Woes, Neighbors, And What Is Necessary
More Bearable In The Judgment
Judgment will be brought down on the cities of Galilee that reject the message upon those who turn away from those sent by Jesus. The seventy-two come back with tremendous joy at the success of their mission, mainly because of their control over demons (v. 17). However, they should find even more joy in having their names inscribed in heaven (v. 20). The inclusion of the seventy-two in the heavenly books leads Jesus to express his gratitude and appreciation that the Father has revealed himself to children rather than to the wise (v. 21). The revelation to children was not the Father's decision alone, since the Father and the Son share an exclusive and mutual relationship (v. 22). Lastly, the seventy-two should consider themselves to be blessed and privileged children since they are seeing what prophets and kings desired to witness (vv. 23–24).
A lawyer asked Jesus what was needed for eternal life, and Jesus responded by asking him how he interpreted the law. Perhaps it is significant that the importance of loving one's neighbor, of being a good neighbor, follows a text about the mission. We are called to bring the good news to the ends of the earth, but following Christ as a disciple means treating every person as a neighbor and loving everyone in our path. The focus on mission may lead us to overlook the needs right in front of us. The lawyer cites Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, which instruct us to love God with all our being and love our neighbor. Jesus confirms that if one follows these commands, they will live. The lawyer then inquires as to who his neighbor is. Jesus then tells the parable of the good Samaritan, in which a man is robbed and stripped on his way to Jericho. Rather than helping, a priest and a Levite both pass by. A despised Samaritan, however, stops to tend to the man's wounds, takes him to an inn, and pays his expenses. Jesus then asks the lawyer which of the three was a neighbor, to which the lawyer replies that it was the one who showed mercy. Jesus then encourages the man to do the same.
Anxious And Troubled
Jesus continues his journey and arrives at a particular village, which John's Gospel identifies as Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem. Luke likely leaves the town unnamed to emphasize that the journey motif is not primarily geographical. We must ask why this story is placed here, and the answer is that Luke wants to demonstrate that discipleship is a complex reality. Martha appears to love her neighbor by serving Jesus, but Jesus teaches that Mary, sitting and learning at Jesus' feet, is the true disciple. Discipleship involves learning, listening, quietness, and serving. Jesus commends Mary for her perspective and cautions Martha that she is losing her way.
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