About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 9:1-8    ch. 9:9-17   ch. 9:18-27    ch. 9:28-36

ch. 9:46-50    ch. 9:51-56

Jesus Sends Out The Twelve (ch. 9:1 - 9)

Chapter 9 verses 1 and 2 says, "when Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick".

Up until this point the Twelve Apostles had followed Jesus and watched Him cast demons out of people and heal their sicknesses. This was now going to change. The word "apostle" means "sent one". The apostles had not yet been sent anywhere. Now Jesus was going to send them out. They were now going to start their ministries as apostles.

Yet before they could go out with any success, they had to receive "power and authority" from Jesus. This power and authority would allow them to perform miracles as Jesus did. There is a difference between power and authority. Power is the actual ability to heal. Authority means that Jesus has given them the right to preach, heal, and cast out demons.

Jesus performed miracles as He preached the message of the Kingdom, so if He sent others out on His behalf, it only makes sense that theyíd represent Him better if they had the same power and authority that He had.

We need to note here that this power and authority is a special gifting to the apostles. As yet they did not have the Holy Spirit residing in them. That would not happen until Acts 2, therefore you might call this a special anointing of the Spirit upon their lives, not in them as would happen later.

Jesus told them to "preach the Kingdom of God". The Greek word that is translated as "preach" simply means to "announce". Our modern definition of preaching is somewhat different than it originally meant. We tend to think that preaching is a style of speaking behind a pulpit, a style that is vibrant and emotional. Yet preaching is simply announcing the good news of the Kingdom to people no matter how and where this takes place. One can be sitting having coffee in a coffee shop explaining the good news to a friend. That is preaching, as understood in New Testament terms.

Jesus also told the Twelve to heal the sick. They were to do the healing. They now had the power. Theyíd do the healing on Jesusí behalf, meaning, theyíd do the healing "in the name of Jesus". This is why we donít always see the apostles praying for healing. They often just told a person that he is healed.

In verse 3 Jesus proceeds with extra instructions, and I would say for this trip only These verses have been misused by some over the years. Jesus told the Twelve, "take nothing for your journey Ė no staff, no bread, no bag, no money, no extra tunicÖ". Some suggest that Markís account disagrees with Lukeís account. Mark says that they should take a staff. Matthew probably clarifies this in Mat. 10:10 by saying, not to take an extra staff, just as Luke says not to take an extra tunic. So it appears that Jesus was telling these men to just take the staff and tunic they had, not any spares.

Why did Jesus ask the Twelve to go unprepared? The probable reason is to train these men to depend on Him and Him alone. Later, in another journey Jesus told them to take such things, but this time they were to learn a lesson. They were going out in the power and the authority that He gave them. They were not going out in their own name or ability. They should learn to depend on Jesus alone. This would help them later in life after Jesus returned to Heaven, when at times they had a lot, and then at times they had nothing. In times when they had nothing, theyíd remember this first journey.

Years ago, the cult called the Children of God used this verse to support their way of living. They claimed to "live by faith", which meant, not to work but depend on Jesus for everything. Yet this was not the intent of Jesus in this instance. This was a one time command for these 12 men. Jesusí words were never intended to be a command for Christians to live this way throughout history.

Jesus told the Twelve as they went preaching, when they found someone that would take them in and look after them, to stay there until they were ready to move on. If there was no one in a village that would be so hospitable, then "shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them". Shaking dust off oneís feet was a custom in those days that showed oneís disgust towards someone.

I wonder how these men felt as they left Jesus. Were they nervous? Were they fearful? Were they amazed the first time they saw a healing because of their ministry? I am sure that this first trip out was a memorable experience for them that they never forgot. How exciting this must have been for these men.

The last part of this section speaks of Herod (verses 7 - 9). Luke says that "he was perplexed". Everyone was trying to figure out who Jesus really was. Some thought that He was Elijah, meaning the forerunner to the Messiah. Well, we know John was Elijah in this sense of the word. Others thought that He was some kind of Old Testament prophet that came back to life. Then others thought that Jesus was John the Baptist, which Herod did not accept because he beheaded John. So Luke tells us that Herod tried to see Jesus and figure it out for himself, but he didnít get to meet Jesus until Luke 23:6 Ė 15.

Jesus Feeds The Five Thousand (ch. 9:10 - 17)

The apostles return to Jesus in verse 10. How long they were gone, we donít know. Did Jesus set a time for them to come back? We donít know that either, but there is a good chance that He did. When they returned Jesus took them to Bethsaida to find a quiet place to talk things over. We learn from Matthew (Mat. 14:13) that apparently Jesus also told them of John the Baptists death at this time.

We see that Jesus felt that He needed to spend some quality time with the Twelve, but quality time was always hard for Jesus to find with Himself, let alone any one else. When the crowds found out where He and the Twelve were, they flocked to them.

Can you imagine all of the stories these men had to tell Jesus. I can imagine Peter, anxious as he was, being the first one to want to tell his stories.

In verse 11 we see that Jesus "welcomed" the crowd and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God and healed those who needed healing. Even though Jesus wanted to spend quality time with the Twelve Ė maybe He had some time with them Ė he still welcomed the crowd. I donít believe we can fully appreciate the compassion that Jesus had for people, and the masses that came to hear Him speak.

After, or possibly even during Jesusí talk, the apostles suggested to Jesus to send the crowd away. It was late in the afternoon, night would soon come, and they needed to eat and find a place to sleep. Luke says that they were in a remote place and there was no place to obtain food or lodging where they were.

The Twelve, as usual, were very practical. In the last chapter you saw Peter suggesting to Jesus that there was a large crowd pressing in on Him, how could someone not touch Him. Then also when the storm came up on the sea, the practical matter at hand was the water coming into the boat, ready to sink it.

Yet it appears that Jesus is not as interested in practicalities to the same extent as His disciples. In verse 13 Jesus says, "you give them something to eat". Can you imagine what the Twelve thought when hearing Jesusí words. They had only 5 loaves of bread, and 2 fish, and Jesus expected to feed a crowd of 5,000 men, plus women and children with this amount of food.

Once again, the Twelve had to figure Jesus out. It seems as if they just get Him figured out and something new like this comes up and they have to re-figure Him out all over again. How could they feed these people with the food they had. I wonder if they had given the idea of a miracle any consideration. Remember, they had just come back from a trip where they performed miracles in the name of Jesus. Could they not expect one more miracle?

In verse 14 we see Jesusí response to the Twelve. He told them to have the crowd all sit down in groups of about 50 in each group. It is thus clear that Jesus can be practical and logical when needed.

This must have taken a few minutes. To get all of these people seated on the ground in different groups is not something you could do in a minute. Once that task was accomplished, Jesus took their 5 loaves of bread, and 2 fish and looked up into Heaven and gave thanks for it. Did Jesus always give thanks for the food He ate? We donít know for sure, but this time He did. He needed a miracle.

After giving thanks He distributed the food to the disciples and they in turn passed the food out to the crowd of people. A great miracle took place. The food in their hands kept multiplying. Each time they gave a piece of bread away, another piece showed up in their basket, so much so that everyone had enough to eat and were full.

The disciples were environmentally sensitive. They went around and cleaned up after the everyone ate and collected 12 basket full of good, one basked per apostle, none for Jesus. Maybe they shared with Him.

Concerning the baskets, they were most likely wicker baskets. Basically these wicker baskets came in 2 mains sizes, one smaller than the other.

Peterís Confession Of Christ (ch. 9:18 - 27)

Luke does not say when or where the following took place. We learn from Matthew and Mark that Jesus and the apostles were on a road near Caesarea Philippi, west of Lake Galilee, towards the Mediterranean Sea. At this particular time Luke says that Jesus "was praying in private" although His disciples were with Him.

In verse 18 Jesus asks the disciples, "who do the crowds say that I am"? I am sure that Jesus knew the answer to this question. I also think that this was not the important question either. He simply wanted the disciples to think about who people thought He was.

Weíve seen earlier who people thought Jesus was. We saw this when Herod wondered about this question. The same answer is given by the disciples here. They told Jesus that some thought that He was John the Baptist. Others thought He was Elijah, and still others thought He was some Old Testament prophet brought back to life. All of these ideas involved Jesus as a man, a special person, but still mere man.

In verse 20, and after they told Jesus who the crowds thought He was, Jesus asked the important question, "But who do you say that I am"? This is the question of questions, the all time one and only important question. This question was important for the disciples back then and it is important for us today. All mankind needs to answer this question, and the answer to this question will determine the outcome of their lives on earth and into eternity.

Peter, most likely the one to always speak up first, answered Jesusí question. He said, "the Christ of God". Two major points, two great theological truths are found in Peterís answer. Jesus is the Christ, the long awaited Messiah, the One who came to bring salvation for both the Jews and the Gentiles.

Luke gives an abbreviated answer of Peterís. Matthew says that Peter responded by saying, "you are the Christ, the Son of the living God". (Mat 16:18) The second great truth is that Jesus was the Son of God, and being Godís Son meant that Jesus was divine. He was God. The crowd had all sorts of ideas of who Jesus was, but none of them included Him as being God, being divine.

The Divinity of Christ is fundamental to our Christian belief system. It is the foundation point that the rest of our beliefs are built upon. One must believe that Jesus is God in order to be a Christian. It is this that separates us from all other religions in the world that recognize Jesus as a great prophet, but not God in human flesh.

Luke does not tell the whole story. He leaves out the part where Jesus says that Peterís answer came to Him by the inspiration of the Spirit. It is thus true that one cannot come to believe that Jesus is God without the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Luke also does not include one of the most controversial statements of Jesus in history, and that is what Jesus says to Peter, that is, "upon this rock will I build my church". Of course Catholics believe the rock refers to Peter. Protestants believe the rock refers to Peterís confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I believe that this confession that Jesus is both the Christ and the Son of God is the fundamental truth that Jesus builds His church upon.

Most commentators believe this is about the two year point in Jesusí three year ministry. To date Jesus had not spoken much in direct terms concerning what was to come, that is His death. Yet now, after Peterís great confession that Jesus was the Messiah, He needed to clarify a few things. The first things was that they were not to tell anyone about this claim to Messiahship. Jesus still had time left to minister. It might be that such a claim of being the Messiah, and especially of being Godís Son would bring the end of His ministry sooner than was supposed to happen.

It would have been too easy for the disciples to believe that Jesus was going to bring a physical redemption to Israel, and that He would mount a rebellion and free the Jews from Roman occupation. This was the trend when people heard the word Messiah. But this was not to be the case.

Jesus specifies to them what being the Messiah was all about. He said, "the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and the teachers of the Law, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life".

The disciples must have been totally bewildered at Jesusí words. What was this talk of being killed all about? How could Jesus be killed? He was the one healing the sick and even raising the dead, and now Jesus is talking about being killed. It didnít make sense. Then raising to life the third day. What did that mean? All this was not the picture of the Messiah that Jews had in their minds.

In verse 23 Jesus proclaimed part of the gospel that we in modern times tend to leave out. He says, "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". Did the disciples understand what Jesus meant? I donít think so. Do we understand what Jesus meant? We should.

Jesus gave an illusion to the cross in what He said. He would be put to death on a cross. He carried the very cross He died on. Now He said that if anyone really wants to follow Him, in modern terms, if anyone want to be a Christian, he must deny himself. Denying ones self means to make Jesus Lord of oneís life. It means that if you really wants to be a Christian, you have to give up control of your life, and hand it over to Jesus. Jesus had just agreed with Peter when Peter said that He was the Christ. Now Jesus is implying that He is also Lord. And so it is, Jesus is both Lord and Christ.

The reality of Jesus being both Lord and Christ is fundamental to the gospel. We too often neglect to tell people about the Lord part. We offer them salvation, telling them that Jesus saves because He is the Christ. But we also need to tell them that Jesus is Lord and that means if they want to be a Christian, they have to deny themselves, and give their lives to Jesus.

