Preaching God's Word: Luke 1-12
In the Gospel of Luke, the central character is Jesus Christ.
* At the beginning, we see God’s initiative (Luke 1:26).
The third chapter of Luke’s Gospel begins with John. It ends with Jesus. The whole chapter may be summed up in the words of John 3:30 – “Christ must increase, but I must decrease.” Here, we have the vital principle of true Christian living and faithful Christian witness.
In Luke 3:23-38, we travel from Jesus back to Adam. As we compare Jesus and Adam, we find the same combination of similarity and difference. Like Adam, Jesus was tempted. Unlike Adam, Jesus didn't sin. Adam fell into sin. Jesus stood firm, victorious over Satan.
The story of our life is the same as the story of
Jesus won the victory over Satan. How did He win the victory? How can we be victorious in our battle with Satan? We read about Jesus in His wilderness of temptation and we ask, "How can He help us in our wilderness of temptation?" The wilderness is a terrible place. It's a place of great danger. When we are in the wilderness of testing, our faith is put to the test. We wonder, "Is God really there? Is God really with us? Will God really help us when we are in the wilderness of temptation?"
Jesus shows us God's answers to our questions. God is with us in the wilderness. God is there to help us. How does God help us? He helps us in the same way that He helped Jesus. The Spirit of God and the Word of God - These are the divine resources given to Jesus in the time of His testing. The Spirit of God and the Word of God - These are the divine resources which have been given to us.
Strengthened by the Spirit of God and armed with the Word of God, Jesus was triumphant over Satan. Strengthened by the Spirit of God and armed with the Word of God: This was the way of victory for Jesus. This is the way of victory for us. Why has God given us His Spirit and His Word? God gives us His Spirit and His Word so that we might do His will - living in obedience to His Word, as we obey the promptings of His Spirit. The Word of God shows us the will of God. The Spirit of God gives us the strength to do the will of God.
Must our story always be "Temptation leads to sin"? Jesus shows us another way. Jesus shows us a better way. Jesus shows us that we can be tempted without sinning. He says to us, "Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation" (Matthew 26:41). Temptation comes knocking on our door. Do we open the door to temptation? Or, do we keep the door of our heart firmly closed? We enter into temptation when we open the door of our heart to the temptations brought to us by Satan. We overcome Satan when we close the door of our heart to his temptations.
Temptation leads to sin. This is not an inevitable sequence of our life. Temptation leads to sin. This sequence can be broken. It can be broken by obedience, obedience to the Word of God, obedience to the promptings of the Spirit of God. We will be tempted. There is no question about that. There is, however, an important question we must ask ourselves: "When we are tempted, will we sin or will we win the victory?
There is a way of victory over temptation. God had given us His promise - His promise of victory over temptation. God tells us that when we are tempted, he will provide for us a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Jesus is God's way of escape. Jesus is God's way of victory. The way of escape is the way of victory. The way of escape is the way of following Jesus. This is the way of victory - the way of following Jesus.
When we are tempted, we must believe that Jesus is with us in our temptations. He is our Saviour. He is there beside us to deliver us from evil. He is there to break the chain of evil. He is there to lead us from temptation to victory. Satan's chain of evil tells us, "Temptation leads to sin." Jesus tells us, "Satan's chain of evil can be broken."
How can we be "more than conquerors" in our battle with Satan? God's answer to our question is Jesus Christ. God points us to His Son, Jesus. He speaks to us of Jesus, our Saviour. He tells us that Jesus died for our sins. Through faith in Him, we receive the forgiveness of our sins. Through faith in Him, we are led in the way of victory over sin. God calls us to put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He calls us to come to Christ and receive and enjoy His wonderful salvation: "He breaks the power of cancelled sin. He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean. His blood availed for me. He speaks and, listening to His voice, new life the dead receive."
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord - in me abide.
Send a revival- start the work in me:
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessing now, O Lord, I humbly plead.
“Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Take both phrases together. The second explains the first. As well as thinking of God’s Kingdom as the one and only Kingdom which will stand forever, we should think also in terms of the Lord ruling over our hearts and lives here-and-now. When Jesus preached the Good News of the
The Story of Jesus is not only a story. It’s a story with a meaning. When we read the Story of Jesus, we do not only ask the question, “What is the story?” We also ask the next question, “What does the story mean?” We do not only ask, “What happened?” We also ask, “What is the meaning of the things that happened while Jesus was on earth?”
