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Wednesday Bible Study
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

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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?” When we read the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head we are apt to pity Him. One commentator remarks: “He does not need your pity. Pity yourself rather if you have a home that holds you back when Christ wants you out upon the high places of the world.”

We hear no more of the man, and can only assume that he was unwilling to give up the common comforts of life to follow the Son of God.

Luke 9:59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

The second man heard Christ’s call to follow Him. He was willing, in a way, but there was something he wanted to do first. He wanted to go and bury his father. Notice what he said. “Lord, let me first go.…” In other words, “Lord … me first.

He called Jesus by the name of Lord, but actually he puts his own desires and interests first.

The words “Lord” and “me first” are totally opposed to each other; we must choose one or the other.

Whether the father was already dead or whether the son planned to wait at home until he died, the issue was the same—he was allowing something else to take precedence over Christ’s call. 

It is perfectly legitimate and proper to show respect for a dead or dying father, but when anyone or anything is allowed to rival Christ, it becomes positively sinful.

This man had something else to do—we might say, a job or an occupation—and this lured him away from a pathway of unreserved discipleship.

Luke 9:60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

The Lord rebuked his double-mindedness with the words, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.

The spiritually dead can bury the physically dead, but they can’t preach the gospel. 

Disciples should not give priority to tasks that the unsaved can do just as well as Christians.

The believer should make sure that he is indispensable as far as the main thrust of his life is concerned. His principal occupation should be to advance the cause of Christ on earth.

Luke 9:61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”

The third would-be disciple resembled the first in that he volunteered to follow Christ. He was like the second in that he uttered the contradiction, “Lord … me first.

He wanted first to say goodbye to his family. In itself, the request was reasonable and proper, but even the common civilities of life are wrong if they are placed ahead of prompt and complete obedience.

Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jesus told him that once he put his hand to the plow of discipleship, he must not look back; otherwise he was not fit for the kingdom of God. 


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