Luke 9:1-27

1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. 4 And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, 8 by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. 9 Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.

10 On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. 12 Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 And they did so, and had them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Jesus can be perplexing sometimes. In this section of text, Jesus seems to give mixed messages about life, success, happiness, joy, longing. He sends the apostles to heal and preach the gospel, then He says “The Son of Man must suffer many things… and be killed.” He feeds the five thousand— probably a very poor demographic, who knows the last time their stomachs and the stomachs of their children were full, then He turns around and says “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it… for what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself.”

It’s perplexing. What is Jesus really getting at here? It’s easy for me, in my current circumstances as a relatively wealthy upper-middle class American, to say that Jesus doesn’t REALLY want to feed people, He wants us to die to ourselves. And that’s true! But suppose my daughter was sick, late stage cancer, suffering terribly, on her death bed. Or suppose my daughter was starving, hadn’t a good meal to eat in a long time. In prosperity, it is easy to give up our conveniences. But in lack, can we lose even the little that we have? Is He worth THAT much? Do we believe He is worth gaining?

I’m using health and money as examples, but it can be anything. God is very interested and always moving to pinpoint our “don’t go there” lists. We can give Him the easy stuff— I don’t care what kind of job I have and I don’t care what kind of car I drive— I’ll drive a 2001 Honda Civic for You God! But don’t You dare harm my kids. Don’t You dare prick my manhood. Don’t You dare make me look like a fool at church. Don’t You dare let my wife or my church criticize my sermons or my spirituality. Don’t You dare make me suffer in this or that way. Don't you dare ask me to give up that promotion, give up that lifestyle.

God is too jealous, too worthy, too holy. He refuses to share His glory with another. He can’t reign as King in our hearts amongst other kings. He must be our very best Treasure, our very best Reward. 

Posted by Robert Han on 11/15/2016

Comments

I sometimes try to deceive myself in telling myself that I don't have a "don't go there" list, but we all know that everyone has one with God. We just stuff it in my back pocket and try to persuade ourselves that God doesn't see it. Pfft! Please... God knows that those are the things that will teach us the very lessons that we will struggle or even rebel to learn. But in the end, God will have His way with us. Who are we to tell God what to do? I don't think that our desires are evil, but God asks us to surrender ALL. That includes our loved ones, our jobs, our future plans, etc etc etc. But in the end, is it not worth giving it all for the one that gave it all for us? Our "all" is just a little bit compared to what Jesus had to do on the cross.

Diana Lim on 11/15/2016 at 8:52 AM

It can be hard to prepare for those tests and equip ourselves for battle when we have convinced ourselves that of course God is sufficient! Of course we can sacrifice for him! Of course there's no limit! ... May God not only convict us and challenge us but also reveal to us the true state of our hearts.

Jane Lee on 11/17/2016 at 12:17 AM