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Bible Discussion — Luke 9 : Bweinh!

Bible Discussion — Luke 9

February 20, 2008, 1:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, Connie, Josh J, Steve  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next chapter of Luke, Luke 9.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

This is a lot of material — sending out the disciples on a missions trip, feeding the 5,000, deliverance ministry issues, prophetic proclamations of his death and the transfiguration. There was a lot going on here, and I cannot imagine trying to keep up with Jesus in these days.

Before Jesus fed the 5,000, he instructed the disciples to divide the people into groups of 50. I guess even miracles need a little organization.

I wonder if the feeding of the 5,000 happened directly after the disciples got back from preaching and healing for a reason. If it were me, I would be thinking I was pretty talented by now: “Yeah, I cast out at least a hundred demons, and this kid with this huge tumor on his leg is playing football now, and…”

But then Jesus told the disciples to feed the 5,000, and they couldn’t. Jesus had to do it. I can hear the disciples thinking, “Oh, yeah. He’s the one who made it possible for me to do that, not me.”

John, perhaps Jesus’ closest disciple, and one whose later writings showed the deep and abiding work of love in his heart, is the same guy who follows up Jesus’ object lesson about welcoming children and the least being greatest with a parochial boast about fighting an ally! Verse 50 is another that should be committed to the minds of all Christians, especially those with tendencies to believe that they have hit on the one ‘best way.’

I never noticed that when word started spreading of Jesus’ fame and works, everyone began to put it into a box, or form, that they could understand. Elijah they had heard of; John they had seen, or at least knew someone who had. So they saw Jesus as another Elijah or John. They didn’t have the faith — or didn’t want to have the faith — to seek Him out for who He really was. Especially Herod — I imagine he was just getting his pot ready to wash his hands of the whole matter.

Josh: The Twelve
Connie: Five Loaves and Two Fishes
Steve: Tetrarch; Keep it to Yourself

There’s a song by Sufjan Stevens that pretty much just sets the text of the Transfiguration to music. It’ll blow your mind, man.

That last lesson, a montage of excuses people might give to delay following Jesus, is a hard one.

We don’t have to have perfect theological understanding to be used by God, but we also must rely on His strength, rather than our own. The disciples start this chapter preaching the good news of Jesus’ teaching to everyone, and healing the sick — doing the work of the Kingdom. Yet they repeatedly prove that they don’t understand His heart — by threatening an unbelieving city with fire, by trying to stop an unapproved exorcism, by fighting over who was greatest — and consistently show they don’t have any power apart from Him.

One thing they did have, though, was the confession, expressed by Peter, that Jesus was the Christ. That seems to have gone a long way.

This is an important chapter for establishing the divinity of Jesus, as we have a second declaration from God himself (v.35), as well as the first instance of a man recognizing and confessing Him as the Christ (v.20).

God doesn’t want us living on last month’s faith and yesterday’s heroes. He has fresh manna, a fresh vision for us that we can’t even imagine. 1 Cor 2:8-10: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

I love how Herod was confused when he heard the people say John the Baptist was back — wait a minute, that can’t be him, I cut that guy’s head off myself.

The disciples have mono (v. 32).

After the Samaritan village rejects Jesus somehow (explained in part in the text by His focus on Jerusalem), the Sons of Thunder, James and John, ask if He wants them to command fire from heaven to consume the town. Time for another lesson in the differences between the Old and New Testaments, described by Jesus as “what manner of spirit” embodies the ministry.

9:25 — “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”

9:23 — “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

9:48 — “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Well, again, I’d don’t think I’d get in line to ask, but v.50 says not to bother someone who casts out demons in Jesus’ name without “proper training or authority,” because whoever isn’t against us is for us. But somewhere else, a group of guys got stripped naked and beaten up for doing something similar, if I’m not mistaken. Maybe it’s just semantics?

In v.6, it says the disciples preached the Gospel wherever they went. I always thought the Gospel was that Jesus died for our sins and was raised again. Also, this is several verses before Peter’s confession, so it’s questionable whether they knew at that point exactly who or what Jesus was. So what were they preaching?

Who was Jesus complaining about when he referred to the “faithless and perverse generation” — Israel, or the disciples specifically?

I guess I’ve never really understood the transfiguration. Did Jesus miss His buddies from heaven? And how was Peter able to recognize men who had died hundreds of years before?

Jesus tells His disciples that in order to follow Him, they must take up their cross. The cross as an image of Christianity makes perfect sense to us in these post-crucifixion days, to the point where it has become all too easy to embrace. We sling them on chains around our necks, screen them on our T-shirts, or — if we’re really serious — get one tattooed right on our flesh.

The disciples, of course, could not yet appreciate the foreshadowing of Christ’s eventual fate. But they had seen men carry real crosses. They had to understand — following Jesus is serious business.

It should encourage us, failures that we are in many ways, that the disciples were as bad or worse — even though they had Jesus Himself right there to give them a perfect example.

This chapter focuses quite a bit on the maturity of the disciples. They are sent out on their own at the beginning of the chapter, but still prove unready for many tests when they return. They can’t feed the multitude (v.13), can’t heal the boy (v.40), have petty arguments (v.46), and then pull a collective Jonah (v.54).

But despite all this, they pass their biggest test. They declare Jesus as the Christ, and because of that, even after they know the cost, they keep following.

In this chapter, Jesus cares for every aspect of people’s needs: spiritual, physical and mental healings; spiritual, physical and eternal hunger. And He continues to prepare His disciples for what is to come.


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