Luther’s Notes on the Gospel: St. Luke the Evangelist (Oct. 18)

October 18

St. Luke the Evangelist

Luke 10:1-9
New King James Version

10 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. 2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. 5 But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. 7 And remain in the 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. 8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. 9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’


Luther’s Explanatory Notes:

Refers to the commentary on Matthew 10:7-16

7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The kingdom of heaven is at hand. This is to be the preaching of the New Testament, that we should not preach about ceremonies, nor about civil laws, nor anything else, except the kingdom of heaven, which is eternal life. In this is embraced: The preaching of the word of God, of justification, of the forgiveness of sins, the victory over death, over the flesh, the world, the devil and all evil.

8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have re ceived, freely give.

Freely received . . . freely give. He forbids the vice of avarice, simony and ambition. He reminds us how unworthy we have been of so great an office; therefore we will cheerfully and freely serve him. But we are allowed to live of the gospel, even with wife, children and families.

Have” means here how the avaricious have mammon, who cling to it with the heart. But for necessity and use Christ himself had money, a purse, and bread baskets.

9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

Provide neither silver, etc. That is, in their ministerial office, they were to seek neither money nor riches.

10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Staves. That is, should not seek to rule with force, or to defend themselves. 

Workman worthy of his meat. Here it is to be noticed that it is our duty to supply teachers and preachers with food and raiment. Those commit a great sin, who claim to be Christians, and yet refuse to contribute to the support of the teachers and preachers, or even withhold that from them, which has been left them by endow ment.

11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

Abide till ye go thence. Here he gives them the instruction, that they should not rove about as tramps, like the false apostles and fanatics (2 Timothy 3:6) for this is a sign of an unestablished heart, and an unstable doctrine. But they shall choose a certain host and stay with him, till they leave the city.

“Is worthy.” As if he would say, it is a high honor when any one is worthy to receive and entertain my servants; for he entertains me and my Father.

12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.

Salute it. Perform the duty of your office, salute them, offer them the grace and peace of the Gospel. But if you find them to be despisers and ungrateful, then do not be either faint or weary, but know that they were not worthy of it.

13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

Peace return to you. He says, the peace will return to you; that is, it will not have been in vain, that it has been offered to them; but it will serve you as an abundance of merit and honor. Therefore faithful ministers of the word never labor in vain.

This passage does good service against the fanatics, who assert that our word is not true, because many sinners do not reform.

14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Shake off the dust. Ye shall take nothing at all from them, insomuch that ye even shake off their dust from your shoes; so that they may know that ye wish nothing from them.

Be not vindictive against such ingrates; for they themselves are already punished more than ye could wish, as St. Paul says, 2 Timothy 4:2-4.

16 If Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Sheep among wolves. Hereby he teaches them that they must not only patiently endure ingratitude and unthankfulness (v. 14,) but also persecutions. And it is to be especially noticed, that we who occupy the office of teachers and preachers shall most certainly regard ourselves as teaching among wolves.

In case of persecution it is necessary that a minister of the word should possess these two qualifications; namely, that he be guarded against the false and the deceitful, and yet honest and open-hearted to wards the honest and pious. For by means of wonderful tricks the devil and the world seek every opportunity against the righteous, to make it appear that they deserved to be persecuted. Therefore we must act wisely; that is, be inoffensive and blameless.

And, also, we must be simple in doing good; that is, that we do not give up on account of any injustice done us, but continue to teach, serve and be willing and beneficent both towards the thankful and the unthankful.

Luther’s Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 214.  (Matthew from pp. 59-61)

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