“I must preach the Good News of the
Let’s think about the Story of Jesus. What does it teach us about the
Following on from the baptism of Jesus, we read about His temptations in the wilderness. Satan refuses to submit to God’s rule. He refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and King. He tries to draw Jesus from His pathway of obedience to the Father’s will. Satan fails in his evil purpose. In the wilderness, we see Jesus as Lord and King. He was Lord and King then. He is Lord and King now.
Jesus is our Lord and King. He comes from the wilderness to begin His ministry. It is a ministry of love and power. In His ministry, we see the power of love. We see Jesus as the King of love. In His words, we hear the voice of love. In His actions, we see His hand of love, touching people’s lives and changing them, making them better. He changed peoples’ lives then. He still changes them now.
When we read about Jesus, we are reading about events which happened a long time ago. We are also asking about our life here-and-now, “How can the love and power of Jesus Christ our Lord and King become real in our lives in today’s world?” When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come”, we are not only thinking of a future Kingdom which is still to come. We are praying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are to pray, “Not my will but Thy will be done.” Jesus did the will of God. we are to do the will of God. Jesus lived in obedience to God. We are to live in obedience to God. The life of joyful obedience is, for us, a foretaste of the heavenly and eternal glory of God’s Kingdom. Our life on earth is to be like life in heaven. This is what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” “As it is in heaven” - These are very important words. They remind us that living the life of God’s Kingdom involves looking beyond or life here-and-now, as we catch a glimpse of the glory of God’s heavenly and eternal Kingdom.
Here on earth, we see kingdoms rising and falling. We see them in their power and glory. We see them going into decline, becoming a mere shadow of what they once were. While all of this is happening, God is building His Kingdom, His eternal Kingdom, the only Kingdom which will stand forever. In all the confusing events of international politics, we must never forget this - God has not abandoned His purpose of salvation. He is still building His eternal Kingdom which shall never be destroyed.
Jesus preached the Good News of God’s Kingdom. His Kingdom will come - but we must wait for it. We must wait patiently. We must keep on believing that God’s Kingdom will stand for ever. When all earth’s kings and queens, prime ministers and presidents have come and gone, there will be one King who remains - our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is King of kings and Lord of lords. The message of Jesus still comes to us as the message of God’s Kingdom. Jesus made the
How are we to seek first God’s Kingdom? How are we to seek His righteousness? We must pray for more of the fear of the Lord. We must pray for more of the love of the Lord. The fear of God does not mean being afraid of God. It means loving God so much that we are afraid of hurting Him by sinning against Him. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” This is to be more than our hope for the future. It’s to be the dedication of our lives here-and-now. May God help us to crown Him as the King of our lives here-and-now.
Jesus calls us to follow Him. He says to each of us, "Follow Me." His words come to us as a Word of challenge. Before the Word of challenge, there is the Word of love. "Follow Me" - These words come to us from the Saviour whose heart is full of love for us. He speaks to us with amazing grace. He speaks to us with boundless mercy. He speaks to us with the wonderful love. His love is the greatest love of all. When we hear the words, "Follow Me", we must remember that it is our Saviour who speaks these words to us. His words speak to us of His love, His grace and His mercy. Once we hear the Word of Christ as a Word of love, grace and mercy, we see the real meaning of the challenge contained in the words, "Follow Me." God is calling us to live in the power of His love. We are to let His love change us. This is what it means to follow Jesus. It means that we are to be changed by His love.
In the story of the calling of the first disciples, we see the importance of building our lives on the Word of God. The story begins with Jesus preaching the Word of God. In Luke 5:1, we see Jesus standing by the
The preaching of the Gospel and the teaching of God's Word - Here, we have the God-given foundation for our life of faith and obedience, our life of following our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word of God is the Word that comes from God. It is the Word that tells us of God. The Word of God comes to us as a Word of love, a Word of grace and a Word of mercy. The Word, which God speaks to us, is also a Word of challenge. It is a Word which calls us to follow Christ. God has spoken His Word to us. It is His Word of love, grace and mercy.
