MORE OF HIS POWER
Though the longest account, it is interesting to note that the three and a half years of the Saviours ministry are covered in just about six chapters in Lukes account (chapters 4-9). The Lord Jesus is described making His final journey to Jerusalem from verse 51 of this chapter. It is interesting to note that the Mount of Transfiguration incident took place before Luke announced that the Lord was making His journey to Jerusalem. This incident includes mention of His decease which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem but the emphasis of this event was upon His coming glory and power as if the circumstances were used to show that the cross was not the end as far the Saviour was concerned. Peter refers to the holy mount in the first chapter of his second epistle and made known to the believers the power and coming of the Lord Jesus rather than write of His sufferings as He did in his first epistle:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The Saviours power is seen throughout this chapter. At the start of the chapter He dispensed power. Then He multiplied and dispensed bread. Then He announced his coming death and coming glory. Then He spoke of His coming death and manifested His future glory. Then there was further display of His then present power on earth such that the crowd was amazed. Finally there was demonstration that He was not deterred in His intention to go to Jerusalem and Calvary by His knowledge of what awaited Him there (see verse 22).
Verses 1-11 Others also
The analogous passage occurs in Matthew 10.1-16 and in Mark 6.7-11.
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. 4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. 5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. 6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. 7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; 8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. 9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him. 10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.
3-6 Conditions of service
7-9 Cries of Herod
10-11 Commendation of the work
The background to the chapter is that the disciples had been with the Lord Jesus and His own people in His own country.
Matthew describes a plentiful harvest/moved with compassion; Mark describes unbelief among His own people so that the disciples were sent to others; in Luke we are shown the power of God through belief in the raising of Jairus daughter.
What was the commission? The twelve were called and given power (strength and ability) and authority (the right to use the power they were given) over unclean spirits and to heal the sick who could not help themselves.
Where to? Matthew 10.5-6 Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Luke doesnt specify where they were to go we would take it that its to the Jews as we are told its the Gospel of the kingdom
Why? To preach the kingdom of heaven the announcement of the Kings presence here right now. The power of heaven is near the Lord Jesus was here. To heal the sick as proof that what they were saying was true as it had been passed to them from Jesus
3-6 Conditions of service
With? Sent them forth 2 by 2 Mark 6 v 7. Take nothing save a coat & a pair of sandals.
No money - we can't help buy things for God He is our provision
No food - we can't feed people He should be our sustenance - we should be feeding on Him through the same source
No bag - everything was at hand and anything which was needed could be bought along the way
No staff - nothing to lean on save God
Warned them of rejection & what a testimony they should give
They went obeyed, preached the gospel & healed everywhere
7-9 Cries of Herod
This is an aside. Herod heard of all that was done by the Lord Jesus. Some were saying that John had risen from the dead and he was perplexed
Herod heard of all that was one by the Lord Jesus
Herod was perplexed as some said that John was raised from the dead. Herod knew that he had severed his head from his body. Perhaps this man was Elias or one of the other old prophets.
Herod desired to see Him Luke 23.8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad; for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him, and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.
The question is did Herod believe?
10-11 Commendation of the work
Told the Lord Jesus all they had done its good to encourage other with what God is doing in your life, in your church, in your families. Its good to report back to those who are praying & supporting what the Lord has done. Another commendation is this that the people, when they knew it, followed Him: and He received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed those that had need of healing. Work truly done for God will always bring the glory back to Him.
What lessons can we learn from this?
We are called
2Thessalonians 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty;
1Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
From where have we been called?
The cross where Jesus went to die; to pay the price for you sin and mine; to set us free; to bring us back to God
Where are we now?
In Sin Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Why have we been called?
Because God loves us
Because we cant, in our sin, please or satisfy God
Because God wants us in a relationship with Him
Because God wants us back for himself because we were taken from Him.
What comes of it?
