Sunday, July 21, 2019
Jerusalem would be the site of a cosmic event that would change everything. Luke strategically places Jesus’ resolve to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) squarely in the middle of three waves of messengers in Luke 9:1-10:24. Luke is preparing us for a series of parables, teachings and incidences in the life of Christ that go way beyond the teachings of a new religion. These unique accounts in the gospel of Luke go straight to the heart.
WHO IS THIS MAN?
With the first wave of messengers, the 12 disciples, Luke tells us of King Herod’s quest, asking, “…who is this man about whom I hear such stories?” (Luke 9:9). Herod never discovers the answer to his question, even when Jesus is brought before him in court (Luke 23:6-12, NLT). The multitude is satisfied after being fed; but, Luke does not say much more than that (Luke 9:10-17, NLT).
Tracking the disciples through this section, however, we soon realize that they are the focus of Jesus’ attention as He resolutely sets out for Jerusalem. With Peter’s declaration that “You are the Messiah, sent from God” (Luke 9:20) we now watch them wrestle with the reality of that observation through the remainder of this section.
Three times Luke mentions Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (Luke 9:21-22, 31, 43-45). Meanwhile the disciples try to formulate their own solutions to the challenges they face. For example, they tell Jesus to send away the crowds (9:12), they equate Jesus with Moses and Elijah (9:33), they try to determine who is the greatest among them (9:46), they stop their ‘competition’ (9:49-50) or they suggest destroying a Samaritan village for rejecting them (9:54).
JESUS: THE SON OF GOD
Finally, Jesus speaks to His disciples from His eternal perspective as the Son of God who gives power and authority to whomever He chooses. This is what the kings and prophets of old longed to see and hear about (Luke 10:22-24).
But, reaching back even further, Jesus tells them about being at His Father’s side as Satan was ejected from heaven (See Isaiah 14:12; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12). The warning he gives the disciples is clear: “…don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
The danger the disciples face as they emerge from their world to see the world from God’s perspective is mistaking their authority and power as their own. “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” (Luke 10:17) sounds a lot like they were starting to take credit. Jesus’ warning to them is a sober reminder to us as well.
Beware, as God’s authority and power begins to transform your life and strengthen your faith! The evidence of His hand in your life is neither something you have earned nor deserved. As we will be reminded in the middle of the next section of Luke’s gospel account (Luke 10:25-19:48), there is only one appropriate response: ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty’ (Luke 17:10).