This is the Lent 2015 series. We’re reading through Luke, from Jesus overcoming temptation in the desert to His crucifixion and resurrection.
Today we’re reading from the final section of Luke 9. We just finished reading out Jesus’ transfiguration and prediction of His death.
After His transfiguration, the majesty Peter, John, and James witnessed on the mountain, Jesus went right back to performing miracles and preaching about the Kingdom of God. Jesus drove out a demon, rebuking the impure spirit, and healing the boy. Those who witnessed this were “amazed at the greatness of God.” (Luke 9:37)
Jesus Predicts His Death A Second Time (Luke 9:44-50)
While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
Some people who Jesus and his disciples encountered were “amazed at the greatness of God” (Luke 9:37) and others were so threatened by Him that they wanted Him dead. In fact, after Jesus predicted His death the disciples went ahead to a Samaritan village to get things ready for Him and were so unwelcome by the villagers that the disciples asked Jesus if they should call down “fire from heaven to destroy them” (Luke 9:51). Jesus “rebuked them (the disciples) and they went to another village“.
Jesus reception is still very much the same today as it was in Luke 9. Some people are amazed at the greatness of God and others are unwelcoming. Jesus tells us that whoever welcomes Him welcomes the One who sent Him (Luke 9:48), and as He pointed to the young child who was standing next to Him as he spoke, by welcoming others we welcome Him. Our actions should not be centered around whether we are better than this person or that person, as the disciples bickered in Luke 9:46, but how we can welcome Jesus, and others in His name, and share our amazement at the greatness of God.
The Cost of Following Jesus (Luke 9:57-62)
Luke 9 ends with Jesus explaining the cost of following Him. In a word, everything. It costs everything to follow Jesus. The gain? In a word, everything.
This chapter refers to the excuses that we still make today as to whether or not to follow Jesus: we don’t have enough (money, provision, security, stability, education, power, experience, courage, stamina, value), Jesus says “follow me”; we don’t have time, Jesus says “follow me”; we have other obligations, Jesus says “follow me”.
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
Following Jesus means looking ahead, not looking back. Here are a few verses about not looking back.
But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26)
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13)
Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)
Why should we not look back? Because Jesus is ahead!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
This is Amazing Grace!