The Greatness of Christ
April 28, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Patience Verse: Luke 9:37–9:45
“The Greatness of Christ”
Theme: The greatness of the Savior is seen in His interaction with sinners.
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:
- 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.
- It “throws him into a convulsion” [σπαράσσω] – lit. to shake to and fro; to cause to convulse.
- 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 –
- “unbelieving” [ἄπιστος] – they had failed to exercise faith in God’s power and rather had relied upon themselves.
- “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?”
- “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.
- “… 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.”.
- 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:
- … the disciples’ failure to help Him;
- … the scribes’ cynicism as they argued with the disciples;
- … the crowd’s skepticism as they had witnessed the botched exorcism attempt; and,
- … 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.
- 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:
- Judas is the individual who delivered Him – John 19:11
- The Jews collectively delivered Him – Acts 3:13
- Pilate delivered Him to be crucified – Matthew 27:26
- 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.
- 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?