Day 145, Luke 9

Day 145, Luke 9

Luke 8 begins
with an account of Jesus expanding His outreach as He traveled from “one
city and village to another, proclaiming the kingdom of God” (8:1). Today,
at the beginning of chapter nine, we read of His sending out the twelve (9:1).
They could obviously reach more villages than He could by Himself. And at the
beginning of the next chapter, we’ll read of Him sending out 70 others
(10:1). All 82 were commissioned by Him to heal the sick and cast out
demons, which they did (9:1-2, 6; 10:9, 17). It was
an unprecedented divine visitation, and all Israel was stirred. Yet
Jesus knew that those He sent would be rejected in some cities, and He told
them to shake the dust off their feet as they departed from such places (9:5).
Woe to those cities.

We read that
Herod “kept trying to see” Jesus (9:9) because of all that was happening. You
would think that Jesus would have taken special time to accommodate a great
political figure, but He didn’t bother. Jesus took time to minister to little
children, but had no time for a king (the murderer of His relative, John,

It is interesting
that Jesus was curious to know who the multitudes thought He was. It is also
interesting that the mostly-Jewish multitudes thought He was someone who had
been reincarnated, either John the Baptist, Elijah, or some other prophet from
the past! Their idea may have been derived from Scripture, however, as God said
through the prophet Malachi that He would send Elijah “before the coming
of the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5). We’ve previously
learned that Elijah did come in a sense, not literally reincarnated, but in the
person of John the Baptist, who came “in the spirit and power of
Elijah” (1:17).

What is most
interesting, however, is that after Peter confessed that he believed Jesus was
“the Christ of God,” Jesus warned His disciples not to reveal it to
anyone. Perhaps such a proclamation and the subsequent reaction of the
believing multitudes may have prevented His crucifixion, as Jesus mentioned
His imminent sufferings in conjunction with His instructions to His
disciples that they not reveal His true identity. Those instructions were, of
course, temporary. After He was resurrected, the apostles openly proclaimed
that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 2:31, 36; 3:18, 20).

To take up one’s
cross daily is an expression for denying one’s own desires, subordinating them
to Christ’s will, regardless of the subsequent consequences. This is required
of all who want to “come after” Jesus (9:23). The same concept is
expressed by the phrase, “to lose one’s life for Christ’s sake,”
which Jesus said results in one’s life being saved, which again indicates the
necessity of submission for salvation. Those who pursue a different course,
that which the world is following, in the end forfeit themselves (9:25). Their
pursuits reveal that they are ashamed of Jesus and His words. He will respond
by being ashamed of them when He returns to judge the world in righteousness
(9:26). These are “salvation scriptures,” not “deeper-commitment
scriptures” for the already-saved. How different is the salvation offer of
Christ compared to the no-cost salvation offered in so many modern Christian

Jesus’ high
standards for true discipleship are highlighted more in the final part of
today’s reading. Those who literally followed Him in His day had to be willing
to wander homeless, just as He did. They had to risk offending relatives who
were more earthly- than kingdom-minded, knowing that the proclamation of the
gospel is the supreme priority. And they must never look back, longing for the
life they left behind.

Being wholly
committed, however, doesn’t necessarily mean one is wholly perfect. James and
John were wholly committed to follow Jesus, but they also argued with the other
disciples as to whom among them was the greatest (9:46), not to mention their
desire to be exalted to Jesus’ right and left hand in His kingdom, or their
hope to gain His permission to call down fire from heaven to fry some
Samaritans (9:54). Difficult to believe that these guys would be church leaders
in just a few weeks!


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