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Luke 9:46-62

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, MAY 9

SCRIPTURE:  Luke 9:46-62

By:  Jeremy Witt

There is a popular movie that states, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”  There are a lot of people today who quote this quite frequently, and the disciples might have said this had they had heard it as well.  Jesus does the unthinkable once again.  In verse 48, Jesus essentially says, “If you’re the least, you are the greatest.”  That goes against our American culture, doesn’t it?  We want to be the best, the biggest, the strongest, the most popular, etc.  Yet Jesus says, serve the smallest, the unknown, the ignored, and you will be great.  How are we doing in this area?  How are you doing?  I can definitely do better.

Verses 49-50 are also found in Mark 9:38-41.  There was someone who was using Jesus’ name to cast out demons and the disciples told them to stop because they were not part of their group.  disciples had the attitude that if they were not part of the group, they shouldn’t be doing what they were doing.  The disciples and their clique of friends were more important to them than helping people.  Whoever this person was, they were considered not going enough by the disciples.  First and foremost, we must not have this attitude.  Notice Jesus’ words and the implications.  Jesus told them that if anyone is not against you, they are for you.  If they aren’t fighting you, consider them an ally. 

There is another factor here that we should recognize.  Remember verse 40?  The disciples were unable to heal the demon-possessed boy.  Jealousy is at work here.  Whoever this person was in 49-50, they were able to do something that the disciples were not able to do.  It was not the same person, but they were just jealous that someone was doing what they could not do.  Jealousy has no place in our lives yet it is there because we are sinful people.  When it is about me or you, it is really easy to be jealous, but when our focus is on Jesus, then it is easier for us to be glad for the outcome rather than the messenger.  (I have a weird illustration, so bear with me.  We are all just gloves.  There is nothing special about the glove by itself.  Until the Master puts His hands in us, it is then that the glove becomes useful.  Our job is to allow the Master to use us as He sees fits and allow Him to get the glory.) 

As we come to verse 51, notice what it tells us.  Jesus is focused upon going to Jerusalem.  His purpose is ahead of Him.  He has laid the foundation for the disciples.  But His eternal purpose and destiny are just days ahead.  His eyes are set on Jerusalem.  His ministry focus shifts to preparation for the Cross.  When they reach a village in verse 52, the disciples get upset based upon the village’s response to Jesus.  However, Jesus is focused on the destination.  The opportunity for distraction was there, but He remained focused.  Jesus knew that persecution and suffering lied ahead yet He was steadfast.  I know that I need to be more like Him in this way. 

Our last portion of verses for today, Jesus encounters some people who wish to follow Him as it says in verses 57, 59, and 61.  People say that they want to follow Jesus until it gets inconvenient.  Remember the parable of the soils.  This is the ground that represents the thorns.   The offer to all people is shown in verse 59 in “Come, follow me.”  Come see for yourself.  Then Jesus asks us, “who do you say that I am?”  He asks for commitment and not a half-hearted commitment, but true dedication.  He asks us to follow first then commit.  But once we commit, it is for a lifetime.  It is far too easy for us to say, “Sure I will do that, and then come up with an excuse and back out.”  In our culture, this is the norm.  But not so with Jesus.  He calls for true followers who will not do this, but even with things get difficult, we will be true to the very end. 

May this be true of us and may we help bring others to ask them to “Come follow me as I follow Jesus.”

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Luke 9:21-45

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8

SCRIPTURE:  Luke 9:21-45

By:  Jeremy Witt

Before the Cross, Jesus told His disciples something that I have always struggled with.  He told them to be quiet as in verse 21.  My human nature does not understand this.  I would think He would want everyone to know who He was and what He was doing.  Maybe it is my selfish flesh thinking how I would expect things to go, but I have struggled with this.  After a healing, Jesus would tell the person healed to keep it quiet and go do what was required by the Law.  Why would Jesus do this?

I imagine it is much to do with the fact that Jesus was also fully God in the flesh knowing what is best.  He knew what the people would do and that they would most likely try to make Him the political/military Messiah that they were expecting.  I imagine that Jesus was also trying to prepare His disciples for the days ahead in which He would be gone.  He was preparing them but they did not understand.  I can’t imagine how they felt when Jesus told them what He did in verse 22-27.  This was the first time that Jesus told them that He would die.

What did He mean that He would suffer?  How could the Son of God suffer?  Why would their priests and elders reject the Messiah?  It didn’t make sense to the Jewish disciples.  Then He said that He would be killed!  What is He saying? 

This was a critical moment.  The disciples did not realize it until after the Resurrection, but from this point on, Jesus was not being as vague as before.  He was teaching more clearly and specifically what the disciples would face and could expect.  His words in verses 23-27 were harsh to hear and it crushed their expectations of what they thought the Messiah would do.   Put yourself in their shoes as if you heard these words firsthand. 

Verse 27 is a tough one because these people all died.  The Kingdom of God will not arrive until the 2nd Heaven and 2nd earth.  Or are we missing something?  There are two possible explanations.  Jesus may have been referring to Peter, James, and John seeing Jesus on the mountain and the Transfiguration.  Seeing Jesus with Moses and Elijah would be a taste of the Kingdom of God for these Jewish boys.  The second possibility would be witnessing Jesus’ Resurrection and then ascension.  A third option would be the Holy Spirit’s arrival at Pentecost and being a part of the church and its rapid growth. 

In the middle of these verses for today is another example of Jesus healing a demon-possessed boy.  This event is also found in Matthew 17:14-21 and Mark 9:14-20.  Notice that the disciples could not get the demon to leave.  The Matthew account gives the reason why the disciples were unsuccessful.  It boils down to faith.  When Jesus sent out the disciples, they went out in His power and were able to heal demonic possession, but in this case, their faith was not big enough.  Anytime you and I take our eyes off of Jesus, we can lose focus and become distracted.  The three who were on the mountain may have been distracted by what had just happened.  Maybe they were living up on the mountain still rather than facing the realities of the valley.  We can do the same things in our lives today if we are not careful.

Jesus again predicts His death in verses 43-45, but the disciples didn’t understand.  We have the luxury of looking back to see what Jesus was saying. 

The best thing I can tell you is that I do not understand God.  His ways are complex.  His ways are higher than my understanding.  I wish He would do things differently at times.  I expect Him to do those things too.  When God acts differently than what I expect or want, I struggle with that as I expect the disciples did as well.  Maybe that is a good reason to trust Him.  Would we want any deity that we could understand? 

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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