The But Chapter: Incomprehension, Indecision, and Ignorance

October 24, 2018 at 11:12 am | Posted in Luke | 2 Comments
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There are 16 buts in Luke 9. “But” can be a cop-out word that often simply nullifies whatever we say before it. “Honey, I think you look beautiful today, BUT…” “I promise I am going to clean up the house, BUT…” However, the “buts” in Luke 9 are very instructive.

1. The But of Incomprehension

Jesus gave the disciples their instructions, and then:

And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;

Luke 9:6-7

Herod was baffled and confused. He didn’t seem to comprehend the ministry of Jesus and His disciples. Herod had ordered the beheading of John the Baptist, and it may be that he knew it was wrong, and that his conscience was bothering him.

And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

Luke 9:8-9 (emphasis added)

Some people were speculating that Jesus might actually be Elijah or another one of the Old Testament prophets resurrected, but Herod did not comprehend who Jesus was. Is that YOUR problem, too? You can’t really be a Christian without knowing Jesus, but a DISCIPLE needs to not only KNOW Him personally (although that is of paramount importance), but also to keep knowing more and more about Him. Disciples need to know His attributes and principles and precepts. Perhaps you aren’t following Jesus like you should, and it’s a little similar to what Herod was experiencing. Something is bothering you. You know that you need to be serving Jesus in different ways and with more passion, but have you really comprehended WHO HE IS? You are wondering: Will He leave me or forsake me? Will He forget to repay my costs and my hurts? Just how trustworthy is He? What does He think about people like me? What does He think about the people around me? Jesus does not have to be incomprehensible to us. Herod desired to SEE Him. If you desire to see Him, you can.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Hebrews 2:9 (emphasis added)

First, see Him on the Cross – a Man suffering and dying for you. You will comprehend that He loves you. Then see Him seated in glory at the Father’s right hand. You will comprehend that He is victorious.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Hebrews 2:10-11

This promise will demolish any “but” of incomprehension that stands in your way. Jesus has suffered what you have suffered – and MORE than you have suffered – yet He is not ashamed to call you “brother” or “sister.”

2. The But of Indecision

It doesn’t always work out this way when you compare the Gospel accounts, but you can look in Luke 9 and Mark 9 and see the same incident.

And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him. And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.

Luke 9:37-40

Here was a child possessed by a violent demonic spirit, yet Jesus’s disciples could not cast the demon out. Mark gives a parallel account of the incident:

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Mark 9:25-29 (emphasis added)

Now you can see why the disciples could not deal with this demonic spirit. They believed they had authority, BUT they were undecided about what was wrong. They had not prepared. How in the world are we going to know what to do when we face an unexpected spiritual battle if we haven’t been preparing by prayer and intense serious devotion to God? If I don’t meditate on His Word – in prayer, too – then I’m going to wind up on my “butt” when the first tough ministry opportunity knocks me right down.

And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. BUT while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,

Luke 9:41-44

Don’t get caught “wondering” in the “but of indecision” while it’s time to act. Be prepared.

3. The But of Ignorance

Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

Luke 9:44

Jesus’s disciples knew by this time that He was referring to Himself when He used the prophetic title “Son of Man.” They also knew that “delivered into the hands of men” meant taken captive by His enemies – most likely through betrayal – for punishment, torture, and death. Why didn’t this have a bigger impact on them?

BUT they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

Luke 9:45 (emphasis added)

They were ignorant of what Jesus came to do. Is that the “but” of your problem when it’s time to serve Jesus? Are you really ignorant of exactly what Jesus came to do? Was He a good role model? Yes, but you are ignorant if you think that’s the message of Jesus’s Gospel. Was He a good example – willing to serve others even to the point of laying down His life as the ultimate example? Yes, but you are ignorant if that’s what you think His real message was and is. Was He on the right track, but He just got overcome by the evil in this world, so we honor Him for “a good try?” That’s romantic and heroic, but you are ignorant if you think that’s what the Gospel of Jesus is about.

But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

Luke 9:45 (emphasis added)

We can’t be afraid of facing what Jesus really came to do. We can’t be afraid to tell people that He suffered and died, and that it was a bloody gruesome death, and that God forsook Him on the Cross and emptied the cup of wrath on His head. We’re afraid to talk about that because of its implications. Why was the death of the Son of God so awful – so horrible – so atrociously bloody? Because you and I were so wicked, so vile, so perverse, so at enmity with God, so undeserving of the love wherewith He loved us. We can’t remain ignorant of those facts, and we can’t let others “but” their way around that Truth. We needed an awesome Savior because we were awful sinners.

Next time we will look at the “buts” of immaturity and independence.

How Many Christians Really Know This?

April 9, 2012 at 11:36 am | Posted in Salvation | 87 Comments
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In order to be a Christian you have to believe the Gospel. In order to tell someone how to become a Christian you have to know the Gospel (Mark 1:15). So – do you know it and believe it?

1. God is holy, just, and good, and He is also a judge Who judges righteously. (Genesis 18:25; Psalm 50:4,6; Acts 17:31)

2. You have told lies, stolen things, taken God’s Name in vain, looked at someone other than your spouse with lust – which Jesus equates with adultery of the heart – and broken many of God’s other commandments. (Exodus 20; Matthew 5:27-28). Most people don’t consider these sins to be all that serious because “everyone does them,” but they are deadly serious in God’s eyes. (Revelation 21:8; I Corinthians 6:9-10; Deuteronomy 5:11; Romans 3:10,23)

3. Because God is holy and just, and because you are a guilty sinner, God can not “just forgive” you. (Proverbs 17:15, Nahum 1:3)

4. However, because God is also merciful and gracious, He made a way to be both just and forgiving – and to deal with your sins in mercy AND truth. Despite the fact that you have sinned against Him, He loves you. (John 3:16, Romans 3:25, Psalm 85:10)

5. Here is what God did so that we could be forgiven for breaking His laws and sinning against Him: A little over 2000 years ago, God came into this world as a Man – Jesus of Nazareth. He was born of a virgin (Luke 1:26-32). He lived a perfect sinless life (John 8:46; Hebrews 4:14-15). And, although He never broke the law and never did anything wrong, the authorities brought false charges against Him (Matthew 26:3-4), subjected Him to a rigged and illegal trial (Matthew 26:59-66), beat Him savagely (Matthew 27:26-30, Isaiah 52:14), tortured Him and mocked Him (Matthew 26:67-68; 27:28-31), and nailed Him to a Cross, intending to kill Him (Matthew 27:32-37). On the Cross, He willingly laid down His life and died (John 10:17-18; Luke 23:46). His body was taken down and buried (Luke 23:50-53), but on the third day He was resurrected and rose from the grave (Luke 24:1-7; I Corinthians 15:1-4).

6. Jesus took on all the guilt of all His people’s sins on the Cross. He became sin for you, and took your place as the condemned while God the Father poured out His wrath and His righteous judgment against sin on His Own beloved Son (I Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:5, 10). Jesus also paid off your sin debt in full with His life’s blood (John 19:28-30; Colossians 2:13-14) and imputed His righteousness to your account so that you could be saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to Him (Ephesians 2:16; II Corinthians 5:21).

7. The Lord Jesus, in His Resurrection, demonstrated His victory over death, hell, the grave, Satan, and sin. He has ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9) to sit at the right hand of God the Father (Romans 8:34), and He has all authority (Matthew 28:18) to grant salvation and eternal life to all who repent, believe the Gospel, and call upon Him as Savior (Romans 10:9,13; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9).

8. You have been invited and commanded to respond to the Gospel (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19). I beg you to believe it and trust in Jesus.


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