That in All Things, He Might Have the Preeminence


Christ’s Purpose to Save 9:51-56

Jesus was on his way to die for Sinners who despise and reject him 51-53

Jesus had been revealing to his disciples a condensed version of the series of events that would eventuate in his death at the hands of the religious leaders of Israel.

He was going to die in the place where he would command that the gospel be preached first [Acts 1:8

The Disciples want to destroy a village that will not receive him 54 [This continues their misunderstanding of 43-50 and shows their infatuation with power]

Jesus mission was to save not destroy

How to follow Jesus [57-62]

Be ready for absolute humiliation, for his purpose has no approval from the world, nor are any comforts from the world included in the promises (57, 58) [cf53 for the irony of one promising to follow Jesus at the moment that he has set his face toward Jerusalem where he will die and where his present followers will all forsake him, one by betrayal unto death, one by denial under pressure, and the rest by scattering when the feel the fear of hostility.]

Be ready for immediate service that transcends all earthly loyalty  59-60; When Christ gives a specific call to gospel service, one cannot point to the intertwining obstacles of earthly relationship as sufficient reason to delay or deny the call. Others that have no commitments or call beyond the temporal will fill the gap. Jesus called his first disciples from the seashore and they left their nets, left their father in the boat and went and followed Jesus.

Be ready to lay aside all distractions for the superiority of the kingdom 61-62

Christ sends out the Seventy  10:1-16

Detailed instructions  1-11 [cf. 9:1-6]

Notice again the emphasis on the Kingdom of God – 9, 11 [see 9:2, 11, 27, 60, 61]

These are places where Jesus himself intended to go  1

Where welcomed and supported they were to stay; where rejected they sounded an alarm of judgment

Severe Judgment for High Privilege 12-16

Points of comparison are Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon, cities of worldly splendor and worldly pleasure less guilty that Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.

By far, a greater sin than the commission of moral evil, even the grotesque immorality of Sodom [12], is rejection of the person of Christ when he has been displayed in the flesh in the power of the Spirit. Acts done under the power of wholesale submission to the lusts of the flesh are worthy of great punishment [Romans 1:24-32], but those committed as fierce rejection of a display of the power and holiness of Christ are exponentially worse and deserving of severe punishment [12, 14]

Jesus’ honor and the glory of his person is bound up n the message about him. Sinner that do not hear the gospel will nevertheless be punished justly for their sins; but those that hear and do not receive have not only their unforgiven sins to deal with before a justly vengeful God, but also the aggravation of such sins by having heard the word of forgiveness and turned from it.  [16 cf. Hebrews 2:1-4]

The Fountain of true Blessedness  17-24

When the 72 returned, They expressed joy in the power of their ministry.

Jesus warns about spiritual pride as manifest in Satan. Satan had been given amazingly advanced beauty, intelligence, shrewdness, and strength but he allowed it to puff him up in pride and rebellion against the one that had so blessed him. His natural advantages, given him by another, led to his fall and Jesus saw him fall from heaven. 18

To clarify his point, Jesus compares the value of two sorts of gifts

External operations of the Spirit in power for ministry 19; Jesus had granted them, temporarily, amazing authority and power even over the fallen Satan and the angels that followed him. These gifts, though great, are nor of a different sort than Satan had had in his unfallen purity. There is something, therefore, that is far better, for it is unalterable and everlasting.

The subjection of satanic spirits to them is nothing compared to the blessing of having their names written in heaven [See Revelation 13:8] Vast superiority of God’s eternal favor 20 [1 Cor. 9:24-27; 13:1-3]

Divine sovereignty in bestowing His favor

The grace of salvation does not come by worldly qualifications of intelligence and accomplishment  21

Jesus shows gratitude for the sovereign choice of the Father in hiding the blessings of eternal life from the wise of this world

Salvation will be embraced only by those who receive divine enlightenment 21b

Those that grasp the reality of salvation in Christ are considered “little children” in the eyes of the world.

All of this accords with the Father’s gracious will [See 1 Corinthians 1:20-31]

Absolute consent between Father and Son in the granting of salvation  22

Jesus reveals what he prayed in John 17:2, and asserted in Matthew 28:18, that the Father has granted all authority to him. The demonstration of this authority had been one of the consistent features of his ministry up to this point.

Only the Father knows with an intrinsic and intimate knowledge the Son in his essence and glory, for the Son is the express image of the Father’s attributes and the radiance of his glory.

Even so, none knows the Father in that way except the Son, for he is the image of the invisible God and in Him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. The Son as it were, is, in fact, the eternal expression of the infinite overflow of love and pleasure that the Father has in his own perfections and the personification of his perfect joy in and knowledge of those immutable perfections.

And, in perfect agreement with the Father, and just as the Father manifests his prerogative of hiding and revealing, so the Son alone has authority to give a true knowledge, a saving knowledge, of the Father. See John 17:3-6]

Divine sovereignty in the historical culmination of the redemptive decree 24 – Does this also refer to the hearing and seeing of Luke 8:10?

Jesus and the Great Commandments 25-42

The Question posed  25-29 [compare Matt 22:35-ff]

1. The question the lawyer asked concerned the inheritance of eternal life. At this point, the conclusion to be drawn from revealed truth is that those that live according to the Law will find life in that obedience.

2. Jesus calls upon the questioner, who, as one that paid particular attention to the Law, should already have in mind a knowledge of its contents. [26]

3.  He answered with a conflation of two passages, one from Deuteronomy 6:5 and the other from Leviticus 19:18. These two epitomes of truth from the Old Testament summarized the meaning of the entire moral code, the Ten Commandments in particular. These two commandments covered the entire coded n the first statement about loving God, burt particularly the first four commandments. Commandments 5-10 are summarized in Love your Neighbor as yourself.

When the Lawyer had answered correctly, Jesus had nothing to add or correct. But said, “You have answered correctly.” Then he added the conclusion that had been involved in the question about eternal life, “Do this and you will live.”

Illustrating the second commandment  30-37 – The Compassionate Samaritan

1. The lawyer responded to Jesus by asking a follow-up question concerning the second of the commandments, “Who is my neighbor?”

2. Jesus answered with an elaborate and poignant story

An unnamed man comes into great need through a violent crime perpetrated against him. So needy is he that he is unable even to ask for help. He is unconscious, and as for his ability to rouse himself to aid himself, he is as good as dead.

Two religious leaders, who know the Law, much as the man that had asked the question, saw the man, and simply passed by. Jesus does not elaborate about why they passed by, or whether they had pressing duties elsewhere, because all of that is irrelevant in the face of such pressing need.

A Samaritan, came by. Jesus Himself told a Samaritan that “You worship what you do not know.” Clearly they were deficient in their knowledge of the requirements of the Law. In addition they had been refused participation with Jews in their worship since Ezra 4:1-3

The Samaritan took care of the immediate needs on the road to stop the man from dying, and the took him to a place where he could be cared for until completely recovered.

When the Samaritan left, he arranged for care to assure his restoration, and promised to return to pay any overage that might accumulate in the mean time.

In application, Jesus gave a surprise reversal to the point some one might draw, that any man in need is our neighbor. Instead, he framed the “neighbor” question in a more active way by asking “Who proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

The point, therefore, is not How do we discern who out neighbor is, but, “To whom are we willing to be neighbor?’ [36}

Posing the issue in this manner shows that the command is broad indeed, and we must consider all men as our neighbors and seek to do good to all, even those that are considered from a natural standpoint, our enemies.

Only obedience to the Law constitutes the righteousness by which eternal life is attained. This points to Jesus righteousness as the only source of eternal life. God will accept us on no other basis than a perfect obedience and only Christ gained such.

Illustrating the greatest commandment 38-42 – Mary’s undivided devotion

1. Luke has seemingly followed up the story of the compassionate Samaritan with this event. Giving no illustration of the Greatest commandment when such an extended one was given about the second greatest would seem an inexplicable omission.

2. Mary had both insight and affection for the teaching of Christ that she laid everything else aside to hear him. This is precisely what the command on the mount of transfiguration had said, “Listen to him.” IT is vain, of course to hear his words and not do them {6:46-49], but prior to doing them we must have such an affection for Christ and his words that they are sweeter than any earthly wisdom.

3. Martha, wanting to be a good hostess, hurried about and even sought a reprimand of Martha from the mouth of Jesus. Instead of the words of eternal life, Martha thought Jesus should share in her own harried impatience about the necessity of the immediate moment.

4. With tender treatment but a forthright analysis, Jesus sought to bring some perspective to the situation, settle Martha down, and show that he approved of this unbroken devotion to him.


The Kingdom of God seems to be the visible manifestation of the glory, wisdom, and sovereignty of God in the person and work of Christ for the salvation of sinners.  It could not be established by mere omnipotence, but must establish wisdom and mercy in addition to power and justice and this could only be done by the mystery of the incarnation for the free salvation and sanctification of rebels

No earthly power, privilege, or possession can transcend in importance an immediate response to a kingdom call, either to salvation or to service

The blessings of the kingdom are bestowed solely according to the gracious prerogative of the Father through the work of the Son

Citizens of the kingdom see the beauty of the law’s requirements and seek heart obedience.

Tom has most recently served as the Professor of Historical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of Church History and Chair of the Department of Church History. Prior to that, he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles is the author and editor of fifteen books. Among his books are By His Grace and For His Glory; Baptists and the Bible, James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman, and Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles H. Spurgeon.
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