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The Greatness of Christ

April 28, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:

Topic: Patience Verse: Luke 9:37–9:45

“The Greatness of Christ”

Luke 9:37-45

 

Theme: The greatness of the Savior is seen in His interaction with sinners. 

 

Introduction: 

I. The Greatness of His Patience – 9:37-41

A. The Patience with Our Dependence – vv. 37-38

  • In the previous section, the majesty and glory of Christ was displayed to the disciples who were with Him on the mountain of transfiguration.
  • These next verses are connected to the previous by the phrase “On the next day when they came down from the mountain …”
  • This text demonstrates that the glory of Christ and the greatness of that glory was seen clearly through the power of God displayed through Christ.
  • These evidences are seen in the great patience of Christ, the great power of Christ, and the great plan of Christ.
  • We are told here that “… a large crowd met Him” – clearly, they had been awaiting His arrival and rightly so as a controversy had developed – cp. Mark 9:14
  • As soon as Jesus arrived, there was immediately an expectation that He do something to resolve the issue that had become so controversial.
  • Luke describes the scene with fewer details than the other Gospels – “And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, ‘Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy.’”
  • We are told in Matthew, that the man broke away from the crowd and fell on his knees before Christ begging Jesus to do something – cp. Matthew 17:14-15 
  • Jesus had not been back in the public eye for 2 minutes and already He was having to resolve conflict, receive requests for His power, and deal with doubt. 

B. The Patience with Our Doubt – vv. 39-41

  • Notice, that the reason that the controversy was so hot is that the disciples had not been able to help the man and his son – “… a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves.” - cp. Matthew 17:16; Mark 9:17-18
  • The effect of this demon was severe:
  1. It “seizes him” [λαμβάνω] – to take hold of, or to grasp something; to take a firm grip upon something to the point of controlling it.
  2. It “throws him into a convulsion” [σπαράσσω] – lit. to shake to and fro; to cause to convulse.
  3. It “mauls him as it leaves” [συντρίβω] – “to cause destruction by making it come apart, shatter, smash, crush” or “to cause damage by mistreatment, to wear it out, or bruise” – speaking of the relentless abuse constantly impacting this boy.
  • “I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not.” - The disciples had given it their best shot, but had been unable to handle the problem – most likely because they had made assumptions about their abilities given that they had been given the power before to cast out demons – cp. Luke 9:1-2 
  • They had not relied upon Christ or in the power of God but had presumptuously attempted to handle the situation themselves – Matthew 17:20
  •  As a result, Jesus indicts them for their self-reliance and commensurate lack of faith – “And Jesus answered and said, ‘You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you?’”
  • The specific frustration expressed here by Jesus was toward His own disciples who had every resource available to them by faith, but were powerless apart from faith –
  1. “unbelieving” [ἄπιστος] – they had failed to exercise faith in God’s power and rather had relied upon themselves.
  2. “perverted” [διαστρέφω] – a twisting or distortion of something; to deform or to make something crooked by relying on themselves instead of God.
  • Christ’s response to this was “How long shall I be with you and  put up with you?” 
  1. “How long shall I be with you …” - He had just come down from the Transfiguration – an event that “started the clock” for the crucifixion – and He realized that His time among them was short.
  2. “… and put up with you?” - His “enduring” and “patience” toward the faith that is perverted demonstrates the depth of His mercy – giving opportunity for sinners to believe – cp. Romans 9:22-23.
  • He shows His great patience by inviting the man to bring his son to Him - indicating that in Him, all will be well – “Bring your son here.”.

Application:

  • Do you tend to turn to Jesus only when you cannot handle a situation on your own? Why is or why is this not appropriate?
  • Think over the past four weeks … what illustration can you identify where you failed to believe that God could/would help you?
  • What can you do to avoid God having to “endure you?”

