March 3 2019 Luke 9-14, Elevate Others!
3rd March 2019
Lord, thank You for Your love for us – You gave Your life for us and You would do it again and again if need, be – but it does not need to be. We can’t add anything to what You have done – every sin is forgiven – help us to live our lives knowing that is true.
We are in Luke 9:
Luke 9: 18 And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, "Who do the people say that I am?" 19 They answered and said, "John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again." 20 And He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God." 21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day."
The word here – The Christ – The Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah – the Anointed One. Peter is the first human to call Him the Christ – the angels do, and the demons do – but Peter is the first human.
But then Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man.
Bible Project – Son of Man
When the Jews thought of the Messiah – they knew it was a descendant of David – a great king – a warrior type – a conquering hero like Joshua or a deliverer like Moses – and Jesus comes like all of that – but better – and He redefines the term of Messiah – when He talks about dying on the cross.
This did not fit into Peter’s worldview.
Right after Jesus explains that the Messiah must suffer and die – Peter rebukes Jesus for saying it – that took guts! Peter had guts if nothing else! May it never be! Peter says.
I wonder if Luke left this out because he interviewed everyone involved and Peter left it out!
23 Then he said to them all, "If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Jesus says – because He came and suffered and died for us – any follower of His – like Him – must take up the cross and take up a life of self-denial – and not the weird kind! I’ll talk about that in a minute. It is not about being miserable all the time.
Philippians – Paul gives us a picture of what it means to take up the cross – though He existed in the form of God, but did not view it as something to hold onto – so He let it go – He turned it over – He laid it aside – became a person to such an extent that He humbled Himself and died on the cross. What this means – for us – in every situation and relationship we find ourselves in – we are to lay aside our rights, privileges, and advantages, in order to serve and give ourselves for others. That is what it means to take up our cross and follow Him.
In Your marriage – a lot of people go in – I can get a lot out of this. But God wants us to lay aside our privilege, rights, advantage – to know how I can serve my family. Just like Jesus’ comment about the suffering going against Peter’s worldview -= this goes against our worldview – because everyone is about getting as much as they can. It is a reversal of what we think.
Reversal – lose our life – Psyche – the saving of our life is the saving of our soul (as Mark says) and our core center – inner being – we have lots of words for it – Jesus uses this as a wordplay – everyone knows that taking up your cross means you are going to die – and it means laying aside a self-oriented approach to life – and reversing to a life lived for others.
When we die to our selfish orientation – we find what life really is. It is the only way to find what life truly is. Laying aside ourselves for the sake of others.
A couple cautions – this is not a guilt-oriented joyless self-denial.
The most joyful people will be the most self-less people We don’t get joy from getting everything we want – we all know that – we know getting things doesn’t satisfy – but true joy comes as we give of ourselves.
46 An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, 48 and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great."
This takes place right after the transfiguration – He takes Peter John and James – they had a special place – Jesus planned to have them take over the leadership – God’s voice comes down – clothes get brighter than laundry could do – Moses comes down – and you could imagine the two of them saying – guess what we just got to see! We are the important ones! We are the greatest ones! And Jesus stops them – if one thinks himself great – he takes a child and brings them in front of them – we think they are cute and adorable and innocent and trusting – in their society – children were insignificant and of low status! He is saying – it is not becoming cute and innocent – it is about becoming the least. Jesus was constantly saying – this is what I want you to be like – lower your status and position. Receive those people whom society looks on – befriend, accept – the ones that the rest of society looks down on – to think they are unlovable – and in Luke’s gospel – they would be the poor the sick – the lame 0- women – and sinners – (I didn’t put those two together on purpose.)
In their society – women were much lower than men – and Jesus was constantly reversing things. We’ll look at that in a few weeks. Jesus is constantly elevating people that society is pushing down. Jesus wants us to do the same.
49 John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us." 50 But Jesus said to him, "Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you." 51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;
There is another – argument amongst themselves and John takes an argument against one who is not with them – “We are with Jesus – you are not! You’re in the wrong group.” John did not lay down his privilege – but used it to put down someone else. Have you ever heard Christians do that? We do it all the time! God saved us – not so we could put others down! How awful! It is so PUBLIC! It is incredible how public it is, and it causes antagonism and strife in so many ways – and it divides and places Christians into camps – theologically/politically – styles of preaching and worship camps.
It happens all the time – especially with radio and television – there are the ‘great preachers’ – and we think that is how they should all do it!
This is a wrong attitude that destroys. Jesus says – JOHN! Hey – they don’t do the same worship songs we do! JOHN!
Luke 14: there was a bit of a confrontation – and then begins speaking to the guests:
7 And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, 8 "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this man,' and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. 10 "But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. 11 "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Now this sounds silly to us! When you go to a wedding – your name is written at the table and the only thing you are concerned about is when they are going to release your table to the buffet – but in their society – everyone knew their place. It was all set up in their culture – certain people sit here… others sit there. Now we don’t do that – but we do – just in subtle ways. It is the high school lunchroom. You have the cool kids – the jocks – the band people – the smart people – I was just content to have people around me! That is what their society was like.
He is not just saying – this may be a practical application – He is not talking about going last at a potluck! It is good to go last – but it is also good to be first – because someone must go first, or no one eats! He is talking about position in the world – position in church! We don’t lay aside our privilege. In laying aside our privilege – we help others.
. 11 "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Back to Philippians 2 – Jesus humbled Himself – even to the point of death on the cross. We humble ourselves by laying aside our rights/privileges/etc.
12 And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 "But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Jesus gives another practical way of accomplishing this. This is not about when you have a wedding, you can’t invite Uncle Bob – but this is a focus on their attitude and motive. In their culture – banquets were important things. For them – banquets were used to demonstrate and improve where each person’s position is. We are to use whatever we use in our world – to lift up the social and economic status of others.
What can I do in my context to improve the status of someone else? How do I raise someone else’s status?