The First Will Be Last and the Last First
Comments for Study 19
Memory Verse: 44
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I. The Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit (37-45)
>1. What problem was Jesus confronted with upon coming down from the mountain were he had been transformed? (37-40)
* Luke 9:37-40 "The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."
* This event is also recorded in Matthew 17:14-23 and Mark 9:14-32. John does not record this event.
* "The next day" -A day going down a mountain depends on the terrain, the time of year, and the physical shape of the people making the descent. Jesus and his three disciples could have come down almost the entire 11,000 feet (3 350m) height of Mount Hermon.
* "the mountain" -Mount Hermon ("devoted mountain") has three summits, about 1/4 mile (1/2km) from each other. Its huge mass 11,000 feet (3 350m) high and 5 miles (8km) wide and 16 to 20 miles (26 to 32km) from north to south is visible for miles around. The upper slopes remain snowcapped virtually all year, as indicated by the Amorite name for the mountain, Senir (or Shenir), meaning "snow mountain." It was known as 'Sirion' among the Phoenicians and the Arabs call it Jebel el-Sheikh, the "grey haired mountain," or Jebel el-Thalj, the "mountain of the snow." Its Hebrew name, "Chermown" ("sanctuary"), may allude to the fact that since ancient times it has been a sacred mountain. The mountain was also called "Baal-Hermon" (Judges 3:3) in the time of Joshua and the Judges, indicating a local Baal was worshiped there (as was the case with many high places).
Mount Hermon has been described as a giant sponge with many scattered cavities (dolinas) that collect huge volumes of snow. They are the last areas to melt in the spring and they emerge at the base of the mountain in a series of abundant springs that form the three main sources of the Jordan River. These springs also feed the Litani River as well as the Oasis of Damascus. In clear weather, Mount Hermon is visible from great distances. It dominates the landscape. From the Mediterranean coast to the Jordan Valley, the snow-capped mass forms the one permanent feature on the northern horizon of Israel. In biblical times the slopes were apparently covered in thick forests. While in exile, David reflected on the depths of the Jordan and the heights of Hermon. They were for him symbols of the source and extent of God's blessing, His love and protection (Psalm 42:5-11; Psalm 133:3).
* "a large crowd met him" -A crowd of people were at the base of the mountain. It seems wherever Jesus went a crowd was soon to gather.
* Luke does not record that the nine disciples were arguing with the teachers of the law. Mark 9:14 does. The disciples and the teachers of the law arguing would have drawn a crowd who were probably looking for Jesus or who lived in the area.
* "a spirit" -The original Greek is "pneuma" meaning breath, wind, breathe and spirit. Read Merrill F. Unger's "Biblical Demonology" published by Van Kampen in 1952 for more on on this subject.
* "I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not." -The other disciples were lost and embarrassed without Jesus.
* After his transformation he came down the mountain and help a man and his son. To the three disciples who had been with him, after witnessing such glory, the state of mankind's world must have looked dark and bleak. As our spiritual image improves and allows us to see and understand God better, we will also be able to see and understand evil better. We would be overcome by its horror if we did not have Jesus with us to take us through it safely.
* The evil spirit's control was not only over the boy, but the father as well.
* Satan only wants to destroy us and bring misery into our lives. He is not our friend, confidant, nor ally. Satan hates every man because God's favor has left him and is on mankind.
* The father brought the affliction of his son to God's son.
* The demon caused the boy to have problems. To many people today are influenced and inflicted by demons.
* More information about demon possession can be found in Luke 16 commentary concerning the Gerasenes demon possessed men. Click here to go there.
>What can be learned from Jesus' response? (41-43)
* Luke 9:41-43 "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here." Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,"
* "unbelieving" -The original Greek is "apistos" meaning faithless, infidel, and unbelieving.
* They did not have faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
* Jesus exclamation that they were "unbelieving" tells us that faith in God is the key to spiritual power. Faith is not in a vague sense of God, but faith that is active and alive.
