Monday, April 12, 2010



We now come to a second time Jesus predicts His upcoming death in Luke 9:43-50: While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered over to human hands." But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

This bad news Jesus is sharing with them was just too hard to take. It was still a mystery to them and they were afraid to ask anything further about it. However this isn't the most important issue in this passage. After all of these amazing supernatural experiences-being sent on a mission to heal people, participating with Jesus in feeding over 5000, seeing Jesus totally transfigured before their eyes, and healing a boy who was demonized, the disciples prove that they are missing the point of who Jesus is and what He came to do. They enter into 3 clashes.

FIRST CLASH-An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For whoever is least among you all is the greatest."

In this 1st clash the disciples argue between themselves about who will be the greatest among them. They are still thinking in terms of a political kingdom. They are missing the point that Jesus, the King, came to bring a spiritual kingdom then and there. And Jesus was the key to any sort of positioning, because the kingdom is wherever the king is.

SECOND CLASH-"Master," said John, "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."

NOTE this 2nd clash. Here the disciples are upset with some other followers of Jesus who were casting out demons in the name of Jesus. Now what was it that was bothersome to them? Get this. They were upset because these followers of Jesus "were not one of us". It was driving them nuts that anyone outside of their little fellowship could be following Jesus. Does that sound familiar?

THIRD CLASH-As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them ?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.

The 1st clash was between the disciples, the 2nd clash was between the disciples and other followers of Jesus, and then this 3rd clash is between the disciples of Jesus and a group of people from another religious system.

All three clashes shared a few commonalities: 1. Each clash was motivated by the pride of being more "right" than another. This is sure all too common among those who claim to be followers of Jesus today. 2. Each clash was divisive from within the group of disciples to outside the Jesus fellowship. 3. Each clash was missing Jesus as the central figure of their lives and thinking.

You see, if you leave Jesus out of the equation of relationships within the kingdom, you will inevitably experience divisiveness. Here's the principle: JESUS UNITES WHILE EVERYTHING ELSE DIVIDES. And what is Christianity known for? It's divisiveness and exclusivity. So, who pushed Jesus out of Christianity?