Something's MissingOctober 25-29
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. – Luke 9:51 (ESV)
Many years ago, Dr. A. J. Gordon was the pastor of a church in Boston. One day he met a little boy in front of the church who was carrying a rusty cage with several birds in it. Gordon asked, “Son, where did you get those birds?” The boy answered, “I trapped them out in the field.” “What are you going to do with them?” “I’m going to play with them for a while and then I guess I’ll feed them to an old cat we have at home.” Dr. Gordon asked the boy how much he would take to sell the birds. The boy answered, “Mister, you don’t want them. They’re just old field birds and they can’t sing very well.” Gordon replied, “I’ll give you two dollars for the cage and the birds.” “Okay, it’s a deal,” said the boy, “but you’re making a bad bargain.” Gordon then walked around behind the church, opened the cage, and freed the birds. The next Sunday Dr. Gordon took the empty cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate his sermon on redemption: he paid the price so that these creatures in bondage, doomed for destruction, could go free. He said, “That little boy said that the birds could not sing very well, but when I released them from the cage, they went singing into the blue, and it seemed that they were singing, ‘Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed.’” (Paul Lee Tan)
In Luke 9:51 Jesus sets His sights on Jerusalem and His death on the cross. His mission was to die for the sins of the world and there was no turning back. Jesus was driven by His compassion for the world. Jesus’ act of compassion would also be for the Samaritans who would later reject Him in Luke 9.
Life Application Study Bible teaches that “Although Jesus knew he would face persecution and death in Jerusalem, he was determined to go there. That kind of resolve should characterize our lives as well. When God gives us a course of action, we must move steadily toward our destination, regardless of the potential hazards that await us there.” What has God called you to do that you are determined to do?
Praise Jesus for His unflinching determination to die for your sins. Thank Him for His compassion.
And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. – Luke 9:52 (ESV)
Stephen Olford tells of a Baptist Minister during the American Revolution named Peter Miller who lived in Pennsylvania and was friends with George Washington. But Miller had a bitter enemy named Michael Whitman, who did all that he could to frustrate and humiliate the good reverend. One day, Mr. Whitman was arrested for treason and sentenced to die. Peter Miller walked seventy miles from Philadelphia to plead for the life of the traitor. General Washington said to Miller, that he was sorry but their friendship was not enough to pardon the life of his friend, Michael Whitman. “My friend?!” the old preacher said, “He is the bitterest enemy that I have.” And when Washington realized that Miller had walked 70 miles to offer practical assistance to an enemy, he granted the pardon. (Jeremy Houck)
In Luke 9:52 Jesus sent the disciples on a mission of compassion. The word “sent” in John 9:52 means: To send out; to commission as a representative, an ambassador, or an envoy. Typically, Jewish citizens did not go to Samaria. The people groups tended to hate each other but Jesus came to change that and was using the disciples as part of His plan.
Sending messengers is a job description for all of us who call ourselves disciples of Jesus? Are we not sent into all the world to proclaim the Gospel which is in a very real sense-making “preparations” for His return? Where have you taken the gospel? Who have you had enough compassion on in order to share the love of Jesus?
Praise God for the “messengers” who told you about Jesus. Thank God for the privilege to be a part of His plan to share compassion with the world.
But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. – Luke 9:53 (ESV)
Archaeologists have dug up first-century cemeteries in Greece and Rome and have found many tombstones that bear the Greek or Latin inscription for “No hope.” Imagine living your entire life with no hope! Imagine going to your death, to that eternal night, with no hope! Source: Unknown
The people who reject Jesus’ offer of compassion and salvation will eventually die with no hope. There was great hatred between the Jews and Samaritans. In fact, the animosity was so intense that many Jews would actually go out of their way to not travel through the central region of Samaria. Jesus had established a good relationship with the Samaritans but when they learned he was headed to Jerusalem they rejected Him. They did not “put out the welcome mat” for Jesus.
Josephus tells us that Samaritans were not averse to ill-treating pilgrims going up to Jerusalem, even to the extent of murdering them on occasion.” (TNTC)
Our society seems to reject Christ-followers with increasing boldness. People who reject your Christian witness are ultimately not rejecting you but they are rejecting the compassion of God. Who do you know that is rejecting God? Pray God would remove the spiritual blinders that prevent them from seeing God’s message of love.
Thank God for not giving up on people who may reject Him at first. Thank Him for opening your eyes to understand His love and forgiveness.
And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” – Luke 9:54 (ESV)
The anti-God bumper stickers covering the car seized the attention of a university professor. As a former atheist himself, the professor thought perhaps the owner wanted to make believers angry. “The anger helps the atheist to justify his atheism,” he explained. Then he warned, “All too often, the atheist gets exactly what he is looking for.” In recalling his own journey to faith, this professor noted the concern of a Christian friend who invited him to consider the truth of Christ. His friend’s “sense of urgency was conveyed without a trace of anger.” He never forgot the genuine respect and grace he received that day.
In Luke 9 the Samaritans reject Jesus’ offer of compassion and James and John want to call down fire from heaven on them. Jesus came on a mission to show compassion but James and John missed it at that moment. Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost, not to destroy them.
There are times when we want to fire back in the name of righteous anger when we feel attacked or rejected. When have you tried to use the Bible to justify a bitter or vengeful spirit? How do you think Jesus wants you to respond to any rejection or attacks you are currently experiencing?
According to Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Praise God that His good can overcome evil. Ask God to fill you with good in the face of evil.
But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village. – Luke 9:55-56 (ESV)
Early in World War II the Japanese army stormed the Philippines and forced United States General Douglas MacArthur to leave the islands. Upon leaving the Philippines, General MacArthur declared his famous promise, “I shall return.” And MacArthur did return. Walking ashore a victor at Leyte in the Philippines, on October 20, 1944, General MacArthur said, “People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil. The hour of your redemption is here. Rally to me.”
MacArthur came to liberate the people of the Philippines. Jesus came to liberate any who would believe from the bondage of sin. In Luke 9 Jesus showed compassion on the Samaritans by not calling down fire. He came to show compassion and mercy toward people who were already condemned. In John 3:17 the Bible says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
In a quote more famous than General MacArthur’s, the Lord Jesus Christ declared to His fearful band of disciples “I will come again” (John 14:3). Until the second coming of Jesus, His kingdom is to be extended by patient continuance in well-doing, and by meekness and gentleness in suffering, but never by violence and severity.
Praise God for the consistent compassion He has shown you even when you did not deserve it. Thank God for saving you and not condemning you.