* Unbelief is the cause of man's social problems. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote in his book The Plight of Man and the Power of God, “Nothing but a belief in God and a desire to glorify Him, based upon our realization of our utter dependence upon Him and our acceptance of His way of life and salvation in Jesus Christ His Son, can ever lead to a good society. This is not merely a dogmatic statement. It can be proved and demonstrated repeatedly in the history of mankind.”
* "perverse" -In the original Greek "perverse" is "diastrepho" meaning, "Obstinately persisting in an error or a fault; wrongly self-willed or stubborn in sin and unbelief."
* "generation" -Jesus, the Messiah was before them and yet they did not believe and repent.
* This was said to the crowd and the teachers of the law, and probably also the disciples. (Matthew 17:20)
* Jesus was patient with them even though he would soon suffer. (Acts 13:18)
* Unbelief is tragic because if we don't believe we cannot help our generation.
* Without faith we can not please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
* Unbelief in God and his Son increases Satan's dominion and power. That is why he continually works to keep people from God.
* Unbelief means defeat.
* "the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion" -Perhaps the demon did this out of fear of Jesus. Most likely the demon did this to cause doubt, despair, agony, and unbelief to grow.
* "Jesus rebuked the evil spirit" -Jesus has all power. He was not rebuking the boy, the father, the crowd, or the disciples. He rebuked the evil spirit.
* "rebuke" -The original Greek is "epitimao" meaning "a strong reprove, charge and rebuke" and "to strongly voice or convey disapproval of and find fault with". Today many believe that rebuke has only negative overtones believing it is wrong to criticize others lifestyle. "Live and let live" is there mantra. It's impossible to say, "My position is to have no position." and "We should not get involved." When Jesus was invited to solve a problem he got involved. When the problem involved rebuking evil spirits, he did so.
>2. What did Jesus tell them, comparing it to what he had told them only around two weeks earlier? (22, 44)
* Luke 9:44 "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men."
* Luke 9:22 "And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
* "Listen carefully" -Only the three on the mountain were told this by the Father. So Jesus tells the nine this. Often Jesus told people to listen carefully. Hearing does not mean people listen. Do you listen, or merely hear? Jesus' parable of the four types of soil tells the different outcome of hearing and listening.
* This is the second time that Luke records Jesus telling the disciples what is soon to take place.
* After the victory Jesus' highest priority was to help his disciples.
* In the time of his suffering this would encourage them.
* The battle we fight is a spiritual battle, not against flesh and blood. It is a hard battle full of trials and suffering. We need to keep our eyes on the goal set before us.
>What is interesting about their response this time?
* Luke 9:45 "But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it."
* "But they did not understand what this meant" -The suffering Messiah was understood by few in none before and during Jesus' ministry. The conquering Messiah was very popular to the Jewish people because of continual oppression from foreign occupiers.
* "It was hidden from them," -Someone was hiding it from them. Was it God or Satan? One of Satan's main activities is to keep people from the truth. His whole approach to Eve was a subtle lie. (Genesis 3:1, 4-5) Jesus said of Satan, "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 844b) Satan had been using the Jewish religious leaders to teach false doctrine and this helped the disciples blindness. (Matthew 11:15) Their teaching cause Peter to rebuke Jesus when he had earlier taught about this. Jesus' reply to Peter was, "Get behind me Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33) Yet God allows blindness to happen according to his will and plan. As John 12:37-41 states, "Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them." Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him."
* "so that they did not grasp it" -The disciples loved Jesus and followed him. This did not mean that they suddenly had a complete understanding of all truths. It is comforting to understand that I don't have to grasp everything in the Bible to be loved by God and to love God. Yet, this does not mean that I should give up on trying to understand. Just the opposite is true. God encourages those who love him to understand him and his plans through prayerful Bible study. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit with a pure desire for us to know him and learn from him. (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7)
* "they were afraid to ask him about it." -Perhaps they feared letting others know that they did not understand. Perhaps they feared being rebuked for Jesus had just publicly rebuked their generation as unbelieving and perverse and less than two weeks earlier he had rebuked Peter for opposing Jesus when he talked about these things.
* Jesus did not give up telling them about what was going to happen in Jerusalem. Even though he knew they wouldn't grasp it before his death, they knew he would understand it all after his resurrection.
II. Who Would Be the Greatest (46-48)
>3. What argument arose among the disciples?
* Luke 9:46 "An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest."
* The disciples argument and Jesus' rebuke is also recorded in Matthew 18:1-9 and Mark 9:33-37. John does not record this argument.
* "An argument started among the disciples" -The nature of the argument was probably bantering, not a heated debate or hateful challenging.
* "as to which of them" -We can assume that some voted for themselves while others who believed they were not the best choice supported someone they believed would support them more.
* "would be the greatest" -The tense if future, not present. They were thinking about the future, most likely once they arrived in Jerusalem. Jesus has clearly communicated to them that great things were about to happen in Jerusalem. They didn't accept what he was saying about his arrest, betrayal, trials, crucifixion, and death. Rather they believed Jesus would establish the kingdom he kept preaching about. They hoped in an earthly kingdom, like all other earthly kingdoms, having a court of specially appointed governors and leaders. They all wanted the highest position.
>What does this argument reveal about the hopes and aspirations of the disciples?
* Everyone wanted to be a leader, not a follower. Everyone wanted to give orders, not receive orders. Everyone wanted the privilege of leadership as this world defines leadership.
* Their ambitions were not changed even though they had been with Jesus around three years.
* They wanted to be honored. They wanted to be somebody important, powerful, and influential.
* The sinful nature forces us to seek this kind of selfish glory and honor. (Romans 7:5, 18, 25, 8:3-5; 12-13, 13:14)
* Luke 22:24 says they got into this argument again. The problem was persistent, an ongoing problem.
* Later James and John asked Jesus, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." (Matthew 20:21, Mark 10:37)
>4. How did Jesus teach them about true greatness? (47-48)
* Luke 9:47-48 "Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest."
* Jesus didn't condemn their pursuit of greatness, he just redirected it by teaching true greatness.
* "Jesus, knowing their thoughts" -Jesus knew their thoughts because the Holy Spirit revealed it to him. We should watch how we conduct ourselves. We should especially watch our heart impulses and thoughts.
* Galatians 5:13-18 "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law."
* Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."
>What does it mean to welcome a child?
* "took a little child" -Child is "paidion" in the original Greek referring to an infant-toddler, one year old. At such an age they have little concept of greatness and political power and position is a non-concept to them. This does not say that they are not selfish and defiant. That is the sinful nature that we are born with. What is being said is that infants do not have political ambitions.
* "child" -Children had no rights, authority, and power in ancient Jewish culture.
* "For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest." -To accept and care for another, to serve without seeking personal gain, welcome the weak and helpless, defend the powerless, etc.
* Children trust and are unpretentious.
* A person will become great as he sincerely and unpretentiously looks away from self to revere God.
* A young child has good and bad qualities. Good ones are a lack of selfish ambition. Infants do not think to much of themselves. They are humble. They are satified with just being with their parents, if their parents are loving, kind and sacrificial. Young children are not self conscience, always concerned about what others think of them, their position, and stature.
>To do it in Jesus' name?
* "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me" -Jesus teaches a way to live emphasizing love for God and others. Doing something in his name means to do it in his way for his glory and purpose.
* "welcomes me" -Jesus is in those who love him.
* "this child" -The child was probably with his or her parents. Their parents were following Jesus. Jesus not only identified with the child, he claimed the child as one of his own.
* Jesus challenge was indirect. He got to the heart of their problem. He told them how to enter the kingdom of heaven. He said they couldn't even enter the kingdom of heaven unless they become like little children.
