Note: This period is often called "The Later Judean Ministry" of Jesus. That works because Jesus had previously ministered for a time in this basic region - several months at the very beginning of His ministry He had spent gathering John the Baptist's disciples to Himself (John 1). But though Jesus had visited the region briefly on several occasions, He had not spent any extended time here concentrating on the effort to saturate the area with His claims concerning Himself. He does that now. It's important to understand that by now the nation has made it clear (to Jesus alone) that they were determined to disbelieve. Besides that, this region is very much under the dominion of the rabbinic and Pharisaic leadership centered in Jerusalem. So, Jesus's intent here is not to set His claims before the villages of Judea in the hope they would acknowledge Him. Rather, Jesus seems to be confronting this strategic region with His claims - and with miraculous demonstration of those claims - in order that "every mouth may be stopped," that this generation would have no excuse for their rejection of Jesus.
A. Jesus Sends Out the Seventy/Seventy-Two
Scripture: Luke 10
Notes: This is similar to when He sent out the 12 late in His Galilean ministry, and the intent is the same - to get the message out quickly and dramatically, given that the time is short because of the anger of Jesus's very powerful enemies.
- Notice that there is a textual issue with reference to the number. Some manuscripts of Luke say "seventy," while others say "seventy-two."
- Mark the purpose for which these were sent out, expressed by Jesus in Luke 10:1 - to go into every place where He was about to go. These 70 were not so much independent preaching teams as "set-up" teams, preparing the ground so that when Jesus came to a village He could quickly confront the place and be on to the next city. This is all a function of the sense of urgency born of the fact that Jesus's time was so short.
- Notice that the commission which Jesus gave these emissaries (Luke 10:2-12) is very similar to that spoken to the 12 when they were sent out in Galilee (Matthew 10:5-42).
B. Eternal Life and the Good Samaritan
Scripture: Luke 10:25-37
Notes: Jesus was asked by a scribe (student of the Law) what had to be done to be saved. The parable was spoken in response to the conversation which ensued, and specifically to the question of the lawyer, "Who is my neighbor?"
- Notice the way the lawyer summarizes the Mosaic law? Where else do we encounter this summary? What does this suggest as to whether this man had been attending Jesus's teachings before this point?
- There is some speculation as to the identity of this man. Do you know what identity is often conjectured?
C. Jesus Visits the Village of Bethany, Home of Lazarus and His Sisters
Scripture: Luke 10:38-42
Notes: This home will become very strategic to Jesus during the week of His passion; He seems to be preparing for that week in making this visit.
Questions/Observations: Note that Bethany is a suburb of Jerusalem; it lies on the east of the city, on the backside of the Mount of Olives, about 1.25 miles away.
D. Jesus Instructs His Disciples Concerning Prayer
Scripture: Luke 11:1-13
Notes: The "Lord's Prayer" is, in fact, a model prayer, spoken by Jesus in response to His disciples' request, "Teach us to pray."
Questions/Observations: Note the reference to John's instruction of his disciples concerning prayer; this is the only reference of this in the New Testament.
Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).