Luke 9:37-45: A Lack of Faith and Understanding
There is a saying in Christianity: the devil does not attack you on the mountaintops, he is waiting for you at the foot of the mountain. This is literally what happens in this section where Jesus has been on the mountaintop with His inner ring of disciples, and now that it is time to descend, what is waiting at the bottom? A severe case of demonic possession. But not only that the disciples have had an amazing time. They have been sent on their first outreach which resulted in miracles and exorcisms at their hands; they have been stretching their legs in ministry as they preached and baptized. They have been exposed to major revelations of Christ’s person and power, the most recent being Peter’s confession in v18-20, and the Mount of Transfiguration. But we are entering a section that shows up several inadequacies, and the need for the disciples to heed the words they heard on the Mount, ‘Listen to Him!’
V37-43 shows their lack of faith and prayer as they fail to exorcise a young boy; v44-45 reveals their lack of understanding as they again do not understand God’s purposes through a suffering Messiah; v46-48 reveal their lack of humility; v49-50 their lack of a spirit of cooperation; and v51-56 their lack of compassion to racial enemies. And all of these glaring weaknesses on the heels of Peter’s double faux pas in rebuking Jesus that He must not suffer; and failing to grasp the import of the mount of Transfiguration and equating Moses and Elijah with Jesus.
We have been looking at many instances of Christ’s person and work being put on display, miracle after miracle has proven the power and majesty of Christ; we come now to a section which puts the weakness of the human heart on display. Disciple means learner and this is always true in our case, we are always having to learn. The trouble is we can know things in theory and fail to follow through in applying the truth we know; or we can forget lessons we once knew and have to relearn them all over again. The two lessons we will be learning today are all about our lack of faith and lack of understanding and these will be our two points.