Some evangelicals have made salvation into 2 parts. That is, accept Jesus as Christ, meaning, get saved. Then at some other time, make Jesus Lord of your life. Some have called this "entire sanctification". This is not what Jesus is saying here. He is saying that if you want to be a Christian, make me Lord of your life.

Jesus continues by saying that if you attempt to save your life you will loose it. That means that if you live for yourself in this life and live to make your life good, youíll lose it in the end. Yet if you deny yourself to follow Jesus, you will find real life in eternity. The life we now live is only temporary. Therefore, to the degree we serve, will be the degree we will find true life, both now and into eternity. In my thinking, the mark of a mature Christian is how well he or she serves.

Verse 25 explains Jesusí reasoning. He said, "what good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose, or forfeit his own self". Loosing ones self speaks about being lost for eternity. Why risk eternity. Why have temporary riches and lose out on eternal riches.

Jesus is not finished with these strong words. He says that if anyone is ashamed of Him and His words, He will be ashamed of that person when He comes back in His glory. I am not sure that the disciples understood these words either. Jesus had just talked about being killed and now He Is talking about coming in glory. But we know that there Is a day when Jesus will return in judgment. If we are ashamed, meaning, if we turn our backs on Jesus now, at that day, He will turn His back on us. We will be lost forever.

This section ends with these words of Jesus. "Ö some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God". This cannot logically mean that some will not die before Jesus returns to earth in His glory. This is a reference to the Kingdom of God coming in a spiritual sense to earth on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2. Since Acts 2 the Kingdom of God has been on earth in a spiritual, an invisible sense. When Jesus returns in glory the Kingdom of God will come to earth in a physical sense.

The Transfiguration (ch. 9:28 Ė 36)

Luke tells us that "about 8 days after" what Jesus said in the previous section, He took Peter, James and John with him up to a mountain to pray. We note for the second time this special relationship that Jesus had with these 3 men.

We also note that Luke says, "about 8 days". He was speaking in general terms. Both Matthew and Mark says it was 6 days. Is this a discrepancy? No, because Luke uses the word "about". Why he is not specific like Mark and Matthew would only be a guess.

Some suggest that this this event shows that there is a slight shift in Jesusí teaching. He had just clearly announced His Messiahship, and now, at the Transfiguration, God will confirm this.

The Law of Moses speaks of 2 or 3 witnesses to confirm anything that is said. In any matter or dispute, one needs 2 or 3 witnesses to back up oneís testimony. This might also be the reason why Jesus took 3 men with Him at this time. It might also be the reason why Peter, James and John seem to be in a special grouping of their own among the 12 apostles.

Verse 29 says, "as He was prayingÖ" It appears that Jesus was doing the praying and the 3 apostles were watching. I have often wondered how Jesus prayed.

Luke tells us that while Jesus was praying, His face and clothes became as lightning. Then 2 men, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus with this same bright glittering appearance. How did the 3 men know the names of these other 2 men that Jesus was talking too? It would appear that in the process of their conversation Jesus mentioned their names.

In verse 31 Luke tells us that Jesus, Moses and Elijah spoke of Jesusí "departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment in Jerusalem". I wished this conversation had of been recorded. It would have been very interesting.

Why was Moses and Elijah the ones that Jesus was talking with? To me, Moses represented the Law, and Elijah represented the O. T. prophets. Both the Law and the prophets were the way in which God spoke to His people, but this was now in the process of change. God wanted representatives from both the past and present to hear what He had to say.

Jesusí prayer must have lasted a while because the 3 men got tired and fell asleep. The glory of the situation woke Peter, James and John up. When they saw what was happening Peter suggested that they build 3 memorials on this site, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. This is typical human behaviour, that usually misses the point of what God is saying. We want to build monuments and buildings to represent God and to honour Him. Yet what God really wants is our lives to be a good representation of Him. What God wanted here was for these 3 men to hear and understand His words.

As Peter was suggesting this to Jesus a cloud "enveloped them". God did not give Peter a chance to explain himself. This caused fear to come to the 3 men, which is understandable. You and I would be a little fearful as well.

While in this cloud a voice came from Heaven which was clearly the voice of God. God said, "this is my Son, whom I have chosen, listen to Him". These words are significant in the sense that God spoke in the Old Testament through the Law and Prophets, that Moses and Elijah represented, but from now on, He will speak through His Son Jesus. At this point the transition from the Old Testament times to New Testament times took another step forward.

After the voice spoke, Jesus appeared by Himself. Both Moses and Elijah had departed, and rightly so. Jesus was now the pre-eminent person.

Matthew tells us more about this event than does Mark and Luke. Matthew says that these men fell to their face in fear, and that Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they had seen. Luke only tells us that they did not tell anyone what they had seen, and that probably meant that they could not even tell the other apostles.

Why did Jesus tell these men not to tell others, which I would suggest would include the other apostles? This event was very important. God was clearly telling Peter, James and John that a new system was now beginning to take effect. Moses and the Prophets were now to take on new meaning. They were part of the Old Covenant. Jesus would now take the place of the Old Covenant and bring in a New Covenant. The voice from Heaven clearly told these men that Jesus was Godís Son and that they were now to hear Him. If this news was proclaimed opening to the general public it most likely would speed up the process of Jesus' arrest, and it was not yet time for Jesus to go to the cross. I believe that God has a time table of events. Things take place as He plans, and the day Jesus dies on the cross had already been determined.

The Healing Of A Boy With An Evil Spirit (ch. 9:37 - 45)

Again and again we see "a large crowd" following Jesus. Verse 37 tells us that the "next day" another large crowd came to hear Jesus. You can see by these constant large crowds why the Jewish leaders were feeling threatened, afraid of losing their popularity.

Within the crowd was a father, with an only son who was possessed by a demon. The demon had such control over the boy that he went into convulsions, foaming at the mouth, and being thrown around by the demon. The boy was in the process of being destroyed by this evil spirit.

As in the case with so many people who needed His help, this man "begged" Jesus to heal his son. We have seen this over and over again in Luke as well. People begging Jesus for help.

In verse 40 we discover that before begging Jesus for help, this man begged His disciples for help. He begged them to cast out this demon but they couldnít.

In verse 41 Jesus says, "O, unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you"? You can certainly see Jesusí inner feelings coming out here. We must remember, that Jesus got frustrated, and upset. Is this a human tendency, or is it an emotion that God experiences as well? I believe that all of the emotions and feelings that we have as humans originate with God Himself. He has made us in His image. I believe that we cry because God cries, we laugh because God first laughed, and we get frustrated because God gets frustrated. This is evident in the Old Testament as well as in the life of Jesus.

Jesus was clearly frustrated. He spoke in general terms. He spoke about "this generation" of unbelieving and perverse people. Yet even as Jesus was talking in generalities, who do you think He was frustrated with in this particular instance? Was He upset with the crowd because the boy didnít get healed by His disciples? No, I donít think so. Was Jesus upset with the father? No, I donít think so.

I believe that Jesus was upset with His disciples. They had seen many miracles before, and even performed miracles themselves in Jesus name. They had trouble believing for this miracle.

One might suggest that the special endowment of power that Jesus gave them was for their missionary trip only, and when they returned, they did not have the same power, and therefore could not heal this boy. This may be possible, but is somewhat speculative. It could be that even if they no longer had the power, they had Jesus right with them and should have believed in His ability.

When we think of the disciples in these 3 years of Jesus ministry we should think of them as men vacillating between the world and Jesus. They still did not totally understand Jesus. They were still learning. They were without the power of the "indwelling" Holy Spirit. They still had time of confusion and doubts. These are not the men that we see in the book of Acts, and that is clearly seen in this passage.

Everyone was amazed that Jesus could cast this demon out of the boy. While the boy was coming to Jesus the demon threw him to the ground. After the rebuke of Jesus, the boy was made whole.

While everyone was amazed at what had happened, Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "listen carefully to what I am about to tell you". I donít think that the feeling of frustration had totally dissipated from Jesus when He said these words. Somehow I get the feeling that Jesus spoke these words with a bit of sternness. As He turned His back to the crowd, He settled His eyes intently on His disciples and basically said, "you listen up good, because I have something to say".

So in verse 44 Jesus said "that the Son of man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men". Jesus was telling His disciples something very important, something very specific, but they "did not understand". If Jesus was frustrated with them before, how would He now feel when they could not understand His words, as direct as they were.

Jesus being frustrated at the response to His statement is somewhat speculative, although quite possible. Beyond this, Luke tells us that the meaning of these words were hidden from the disciples. As with many of the things that Jesus said, and still says today, they need to be understood through a revelation of the Holy Spirit. For some reason, God had not allowed this understanding to come to them, and they were too afraid to ask. Being too afraid to ask shows us one difference between the disciples before and after Pentecost.

Who Will Be The Greatest (ch. 9:46 - 50)

Luke tells us in verse 6 that "an argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest". So you can see that things have not changed much from those days. We have the same problem today with people wanting to be great.

In the next verse Luke says, "Jesus knowing their thoughtsÖ". Once again we see that Jesus can know the thoughts of men and women while He was on earth.

Jesus then took a little child and had him stand beside Him. He then said, "whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all Ė he is the greatest".

"The least shall be the greatest" is paradoxical. It doesnít make sense to the human mind. What Jesus is saying here, and in other such Scriptures is that the one who serves others as if he was the lowest of servants is actually great in Godís eyes. One who has a position of authority and exercises this authority in a proud and boastful way is not acting appropriately in the sight of the Lord.

Jesus in fact is suggesting that the little boy who stands beside Him is possibly great because he is least among those in Jesus presence. Therefore, if any one receives such a person like this boy will be great and indeed receives Jesus and the Father. Of course Jesus adds the phrase "in my name". If you receive the boy, if you serve others, but donít do these things on behalf of Jesus, then it means nothing. These things must be done in Jesus name, meaning, done on His behalf.

John responded by telling Jesus that they had seen a man casting out demons in Jesusí name. The disciples tried to stop him because "he was not one of them". That is understandable. We cannot really put John and the others down for this. Up to this point, Jesus was the only one who could do these miracles, and He gave the Twelve the same power. Beyond this, Jesus had not given anyone else this authority, so it is only logical that John would think that this man should not be casting demons out in Jesusí name, or on behalf of Jesus, if Jesus hadnít given him permission.

We should remember that "the name of Jesus" means that Jesus has given us His permission to do things on His behalf. This particular man had not been given this permission but he did seem to have enough faith, enough trust in Jesus that he felt he could cast demons out of a person.

In verse 50 Jesus basically tells John not to worry, "for he that is not against us is for us". Obviously Jesus thought this man was on His side even though they did not know him. Jesus is saying that one canít really sit on the fense when it come to Him. You are either for Him or against Him.

Samaritan Opposition (ch. 9:51 - 56)

Verse 51 says, "as the time approached for Him to be taken up to Heaven Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem". It was now time to head south to Jerusalem. Jesus knew what that meant. He knew it meant His death, and that is why He was speaking about these things to His disciples. It was time for them to hear these things.

Yet more than His death awaited Him at Jerusalem. Luke speaks here about Jesus being taken up into Heaven, meaning the ascension. Jesus had great resolved to go through what He needed to go through, because He knew that on the other side of death was the resurrection and then His reunion with His Father at the ascension.

The most direct way to Jerusalem was to go through Samaria. There is lots of history associated with Samaria. It once was a city, but by the time of Jesus, Samaria was known more of a region around the city. The city consisted of a large sacred hill where the Samaritans worshipped. People of this region were once the northern tribes of Israel. Because of Gentile conquest of this area in times past these Jews married Gentiles, thus polluting their race, according to the southern Jews. Thus in Jesusí day there was great hostility between the pure Jews, and the half Jews, the Samaritans.

