You know that. What did Paul say in Romans chapter 3 verse 20, that "By the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." The sin was never meant to cleanse you---it was meant to convict you. Your reading of it should make you go, "Oh, Lord, man, I'm toast. Oh, Lord, I---oh!" That's what it means to be poor in spirit and then to mourn. You're asking God to forgive you. "But he," this clever lawyer, "wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?' " It's funny, because rabbis actually had these questions. They would deliberate over this and have long discussions---"Yeah, but technically who is any neighbor?" So Jesus is going to answer for him.
And, by the way, Luke is the only one who records this. "Jesus answered and said to him: 'A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.' "Mostly dead. "'Now by chance a certain priest came down that road.' "A priest would be a Jewish clergyman." 'And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.' " "Because technically that's not my neighbor. It's a Samaritan---I mean, it's a man who is half dead, but I don't know if he's a Gentile or a Jew. And if he is fully dead and I go near him and touch him, I'll be defiled." So the priest went on the other side, because he didn't want to get cooties. [laughter] So, religious guy didn't help him out.
" 'Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at that place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan' "---I smile because Jesus make the most hated person among the Jews of that day the hero of the story. "But there was this Samaritan guy . . . ," which made the lawyer go, "Ugh!" ---" 'as he journeyed came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him, bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, "Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you." So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among thieves?'
"And he said, 'He who showed mercy on him.' " Did you see how he answers the question? He won't even call him a Samaritan. Jesus did in the story. He said "priest," "Levite," and a "Samaritan." "So of those three guys, who's the---who's the guy that did the right thing?" "He who showed mercy on him." He wouldn't even say the word. That's how much they were despised. I'll tell you why in a minute. "And then Jesus said to him, 'Go and [do that, go] do likewise.' "You want to know who your neighbor is? That's your neighbor---anybody who is in need. So you're telling me that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? Because this stuff happens all the time.
And if you love your neighbor and you're wondering who that is, find somebody who has a need and help that person. That's your neighbor. What a powerful day. Now, question: Why were Samaritans so hated? Do you mind if I tell you? Okay, because I was in Samaria just months ago---and Jewish tour guides never take tourists there ever, because it's dangerous for tourists. It's dangerous for Jewish tour guides to go there. It's in the West Bank. So as much as in Jesus' day they avoided Samaria, to this day they avoid Samaria. But I wanted to go there. I've been there before. I wanted to see Jacob's well and Mount Gerizim, etcetera. But listen to the background.
Go all the way back in the Old Testament to the year 722 BC when the Assyrian Empire swept in and conquered the northern part of Israel, the ten northern tribes, including Samaria, took them captive. After that happened in 722, took them all captive, it was the practice of the Assyrians to repopulate conquered countries with other conquered peoples from other nations in the world. And so all these other Gentiles were dumped into the northern part of Israel. You follow? So those Jews who were left in that land over time married some of those gals, and those gals married some of those guys. And so there was a mixture of bloodline and a mixture of worship systems. It was paganized over time. Okay? So 586 BC the Babylonians take the southern kingdom captive. Dates aren't important.
But eventually seventy years later they come back to rebuild the temple. You know that part. They come back to rebuild the temple. When they come back under Nehemiah, some of those in the north, some of the Samaritans want to help the Jews rebuild the temple, and the Jews in the south say, "I'm sorry, you can't do that. You're not a part of us. You've worshiped other gods, false gods, etcetera." So they wouldn't allow them to do that, so the rift became stronger and greater. Because those down south, the Jews around the temple saw the northerners, the Samaritan peoples and the northerners as pagan worshipers, syncretists, and that they brought different worship elements into their worship of even God.
So what happen after that whole time of Ezra, Nehemiah rejecting them, in 330 BC the Samaritans built their own temple for worship almost identical to the one in Jerusalem on their mountain, Mount Gerizim. And they believed and taught the people that that's where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac, not Mount Moriah, not Jerusalem, but Samaria. That's what they taught. So there's this rivalry going on. By the way, to this day there are Samaritans that still are in existence. There's about 700 of them left on earth and they even have a priest. Just a couple years ago their high priest died and I think someone else succeed him. But they're---it's a dwindling group, but they're still in existence.
So when in John 4 it says Jesus "needed to go through Samaria," it's because he wanted to meet that Samaritan woman and extend grace and love to her. So making a Samaritan the hero of the story was like, you know, bad juju to this guy. [laughter] And so he just---"Jesus said, 'Go and do likewise.' " Now it happened"--- and we'll close out the chapter. "Now it happened as they went that he entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house." We know that this is Bethany. It's just a couple of miles to the east of Jerusalem right up on the other side of the Mount of Olives. You could walk there from Jerusalem if you were there today. We know that Martha lived there, Mary lived there, and their brother Lazarus lived there.
So that's where this is taking place, in their house in Bethany. "And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached him, saying, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.' And Jesus answered her and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen the good---that good part, which will not be taken away from her.' " Now, before we slam Martha, let's be careful here. Have you ever had somebody at your house for dinner that was important to you? You're inviting them into your house, and that person's important, and you want to make a good impression.
