Half-Hearted Interest or Total Commitment?

Luke 9:20-26, 57-62                                           March 10 2013

 Each Gospel records this miracle and this command of Jesus. It’s not enough for us to see the needs of others. Being aware makes us responsible.

JA”>On Peter’s confession, the meaning of “losing yourself,” and the Transfiguration.

         1. Peter’s testimony to Christ, Self-denial enjoined.

(Luke 9:20-26)      

Luke 9:20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”21 And He strictly warned 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 be raised the third day.”23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

                  It is an unspeakable comfort that our Lord Jesus is God’s Anointed; this signifies that he was both appointed to be the Messiah, and qualified for it. Jesus discourses concerning his own sufferings and death. And so far must his disciples be from thinking how to prevent his sufferings, that they must prepare for their own. We often meet with crosses in the way of duty; and though we must not pull them upon our own heads, yet, when they are laid for us, we must take them up, and carry them after Christ. It is well or ill with us, according as it is well or ill with our souls. The body cannot be happy, if the soul be miserable in the other world; but the soul may be happy, though the body is greatly afflicted and oppressed in this world. We must never be ashamed of Christ and his gospel.

  (Luke 9:57-62)      

JA”>Luke 9:57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

JA”>Here is one that is forward to follow Christ, but seems to have been hasty and rash, and not to have counted the cost. If we mean to follow Christ, we must lay aside the thoughts of great things in the world. Let us not try to join the profession of Christianity, with seeking after worldly advantages. Here is another that seems resolved to follow Christ, but he begs a short delay. To this man Christ first gave the call; he said to him, Follow me. Religion teaches us to be kind and good, to show piety at home, and to requite our parents; but we must not make these an excuse for neglecting our duty to God. Here is another that is willing to follow Christ, but he must have a little time to talk with his friends about it, and to set in order his household affairs, and give directions concerning them. He seemed to have worldly concerns more upon his heart than he ought to have, and he was willing to enter into a temptation leading him from his purpose of following Christ. No one can do any business in a proper manner, if he is attending to other things. Those who begin with the work of God, must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of it. Looking back, leads to drawing back, and drawing back is to perdition. He only that endures to the end shall be saved.

Summary

JA”>We now near the end of Jesus’ time in Galilee, and there are yet many places needing His ministry. So Jesus commissions His twelve disciples, empowers them to preach and to heal, and sends them out . As they travel they hear much speculation about who Jesus really is . Later, after Jesus had fed thousands with just a few loaves of bread and fishes , the disciples reported the people’s gossip and Peter, speaking for them all, acknowledged Jesus as the Christ . The disciples were correct—but following Jesus would not be easy, for it meant surrendering one’s will to God and so “losing” the old life in exchange for one that is different and new . Jesus’ transfiguration, just a few days later, prefigured what Christ’s own self-surrender would mean: after the cross there would be a return to glory. The implication is clear. Glory awaits us when we too surrender fully to the Lord . When we do we will learn a new way to greatness . But to choose that way we must pay the price and put God above all human values .