Jesus sent certain messengers on ahead of Him to get things ready for His arrival in Samaria. Jesus was bringing with Him more than the Twelve. He obviously had other disciples with Him, thus needed to have things prepared for them, places to eat and to stay.

Yet the Samaritans were not happy with Jesus, "because He was going to Jerusalem", according to Luke. The mere fact that Jesus, the great miracle worker would be associated with Jerusalem was not acceptable to these people.

When James and John saw how these people treated Jesus, they asked Jesus if they should call fire down from Heaven on these people. Once again you can see the mentality of these men. They still hadnít figured Jesus out. Remember, these were the same men who did not have faith to feed the 5,000 but apparently they thought they could rain down fire on these Samaritans.

Jesus rebuked the men for such thoughts and they went into another village. Jesus had no problem with the Samaritans. He came to save them as well. He even talked with a Samaritan woman in John 4, something that was forbidden by the Jews.

The Cost Of Following Jesus (ch. 9:57 - 62)

On a road through Samaria a man (a Pharisee according to Matthew) told Jesus that he would follow Him wherever He went. Youíd think that would be great news to the ears of Jesus, but not necessarily so.

Jesus replied by saying, "foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head". Did Jesus always have no place to lay His head. I donít think so. But He did not have any place in Samaria, at that time, to lay His head.

Jesusí answer might imply that this man was too enthusiastic, and hadnít really thought things through, as still many do today. "If you were really willing to follow me then you may have some sleepless nights as I have", Jesus might have thought. I donít think Jesus felt that this man was prepared to follow through with his words.

Before we go on, we must note that Luke does not always put things in chronological order. Matthew and Mark have these events in different places. Luke seems to lump these 3 events into one because of their similarity.

Luke thus tells us of a man that Jesus in fact told to follow Him. This man had an excuse. This man told Jesus that he had to bury his father. It is possible that his father was actually dead and needed to be buried, but if this were the case why was he with Jesus in the first place. It might be possible that this man had to go and look after a sick father until he actually died, and then he could follow Jesus. This seems like a noble excuse, but Jesus did not buy it.

In verse 60 Jesus said, "let the dead bury the dead". Some people suggest that Jesus is spiritualizing this manís words by saying, "let the spiritually dead bury their own dead". "One should not refuse to follow Jesus to go to a secular funeral", these people suggest.

I am not convinced of this interpretation. If the man is speaking of physical death, I think we can assume that Jesusí answer would be concerning physical death. I believe the point that Jesus is making is that nothing comes before following Him, even family members who are sick or dead. Following Jesus comes with a great price, something we do not think much about. There is another point that could be made here, and that is that these words are spoken to one individual man. Jesus knows him and the thoughts of his heart and Jesus spoke the words that needed to be spoken to him at this particular time. These words may not apply specifically to us, other than the understanding behind the words, and that is, you need to aware of the cost to follow Jesus.

Jesus then told this man to go an preach the Kingdom of God. Was this man ready to do this? I donít think so, and I believe that Jesus knew this and that is why He said what He said to this man.

Luke now tells of a third man who told Jesus that he would indeed follow Him, but he just needed to go home and say good-bye to his family. This man was somewhat of a combination of the first 2 men in his thinking. He initiated the idea of following Jesus, as the first man did. He also needed to tend to family matters as did the second man.

In verse 62 Jesus replied to this man by saying, "no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God".

The simple fact is that anyone who becomes a Christians and especially wants to devote himself to Godís service can not be looking back at the life he came from. A plowman cannot be looking backwards. He needs to be looking straight ahead at the row he is plowing. We as Christians, who claim to put Jesus first, canít be thinking of the life we left.

The verb tense in the Greek does not suggest an occasional look backwards. It suggests a continual look backwards. If one is constantly looking back at where he has come from, it is clear that he does not want to be where he presently is. Heíd rather return to where he came from. It is thus logical that one cannot serve Jesus and always be wishing he were back in his old life at the same time. One needs to make a clear choice.

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