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The Son of Man Transfigured (9:28–36)
Luke 9:42 And as he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. Then Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father.
The Son of Man Predicts His Death and Resurrection (9:43b–45)
Luke 9:43 And they were all amazed at the majesty of God. But while everyone marveled at all the things which Jesus did, He said to His disciples, :44 “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
The disciples might be inclined to think that their Master would continue to perform miracles until at last the whole nation would acclaim Him as King. To disabuse their minds of such a notion, the Lord again reminded them that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of men, that is, to be killed.
Luke 9:45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.
Why did they not understand this prediction? Simply because they lapsed back into thinking of the Messiah as a popular hero.
His death would mean defeat for the cause, according to their thinking.
Their own hopes were so strong that they were unable to entertain any contrary view. It was not God who concealed the truth from them, but their own determined refusal to believe.
They were even afraid to ask for clarification—almost as if they were afraid to have their fears confirmed!
True Greatness in the Kingdom (9:46–48)
Luke 9:46 Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest.
The disciples not only expected the glorious kingdom to be ushered in shortly, but they also aspired to positions of greatness in the kingdom. Already they were arguing among themselves as to who would be greatest.
Luke 9:47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, :48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.”
Knowing the question that was agitating them, Jesus brought a little child beside Him and explained that anyone who received a little child in His name received Him.
At first glance, this does not seem to have any connection with the question of who was greatest among the disciples. But though not obvious, the connection seems to be this: true greatness is seen in a loving care for the little ones, for those who are helpless, for those whom the world passes by.
Thus when Jesus said that the “least among you all will be great,” He was referring to the one who humbled himself to associate with believers who are non-descript, insignificant, and despised.
In Matthew 18:4, the Lord said that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself like a little child. Here in Luke, it is a matter of identifying oneself with the lowliest among God’s children. In both cases, it involves taking a place of humility, as the Savior Himself did.
The Son of Man Forbids Sectarianism (9:49, 50)
Luke 9:49 Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.”
This incident seems to illustrate the behavior which the Lord had just told the disciples to avoid. They had found someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name. They forbade him for no better reason than that he was not one of their followers.
In other words, they had refused to receive a child of the Lord in His name. They were sectarian and narrow. They should have been glad that the demon had been cast out of the man. They should never be jealous of any man or group that might cast out more demons than they did.
But then every disciple has to guard against this desire for exclusiveness—for a monopoly of spiritual power and prestige.
Luke 9:50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”
As far as the Person and work of Christ are concerned, there can be no neutrality. If men are not for Christ, they are against Him. How can we apply this to our lives?
But when it comes to Christian service, A. L. Williams says: Earnest Christians need to remember that when outsiders do anything in Christ’s Name, it must, on the whole, forward His cause.… The Master’s reply contained a broad and far-reaching truth. No earthly society, however holy, would be able exclusively to claim the Divine powers inseparably connected with a true and faithful use of His Name.
Samaria Rejects the Son of Man (9:51–56)
Luke 9:51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
The time of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven was now drawing near. He knew this well. He also knew that the cross lay between, so He resolutely moved toward Jerusalem and all that awaited Him there.
Luke 9:52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. :53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
A Samaritan village that lay on His route proved inhospitable to the Son of God. The people knew He was going to Jerusalem, and that was enough reason to bar Him, as far as they were concerned. After all, there was intense hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. Their sectarian, bigoted spirit, their segregationist attitude, their racial pride made them unwilling to receive the Lord of Glory. What can we learn from this?
Luke 9:54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
Luke 9:55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.
Luke 9:56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.
Hindrances to Discipleship (9:57–62)
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.”
In these verses, we meet three would-be disciples who illustrate three of the main hindrances to whole-hearted discipleship. The first man was quite sure he wanted to follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere. He did not wait to be called, but impetuously offered himself. He was self-confident, unduly eager, and unmindful of the cost. He did not know the meaning of what he said.
Luke 9:58 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.”
At first, the answer of Jesus does not seem to be related to the man’s offer. Actually, however, there was a very close connection. Jesus was saying, in effect, “Do you know what it really means to follow me? It means the forsaking of the comforts and conveniences of life. I do not have a home to call my own. This earth affords no rest to me.
Foxes and birds have more in the way of natural comfort and security than I. Are you willing to follow Me, even if it means forsaking those things which most men consider to be their inalienable rights?”
Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson