Luke 10:1 MEANING

Luke 10:1

(1) After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also.--Some MSS. of importance give "seventy-two," but the evidence preponderates in favour of the reading "seventy." The number had a threefold significance. (1) Seventy elders had been appointed by Moses to help him in his work of teaching and judging the people (Numbers 11:16), and to these the spirit of prophecy had been given that they might bear the burden with him. In appointing the Seventy our Lord revived, as it were, the order or "school" of prophets which had been so long extinct. The existence of such men in every Church is implied in well-nigh every Epistle (e.g., Acts 13:1; Acts 15:32; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:20), and the fact that St. Paul and others join together the "Apostles and Prophets" as having been jointly the foundation on which the Church was built (Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 3:5; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Peter 3:2), makes it probable that the latter words, no less than the former, pointed in the first instance to a known and definite body. The Seventy presented such a body. They, though not sharers in the special authority and functions of the Twelve, were yet endowed with like prophetic powers, and the mysteries of the kingdom were revealed to them (Luke 10:21). (2) As the Sanhedrin or great Council of scribes and priests and elders consisted of seventy members besides the president, the number having been fixed on the assumption that they were the successors of those whom Moses had chosen, our Lord's choice of the number could hardly fail to suggest the thought that the seventy disciples were placed by Him in a position of direct contrast with the existing Council, as an assembly guided, not by the traditions of men, but by direct inspiration. (3) But the number seventy had come to have another symbolical significance which could not fail to have a special interest. Partly by a rough reckoning of the names of the nations in Genesis 10, partly on account of the mystical completeness of the number itself, seventy had come to be the representative number of all the nations of the world; and so, in the Feast of Tabernacles, which in any harmonistic arrangement of the Gospel narrative must have almost immediately preceded the mission of the Seventy (see Note on John 7:2), a great sacrifice of seventy oxen was offered as on behalf of all the non-Israelite members of the great family of mankind (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. in Joann. 7). Bearing this in mind, and remembering the words that our Lord had spoken during that feast as to the "other sheep, not of that fold" (John 10:16), which He had come to gather, we may see in what is here recorded a step full of meaning, a distinct and formal witness of the future universality of the Church of Christ. The omission, in the charge addressed to them, of the command given to the Twelve against entering into the way of the Gentiles or any city of the Samaritans (Matthew 10:5) is on this view full of interest.

The question, of course, occurs to us how it was that such a mission should have been omitted by St. Matthew and St. Mark. To this, only partial answers can be given. (1) The mission belonged to the last period of our Lord's ministry, where their records are comparatively scanty, and was confined to the region, apparently of Peraea and Judaea, which He was then about to visit. (2) It was one in which, from the nature of the case, the Twelve were not sharers, and which, therefore, naturally came to occupy a less prominent place in the recollections of those from whom the narratives of the first two Gospels were primarily derived.

Verses 1-24. - The mission of the seventy. The Lord's words to them of instruction and direction and warning. Verse 1. - After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also. That is to say, after the events just related which had taken place in the north of the Holy Land. "Alter these things" formally began the solemn marches in the direction of Jerusalem, which ended, as we have stated, in the last Passover. Roughly speaking, the seventy were first sent out about the October of the last year of the public ministry. The manuscripts vary between seventy and seventy two. The preponderance of authority is in favour of seventy. The Sanhedrin numbered seventy-one. The elders appointed by Moses were seventy. There was a Jewish saying also that the number of peoples on earth were seventy or seventy-two. Fourteen descended from Japhet, thirty from Ham, twenty-six from Shem. In the 'Clementine Recognitions,' a writing of the first half of the third century, the number of peoples is given as seventy-two. The Fathers dwell on the sacred symbolism of the desert-wanderings especially mentioned at Elim - "twelve wells and seventy palm trees," alluding to the two groups of Christ-sent missionaries, the twelve apostles and the "seventy" here mentioned. Two and two. As in the case of his apostles sent forth previously, for mutual help and comfort. Before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. By their means, as the time left him was now so short, all the needful preparations should be made before he personally visited the place. Villages and towns, too, where his presence was found, as in the case of the Samaritan village, unwelcome, would be thus carefully noted, and no time would needlessly be lost.

10:1-16 Christ sent the seventy disciples, two and two, that they might strengthen and encourage one another. The ministry of the gospel calls men to receive Christ as a Prince and a Saviour; and he will surely come in the power of his Spirit to all places whither he sends his faithful servants. But the doom of those who receive the grace of God in vain, will be very fearful Those who despise the faithful ministers of Christ, who think meanly of them, and look scornfully upon them, will be reckoned as despisers of God and Christ.After these things,.... After the calling and mission of the twelve apostles, and giving them their powers, commissions, and instructions, with other things that followed thereon; Luke 9:1

the Lord appointed other seventy also; not that he had appointed before seventy, and now made an appointment of seventy more; but as the Syriac version renders it, "Jesus separated out of his disciples, seventy others" that is, besides the twelve, whom he chose and called out, from among the multitude of the disciples, and ordained them apostles, he selected and ordained seventy others, in allusion to the seventy elders of Israel, Numbers 11:16. The Vulgate Latin and Persic versions read, "seventy two", and so does Epiphanius (x). The Jewish sanhedrim is sometimes said to consist of seventy one (y), and sometimes of seventy two (z); though commonly said to be of the round number seventy, as these disciples might be. The above mentioned ancient writer gives the names of some of them, as the seven deacons; Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas; together with Matthias, Mark, Luke, Justus, Barnabas, Apelies, Rufus, and Niger. The names of all these disciples, according to ancient traditions, though not to be depended on, are given in an alphabetical order, with the places where they afterwards presided as bishops, or pastors, by a late learned writer (a), and are as follow, viz. Agabus, the prophet; Amphias, of Odyssus, sometimes called Amphiatus; Ananias, who baptized Paul, bishop of Damascus; Andronicus, of Pannonia, or Spain; Apelies, of Smyrna, or, according to others, of Heraclea; Apollo, of Caesarea; Aristarchus, of Apamea; Aristobulus, of Britain; Artemas, of Lustra; Asyncritus, of Hyrcania; Barnabas, of Milgin; Barnabas, of Heraclea; Caesar, of Dyrrachium; Caius, of Ephesus; Carpus, of Berytus, in Thracia; Cephas, bishop of Konia; Clemens, of Sardinia; Cleophas, of Jerusalem; Crescens, of Chalcedon, in Galatia; Demas, a priest of idols; Epaenetus, of Carthage; Epaphroditus, of Andriace; Erastus, of Paneas, or, according to others, of the Philippians; Evodus, of Antioch; Hermas, of Philippi, or Philippolls; Hermes, of Dalmatia; Hermogenus and Phygellus, who followed Simon Magus; Hermogenus, bishop of the Megarenes; Herodion, of Tarsus; James, the brother of our Lord, of Jerusalem; Jason, of Tarsus; Jesus Justus, bishop of Eleutheropolis: Linus, of Rome; Luke, the evangelist: Lucius, of Laodicea, in Syria; Mark, who is also John, of Biblopohs, or Byblus; Mark the evangelist, bishop of Alexandna; Mark, the sister's son of Barnabas, bishop of Apolloma; Matthias, added to the apostles; Narcissus, of Athens; Nicanor, he died when Stephen suffered martyrdom; Nicolaus, of Samaria; Olympius, a martyr at Rome; Onesiphorus, bishop of Corone; Parmenas, of the Soli, Patrobulus, the same with Patrobas, in Romans 16:14 of Puteoli, or as others, of Naples; Philemon, of Gaza; Philemon (in the Acts he is called Philip), by whom the eunuch of the queen of Ethiopia was baptized, of Trallium, of Asia; Philologus, of Sinope; Phlegon, bishop of Marathon; Phygellus, of Ephesus; Prochorus, of Nicomedia, in Bithynia; Pudens; Quartus, of Berytus; Rhodion, a martyr at Rome; Rufus, of Thebes; Silas, of Corinth; Sylvanus, of Thessalonica; Sosipater, of Iconium; Sosthenes, of Colophon; Stachys, of Byzantium; Stephen, the first martyr; Tertius, of Iconium; Thaddaeus, who carried the epistle of Jesus to Edessa, to Abgarus; Timon, of Bostra, of the Arabians; Trophimus, who suffered martyrdora with the Apostle Paul; Tychicus, bishop of Chalcedon, of Bithynia; Tychicus, of Colophon; Urbanus, of Macedonm; and, Zenas, of Diospolis. According both to this account, and Epiphanius, Luke was one of these seventy, and he is the only evangelist that makes mention of the appointment of them:

and sent them two and two before his face: as he did the twelve before, to be his harbingers and forerunners:

into every city and place, whither he himself would come: which he intended to visit: he sent them beforehand to acquaint the inhabitants of it; and prepare them by their ministry, for the reception of him; as John the Baptist, who was in a more eminent sense the harbinger and forerunner of Christ, went before him in his ministry, and prepared the way for him.

(x) Contr. Haeres. haeres. 20. (y) Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrim, c. 1. sect. 3.((z) Misn. Yadim, c. 3. sect. 5. Aben Ezra in Numbers 11. 25. (a) Fabricii lux Evangelii, p. 115, 116, &c.

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