Text: Luke 10:20-24, 38-42
Summary: The will of God is to give thanks in all circumstances because our names are written in heaven. The will of God is to humble ourselves and remain childlike so that we keep receiving more revelation from the Lord. Lastly, the will of God is to kneel at the feet of Jesus and to listen to Him and Him alone.
20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.
Father, there’s so much in this chapter and I give you this time. I pray that you organize my thoughts. Speak through my mouth. I pray that Jesus, you would be the teacher. And we lift up your name, and that all of us would learn directly and listen for your words. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen
What is the will of God? I see three here. The will of God first is to give thanks in all circumstances. That is also in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
1 Thessalonians 5
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Give thanks in all circumstances. That is the will of God, number one. The second will of God, is that He wills to hide things from the wise and understanding and to reveal things to little children. And so we have to be like little children. We have to be childlike. The will of God is for us to be childlike so that the revelation of God comes to our ears.
And the third will of God is to listen to Jesus. In the transfiguration account, the Father thunders from heaven. He says, this is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to Him! And so we are to listen to Jesus. Give thanks in all circumstances, is the will of God for you. Be childlike so that you can hear the revelation of God. That is God’s will for you. And third is to listen to Jesus. If the Father said anything, it is so clear, He says, if you’re going to listen to anybody, listen to Jesus.
Luke is an interesting gospel because Luke, the writer, is writing to his friend Theophilus and he says it’s an orderly account. And we always should read the Bible in context, but especially Luke because he is trying to witness to his friend. Every story in every chapter, they somehow fit together like a puzzle. So you don’t want to just take Martha and Mary’s account as a separate account. You don’t want to take the parable of the Good Samaritan as a separate account. You don’t want to look at the sending out of the 72 as a separate account. You want to look at all of these as masterfully placed deliberately by Luke, to try to witness to his friend, Theophilus.
I want to go high level through this chapter because there are amazing things you’ll see that you didn’t see when you just looked at the tree. But when you pan out and see the forest of the chapter, there is so much that the Lord can teach us. There are verses in this chapter that if you read it by itself, it is so burdensome. If you read about Jesus sending out the 72, this is a blueprint for missions, and I hope and pray that one day, our church will do missions exactly the way Jesus says to do it here. You don’t go with a plan. You don’t go with money. You don’t go with an itinerary. You don’t know anybody but God sends you to a town, and you go in pairs. And you knock on doors, you make contact somehow, somebody is willing to hear what you have to hear. You go to their house, you preach to them. They provide for your physical needs and you give them spiritual food. And that is the trade-off.
And we can hear this, and pastors can hear this and they can mobilize churches to do this, even though Jesus didn’t tell us to do it. Because Jesus didn’t tell the 72 every single day to do this. He told them on this particular day, to this particular group, go out and preach and wait for the person of peace. Once they welcome you in, preach the gospel. We can hear this and be so burdened by it because you can say, well, I’m not doing missions. I’m not going out to evangelize. I’m living just for myself. And we can be so condemned by our inability or our disobedience as we perceive it, when Jesus did not tell us to do it. If he tells us to do it and we don’t do it, that’s another story. That is disobedience.
But here, if Jesus doesn’t tell you to do it, we read these verses, we assume this must be for me, and we are condemned by it. Likewise the parable of the Good Samaritan. You have to read who Jesus is speaking to because Jesus will give only as much revelation as needed for the person. And this person is a lawyer. He is in the group of the wise and learned and understanding. This person doesn’t really want to know the answer. He just wants to test Jesus.
So Jesus gives asks him a question and the person answers correctly. Love the Lord your God in v.27. He’s trying to find out how to get eternal life and Jesus asks this lawyer, this scholarly person, how do you read the law? And he says in v.27, 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 love your neighbor as yourself. Remember this person is a lawyer. His intention is not to really learn or to hear what Jesus has to say. His goal is to test Jesus. And so do you think Jesus is going to give him a good answer?
If the person is just hardened of heart, doesn’t have ears to hear, is not humble, is not childlike, is in the group of the wise and understanding, do you think when this person comes to test Jesus that Jesus will give him an adequate answer? No, He doesn’t. After the person gives a textbook answer, Jesus says in response, you have answered correctly. Do this and you will live. And this doesn’t sound like Jesus, does it? I mean, as a disciple of Christ, we’ve heard a different side of Jesus. We’ve heard Him say different things to different people, and we’ve heard different words spoken to us personally. This doesn’t sound like Jesus. This sounds like Jesus giving an answer to someone who wants to test Him.
