Dear Student of the Word,
It's time for another installment from our devotional study of Luke's gospel. This time we look at Luke 9, which has all kinds of interesting stories in it. Jesus talked to His disciples about the cross and suffering, took some of them up to His Transfiguration, and confronted a demon-possessed boy when they came down from the mountain. Here is what I had to say about a few of the verses in part six of this seven-part study, which you can download below:
Study Fifteen, Part Six
37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."
9:37 – As I stated above, you always have to come down from the mountain. Have you ever gone to a conference and been so high, only to come home and be depressed three days later? I learned that I had to determine what I was going to do, what changes I would make at the conference before I got home. If I expected the spiritual high to last very long, I was always disappointed. Jesus and His disciples came down from this fantastic encounter with Jesus’ glory to confront a large crowd with a big problem.
9:38&39 – Jesus Himself had to come “down” from the mountain to deal with the only child of a man in this crowd. It seems that the boy had epileptic seizures of some kind that were caused by a demonic presence. The man knew that the problem was a demon, but he was powerless to do anything about it. As I have said in previous studies, people are in touch with spiritual reality, often more than their leaders. This man’s problem wasn’t a lack of knowledge; it was a lack of power. Is that your problem too?
The devil and his partners are mean. They just don’t want to hurt the people of God; they want to kill them: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
9:40 – The man had enough faith to press through his disappointment in the lack of success on the part of the apostles to come directly to Jesus. Many people today haven’t been able to do that. They are disappointed with the Church and, therefore, are disappointed with God. Someone once said, “People like Jesus; it’s the Church that they have a problem with!”
Are you disappointed with the Church? We have all been at one time or another. Remember that Jesus gave His life for the Church, and the word of God still stands true for you, even if you are disappointed: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
Jesus loves the Church and gave His life for it. He asks you to do the same.There are times when I have tried to receive from the Church, filled with imperfect people, what I could only get from God, who is perfect in every way. Disappointment was inevitable, because I looked for my source outside of God.
I am in the Church not for what I can get, as needy as I am, but for what I can give. As I give, I receive but not always what I thought I wanted or needed. But the Church has caused me to grow in love for imperfect people just like me. I have a silly deductive reasoning ditty that I often recite in church work:
People are crazy, I am people, so therefore, I am crazy.
It helps me deal with the fact that I can all too easily think I am all right, while everyone else is messed up. Truth is, I am as messed up as anyone else, and Jesus wants me to walk in love with other brothers and sisters who are as sick or sicker than I am.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled A Daily Taste of Proverbs. Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.