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The Heart of the Redeemer

June 9, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:

Topic: Discipleship Verse: Luke 9:51–9:61

 The Heart of Discipleship

“The Heart of the Redeemer”

Luke 9:51-56


Theme: The heart of Christ both instructs & compels us to make disciples. 



I. A Focus on Life-After-Death – 9:51

A. An Awareness of God’s Plan

  • This pivotal point in Luke’s Gospel transitions our focus from His public ministry in Galilee to a determined advancement toward the consummation of the incarnation at the Cross.
  • From Luke 9:51–19:27 we have the section called “The Passage of the Messiah” dealing with the last six months of Jesus’ life and demonstrates His commitment to dying for our sins.
  • From this point on, Jesus will no longer be based in Capernaum, but will be in constant motion toward Jerusalem – returning on limited occasions to Galilee as He continues His progress toward His passion – cp. 9:57; 10:1, 38; 13:22, 33; 17:11; 18:35; 19:1, 11, 28
  • Jesus was completely aware of God’s plan – having studied the Old Testament prophecies and having perfect fellowship with the Father came as a man for the very purpose of dying for our sins – John 12:27; cp. Luke 9:22
  • It is interesting the Holy Spirit led Luke to reference the events of redemption with a clear view to the ultimate consummation of Christ’s suffering – “When the days were approaching for His ascension …”
  • Jesus’ focus was not caught on the perils, trials, sufferings, and death that were awaiting Him, but on the prize – the “ascension” [ἀνάλημψις] – “being received up” – a reference to the welcome that He would receive because of His obedience to the work of redemption – cp. Acts 2:33-36; Philippians 2:8-11; Hebrews 12:2
  • Our own lives – as servants and disciples of Jesus Christ – are lived not on the basis of what we endure in this life (assessing God as worthy or unworthy because of what He gives us here), but on the glories that have been made ours in Heaven – 
  • Our own obedience to make disciples is pursued in light of the blessing and reward that is given to those who serve the Lord faithfully
  1. Sure, it takes us out of our comfort zones – but did Jesus remain comfortable?
  2. Sure, It costs us what we may believe is too much – time, resources, personal time, etc … - but did Jesus avoid personal cost?
  3. Sure, it calls upon us to make ourselves available, vulnerable, transparent, and exposed – but did Jesus hold Himself back from these things?
  • We know what God desires of us – what our purpose is in this life – to bring Him glory by making disciples – to be engaged in intentionally helping another follow Christ more – Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:9-15.

B. An Adherence to God’s Plan

  • These things are all true based on the example of Jesus Christ – who lived in light of the glory that awaited His obedience – a restoration to the glory that He had before the incarnation.
  • As a result, He remained resolutely committed to obedience – “… He was determined to go to Jerusalem.”
  • He knew what awaited Him – and He knew the Father’s will  - and therefore He pursued it with adherence and faithfulness.
  • “Determined” [τὸ πρόσωπον ἐστήρισεν] – “to set the face” – and unmovable, unchangeable commitment from which there was “no turning back.”
  • His resolve was to serve the will of the Father regardless of what the cost was because of the certainty of ultimate blessing and glory – 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
  • Jesus did what He did because of the glory of eternity – are you serving the Lord as a disciple of Jesus by discipling others – by intentionally helping another to follow Jesus more?


  • In what ways does your thoughts of glory influence how you serve Christ today? 
  • What changes in your serving of Christ ought to be made?
  • Who are you seeking to intentionally help to follow Jesus more?

II. A Fidelity to Living Among the Dead – 9:52-53

A. A Regard for the Unbelieving – v. 52 

  • The second way that the heart of the Redeemer is modeled for us is by seeing the way He was open to everyone – not just people He favored.
  • Clearly, there was a primary focus on Israel as God’s chosen people, but Jesus demonstrated that He was not bigoted or prejudice but was interested in all men everywhere repenting and following Him – cp. Acts 17:30
  • Instead of circumventing Samaria as most Jews did, we are told – “… and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him.”
  • The hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans was complex and historic:
  1. It began when Assyria conquered the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel and deported the nobility and replaced them with various Gentile settlers who intermarried with the resident Jews creating a mixed race – cp. 2 Kings 17:23-24
  2. This resulted in gross idolatry mingled with elements of Judaism – 2 Kings 17:29-33.
  3. Over time, the Samaritans abandoned their use of idols, but remained with a convoluted form of Judaism – that was rejected by those returning from exile – Ezra 4:1-3
  4. Because of their rejection, they built their own temple on Mt. Gerizim and refused to honor the Temple in Jerusalem.
  5. Later, the Jews under John Hyrcanus, the Maccabean ruler destroyed the Samaritan temple and the hostility had been entrenched toward the Jerusalem temple.
  • It is in this environment that Jesus deliberately sought to reach the Samaritans with the Gospel – cp. John 4
  • Jesus does this, in part, to teach the disciples of the inclusive nature of the Gospel – that His heart was for all men, not merely for those “like us.” (see vv. 49-50)
  • The mercy of Jesus Christ and His love for sinners transcends all racial and cultural boundaries and He is the Savior for all men – John 3:16.