Because if you take what Jesus said, He says, do this, and you will live, it is so burdensome. Can you love your neighbor as He’s about to describe? This is so burdensome, because this person after he hears the answer, it says in v.20 he desired to justify himself. So again, is Jesus going to give this person a good answer if this person wants to justify himself? If this person wants to test Jesus? Is Jesus going to give an answer that a disciple, a childlike person would need to hear?
No, this is directed at a lawyer. Somebody would with no ears to hear. And it is so burdensome, this parable of what Jesus did for us. That we were lying on the side of the road, and we perceived Jesus as an enemy, a Samaritan. That’s how the Jews perceived the Samaritans, they are halfbreeds, they are enemies, we don’t want to deal with them. And Jesus loved His enemy like this, and Jesus is saying to this lawyer, now do this and you will live. It is so burdensome.
I talk to people and they are so burdened by so many things. Because they listen to this parable that was not addressed to them but they hear it as if it was to them. It was to a lawyer. It was to someone who tested Jesus. Someone who’s trying to justify himself. I speak to people, I meet people, and they read this parable of the Good Samaritan, and I hear it preached on Sundays, and when you listen to it, it is so burdensome. It’s like the same burden of, I’m not doing missions. I’m not loving my neighbor, I’m not being a good witness to my coworkers.
It is so burdensome because Jesus says, do this, and you will live. And we think, okay, I should do this. But are we justified by our actions? It says in Romans 5, we are justified by faith. That is what Jesus says to a childlike person. That is what Jesus says to someone with ears to hear. We are justified by faith. We believe in Jesus and Jesus transfers righteousness to us, the same way that in Romans 4 speaks of Abraham and how his body was as good as dead. Sara’s body was as good as dead. One hundred years old, ninety years old, yet they did not waver in their faith. They believed. They were justified by faith, and God counted to them as righteousness because they had faith.
So we are not righteous just because we’re good at loving our neighbor, or we have successfully loved the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. That is so burdensome if you say this is the standard. Because Jesus is saying, yes, this is the standard if you don’t have faith. Try it, do it, let’s see how far you get, try to love your neighbor like this, try to love the Lord your God with your own strength. Because this person is doing it from his own strength. He’s trying to justify himself. Yet we are justified by faith. Then you look at Martha’s story.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving.
Again, it’s the same idea. We can be so burdened by the call for missions, why am I not doing missions? We can be so burdened that I’m not loving God properly. I’m not loving my neighbor properly. And we can be so burdened by the service we do for Jesus. And the word for distracted means you’re drawn away. It’s so ironic that Jesus is in the room next door and you’re in the other room, you’re drawn away from Jesus because of the service you’re doing for Jesus. How many people in the church are distracted by the service for Jesus and we are not connecting with Jesus?
So what is the will of God? It is to give thanks in all circumstances. I encourage you to read Luke 10 as a whole. This chapter will unlock so much, if you read it continuously, as a whole, and you just sit on it. Meditate on it and bring it to the Lord Jesus. Ask for revelation and knowledge. Bring it to the Lord, this is how we’re supposed to read the Bible. You can read it with your head and you can try to dissect it as a wise and learned person because that’s how the world trains you. You can read the Bible as a lawyer-like person and try to parse every word, but if you do that, you’re just getting in your head. Nothing will ever sink to your heart.
And as you read it, you’ll be condemned by it, because you’ll not locate who Jesus is speaking to. You will think this parable of the Good Samaritan is for me, and I should live up to this high standard. He sent out the 72, that must be for me. I must be in that group. I should be going out. And you’re so condemned by these things. And there’s so much service to be done, I should be like Martha, I should be serving, when in fact, I’m distracted from Jesus. I’m drawn away from Jesus.
These 72 come back from this mission trip, and they are rejoicing that they are casting out demons in Jesus Name and these evil spirits are subject to them in the name of Jesus Christ. They are rejoicing for their fruitful ministry. And Jesus gives such an important truth and we should ask for the ears to hear.
20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
We know we’re supposed to give thanks in all circumstances. That is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you and for me. But here, Jesus is giving us the secret of thanksgiving. This is the root and foundation of all our thanksgiving. It is the fact that we have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and it is kept in heaven for you. And one day it will be opened and the names will be read aloud and our names will be included in it.
If you believe this, truly, you will never have another bad day in your life. The reason why we grumble, the reason why we complain, is that this truth in v.20 has not really registered in our hearts. If you believe this, you will never have another bad day in your life. Because what can happen to you that could ruin your day? If your name is written in heaven, if your eternity is secure, what can happen? What can satan do to you? What can your boss do to you? What can your family do to you that could ruin your day when you should always rejoice over the fact that your name is written in heaven?
Jesus is giving us the secret of gratitude. For ministers, it is such a hard lesson. We want to rejoice in the ministry and being fruitful. But Jesus is saying, don’t rejoice in that, that is such a small reason to rejoice. Of course, we’re thankful that God is using us and we see the mighty hand of God, we see signs and wonders. That would be wonderful. But don’t let that be the source of your thanksgiving. Jesus says, no, rejoice that your name is written heaven. The will of God is for you to give thanksgiving in all circumstances. Why? Because your name is written in heaven.
The second will of God for you and for me is in v.21.
21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
We don’t think of the Lord’s will as He deliberately hides who He is and His purposes to large segments of the world’s population, and He instead reveals it to a small subset of childlike believers. This is how God’s will is. He is deliberately hiding, concealing, obscuring His personhood, the salvation plan, what He’s doing in this world. If you’re in the wise and learned camp, it’s hidden from your eyes. You can’t hear it in your ears, it never penetrates your heart. That is God’s will. And at the same time, He reveals it to childlike disciples of Jesus Christ.
22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Did you know that in all of human history, we are in the camp of the most privileged disciples who have ever walked the face of this earth? Because we have the full revelation of Jesus Christ. We see Him. We hear Him. We know when the Father says, listen to my Son, we know who He is speaking about, it is Jesus Christ. We are more privileged than Moses, we’re more privileged than Elijah, we’re more privileged than King David. We are among all the disciples who ever walked this earth, we are the most privileged because our eyes have seen, our ears have heard Jesus Christ.
And we know at salvation, it was not anything that we did. Maybe we were in the wise and learned camp. But for whatever reason, God was gracious. He showed up on a particular day, and our eyes were opened, our ears were opened, we heard the Shepherd call us by name, and salvation came at one point in our life. And we don’t know why He showed up, it was just grace, it was His gracious will to reveal Himself to us at that moment.
And from that day forward, the way that we continue to grow in revelation and knowledge is that we continue to humble ourselves and become like little children. In the beginning, that was all grace, now it is our choice. God draws near to the humble therefore humble yourselves. It is a choice. There’s so much happening in our world that is confusing. And many people are lying to you. I don’t know if you know that satan is the ruler of this world, and much of what you hear in the mainstream is a lie. You just have to know this is how the world works.
The fact that there is COVID, you either believe this is as serious as the 1912 Spanish Flu, and it’s going to follow all the projections and the models. Even in America, the initial projections were millions of deaths, which is far smaller than that. But you can either believe the mainstream narrative that this is a Spanish Flu level pandemic and we should all shelter at home, never interact with anybody. That is one narrative to believe.
Or you believe it’s not as serious as what I’m hearing. And depending on how humble you are, you will either be open to hearing another side, you’ll be open to discussing, or you will just shut it down as an outrageous conspiracy. I want to say to you if you are humble, you will bring every issue before the Lord, every current event before the Lord. You’ll ask Jesus, what is happening? And He will tell you. You won’t hear it from a professor. If you hear from the professor, chances are you’re blind and you’re deaf because you’re in the wise and understanding group, and that’s how you perceive and that’s how you understand facts. You do it the way everybody who is educated does it. And God says to you, things will be hidden forever.
But if you’re humble and you ask Jesus Christ, He will tell you what is true. You could believe the fires, these are caused by climate change, our weather is out of control, you can believe that. Or you could say, there’s something weird happening in California. California for whatever reason they’ve been cutting back on all the programs to clean up the brush, why are they doing that? They know that’s how wildfires spread because the fire spreads from one area to another. Why are they doing this? Oh, it’s possibly because there is federal funding that they could always ask for when there’s a state of emergency. Maybe it’s for money. And you could say as a wise and understanding person, that is conspiracy, that’s ridiculous because you trust CNN. They’re your source of authority, that’s who you listen to. Or if you are a child of God, you’re humble, you kneel before Jesus, you ask Him what is the cause of these fires, and He will tell you.
As I was thinking about current events, what came to mind was Job 38.
1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, 9 when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, 11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
I wonder as you hear the Lord speaking to Job, how do you hear in 2020? Should it be any different? Isn’t God’s point to put Job in his place, that God’s ways are higher than Job’s ways, that God’s thoughts are much higher? As high is the gap from heaven to earth, that type of huge gap, isn’t Job just silent before the presence of the Lord? Because as God asks these questions, his answer is no, I don’t know. Forgive me, Lord, I don’t know, Lord. Every question that the Lord asked, Job is just silent. And I wonder how many of us with our eighth-grade science background, we will raise up our hand and say, I know how it works, Lord. I know how the universe works, Lord.
How many of us because of our wisdom from this world and our understanding given to us by this world, the worldview that has been shaped by the teachings of this world, how many of us would raise our hand proudly in God’s presence, and say, I know how everything works. I know, God, that you’re speaking symbolically because there’s no foundation or base of the earth, this is ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t fit with my worldview.
For me, I take God’s word literally. I believe it when He says this and my reaction to this is, Lord, I have no idea. The rock that I’m standing on, I have no idea how it works. The fact that the sun and the stars and the moon moves in its circuit in the sky, I have no idea how it works. Shouldn’t our response be the same as Job’s. That we just put a hand to our mouth, and we admit we know nothing. We know nothing.
When we get clever because of our wisdom and understanding from this world, we take the Bible, and it no longer has as much authority in our lives. And what we do is say, I am clever enough to know when God is speaking literally versus when God is speaking figuratively. This chapter is obviously figurative, because my science teacher told me so. You should be careful to say you know when the Word of God is literal versus symbolic. No, we submit before all of it. We say, we don’t understand. I’m not going to even play that game. I’m just going to take God at His Word. And when God challenges me on judgment day, or whenever He challenges me, I’m not going to presume to say, Lord, no I learned it. I know. No, I’m going to put my hand on my mouth and say I have no idea, Lord,
The will of God for us is to give thanks in all circumstances because our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in heaven. Secondly, the will of God is to humble yourself and remain childlike. Don’t get puffed up because of knowledge. Don’t act like you know what’s true and shut down all conspiracies because that can’t be true. A humble person looks at all the facts on two sides and brings them before Jesus Christ. And Jesus gives revelation.
That’s how it works, we should be childlike. It starts with saying, I know nothing. And so we should ask, who am I listening to? Who is guiding my life? Who is shaping my worldview? Is it me? Is it CNN? Is it my parents? Is it my professor? Who is shaping your view and who are you listening to? May it be only Lord Jesus Christ. If you are humble like a child, you will know who to bow down before. It is only Jesus.
And if we’ve learned anything from Martha and Mary, the will of God for you and for me is to humbly listen at Jesus’s feet for whatever He has to say. Listen at the feet of Jesus. And Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. It’s a posture of humility. Disciple of Christ, that is where we find ourselves often, just sitting and kneeling at the feet of Jesus, and asking Him, and listening, and waiting for Him to speak.
Many times when we pray, I wonder how many times when you pray, there is silence in your prayer time. Are you just speaking at Jesus, are you mouthing all your requests and you’re going through lists and all your burdens? Are there huge segments of your prayer time when you’re just silent? Like you’ve asked Him all your questions, you’ve given Him all of your requests and your burdens, and you’re meditating on the Word of God because you don’t understand. Do you wait long enough to get an answer to anything you prayed about, or are you just speaking a mile a minute for five or 10 minutes straight, and then you end in Jesus Name, and you go through your day?
You have to be silent in prayer. I would say a good portion of prayer, and I’m learning this, I would say even maybe the majority of prayer, is being silent. You give Him your requests, you give Him all your burdens. You ask for forgiveness of sins, you have all these questions, such as why are the fires burning? What is COVID-19? What is this rock that I’m standing on? And you give Him all of these questions, and then we wait long enough to listen for the answers.
At the mount of transfiguration, the Father is clear. He has one mandate for all believers. He says, listen to my Son. So let’s not listen to anybody else. Don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to anybody else. Bring everything that I’ve spoken and bring it before the Lord and say, is it true? Ask the Lord, is it true? Don’t just listen because I’m saying it’s true. Ask the Lord yourself, is this true?
The parable of the Good Samaritan, I never heard it this way. Every time I heard it, I felt condemned and burdened. And when I read about the 72 going out, I felt so condemned and burdened. This is such a new revelation and I never heard of it this way. This lawyer who is in the wise and learned camp, no wonder Jesus speaks to him this way. Ask the Lord, is it true? How does Jesus speak privately to His disciples? He says, Father is so gracious to reveal it to you. You are the most blessed persons who ever walked the face of this earth because you see Jesus, you hear Jesus. Everyone else just saw faint glimpses of what the future fulfillment of the prophecy would be, they saw in shadows. We see much more clearly today.
And we have the full revelation of the Bible. Let’s not minimize it because of our cleverness. Let’s submit under it. Everything in the Word is inerrant and inspired by the Word of God. Let’s not say, I am smart enough to know what is true, what is symbolic versus literal. Let’s take it as the literal Word of God, and let’s submit under it.
The will of God for you and for me is to give thanks in all circumstances. And Jesus gives us a reason for this because our names are written in heaven. The will of God for you and me is to be childlike. That’s how our salvation began, that’s how we continue toward our final salvation. It is to remain childlike and to humble ourselves. And who are we humbling ourselves before? It is to King Jesus. And we listen only to Him. That’s what the Father told us. We listen to Jesus Christ, nobody else. Let’s pray.
Father, forgive us that we grumble and we break and disobey the will of God for our lives every time we grumble. I pray that you will allow this truth, help it to be like that good seed that falls in good soil. We pray that this seed would fall and bear fruit, so that we would never have another bad day. Because what’s the worst thing that can happen to us if our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? I pray that we would follow your will. The will of God for us is to be childlike, to be humble like a little child. And so we put aside all of our education, all of our cleverness. We are not relying upon these things, these are actually impediments and obstacles. We end up becoming like this lawyer and try to justify ourselves, when that’s not why you spoke the parable of the Good Samaritan.
To us, you tell us we’re not righteous because we’re so good at loving neighbor, although that’s the kind of burden that Satan puts on us. That is a lie from hell. Instead, we are righteous because of our faith in Jesus. Thank you for making it so easy for us. All we have to do is trust Jesus. And you will help us to love you, the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. You will transform us so that we will love neighbor as ourself. And when you tell us, we will obey you, and be sent out like the 72 was sent out two by two. These are not meant to condemn us or burden us. You came to set us free.
Thank you, Lord, you make it so clear that the will of God is simply to listen to Jesus. We don’t listen to the news. We don’t listen to professors, we don’t listen to parents, ultimately, you’re the only Person, Jesus, we listen to. You made it so clear on the mount of transfiguration. Why don’t we believe you and take you at your Word? We’re so easily influenced by people, forgive us for our people-consciousness. We are so concerned about how well we love neighbor, we want to be perceived a certain way, as a loving person. We fall into the trap of satan. And that comes much later.
First, we must love the Lord our God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We must learn to be at Jesus’s feet like Mary, she has chosen the good portion. Yes, there is service to do as Martha obviously noticed, but she did it with so much trouble in her heart. How many times do we serve you, Lord, with so many cares that divide us inwardly? So many burdens. We care so much about appearing like a person who serves well, who has a good reputation in society, who is perceived as a loving person to neighbors, and satan so entangles us.
But Lord, you make it is so clear and simple today. The will of God is to listen to Jesus Christ. All of our questions, all of our burdens, we bring it to you, Lord Jesus. Teach us to be silent long enough to listen for your response. I pray that even in this partaking of the Lord’s Supper, that you would speak to us. Give us ears to hear, we’re hard of hearing, Lord. We ask that you would speak in a way that we can understand. I pray you would communicate in a way that comes down to our level so that we can understand how you’re speaking, what you’re speaking, and when you’re speaking. I pray that you would begin speaking as we humbly avail ourselves to you. We’re listening. We’re silent before you during this closing prayer. We want to listen for your voice, the voice of our Good Shepherd. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen