Woe, love, "Go and do the same"
Luke 10:13-37 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!
16 “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 22 All things have been handed over 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 anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
23 Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, 24 for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”
25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Romans 11:22 says: Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. In today’s text we once again see both of these characteristics of God revealed and demonstrated. Jesus begins declaring woe to those who reject the message and the evidence of the kingdom of God. The text begins: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!” Jesus dispels the idea that judgment against sin is strictly an Old Testament idea. He uses the word will because He is speaking of a future judgment not a past or present judgment. The text ends with Jesus exhortation to love, to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
In order to clarify who our neighbor is, who it is that we should love, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. Today’s text ends: “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” We are to show mercy to those who we encounter. We are to love them as we love ourselves. The world says: Do unto others as they do unto you. So they are good neighbors to those who are good neighbors. Jesus says: “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” (Luke 6:27-31) We are the ones who are to initiate the acts of mercy, kindness and grace. We are to treat others as we would want to be treated. Even more, we should treat them as we ourselves have been treated by God. God, in His great mercy and kindness: demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) We too should demonstrate the love, the mercy and the grace of God, even to those who mistreat us. It does not mean though that we accept, tolerate or condone their behavior. Jesus died to redeem people from their sin, not so that they could remain in it. Jesus called people to repent, to go and sin no more. If we are to love as Jesus loves and as God loves, then we too are to call people away from sin, to the cross of Christ. To allow them to remain in their sin is not love. Scripture is clear, God judges sin. In yesterday’s text, Jesus instructed those He sent out to shake the dust off their feet as a testimony against those who rejected their message of the kingdom of God.
In the middle of today’s text, between the severity of judgment against sin and the love, the grace and forgiveness of sin, we see those who Jesus sent out with authority return with their report. The text says: The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” In Romans 14:11, Paul says: For it is written, "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD." Paul is quoting what God Himself says in Isaiah 45:23: "I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” It is not just all people who will bow to the Lord. As it says in Philippians 2:10: At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. Jesus Himself says: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Indeed even the demons are subject to us in Jesus name. But that should not be what we rejoice in. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” We should not boast or rejoice in the authority we have in Christ, but rather in the redemption, reconciliation and restoration we have in Him. We should neither practice lawlessness or as Jesus says in Matthew 5:19 teach others to practice it.
We are to treat others the way we would want them to treat us. We are to treat them the way we ourselves have been treated by God. We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. For a believer, a disciple of Christ, that means to love them with forgiveness, redemption and salvation as the goal, so that their names too would be written in heaven. If we love them we should tell them the truth. As Jesus sent out the seventy, so He sends us out saying: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for Your grace and Your kindness, for the love that You demonstrated to me on the cross. May my life be a testimony of Your love and grace, but also of Your truth that others may know Your love and the redemption of the cross so that they would not experience the severity of judgment against sin. Amen.