John T. Willis

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

God Favors the Humble Like a Child--Luke 9:37-50

Still in response to Herod's question, "Who is this about whom I hear such things" in Luke 9:9, Luke continues by presenting additional events and sayings of Jesus, now related in Luke 9:37-50. This falls into three rather small sections. I. Jesus heals a boy with an unclean spirit. Luke 9:37-45. [Note, this paragraph is much shorter than the parallel in Mark 9:14-29. The parallel in Matthew is much shorter than Mark--see Matthew 17:14-22]. a. After Jesus was transfigured on the mountain (Luke 9:28-36), the next day when Jesus and his associates came down, the crowd met him. Very soon, a man in the crowd shouted out to Jesus: "Teacher, please look at my son, a spirit seizes my son and all at once my son shrieks; the spirit convulses my son until he foams at the mouth, mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I asked your disciples to cast out this spirit, but they could not do it." This description has led some people to assume the boy experienced epilepsy. If so, the cause, according to this text, is that an unclean spirit came upon the boy. 9:37-40. b. Jesus responded by rebuking the father and the crowd because they are a "faithless and perverse generation." He called the father to bring his son. While the father and the son were coming, the demon dashed him tol the ground in convulsions. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him to his father. The whole crowd who saw this powerful act of God through Jesus Christ was astounced "at the greatness of God." It is very important to note that the Bible repeatedly reminds the hearers and readers that God the Father always works through Jesus Christ. Jesus is dependent on his heavenly Father. 9:41-43a. c. While the crowd was amazed, Jesus told his disciples that he was going to be betrayed into human hands. But they did not understand what he was saying, and they were afraid to ask Jesus what this meant. It is very interesting and marvelous that the disciples of Jesus did not express faith in Jesus, but only incomprehension of what Jesus had said. 9:43-45. II. Jesus's Disciples Argue about who is the greatest. Luke 9:46-48. a. Instead of pondering over Jesus' statement, his disciples soon began to argue who is the greatest. This clearly reveals that the reason the disciples of Jesus could not comprehend Jesus' words is because of their heart attitude about outsiders, non-believers, who would seek to find and come to Jesus. 9:46. b. But Jesus was aware of the inner thoughts of his disciples [and all human beings] [see Luke 5:22; 6:8], and chose a little child and put him at Jesus' side. 9:47. c. Jesus uses this little child as a sterling example, which he immediately explains: Whoever welcomes this child welcomes Jesus and the heavenly Father. "For the least among all of you is the greatest." Most of us human beings evaluate greatness by wonderful acts, intellectual ability, leadership capabilities, etc. But God teaches us in the Bible that greatness is all about being humble, like a little child. 9:48. III. Jesus corrects John. Luke 9:49-50. a. Rather than responding to Jesus in an appropriate and expected way, John, one of Zebedee's sons, one of the Twelve, avoids Jesus message and tries to justify what the Twelve were doing in behalf of Jesus. John said, Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us. John bares his shallow understanding of Jesus' mission and the nature of human beings. 9:49. b. Jesus responded, rebuking John and the Twelve: Do not stop this person or anyone else who is trying to serve God through Jesus Christ; for whoever is not against you is for you. We so-called Christians have ignored, misunderstood, denounced many good godly people simply because they are not part of our separate group of people. God is a very open God. His arms are wide open to INCLUDE all people who wish to serve him. Let us follow God's example through Jesus Christ. 9:50. Share YOUR hangups and offerings and insights and failures and depression with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


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