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.”