We are given the power and authority to be called sons
1John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
We are given the Comforter/Holy Spirit
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
hope of eternal life Titus 1:2 hope of righteousness by faith Galatians 5:5
the hope of salvation - 1Thessalonians 5:8 hope of your calling Ephesians 4:4
hope of glory Colossians 1:27 hope of the gospel Colossians 1:23
Verses 12-175000 fed
12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. 13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. 14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down. 16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
v18-22 Finding Out
v23-27 Following On
Connection: v11 All day with the Lord
1. Feeding Up
Disciples concern for the 5000+ Response You feed them! They didnt realise, but they were about to do just that.
Is this the greatest or most significant of miracles?
Only one in all four Gospels, which have to be read to obtain the full details.
Matthew 14 v15-21, Mark 6 v35-44, Luke 9 v12-17, John 6 v 5-14.
Matthew They need not depart; 5000 men plus women & children
Mark 200 pence (cost); How many loaves have ye? Green grass; 100 + 50s
John Time of feast; J saw great company; Philip proving; Andrew lad; What are they among so many? Much grass; Barley loaves; nothing be lost.
What a meal. Little is super abundance with Christs blessing.
Christ in control groups of 50. Order and organisation.
Easier to control and distribute.
Miracle requiring participation of disciples, though He could have done this alone.
When Christ feeds, he fills completely. More leftovers than they started with!
Verses 18-27 Whom say ye that I am?
18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? 19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
2. Finding Out verses 18-22
a) About Him
Happy asking what others think? The important issue What do you think of Christ? Whose Son is He?
Peter was right The Christ of God! Your answer matters. You need to confess Him now. Eternitys destination depends on it.
b) About His Mission
V22 Not a promising prospect until the last line! Raised! Death is not the end! The death of Jesus Christ was no accident, it is Gods plan of redemption for you. The Christ of God invited the 12 disciples to share with Him in this tremendous miracle. They have now personally acknowledged Him. The initial call to follow me did not define the way. Having walked and worked with the Saviour, the time is now right to enlighten them of the road ahead.
3. Following on verses 23-27
They did not know about the cross the way now explained and the cost has to be counted. Its all Christ no recognition of self. Self denial. Cross bearing accepting & carrying the responsibilities of being a disciple of Christ. Follow me call to continual daily following of Christ. Disciples life to be consecrated to Him for My sake. Prepared for coming glory. Some would see in the transfiguration a glimpse of the kingdom of God.
Verses 28-36 Transfigured
Analogous passage to be found in Matthew 17 and Mark 9.
28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. 34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
By now we know from Luke 8.51 that there was an occasion when three disciples were separated from the rest. The same three are separated again (by the way both Matthew and mark speak of the three being separated from the others in the garden of Gethsemane but Luke does not).
No sooner has the Lord Jesus spoken about His impending death (verse 22) than He manifests His coming power. There was only eight days between the two events. Peter makes it clear in his first epistle that the suffering and the glory go hand in hand. It is the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. When He had spoken about His death in verse 22 it was in connection with prayer (verse 18). He was manifesting Himself as the dependent man. He was praying alone. How wonderful. This was the Son of man, the dependent man. The answer that was given to His question - the Christ of God (the Messiah) - was correct but the Saviour reverts to a title that has been used many times (six in all) already in Lukes gospel account when He explained about His coming suffering and death and resurrection. They looked for a Messiah and He was that Messiah and their Messiah but first He would have to suffer many things. He took their attention away from His Messiahship to His impending suffering and death.
About eight days had elapsed (by the way Matthew 17 Mark 9 speaks of six days; did Luke include the two days on which the separate events took place?) and now the Saviour was praying again though on this occasion it was with the chosen three. None of the other writers record the fact that the Lord was praying with the three when He was transfigured before them. They may record that He was with the three but not that He was praying. Prayer is so important in this particular gospel account. There are seven or eight occasions when the Lord Jesus prays in this book. While He was praying the fashion of His countenance (the appearance of His face) altered. His clothes became white and glistering (to shine as lightning). This had nothing to do with His suffering. He was not going to be clothed in shining garments upon the cross. His face was not going to shine as the sun in its strength on that occasion. Something else was happening here.
