Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Freedom

  • 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
  • Freedom and Authority-by JI Packer +

    "Authority" is a word that makes most people think of law and order, direction and restraint, command and control, dominance Read More
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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

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Walking towards Easter: Jesus's Tears +

    These scriptures reflect the pain and suffering, the tears Jesus felt leading up to his crucifixion. Read More
  • Culitvating Good Fruit +

    Proverbs 15:23: To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good Read More
  • Living after Easter +

    Acts 1:8.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my Read More
  • Loving like Jesus and the good, good Father +

    Jesus calls his disciples--and us--to love. Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Easter: transforming how we relate to others +

    As we prepare for Easter, let’s prayerfully consider some questions regarding John 17. Read More
  • Jesus as the cultivator of our heart +

    Day after day our heart experiences dozens and hundreds of interactions: with others, with news stories,  with our thoughts, or Read More
  • Sing to the Lord: Thinking about to praise God each day with songs from our hearts +

    One of the overriding themes throughout scripture is praising God regardless of our circumstances. Read More
  • A focus on blessing others +

    We are called to be a blessing to the world first to those around us. Read More
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