I am very encouraged by the way people are connecting and reaching out one to another. Praise God! It is in the difficult, and challenging times that Jesus gets to shine brightest through us.
In today's reading, we see that the disciples are not doing so well at living their Christian life - following Jesus. The chapter starts out really well for these guys, full of power and authority (9:1), preaching and healing (9:6). We could probably assume that they were on a spiritual high, with all they had done and seen - a "mountain top" experience. But it is on the "mountain" that things start to unravel for them - they fall asleep, and miss out on some great moments with Moses and Elijah.
When they come down the mountain, things just get worse for them - they get criticized by Jesus for not being able to cast out a demon "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? (9:41) OUCH! Unbelieving and Perverse? (literally "wicked") Here is the way the message reads,41 Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this?...”
Then Jesus tries to explain His death to them, but they did not get it, and were afraid to clarify what He meant (9:45); then they argued about who would be the greatest among them (9:46); then they stop another disciple from doing ministry, and get corrected by Jesus...again (9:49-50); then they get rebuked by Jesus for wanting to call down fire on the Samaritans (9:52-56). Finally, the focus shifts to other people who say they want to follow Jesus, but get a lesson in the cost involved - forsaking luxury (9:58), and forsaking family (9:59-62).
We get a glimpse into what the problems were with the disciples, who were still learning to walk with Jesus and serve Him. They had a focus problem - They were still focussed on themselves (9:46); they were following Jesus for how they could benefit. Jesus corrects them by showing them the humility of a child - to be great, you gotta be least! (9:48) Their focus was on themselves not the mission Jesus had called them to (9:55-56 - read it in the New King James - it has verses the others don't). Jesus was about saving others, not making himself look good. It is so easy to get blinded to our true motives for following Jesus. The key...stay humble and others focussed. Can I encourage you to keep reaching out to others during this time. There are great opportunities to grow in our walk with Christ as we serve others.
Have a great week!
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