Two men appeared with Him. One was Moses (representing the law) and the other was Elijah (the NT calls him Elias; representing the prophets). These appeared in glory. By glory is meant brightness in the same way that the Saviour was shining before them. This will be the way that He comes in His kingdom. He will come in power and great glory (Luke 21.27). While the two men were with Him they spoke about His death that He was to accomplish at Jerusalem. There was no mention of glory and power (by the way Matthew speaks of great power and glory). They were speaking of His death linking us with the subject of the previous section. The Lord Jesus was left alone. The law was gone and prophecy was gone too. Peter may have wanted to detain them (not knowing what he said) but there was no point for the law was not going to bring about redemption. Neither was prophecy. Both of these things pointed to the Lord Jesus but it was the Lord Jesus Himself and not the shadows that was to accomplish all for God. Both of these things, in actuality through Moses and Elijah and in a sense, spoke of His death that He should accomplish at Jerusalem (take a look at the many times that Luke speaks of Jerusalem far more than any of the other evangelists; Jerusalem is important in Lukes narrative; everything is heading for Jerusalem).
There are more ways to consider the choice of these two men and their appearance in glory with the Saviour. Moses represents those who have died having placed their faith in God. Elijah represents those who likewise have placed their faith in God but who go to be with God without dying. They represent two groups of people those who sleep in Jesus and those who are alive and remain and who are caught up. There are many dear people of this church age who have trusted the Lord Jesus to be their Saviour and who have since died. They are asleep in Jesus. There will be a group of Christians who will be alive when the Saviour returns. Both types of people will appear with the Saviour in the glory, in heaven. The ones who have died will not go to that place in their glorified bodies ahead of the ones whose bodies will be changed and then rise to meet the Lord in the air. All will go together as we are taught at the end of I Thessalonians 4. We wonder whether each person who heard this message was numbered as one of those who will be caught up.
And yet there is another way to look at the mount. Moses was a man who wanted to do a work for God in his own way and before God had called him to do the work that He wanted him to do (Exodus 2.11-14). Elijah wanted to finish his work before God said that He was finished with working through him (I Kings 19). The Lord stood in contrast to both men in that He started when God wanted Him to start and finished what God gave Him to do and then gave up the ghost. He brought forth His fruit in its season and His leaf did not fail and wither.
On the mount He received honour and glory. The glory displayed there was not inherent, intrinsic glory but added glory. John never mentions this incident for he concentrates on the intrinsic glory of Christ. Peter speaks of the added glory. It was not the glory that he had alongside the Father before He came into this world (John 17.5), a glory that he asked to be restored to Him. It was a given glory. What Peter saw (John saw it as well but did not record it) was the glory with which the Lord Jesus will come in a future day. He was given a preview of Christs glory at His second coming. Dare we say that this glory was the glory with which He will be seen on earth in a coming day. Remember that when He comes the second time it will not be to a stable but it will be as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shall also the Son of man be in his day. Luke 17.24. It is clear that when the scripture uses the analogy of lightning it is not thinking of the length of time that the lightning lights the sky (nor should we have any thoughts on the length of time that the Saviour will lighten the sky for the scripture says that every eye shall see Him and there is no need for the TV to do that). It is thinking of the brilliance and brightness of the lightning as opposed to its briefness. No wonder Luke 9 says that his garments became white and glistering.
The Shekinah glory appeared there that day. That was the cloud. The word shekinah does not appear in the Bible, but the concept clearly does. The Jewish rabbis coined this extra-biblical expression, a form of a Hebrew word that literally means he caused to dwell, signifying that it was a divine visitation of the presence or dwelling of God on this earth. If we like the Lord Jesus was glorified, the two appeared in glory and then there was a cloud that enveloped them. From this cloud came the voice saying that the Lord Jesus was the Speakers beloved Son. They were to hear Him. The testimony of the law was good but now they were to hear the lord Jesus. The testimony of the prophets was good and not to be discarded but now they were to listen to the Lord Jesus. All that the law and the prophets did was give witness to the one who was to come. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Romans 3.21. It was over to the Lord Jesus now. He was left alone.
Luke records one other thing that is worth bringing to our attention and it relates to Peter in particular. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep. The sight of Him in glory kept Peter and the others who were with him awake. It was to them that the Father spoke and not to Moses or Elijah. After the voice had spoken it was the Lord Jesus who was alone with them on the mount. It was This is my beloved Son that was spoken and not these are my beloved servants. How sad it would have been if he couldnt have stayed awake to witness His majesty. They were with Him in every sense in the holy mount. How good it is when we, by faith, see his glory. There is no sleeping when such a thing takes place.
There is much to be found by a careful comparison with the other passages that deal with this same event in Matthew and in Mark. John does not mention this event.
Verses 37-50 Powerless yet a desire for power
37 And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him. 38 And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child. 39 And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him. 40 And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. 41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. 42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, 44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. 45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying. 46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. 47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, 48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great. 49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
The previous section has shown the glory with which the Lord Jesus will appear in a coming day. Now there is demonstration of His mighty power on earth such that there is a foretaste of His mighty power that will be manifest at His coming and that will cause that all evil will be restrained. Here the folks were powerless. The father of the son was powerless. His anguish is palpable as we read the section in that he was in as much anguish of heart as his son was of body as these attacks overtook him. He had asked the disciples to manifest their power such as they had been given by the Lord Jesus according to the first verse of this chapter but sadly they were unable to do so. The Lord Jesus, who had given the power at the beginning of the chapter, showed that He was not devoid of power in that He banished the demon to the amazement of the assembled company. It was mighty power and not mere power. Mighty power was manifested in this boys life to change his situation and condition completely. Satan was not going to get his way with this lad. The Saviour saw to that He was binding the strong man in this act. He was undoing the works of the wicked one by this act. This is a sure sign to all that He will do so in a public way in a coming day. The devil and his associates (the two in Revelation 13) will be cast into the abyss. Now is the prince of this world cast out. His time was up as the saviour set about undoing all that he had brought in (I John 3.8) and was about to undo the wicked himself in His death upon the cross (Hebrews 2.15).
No sooner had the Lord Jesus manifest mighty power than He spoke again of His impending death. The crowd was not amazed at what the wicked one was able to do through the child but they were when that power was broken by a greater power. The Lord Jesus addressed the disciples. Be amazed at this power. Yes but remember that I am going to be delivered into the hands of men. I have power over the demons and the wicked one but I am still going to be delivered into the hands of men and go to them. Though I have power enough to prevent these men taking me I am going to them for them to do to me what they want to do that is accordance with what has been revealed (they were not allowed to do any more than God said they would do though they wanted to do so; for example they were not allowed to break His bones). The disciples did not understand. He had only recently (in the past eight days) told them more than He told them now. They had either forgotten or had not understood the first time that He spoke to them on the subject.
Worse was to come from those disciples. There is much to learn about discipleship here for here were those who wanted to be the greatest. There were three of them who had witnessed the great glory with which the Lord Jesus would come back to earth in a still future day. They had all been amazed at His great power so that they should have been considering His greatness but they were more concerned about position and status. How sad. How sad that we still concern ourselves with position and status. They were powerless in the matter of bringing relief and release to a father and his son but still they desired power, not to be triumphant in such a situation should a similar set of circumstances come about again, but to have position and status in the coming kingdom. Nor is there any let up when we get to the next section as John and James want to have a demonstration of Gods power at their bidding to destroy mens lives. They should have been looking to help rather than destroy. The Saviour had not come to destroy. He had not come to manifest kingdom glory. What they had seen and heard about that took place on the mountain was a foretaste of what was to come. The Saviour was going to be rejected in a public way and they were to be identified with Him in that. That is what verses 23-25 were all about and now it is as if the Saviour has to say it all again only this time with the help of a child brought among them. How slow we are to learn.
A little child is brought into the company by way of illustration. Surely they will get the message now. To receive the child means to deny self. To receive the child means to receive the saviour. To receive the Saviour means to receive the one who sent Him. The one who wants to be great needs to be the least among all. There was a discussion (dialogmos) among themselves as to which one would be the greatest. They were thinking about the kingdom and not about the immediacy of the situation. They were looking long term but there were things to think about in the present and in the near future. Is there a lesson for us there?