Now, we must speak His Word for Him. We gather together to worship Him. When we go out from the place of worship, we are sent out to the place of witness. Our service of worship comes to an end. It is the beginning of our service of witness. Once we have heard God's Word in God's House, we must go out and make His Word known to others. We must invite them to join with us in worshipping the Lord.
We see Jesus preaching and teaching God's Word. We see the people listening to God's Word. They are learning from God's Word. Like them, we must listen and learn. May God give us grace to be faithful - faithful in preaching and teaching, faithful in listening and learning.
What do we learn as we listen to the Word of the Lord? One thing we learn from Jesus is this - He didn't only preach in the synagogue. He was also an open air preacher. By the lakeside, Jesus preached. From the boat, Jesus preached. His message is to be kept locked up in our places of worship. We are to take His message to others. We are to pass on the message of His love to the people we meet.
Jesus challenged Simon Peter to "launch out into the deep." This is what we must do if we are to become "fishers of men." "Launching out into the deep" - This is the challenge of witness. It is also the challenge of worship. It is the challenge of reaching out to others. It is also the challenge of allowing the Lord to reach deeply into our hearts and change us. The Lord is looking at us and He is saying to us, "There needs to be more depth. Your love for Me is too superficial. It is too shallow. I want you to "launch out into the deep" with Me."
In Psalm 42:7, we read the words, "Deep calls to deep." The Bible speaks to us of "the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10). It speaks to us of "the deep truths of the faith" (1 Timothy 3:9). God is looking for a real depth of response from us. May God help us to listen to His Word. May God help us to learn from His Word. May God help us to really appreciate His wonderful love. May God help us to say with the Psalmist, "How precious is Your unfailing love!" (Psalm 36:7). As we rejoice in the love of the Lord, we will enjoy the abundance of His blessing - "They feast in the abundance of Your House; You give them drink from Your river of delights" (Psalm 36:8).
The forgiveness of our sins - What a wonderful blessing this is! God invites us to come to Him and be forgiven by Him - "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18). As we think together about the forgiveness of our sins, may we join with the Psalmist in praying, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7).
Legal Obedience and Gospel Obedience
Legal Obedience and Gospel Obedience - It’s the contrast between the Law and the Lord. It's the contrast between the old wine and the new wine (Luke 5:36-39). It’s the contrast between living in the weakness of the flesh – “the law was powerless … because it was weakened by the flesh” (Romans 8:3) – and living in the power of the Spirit – “the Spirit gives life” (Romans 8:10).
The Law has only one thing to say to us, “You must obey.” That’s bad news. Again and again, we fail. We need more than the Law. We need the Lord – Jesus, our Saviour. He says to us, “There is forgiveness of sins for those who have failed to obey (that’s every one of us – “All have sinned … ” (Romans 3:23). To those who know that they need more than the “old wine” of the Law, Jesus comes to us with the “new wine” of the Gospel. He gives us new life.
We ask, “How am I to live the Christian Life?”
To this question, the Law gives us no answer. Its way of life speaks to us of morality – but it doesn’t speak to us of Christ, the Saviour who forgives our sins and gives us new life.
Before we can live “the Christian Life”, we must receive the Christian Life.”
To those who have nothing to offer to us but “the old wine” of the Law, Christ says there is something so much better. We can receive Him as the Saviour who forgives and forgets our constantly repeated failure to live in obedience to God’s Law. When we come in faith to the Saviour, everything changes – “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). We begin to live as a “new creation” (Galatians 6:15).
This doesn’t mean that we’ll ever obey the Lord perfectly. Our obedience will always be flawed. Paul tells us that we are involved in a life-long battle. It’s the battle between “the flesh” and “the Spirit” (Galatians 5:17). This was Paul’s own experience: “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). About himself, Paul says this: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Romans 7:18). This is true of every one of us.
When the “old wine” of the Law comes to us, saying to us, “Don’t stop trying. Keep on trying”, it’s no help to us.” It doesn’t address our problem: all our trying doesn’t make any difference. The word “failure” is written over all our attempts to obey God’s Law.
What is it that lifts us out of Legal Obedience and brings us into Gospel Obedience? We may change that question to “Who is it … ?” It’s not a thing – the Law. It’s a Person – Jesus. While it’s still true that “sin lives in me” (Romans 7:20), there’s something else that’s also true – Christ lives in me (Romans 8:10).
“Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2) – This is Paul’s way of saying what Jesus was saying when He contrasted the “old wine” and the “new wine.”
If we are still battling against our sinful nature, what does it mean to say that we have been set free by Christ? – Our freedom in Christ is like the freedom of a prisoner of war who escapes from the hold of the enemy. While he’s a prisoner of war, he can’t fight in the war. He’s under the control of the enemy. When he escapes, he’s free to get take part in the war. The Christian life’s like that. Being set free doesn’t mean that we become perfect overnight. It does mean that our life is no longer under Satan’s control. We’ve begun to fight against him.
How are we to fight against him? – -There is no victory in the “old wine” of the flesh. If there is to be victory, we need the “new wine” of the Spirit: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).
When we read Old Testament books like Exodus and Leviticus, we must ask God to reveal to us “Christ in all the Scriptures.” If we fail to see Him, we’ll miss the point of it all. When we do see Him more and more clearly as we read even the most obscure and difficult parts of God’s Word, our life will be filled with the light of God’s love. Our obedience will not be that of the “old wine” of the Law – “Keep on trying and hope for the best.” It will be “the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5). We will obey our Lord Jesus Christ as those who have come to know the truth of His precious promise: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). It will be loving Him who first loved me.”
What Is The Lord Saying To Us From The Call Of His First Disciples?
Jesus' words, "Give, and it will be given to you", are followed by a precious promise and a strong warning. To those who choose to live a less self-centred life, choosing to live a life which is more God-centred and other-centred, God gives this precious promise - 'You will not be the loser. You will be blessed by the Lord. His blessing will be poured into your life.' "Give, and it will be given to you." This is God's promise. Will we take Him at His Word? Will we live in obedience to His Word, convinced that "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)?
"Give, and it will be given to you." Along with Jesus' precious promise, we have His strong warning. If we give little of ourselves in the service of God and others, we will know little of the blessing of God in our own lives. "Give, and it will be given to you." Whenever the word, "giving", is used in the Church, people think about money. It is right that we should think about the giving of money, since it is a part of of our giving to the Lord. It should, however, be emphasized that it is only a part of our giving to the Lord. It is sadly possible to give money to the Lord without really giving ourselves to the Lord. When we think about giving, we are to think about the giving of money to God, but we must not stop there. God is calling us to give ourselves to Him.
(1) We must begin by trusting God.
You won't be the loser if you give yourself to the Lord. He will bless you abundantly, as you give yourself to Him. If, however, you hold back from giving yourself to the Lord, you will miss out on so much of the blessing He wants to give to you. Trust in the Lord, believing that He will bless you greatly as you give yourself, more truly and more fully, to Him - "Give, and it will be given to you."
It's easy to forget. Some of us have known much of God's blessing in the past. We have been hungry for God's blessing. God has poured out His blessing upon us. Somewhere along the line, we have become complacent. We have begun to settle for less of God's blessing. We have walked more closely with God in past years. With the passing of the years, we have allowed things to slip. Our desire to know and love God is a lot weaker than it once was. God is calling us back to himself. Remember how much God blessed you when you walked more closely with Him. Come close to the Lord again. He will bless you more than ever before. To each of us, Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you."
We met with John the Baptist in Luke 3. We meet with him again, here, in Luke 7. In chapter 3, we saw that John the Baptist was a man of faith. He was proclaiming the Word of God to the people. His message was clear. He was speaking with great boldness. His message is summed up in Luke 3:4 - "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him." Here, in chapter 7, everything is very different. John is uncertain. He doesn't know what to think about Jesus. He asks the question, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Luke 7:19). Here, we see John's changing emotions. Sometimes, he is full of faith. At other times, he is full of uncertainty and confusion. We see ourselves in John. Our emotions are in turmoil. Our thoughts are confused. Everything seems so confusing. Sometimes, our faith is strong. At other times, we are very unsure of the things that matter most to us. It seems that our faith has almost gone.
The forgiveness of sins - What a wonderful blessing this is! This is the great message which comes to us from the story of Jesus being anointed by "a woman who had lived a sinful life" (Luke 7:37). This woman had been touched by the love of Jesus. She had received forgiveness from the Lord Jesus. Here, we see her expressing her love for Jesus. Here, she shows her gratitude to Jesus. We recall the description of Jesus given to us in Luke 7:34 - Jesus is the Friend of sinners. What a wonderful statement this is - Jesus is the Friend of sinners. What a marvellous declaration of the Gospel this is - Jesus is the Friend of sinners. This is the amazing grace of Christ's Gospel. It was amazing grace for the sinful world. It is still amazing grace for us - Jesus is the Friend of sinners. What a blessing it is to know that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners! What a blessing it is to know that Jesus Christ receives sinners!
“The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11). This is what Jesus’ parable of the sower is all about. It’s about the Word of God. God’s Word is sown in our hearts. God’s Word bears fruit in our lives. The sowing of God’s Word in our hearts requires patience. We don’t reap the harvest right away. We must work patiently for the harvest which God will give to us in His time. Let us be faithful in sowing the seed of God’s Word. Let’s keep on praying that God will give to us the “hundredfold” harvest (Luke 8:8). May God help us to be faithful in sowing and fruitful in reaping. God’s Word comes to us. It is given to us by the Lord. What are we doing with His Word? When God’s Word is sown in our hearts, what kind of soil does it find there? Are we allowing it to grow in our hearts? Are we allowing God to produce His abundant harvest in our lives? God’s Word emphasizes to us the direct connection between sowing and reaping: “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.” Let there be good soil. Let there be good thoughts and actions, good habits, golod character and a great destiny.
Immediately after this question, we read about Jesus casting out demons. Those who didn't have faith were puzzled by the demon-possessed man. They were even more puzzled when they found him sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. Without faith, they could not understand what had happened to the man. This was strange. It filled them with fear.
Jesus' question, "Where is your faith?", is a call to move beyond the fear of the unknown to a real trust in the love and power of Jesus which brought deliverance to the demon-possessed man.
When Jesus comes with the question, "Where is your faith?", some beg Him ‘to depart from them’(Luke 8:37). They don't want to know! Others long to ‘be with Him’(Luke 8:38). They don’t want Him to go!
For those who didn't have faith, the deliverance of the demon-possessed man seemed strange. They didn't understand Jesus. They were afraid of Him. They begged Him to depart from them.
Where there is faith, there is a longing to be with Jesus. We take time to be with Him. This doesn't mean that we can fully comprehend His miracles. It does mean that we have been touched by His love and we are learning to worship Him with joyful trust.
His miraculous power is no longer just something strange. We no longer need to run away because of the fear of the unknown.
Catching a glimpse, by faith, of the love and power of Christ, we bow down before Him and we say, "To God be the glory! Great things He has done." We say, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes."
How do we get beyond fear? Fear needs to be replaced by faith. We still have awe - a reverent fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom - but this is a very different thing from the kind of fear which needs to be cast out by perfect love.
The miracles of Jesus still invite us to give our answer to Christ's question, "Where is your faith? Whether we remain gripped by fear or get delivered from fear will be determined by our response to His question.
How good it is that Jesus leads us in the way of faith. His way is better than the way of fear. We give thanks to Him for what He did in the life of the demon-possessed man. What are our "demons"? They're anything that keeps us in bondage to fear. Jesus is stronger than these "demons." Let us put our trust in Him and we will know the truth and the power of God's Word - "We are kept by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time" (1 Peter 1:5). "Salvation ... at the last time" - This is the ultimate deliverance from every "demon" that keeps us in the grip of fear!
"Who is Jesus?" "What does Jesus do for us? To these question, we must make our response.
(1) Who is Jesus?
Peter confesses his faith in Jesus - "the Christ of God" (Luke 9:20), "the Christ" (Mark 8:29), "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16), "the Holy One of God" (John 6:68-69). Where does this faith come from? - "This was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven" (Matthew 16:17). This is not the faith of a single moment or a single individual. It' s the clear teaching of the Gospels from their very first chapters - Luke 2:10-11, Matthew 1:21-23, Mark 1:1, John 1:1-2, 14. The words of John 20:31 describe the purpose of each of the four Gospels - "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name."
"Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God" - This answer to the question, "Who is Jesus?", leads us on to the second question and its answer, "What does Jesus do for us?" - He gives us eternal life. How does He bring eternal life to us? We answer this question by looking at the events which lie at the heart of the Gospel.
(2) What does Jesus do for us?
To answer this question, we must look back to Christ's death and resurrection. We must also look forward to Christ's Second Coming. Jesus speaks to us of these three events - His death and resurrection (Luke 9:22), His return in power and glory (Luke 9:26). The importance of these events is underlined by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 - His death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), His glorious return (1 Corinthians 15:51-58).
(3) Our response
Will we confess Him? Will we be ashamed of Him? In Luke 9:26, Jesus warns us against being ashamed of Him. Jesus calls us to confess Him. Confessing Jesus is not just a matter of saying the right words. In Luke 9:23, Jesus calls us to deny ourselves. he calls to take up the cross. He calls us to follow Him. In Luke 9:24-25, we are asked the question, "Who is most important to you?" Is it Jesus? Is it ourselves? Are we living to please ourselves? Are we living to please Jesus? Let your response be the response of faith. Let it be the response of real, life-changing faith.
"O faithless (or unbelieving) and perverse generation ... Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you" (Luke 9:41, 44). Jesus still speaks these words to the people of this generation. What are the benefits of listening carefully to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ? As we listen to the Story of Jesus, paying close attention to what He said and did, we become aware of the greatness of God (Luke 9:43). Amazing! Astonishing! Marvellous! How does God reveal His greatness? He reveals His greatness in Christ's triumph over evil. This triumph is accomplished in His crucifixion (Luke 9:44). In Christ's crucifixion, we see more than "the hands of men." We see the hand of the Lord at work. God is accomplishing His purpose of salvation. Evil men only appeared to have the upper hand. Victory belongs to the Lord. He triumphs over evil.
What was Jesus talking about? What did He mean? These were the thoughts of His disciples. How can His meaning become clear to us? How can His meaning be no longer hidden to us? How can it be revealed to us? It is "by faith" that "we understand" (Hebrews 11:3). The truth of the Gospel is "hidden" from "the wise and learned." It is "revealed" to "little children." We must become like little children - "Come to Me ... and learn from Me" (Matthew 11:25, 28-29).
"O faithless (or unbelieving) and perverse generation … Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you” (Luke 9:41, 44).
What was Jesus talking about? What did He mean? These were the thoughts of His disciples. How can His meaning become clear to us? How can His meaning be no longer hidden to us? How can it be revealed to us? It is “by faith” that “we understand” (Hebrews 11:3). The truth of the Gospel is “hidden” from “the wise and learned.” It is “revealed” to “little children.” We must become like little children – “Come to Me … and learn from Me” (Matthew 11:25, 28-29).
The Word of Warning and the Word of Love
Jesus "‘set His face to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51).
Note the conversation that takes place in Luke 9:54-55 - "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."
The Word of warning - "See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking" is not a call for divine judgment there-and-then. It's a call to turn to the Lord and receive salvation from Him. There is, of course, the reminder: "How, then, shall we escape if we pay no attention to such a great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3).
By rebuking James and John, Jesus was indicating that the refusal of the people to receive Him was not to be viewed as a final refusal upon which there must be immediate judgment.
From the Cross, Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).
The people refused Him. Jesus prayed for them. He prayed that they would see what they had done. He prayed that they would stop refusing Hiim and start receiving Him.
Let's not be too quick to pronounce judgment when Jesus is still praying that those who have refused Him will return to Him and receive His forgiveness.
When we, like Jesus, face opposition from those who choose darkness rather than light, we must not be afraid (Luke 12:4, 7). We are not to fear men. We are to fear the Lord (Luke 12:5). The fear of the Lord is to be a very positive thing in our life. It is the deep appreciation of God’s love as a holy love. When we know that we are loved by God, we know that we are remembered by Him (Luke 12:6) and valued by Him (Luke 12:7). When, in the fear of the Lord, we remember that the God of perfect love is also the God of perfect holiness, we do not take God’s love for granted. We rejoice, with great joy, in the wonder of His love.