B. The Realities of Unbelief – v. 53

  • Not surprisingly, the Samaritans wanted nothing to do with it – “But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.”
  • They clinged to their own religious system and failed to grasp the mercy and grace that was being extended to them through Christ.
  • Perhaps the most tragic event in all of the world – in all of the history of the world is the individual rejection of the grace of God in salvation because of a commitment to one’s own “way” of life.
  • The eternal result of the rejection of Jesus Christ by one person is of such tragic magnitude that it exceeds description, comprehension, or even imagination.
  • This is why the believer – the true disciple of Jesus Christ – follows the example of their Master and seeks those who they are able to intentionally help to follow Christ – Matthew 28:19.
  • And when it comes to people who have already been made disciples, we seek to intentionally help another follow Christ more – Matthew 28:20; Colossians 1:28; Hebrews 10:23-25.


  • In what ways do you intentionally seek to connect with unbelievers in order to share God’s mercy with them?
  • Is there anyone that you know that has completely rejected the Gospel when you have shared it with them?
  • Are you vexed over the future judgment awaiting those who reject Christ – is there anyone in your life whose refusal to trust Christ causes you grief? 

III. A Facilitation of Life from Death – 9:54-56

A. The Man-Centered Priority of Retribution – v. 54 

  • The response by the disciples was typical of human hostility – “When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’” 
  • These two were protective of the honor of Christ – having seen the recent manifestation of His glory on the Mountain.
  • Their volatile temperaments were here demonstrated – earning them the description “Sons of Thunder” – cp. Mark 3:17
  • There were several potential prompts for this idea that stem from Elijah
  1. Elijah had done this very thing in this very area of Samaria when Ahaziah sent 50 men to arrest him – calling fire down to consume them on multiple occasions – cp. 2 Kings 1:9-10
  2. They had just seen Elijah on the Mt. of Transfiguration ministering to Jesus and preparing Him for His death.
  • We are often quick to reject those who reject Christ – those who we believe are unworthy of us.
  • However, they are like we were before we were quickened to faith – and instead of desiring their demise or rejection, we ought to yearn to help them follow Christ – finding ways to continue to witness to the glories of Christ.

B. The God-Centered Priority of Redemption – vv. 55-56

  • Jesus, however, desires to save sinners – “But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what kind of spirit you are of.’”
  • Although these verses are not in some manuscripts, they reveal truths that are found elsewhere and therefore a valuable for us to consider here as well.
  • Jesus remains unphased by the hostility of sinners who are blinded by their sin – possessing continued mercy toward them with the open door of faith.
  • Until such a time as men’s destiny is set through death, there remains the hope of a sinner’s conversion.
  • Unlike other religions that participate in forced conversions, genuine Christianity allows the Holy Spirit to work in His own time to convert sinners.
  • The “kind of spirit” that desires to kill is not the Holy Spirit – and Jesus indicates that it is ungodliness that takes delight in the death of the wicked – cp. Ezekiel 18:23
  • Jesus then declares what each of us knows to be the reason for our own hope – “… for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’”
  • This is the reality of the Son’s Coming – to seek and save what is lost; nevertheless, there will come a time when Christ returns again and will come as the Judge.
  • Until that time, His heart is clearly devoted to seeing people saved and sanctified through the Holy Spirit using us to reach the lost and then intentionally helping others follow Christ even more!
  • Consequently, we are told that “they went on to another village.”


  • Why are Christians so quick to judge others?
  • When Jesus returns, it will be to judge the wicked – what are you doing to demonstrate the Christlike heart of attempting to see people saved from their sin?
  • Can you think of anyone who you could intentionally help to follow Christ more?




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