II. The Greatness of His Power – 9:42-43a

A. The Power to Deliver the Oppressed – v. 42 

  • As the father brings his son toward Jesus, there is a violent reaction by the evil spirit that was tormenting the boy – “While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and three him into a convulsion.”
  • This was one last effort on the part of the demon to destroy the boy – an attempt to thwart the glory of Christ by putting an end to the boy’s life.
  • It was at this point that the boy’s father breaks down and begs Jesus to do something, questioning Jesus’ ability most likely due to a convergence of influences that caused doubt – cp. Mark 9:20-24
  • The man’s faith had been shaken by:
  1. … the disciples’ failure to help Him;
  2. … the scribes’ cynicism as they argued with the disciples;
  3. … the crowd’s skepticism as they had witnessed the botched exorcism attempt; and,
  4. … the long-lasting dominance of the oppression that they boy had endured.
  • Jesus calls on the man to believe to which the man immediately asks for help with his lack of belief – Mark 9:24
  • “But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father.” 
  • Jesus’ authority was absolute over the demon so that He was able to deliver the oppressed boy and give “him back to his father” healed.
  • This “rebuke” [ἐπιτιμάω] – took the form of commanding the demon to come out and forbidding it to return – total supremacy and sovereignty over the power of sin and darkness.

B. The Power to Disturb the Observer – v. 43a

  • That exercise of power over the power of sin and demons caused the crowd to respond with astonishment – “And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.”
  • This term “amazed” [ἐκπλήσσω] – conveys the idea of being overwhelmed, astounded beyond capacity, to panic … basically, they were “freaking out.”
  • Further, the text states that “while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing …” – [θαυμάζω] – to be extraordinarily impressed or disturbed by something – the context determines whether in a good or a bad sense.
  • When sinners indisputably encounter the power of God, it is disturbing to them; but, when a lover of Christ encounters His glory, there is adoration and delight.

Application:

  • Jesus came to deliver sinners from the power of sin – can you share an example of how Jesus has freed you from sin’s power?
  • Have you grown accustomed to the power of Christ, what would it take for you to be amazed at the greatness of God in your life?
  • Do you allow your soul to be stirred in worship of Christ for the greatness of His power in your life? 

III. The Greatness of His Plan – 9:43b-45

A. The Plan to be Delivered to Passion – vv. 43b-44  

  • The greatness of Christ continues to be placed on display even as His patience and His power are being demonstrated as He discloses His plan.
  • As the people were coping with His power, Jesus uses the commotion to express His plan to be delivered over to death – “… He said to His disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.’”
  • Perhaps to clarify whatever Messianic expectations His power raised, Jesus clarifies that His plan is “to be delivered into the hands of men” who will kill Him in great hostility – something that would occur in about six months’ time.
  • This being “delivered” is ascribed to everyone:
  1. Judas is the individual who delivered Him – John 19:11
  2. The Jews collectively delivered Him – Acts 3:13
  3. Pilate delivered Him to be crucified – Matthew 27:26
  4. But, ultimately, God delivered Him – Romans 8:32.
  • This was the entire purpose for Jesus having come – to suffer for our sins under the wrath of God poured out upon Jesus on the cross as He paid the price of our sins.

B. The Plan to Delay Perception – v. 45

  • Jesus had said these things in preparation for the distress that the disciples would experience when He died – hence He said: “Let these words sink into your ears …”
  • Yet, they were not ready to hear these things – “But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it …”
  • It didn’t fit their common expectations of what Jesus was to do – and they couldn’t fit what He was saying into their perspective … it was that “outside the box” of their Messianic expectations.
  • Jesus knew what they could handle and therefore, out of mercy, “concealed from them” the significance of what He was saying.
  • Rather, it was a sowing of truth that would bear fruit in its proper time – after He was crucified so that the disciples would then recall that these things were all part of His plan – cp. Luke 24:44-47 
  • Yet at the time Jesus was predicting His death, the disciples “… were afraid to ask Him about this statement.”
  • They seemed to realize that what Jesus was saying was beyond their comprehension and they didn’t push the issue.

Application:

  • Why do you think that Jesus told them about His plans, but concealed its meaning from them?
  • Are there things that you are afraid to ask God? Can you name one?
  • How does your awareness of Jesus’ plan to die for your sins affect you?

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