* "whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me" -Jesus' father was God for Mary was a virgin. God sent Jesus. Those who welcome Jesus into his heart and life welcomes God.
>How did the disciples' idea of greatness differ from Jesus'?
* Our care for others is a measure of our greatness. How much concern do you show for others? This is a vital question that can accurately measure your greatness in God's eyes. How have you expressed your care for others lately, especially the helpless, the needy, the poor -those who can't return your love and concern? Your honest answer to that question will give you a good idea of your real greatness. (Life Application Bible Studies, Luke - Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)
* Jesus love and dedication shines brightly here. His patience in spite of the disciples and crowds is clearly seen. Jesus over and over taught about the nature of the kingdom of God. Yet the disciples did not grasp it. Did Jesus give up? Did he fall into fatalism? Was he angry? Did he disrepair? How did Jesus respond? Jesus' response was clear determination to go to Jerusalem and become the sacrifice so that we could be released from our sinful nature, the law, and our enemies. The dullness of the disciples only made it more clear how they and we needed him to finish the task that he came to this world for.
* Jesus selflessness and the disciples' selfishness are in contrast. The disciples were determined to serve themselves. Jesus was determined to serve them even though they did not accept what he was teaching.
* Continually working hard, being fully dedicated to something and see little or no fruit for one's labor can be very discouraging. When we work for the kingdom of God obstacles, trouble and conflicts often enter our life. We fill like giving up. In these times Jesus should be our example. Hebrews 12:2-3 (states, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
III. Sons of Thunder, James and John (49-56)
>5. Why did John stop the man who was driving out demons in Jesus' name?
* Luke 9:49 ""Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."
* This is also in Mark 9:38-41.
* "we saw a man driving out demons in you name" -This man obviously believed in Jesus' power and authority. We know that Jesus called some to follow him and others he sent out. The Gerasenes demoniac was one the the latter. This man was like him, or even was him.
* "we tied to stop him" -John and the other disciples were not able to stop him.
* "because he was not one of us" -"Us" here means one of the twelve disciples that Jesus had sent out with such authority. They had a selfish group concept of greatness.
>What does this show about him?
* A common way people see greatness is exclusiveness.
* John and the others were probably jealous.
* John did not see things from a spiritual point of view. The man was casting out demons. This clearly showed whose side he was on. Where he got authority to do this did not matter since he was obviously doing it in Jesus' name.
* The disciples of Jesus were narrow minded and proud of their privileged. They thought that their teaching made them uniquely qualified. Often today we see this with people who have seminary degrees verses lay persons.
* A lot of different Christian denominations think that they teach the Bible the best, do God's work the best, and serve others the best. They also think that other churches and/or denominations should desolve or join them.
>How was Jesus' idea different?
* Luke 9:50 "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."
* True greatness is broad-minded.
* Two kingdoms exist; God's and Satan's. Either we are on Jesus' side or not. Those who are in each have fruit that is not always so easy to spot at first. Eventually their fruit is seen.
* Being broad minded doesn't mean to accept everyone. Matthew 12:30 records Jesus teaching, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."
* John records Jesus' teaching during the last supper of the great need to obey Jesus' teachings. There are groups and churches today who claim to be Christian, but they do not obey Jesus' teaching.
>6. Why was Jesus resolute to get to Jerusalem? (22, 44, 51)
* Luke 9:51 "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem."
* "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven" -Luke already recorded that Jesus told his disciples what was to come. Luke 9:22 "And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." The second time is Luke 9:44 "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men." Mark 9:30-32 record the same event as the second.
