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
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
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 -
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
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
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
Peterís Confession Of Christ (ch. 9:18
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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 -
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
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
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
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
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
Next Section - Chapter 10
Previous Section -