You want to do it right, right? And that's important to you. So, they're having God over for dinner. [laughter] So before you get mad at Martha, get--- fussing and making it right, she's having God---what do you serve God for dinner, right? Not deviled ham or deviled eggs, right? I mean, you gotta be a little discerning here. [laughter] So she's busy. She's serving, but it says she "was distracted with much serving." She's on her feet. You get the picture that she's a woman of action and Mary is a woman of adoration. And I'm not here to tell you one is bad and the other is good. I think both are important in balance. But if you had to choose one over the other, sitting is better than standing. Because if you sit now at Jesus' feet, you'll be able to stand tomorrow during all the trials you face. If you fail to sit, you'll fall.
The sitting is important in order to stand and serve. So, she's---Martha's busy serving. Mary's just going, "Uh, God's in my house. I want to know what he has to say. I may never get this opportunity again. I just want to look at him, and I want to listen to him, and I want to just take in everything. I'll sit at his feet." But it's interesting that Martha was distracted with much serving and she approached him. Now, watch what she says, " 'Lord, do you not care"---have you ever said that to God? "God, you don't care." Have you ever said that to God? You have, of course you have: "You don't care." "'That my sister has left me to serve alone.' "Then, what's worse than that is she tells Jesus what to do: " 'Therefore tell her to help me.' "Well, I guess it's a prayer. [laughter]
" 'And Jesus said---answered and said, 'Martha, Martha,' " twice. Don't miss this---to say a name twice was to invite a person closer. "I'm speaking to you now on an intimate term, Martha, Martha," like "We know each, Martha." When the Lord stopped Abram from plunging the knife into his son, he said, "Abraham, Abraham, see that you do that not." And Moses saw the burning bush, God spoke to him and said, "Moses, Moses! Take the sandals off your feet." When David lost his son Absalom he said, "O Absalom, my son, my son!" Trying to get back and regain that intimacy that was lost through death. When Jesus stood over the city of Jerusalem, he said, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often I would have gathered you." So, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things."
Are you tonight? Work without worship produces worry. Work without worship produces worry; action without adoration produces aggravation---same truth. " 'But one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken from her.' " Again, times of sitting are important to get you to be able to stand tomorrow in a trial. Sit before the feet of Jesus. Soak in all that you can get. Get every Bible study you can listen to. Enjoy the fellowship now, because that helps you stand. "Those that wait upon the Lord," Isaiah 40, "will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not be weary, they shall walk and they shall not faint." So, I guess I ask you this: Are you encumbered in the kitchen or are you encountering Jesus Christ? You can have both, you know.
You can be working in the kitchen, you can be working for the Lord, but at the same time taking time to be before him. That was the problem with the church of Ephesus. "I know your works, I know your labor, but you've left your first love." But if you hold onto your first love and you serve the Lord, your service will be better. We always ask people who come in for counseling when they come in---"I have this trouble and this deep thing in my life . . ."---"What have you been reading in your Bibles lately? What have you been doing in your devotional time? Tell me about your quiet time with the Lord." And you often see the hanging of the head and the flushing of the faces. They're embarrassed. "Well, I haven't been studying or praying or been in touch with him like I should."
Ah, now I see the real problem, the horizontal life. Your relationship with people is messed up because the vertical axis is off. Get this straightened out. Begin each day sitting so that you can stand the rest of the time. Well, we're not in the kitchen, but we're supping with the Lord tonight, and we're going to take the elements. And Jarrett come on up here. And Mat, you just got back from your honeymoon, you're one of our pastors, congratulations. You come on up here as well. [applause] And we're going take the Lord's Supper together and these gentlemen are going to lead us in prayer. So peel the top clear piece off and you'll get to the bread, and then when it's time you can peel the bottom, opaque, purple thing out and get to the juice.
Pastor Jarrett Petero: As we have dinner with the Lord, so to say, it's like angel food cake here. That's dessert. Let's thank the Lord for his body that was broken for us. Father, as we hold in our hand, symbolizing your body that was broken for us, we thank you, Lord, when we were dead in our sins and trespasses that you made us alive. And, Lord, you broke down that middle wall to bring peace, so that we could be at one with you. Lord, we thank you that the gospel, as we read tonight, transfers to your disciples and to us and, Lord, to be able to hear this news and listen and not ignore it.
We pray now, Lord that you would cleanse us, that as we receive your gospel, your good news, that you came, you died on the cross for us, and we receive that forgiveness of sins, that your body that was broken for us gives us a new life. Lord, thank you that we will spend eternity with you. Thank you that you take the worry and you turn it into worship, and we're able to sit here tonight so we can stand. So, Lord, as we take this, we honor the name of Jesus, the body that was broken for us, and we pray this in Jesus' name, amen. Let's take.
Pastor Mat Pirolo: Let's pray for the juice. Jesus, we are so grateful for the sacrifice that you made in shedding your blood. And even the fact that you shed your blood, it just reminds us that you, being God, took upon a human form, and you had blood in that moment, and you shed all of that blood for us in our place. And we just-we just let that sink in, in this moment, and that is no small thing, Lord. You are to be worshiped and to be thanked. And we just want the thank you for that now. Let's take the juice.
Closing: If you've missed any of our Expound studies, all of our services and resources are available at expoundabq.org.