WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JESUS?
---- LUKE NINE
Jesus called His twelve disciples and commissioned them to "proclaim the kingdom of God." He also gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases." He told them, "Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece." He wanted them to learn that God would provide for their daily needs. Herod heard about Jesus and "He desired to see Him." He had heard what others were saying about Jesus but He was unsure what to believe about Him. Luke offered many proof that Jesus is the Christ. Here Luke records the great miracle of the feeding of the five thousand with "five loaves and the two fishes." While others were saying that Jesus was John the Baptist, Elias or one of the old prophets who was raised again Peter and the other apostles said He is "The Christ of God."
If Jesus is the Christ as He claims He has the right to demand total self denial. Jesus told His disciples that He would suffer, be rejected and killed, but that He would rise the third day. He wanted it understood that His followers must be willing to suffer for Him. He said, "You must take up your cross each day and follow me." Those who follow Jesus must forget about themselves and give up their lives for Jesus. The greatest waste would be to gain the entire world and then lose your own soul. As additional proof that Jesus is the Son of God He was transfigured with Moses and Elijah. Peter wanted to build three tabernacles; one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elias. That however was not God's desire. He said of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son: hear him."
As Jesus came down from the transfiguration He met a man who had a demon possessed son. The demon did terrible things to the boy. Jesus' apostles had been unable to cast him out. Jesus called them a faithless and perverse generation and asked that the boy be brought to him. Jesus Then healed the boy and gave him back to his father. Jesus again told the disciples that the "Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men." The disciples did not understand that this meant that He would die for the sins of the world. Jesus must have been amazed as the disciples argued about who was the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. He taught them that the most humble servant of God is the greatest in the kingdom. Those who act in the name of the Lord do so by His authority. Jesus said, "He that is not against us is for us." It was necessary for Jesus to rebuke the apostles for their mistaken zeal in wanting to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans. Jesus wanted it understood that our focus must be on Jesus and we must never look back!
Who is this Jesus? -- Luke 9:1-9: The apostles had been witnesses as Jesus calmed a storm; they saw Him cast the demons into the swine that ran into the sea; they saw the woman that Jesus healed of the issue of blood; they saw Jairus' daughter who was raised from the dead. This evidence served as the background for Him sending them forth the twelve to preach the kingdom of God, to heal the sick and to have authority over all devils. They were called upon to leave their possessions and to depend upon God to provide for them. Reliance on God and trusting His ability to provide is truly one characteristic of the child of God. We could accomplish great things for God if we would commit ourselves to the work of God like the apostles did. Herod the tetrarch was perplexed as to who Jesus was. Some said Jesus was John risen from the dead. Herod knew that he had beheaded John. Others said that Jesus was Elijah or one of the old prophets who was risen again. Herod desired to see Jesus and to know who He was.
The miracle of feeding the five thousand -- Luke 9:10-20: The apostles returned and gave a report of the work that had been done through them. A multitude followed the apostles and Jesus. He "spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing." He did not try to help a few and then send others away with no help saying they lacked faith. He helped all that needed help. The twelve asked Jesus to send the multitude away so they could get food. Jesus told the apostles to feed them. They have now been given power. They could heal the sick and they could provide for the multitude's physical needs. With five loaves and the two fishes Jesus fed the multitude and there were twelve baskets of fragments that remained after the people had eaten. When we observe our lives and our resources we remember that the Lord has promised to provide for us if we put Him first in our life. Jesus asked the apostles, "Whom say ye that I am?" It only made sense that Peter would answer, "The Christ of God."
Gaining life by giving our life to Jesus -- Luke 9:21-36: A great evidence of Christian character is the spirit and practice of self-denial. Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23) Jesus' own mission centered around self-denial and the cross. Our life must also center around self denial and bearing our cross daily. Self sacrifice means that there is nothing too dear not to be given to Christ. There is nothing too great not to be cheerfully sacrificed for the promotion of His glory. Jesus said, "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." Let us never put our comfort, pleasure, wealth or even our own life before Jesus. The more you forget yourselves and focus on God's glory, the more will you advance your own interest both in this world and that which is to come. God's desire is that we hear Jesus and honor Him. Jesus was transfigured with Moses and Elijah. Peter desired to build three tabernacles. Jesus did not even rebuke Peter for what he said. God simply overshadowed them with a bright cloud and, "there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him." These apostles had seen Jesus in His glory and heard the voice of God. They no longer doubt; they just believe.
Put your hand to the plough and do not look back -- Luke 9:37-62: Our faith in the Christ will grow if we have faith in His power. His power was seen as He healed a severely demon possessed boy and gave him back to his father. (Luke 9:37-43) Our faith in the Christ will grow if we come to understand the purpose of His mission. He came to be delivered up for our sins. (Luke 9:44-45) Our faith in the Christ will keep us from competing for greatness in our relationship with one another. (Luke 9:46-48) Our faith in the Christ will help us in our relationship with others who are serving Him. The apostles said, "Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us." These were people who could have been one of the seventy (Luke 10) or at least it must be someone commissioned by Christ. Our faith in the Christ will help us relate properly to those who may oppose us. When we understand Jesus we will not want to call down fire from heaven to destroy others. Our faith in the Christ will cause us to understand and accept the cost of discipleship. (Luke 9:57-62) Jesus said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. You can enjoy redemption in the blood of the Lamb and also forgiveness and hope because of Jesus' sacrifice. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Hebrews 11:6), repent of all sins (2 Peter 3:9), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) He is indeed the Christ of God!
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA