Today's Devotions

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Considering Humility & Weakness

  • The Weakness of My Motivations +

    What motivates me? Often it is pleasure—reading a good book, skiing, playing with the kids, sex, even work. I enjoy Read More
  • The Weakest in the Center: October 30 Devotional by Henri Nouwen +

    The Weakest in the CenterThe most honored parts of the body are not the head or the hands, which lead Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Don  Carsonhttp://www.esvbible.org/search/Exodus+6/

http://www.esvbible.org/search/Luke+9/

http://www.esvbible.org/search/Job+23/

http://www.esvbible.org/search/1+Corinthians+10/

ONE OF THE TASKS IMPOSED ON those who wish to read the canonical Gospels sensitively is to see how the various units are linked.

Casual readers remember individual stories about Jesus from their Sunday school days, but do not always reflect on the links that weld these stories into a complete Gospel. Moreover, the individual evangelists did not arrange their material exactly the same way as the others, so the special flavor of each gospel is often lost unless the distinctive links are thoughtfully pondered.

An instructive example is found in Luke 9:49-50. The preceding verses (9:46-48) find Jesus' disciples arguing as to which of them would be greatest (in the consummated kingdom, presumably). Knowing their thoughts, Jesus teaches them an embarrassing lesson, employing a little child to make his point. Important people honey up to even more important people. Those who follow Jesus welcome the least powerful members of society – the little children. What Jesus demands is an outlook fundamentally at variance with that of the world: "For he who is least among you all – he is the greatest" (9:48).

It is at this juncture that 9:49-50 comes into play. John comments that he and the others saw a man driving out demons in Jesus' name, "and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." Jesus forbids them this course of action, "for whoever is not against you is for you." At first glance this is a somewhat different topic from that of the preceding verses. Then again, maybe not: the connections call for reflection. John's complaints no longer sound like godly concern for orthodoxy, but like power-hungry moaning more concerned that those who preach and heal belong to the right party than that the mission itself be advanced. So this is pathetically tied to the debate over who would be the greatest. Personal aggrandizement will inevitably prove an unstable base for making wise assessments of the ministry of others.

The following verses (9:51-56) find Jesus in Samaria. When the Samaritans prove inhospitable, Jesus' disciples are quite prepared to call fire down upon them. Jesus rebukes them. Since these verses follow the themes already elucidated, the attitude the disciples here betray is clarified. Their passion for judgment against the Samaritans is motivated less by a genuine grasp of and devotion to Christ Jesus, than by a power-hungry self-focus.

The closing verses of the chapter highlight the same contrast (9:57-62). The three who protest the loudest about how eagerly they will follow Jesus are firmly put in their place: they have not counted the cost of discipleship, and so their pious protestations take on the ugly hue of self-love.

Exodus 6; Luke 9; Job 23; 1 Corinthians 10

Reflections to Consider

  • Transformed

    Webster defines devotion as “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity or cause.” How do we fall in love Read More
  • Foolish Device of My Own

    Refuge O Lord,Whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible, order things that they may neither hinder, nor discourage me, nor Read More
  • 1

Publications

  • 1

Music

  • 1

Audio & Video

  • 1

The Hit List

  • Salvation Altogether (Spurgeon) +

    Salvation Altogether by Grace by C. H. Spurgeon “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not Read More
  • The Landscape of Piety: Majors +

    The following is recommended reading from the blog by Justin Taylor, on the gospel coalition website. J. I. Packer: For Read More
  • Why We Need the Puritans by JI Packer +

    1 Horse Racing is said to be the sport of kings. The sport of slinging mud has, however, a wider Read More
  • Cases and Directions Against Censoriousness and Unwarrantable Judging, by Richard Baxter (Puritan) +

    The following comes from: http://www.puritansermons.com/baxter/baxter26.htm Cases and Directions Against Censoriousness and Unwarrantable Judging. By Richard Baxter Tit. 1 Cases of Read More
  • 1

Gems

  • Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster +

    In Freedom of Simplicity Foster gently encourages us to see that our identity, our sense of comfort and security must Read More
  • Disciplined Spirituality Links +

    Letters by a Modern Mystic by Frank Laubach Simple but astonishing in its example of what discipline and perseverance can Read More
  • Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard +

    Understanding Changes Lives A good companion to Richard Foster's book Celebration of Discipline, the Path to Spiritual Growth; it provides Read More
  • Spiritual Classics, Richard Foster and Emilie Griffiin +

    Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines Good collection of essays, saints throughout the ages. A Read More
  • 1