* Luke uniquely records this event. Luke records many events unique to his gospel. This unique record starts here in Luke 9:51 (or Luke 10:1) and continues to Luke 18:14 (i.e., the sending of the seventy-two in Luke 10:1-23, a unique visit to Martha and Mary's house in Luke 10:38-42, ten healed of leprosy in Luke 17:11-19). Much in these eight plus chapters are parables unique to Luke's gospel. (See a chart comparing Jesus' parables by using the link above.) Luke 18:15, Matthew 19:13, and Mark 10:13 record the same event, people bringing little children to Jesus. The events only recorded in Luke's mid-chapters seems to document events that happened during Jesus' trip to Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication (winter) as John 10:22 records. Jesus was crucified during the Feast of Passover (spring). If these facts are true then its possible that Luke 17:11 or possibly Luke 18:31 documents the start of Jesus' final trip to Jerusalem. (See chart to the right.)
* Mark 9:30-31 only records that he was teaching his disciples as they went south to Jerusalem. Luke and Matthew records many more of these teachings than Mark.
* "Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" -Literally this is, "set his face to go to Jerusalem". (Luke 13:22) This journey to Jerusalem is not the final one, but marks the beginning of a period of ministry in Judea, of which Jerusalem was the central city.
* Jesus was leaving Galilee and would not return to Galilee until after his resurrection.
* We must be like Jesus and always keep God's plan for our lives as first priority. Sometimes we may believe we should linger places and events because we believe there is more to do. We need to trust God will bless our small offerings.
>Why did the Samaritans not welcome Jesus? (52-53)
* Luke 9:52-53 "And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem."
* "And he sent messengers on ahead" -Luke 9:51-56 records Jesus sending seventy-two (excluding the twelve) ahead of him and into Samaria. I show this on my map, though I believe that Jesus himself either did not or very little went into Samaria at this time. Luke records that the Samaritans did not like the fact that Jesus was going to Jerusalem. This may have been the reason that after he leaves Capernaum for the last time Jesus went east, crossing the Jordan, thus avoiding Samaria per Matthew 19:1.
* The Samaritans' ancestors are Israelites and Gentiles. (John 3:4-7,12) However, most are only traced to Gentile countries. (2 Kings 17:24-37) The Samaritans and the Jews despised each other. Their animosity dates back to the original twelve Israel tribes breaking into two nations after Solomon's death. The hatred intensified when the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon. (Nehemiah 4:1-2) The collateral damage to this was that many Samaritans lost this last opportunity to have Jesus go through their area.
* "And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him" -Jesus intended to go into Samaria.
* "but the people there did not welcome him" -They did not allow Jesus to come into their village.
* "because he was heading to Jerusalem" -The biggest controversy between the Jews and the Samaritans was the place of worship. (1 Kings 12:25-33; and 2 Kings 17:21-23) The Samaritan woman brought this up. (John 4:19-20) This conflict stems back to when the northern tribes set up new places of worship so that they wouldn't have to go to the temple in Jerusalem, Judea.
>How did James and John react?
* Luke 9:54 "When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?"
* The prophet Elijah had called fire down from heaven near this area, in the northern Israel kingdom many centuries earlier. The fire showed the God of Israel was true and Baal was not. Elijah had the priests of Baal killed. (1 Kings 18:38-40)
>What does this event show about them?
* They resented the fact that the town folks didn't allow Jesus to come into their town.
* The had zeal for Jesus' honor, at the expense of those Jesus came to serve.
* They asked Jesus before they did it. They weren't going to do it unless Jesus allowed them.
* They believed that if Jesus allowed it, they could call fire down.
* They believed Jesus deserved respect at any cost. Their opinion was that if a person wouldn't accept Jesus then that person should die right away. They were judge and jury, and wanted to be executor.
* They didn't understand that people sometimes should be given a chance to change their minds. Jesus gave the two disciples much time at the beginning of his ministry to make their own decision to follow him. They had forgotten that.
>Why did Jesus rebuke them?
* Luke 9:55-56 "But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village."
* Zeal for Jesus without love is rejected.
* Jesus had taught that he came to save, not to condemn.
* Just because the leaders rejected Jesus because he was a Jew didn't mean that everyone in the town should be killed.
* The disciples were proud and arrogant. They never said this about any town in Galilee or Judea. They only proposed it in an area that Jews did not live.
IV. The Cost of Following Jesus (57-62)
>7. What did Jesus teach the man who volunteered to follow him anywhere?
* Luke 9:57-58 "As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
* These statements are also recorded in Matthew 8:18-22 after the Roman centurion showed great faith in Jesus, just before Jesus announced that he was going to the area of the Gergesenes (Gerasenes). Either Matthew or Luke does not follow chronological order or Jesus said this more than once. In those days when someone wanted to become a disciple they would have to make such a request as this man displayed. Jesus must have received many such requests.
* The three statements in Luke 9:57-62 carry the same theme, consider the cost of following Jesus for its high and probably not what you expect. Luke lumps these three events together. We should not think that they happened at the same time. Rather, we should realize that Luke in driving one important theme at this time in his gospel. The next event is Jesus sending out seventy-two disciples. Luke has that event in mind when he introduces these three short events.
* "As they were walking along the road" -Could have been anywhere or at anytime during Jesus' public ministry.
* "I will follow you wherever you go" -The belief was growing amongst those who were following Jesus and his ministry that Jesus was going to do something great in Jerusalem. More and more people began following him as Jesus made his slow progress to Jerusalem. This man wanted to state his intentions and desire to become a disciple.
* "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests" -Jesus obvious point is that God provides these animals a permanent place of dwelling so that they can raise offspring. Foxes leave the hole once the cubs are able to keep care of themselves. Birds abandon the nest once the chicks fly away.
* "the Son of Man has no place to lay his head" -Jesus was on the move. He was heading for Jerusalem as all could tell, but he was going there not with the intent to make it his home.
* Jesus' poverty due to ministry is revealed.
>What do you think Jesus perceived as this man's spiritual problem?
* "wherever you go" -Many began believing Jesus was the Messiah. They knew that the Messiah was the anointed leader of Israel and the Jews. All Jews believed that the Messiah was due on the scene of history. If Jesus was the Messiah as they expected they believed he would eventually extablish his earthly kingdom in Jerusalem. The man does not state this, but he had to have believed Jesus wasn't going "wherever". Rather, he was going to eventually be in Jerusalem as a ruler.
* This man was not different that the twelve that where arguing and posturing to be first. He, like them wanted glory, honor, and power in Jesus' soon to be established kingdom. He look forward to a royal mansion with servants and riches at his command and disposal.
* Jesus makes no promises to this man or anyone else with what people in the world hope for. He often rebuked the wrong concept of greatness. Jesus taught to serve God humbly before seeking earthly security and comfort.
* We may volunteer, but ultimately it is God who calls us to him ministry.
* "Jesus replied..." - With Jesus' words one might say that Jesus was being too harsh. However, knowing that Jesus is love, this is not the case. In fact this was said out of love. Then what did he mean by it? Much has been written on these verses, with a variety of interpretations. The following is my interpretation of it.
If this is the same account as recorded in Matthew 8:18-10, then he was a teacher of the law. Being a teach of the law, most likely this man had some money. He may, or may not have been upper class, but he wasn't definitely low society. This is because in the Jewish society of Jesus' day those who were considered men of God were well respected. This lead to wealth in the Jewish society. Along with this wealth came a "comfortable life"; nothing like the life that Jesus and his disciples lead as they traveled on the road. To make this teacher of the law aware of this Jesus told him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Today, as it was then, being a follower of Jesus is often not a easy life. There is much ministry to conduct in the church of Jesus Christ. Thus there is work and effort required of each of the body of Christ. Some contribute physical labor, some mental, some musical, some patience and care, and there is many other ways to serve Christ and his church.
>8. When Jesus invited another man to follow him how did he respond?
* Luke 9:59 "He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
* I am going to consider that Matthew has this and the previous event in chronological order when analysing this brief exchanged between Jesus and one of his disciples.
* "Another disciple" -This man like the previous was a disciple of Jesus. Each learned to cost of following Jesus in their own way.
* "Lord" -The original Greek here is "Kyrios". This man spoke to Jesus with respect and honor.
>What was wrong with his priorities?
* "First let me go and bury my father" -The disciples request has been interpreted several ways. One being that the man's father was about to die, perhaps in a few days or weeks. Thus the man wanted to keep to Jewish custom and be with his dying father till the end to take care of him. Although this seems to make Jesus' words less harsh, most likely this is not the right interpretation.
I believe that since Jesus had told his disciples that they were leaving immediately, then this man would not have asked Jesus to wait one or two (or even more) days for him. Rather, I believe that this man's father was expected to die that very same day. He just wanted Jesus to wait a few more hours for this to happen. Then they could all go together. From the man's point of view this might have seem quite logical for several reasons. First, to him (or anyone else) they were not working on a tight schedule (none of them could have known of God's schedule). Second, once the boats left the area the man would have to walk around the lake (by himself) and then try to find Jesus (who was always on the go) on the other side. This would have been hard and dangerous.
* This disciples was asking God to change his plan and schedule rather than he change his schedule for God. A disciples must follow his master, not the other way around.
>What either/or choice did Jesus give him?
* Luke 9:60 "Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
* "Let the dead" -Spiritually dead.
* "Let the dead bury their own dead" -Jesus was saying, "Let others who do not have spiritual desire and life do it." Jesus would not change his schedule for the man. The man would need to change his schedule and priorities. I need to follow God. God does not follow me.
* "you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." -Only Jesus' disciples can do this. This is the mission Jesus gave his disciples after his resurrection.
>What does this mean to us?
* We need to have right priority.
* We need to follow God's leading. We need to see where God is working and join in on his plan. We should not only make room for God in our life, but God should always be our life. The main theme of Claude V. King's book "Experiencing God" centers on this theme.
* Jesus' disciples cannot be a part time follower.
* God should be at the center of every aspect of who we are and what we do. It's either God's way or the highway.
* Preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God is first priority to Jesus' disciples.
>9. What did Jesus teach the man who wanted to go back to say good-bye to his family?
* Luke 9:61-62 "Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
* "Still another" -Matthew does not include this man, further indicating that Luke is not following chronological order, but rather grouping theme events that have the same theme in order to make a point before he moves into the next event, sending the seventy-two out on a kingdom mission.
* This reminds me of Elijah call to Elisha. (1 Kings 19:19-21)
* "I will follow you" -Good start.
* "Lord" -The original Greek here is "Kyrios". This man, like the previous spoke to Jesus with respect and honor.
>What did this man have to overcome to be fit for the kingdom of God?
* "looks back" -He was committed to his family. He was sentimental.
* "plow" -A farmer plows the soil, loosening it up so seeds can germinate and live. The loose soil holds water and at the same time makes it easy for the seed to spread roots.
* "No one who puts his hand to the plow" -A farmer who does this has made a decision to do the job. Making the decision and starting the job doesn't mean much if we don't finish what we started.
* "fit for service in the kingdom of God" -His attitude and mouth seemed to be in the right place. But the rest of him was not fit.
>10. Considering Jesus responses in this study can you see his heart desire? (Heb. 12:2-3)
* Hebrews 12:2-3 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
* Make a whole hearted dedicated commitment and keep it to the end, not looking back and desiring things in this world.
* Jesus demands a lot from those who want to be his disciples.
* Jesus challenges us.
* Jesus' words can be considered by humanist be not be nice.
>What does it cost to be a Jesus' disciple? (Rom. 12:1-2)
* Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."
* Every aspect of us and our lives.
* Jesus wants total dedication, not half hearted commitment. We can't pick and choose among Jesus' ideas and follow him selectively; we have to accept the cross along with the crown, judgment as well as mercy. We must count the cost and be willing to abandon everything else that has given us security. With our focus on Jesus, we should allow nothing to distract us from the manner of living that he calls good and true. (Life Application Bible Studies, Luke)
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