Then there was the one who casting out devils (demons) in the Masters name and they had forbidden the person to do so as that person did not accompany them. Why? As the Lord Jesus rightly said, He that it is not against us is for us. His works will be manifest if they are of God and if they are not of God. A man had just come to the Lord Jesus announcing that he had asked the disciples to cast out demons when they should have been able to do so. They had not taken to themselves the exposure of their lack of faith and, therefore, lack of ability. Now the finger is out and pointing at someone else. Remember that every time we point a finger that there are three pointing back at ourselves but these had not realised that. How exasperated we would have been with those disciples had we been their leader but there was no such thing with the Lord Jesus. He just showed them the better way.
Verses 51- 62 Final journey
51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. 57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
We have read the phrase delivered up in connection with the Lord Jesus on a number of occasions by the time we come to Luke 9. The Saviour had predicted that He would be delivered up in v 44 of this chapter and later in Luke 18.32. The disciples were reminded of this in Luke 24.7 and there were two who spoke to the stranger pointing out that it was the chief priests who delivered the Lord Jesus up to the Roman authorities for crucifixion. Other gospel writers also give the words of the Lord Jesus as He predicted what would happen to Him notably Mark in 9.33 and 10.33. All gospel writers describe the actual process of delivering up the Lord Jesus. But the word used in Luke 9.51 is received up and by this is meant reception up into heaven, His ascension. This process was to be, as other scriptures reveal, one whereby God gave the Lord Jesus glory and so great care must be applied when interpreting scripture that talk of the hour being come of the Son of man being glorified (John 12.23 especially when verse 16 has spoken of the Lord Jesus glorification and it is clear that His death is not in view).
In Luke 9.30-31 the Lord Jesus had appeared on the so called mount of transfiguration. There He had appeared in glory. There He spoke with Moses and Elijah (who also appeared in glory according to Lukes account) not about a coming glory but about His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. So that Jerusalem is very much the focal point in this chapter though physically the Lord Jesus was a long way from the city in the far north of the country. He knew that His time was come and He knew that He was going to be in control in the events that were to take place at Jerusalem. His decease was something that He was going to accomplish. When we talk about our passing we do not use such terms but the scriptures use such terms in relation to the death of Christ. He also knew before the event took place that He would rise through the sky and back to heaven. There was no flinching, no hesitation as he steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. Isaiah is very graphic as he foretells this event therefore have I set my face as a flint. Isaiah 50.7
Verses 52-53. The Saviour sent people on ahead of Him. By implication, though it is not stated, His next stop was to be in Samaria. To go Jerusalem it was necessary to pass through Samaria when coming from the north. In John 4.4 it happened on the other was for the Lord Jesus was heading north and the scriptures says that He must needs go through Samaria. The messengers were sent before His face (there is a connection with the 70 in the beginning of the next chapter who were also sent two and two before his face). They went to make ready for Him (to tell them that their Master was on His way to Jerusalem?). There is a sense in that they prepared the way for the Master, a phrase that was used of John the Baptist ere the Saviour commenced His public ministry. The enmity that existed between Jew and Samaritan was manifest in their refusal to accept the Lord Jesus when He came as His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem. Perhaps there was a stigma associated with Jerusalem in that it was not their place of worship. They worshipped at Gerizim. If the Lord Jesus was going to Jerusalem then this meant that He had time for the worship that took place there and they did not. They did not receive Him. He had to have been there for them to reject Him. They must have seen His face to see the determination etched across it and it was not for them. Perhaps it was worship that they had in mind but the Saviour was on His way to make a sacrifice (Himself). His demeanour was such that He was identifying with the cross and its shame. He was intent on going to Jerusalem with all that awaited Him there and they were not prepared to be associated with that. The sad thing that is not just an isolated group of Samaritans that thinks that way. There is an offence to the cross (Galatians 5.11) and many fail to come to the Lord Jesus or, better, receive Him, because they do not want to be associated with the cross and its offence. Are we in that group alongside those Samaritans?
Verses 54-56 Two of the twelve, James and John, who were brothers, were angered by the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They asked the Lord Jesus if they would be permitted to call fire down from heaven upon such people. This spirit necessitated a rebuke from the Lord Jesus which He duly gave. James and John had the incidents recorded for us in II Kings 1 in their minds as they asked the question for they include the name of the one who actually called fire down from heaven on a couple of occasions in the OT passage (Elias is the same man that we know from the OT narrative as Elijah a man who is oft associated with fire though there is not to elaborate on this here; it should also be pointed out that not all translations include the part of the KJV text that says, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy mens lives but to save them.). We are, and James and John were, in the day of Gods grace so that the Lord rebuked them as was necessary for those who possessed the same anti-Samaritan outlook of the Jews.
The reason that the Lord Jesus came 2000 years ago was to save and to save eternally mean and women and boys and girls. He still does so from heaven above. The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19.10. That verse still applies today. The Saviour came to seek and to save those who are lost. The question is am I saved from my sins and my lost condition? He came to save. If you die without Christ it will not be His fault. The good news has reached your ear many a time calling you to take His offer of salvation.
The last clause of verse 56 is telling in that they went to another village. Perhaps this was the only village whose inhabitants behaved that way but this does not seem likely as the Lord Jesus told those who were sent out to expect the same treatment as He had received in this particular village when we come to the beginning of the next chapter.
Verse 57-62. A certain man followed the Lord Jesus. Remember that He had Calvary in His mind. He was on His way to Jerusalem. As journeyed so this man expressed himself thus, I will follow thee withersoever thou goest. He was clearly impressed by what he had witnessed whatever it was that he had witnessed. The Lord Jesus answer is incredible. He could easily have said that He was on His way to Jerusalem where He would be rejected and disowned and nailed to a tree but He did not. The man had said withersoever thou goest. He was going to the cross but there is no mention of this in His answer. The Son of man may have come into this world to save but He also had nowhere to lay His head. If you follow me you may end up with no bed for the night. Are you sure that you still want to be associated with me? Are you sure that you still want to follow me wherever I go? Are we sure that we want to be associated with Him? There is no mention of a cross but still the question remains and is a challenge are we sure that we want to be associated with Him?
Then there was another man and this time the saviour speaks first in that a command is given to follow Him. It is not always the case that we approach the Saviour with our bold statement but sometimes we get challenged of Him. He calls us over the tumult of this lifes tempestuous sea saying, the hymn says, Christian, follow me but we could substitute the word Christian and make this personal by replacing Christian with our name. The hymn is for Christians but if we are not yet a Christian then He would still callus to follow Him. Then came the excuses. It was what I do? I just give Him a lot of excuses. Me first. Is that the case? Is that how it is with us? Me first. Had this mans father even died? We are not told though the words of the Lord Jesus imply that he had died recently. We dare not put anything before trusting the Lord Jesus for salvation. This matter needs to be settled first of all and once for all. Dear Christian friend, we dare put anything before serving Christ go thou and preach the kingdom of God. We can only do that once we ourselves are saved from sins. Whatever our condition and position the Lord Jesus is to come first.
Then there was another man. His response was that he would follow but that there was something that he had to do first of all. His was not an appointment for the dead but an appointment with the living. With the man who wanted to bury the dead before He followed there was a need to settle his first affections. With the second man the language is similar, let me first. This one had affection for his family as well and, by the way, there is nothing wrong but everything right in that, but he was lingering and dithering. How true this is of the servant of God. He calls us to follow and we think of every selfish reason, and worse still in that sometimes reason becomes excuse, not to do so. He was looking back as the saviour called and He knew that having started something he would also look back once he had started. Mo man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. There is no question of the Saviour teaching that once a person was saved then there was the possibility of that soul being lost. The context is clear. The picture is clear. The man has his hand on the plough and is serving and working. If such a man looks back (as this man did towards a family) then he was not fit for the kingdom of God in the sense that he was not to serve in the kingdom of God. There are great men of God who sacrificed much of family life to serve the Lord Jesus. There is many a wife who has taken on the whole burden of raising the children so that her husband could be free to serve the Lord. Both alike need commendations for they have both made a tremendous sacrifice. We need to count the cost before we enter service for Him. When He calls we must be sure that He has called but when sure then to do as He says and follow Him.