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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Luke 9

 

 

Verses 37-62

Our Lord had been on the mountain, and had been transfigured; and when he came down, the first person that he met was the devil, with whom he had to come in contact. Whenever you or I get up on the mountain-top, and have a very happy and delightful experience, we may expect to be in a battle before long. Our joy is, however, a preparation for the conflict; it nerves our spirit, and makes us strong to meet the great enemy of our souls.

Luke 9:37-40. 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.

There they were, all baffled and defeated; and their enemies were looking at them with many a grin of contempt and scorn. Now comes the conquering Captain. He will turn the tide of battle when his troops are flying before the enemy. He comes, and with a word he gathers them together again.

Luke 9:41. And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you. Bring thy son hither.

If you have been praying for some dear one, and the devil is not cast out, but the one for whom you have pleaded seems to be worse rather than better, notwithstanding all your prayers and all your efforts, hear the Master himself saying to you tonight, as he said to the father of this child, “Bring thy son hither.”

Luke 9:42. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him.

This is Satan’s usual way. Whenever he is about to be cast out of anyone, he grows angry; and if he cannot destroy, he will worry, just as a bad tenant will do injury to the house if he cannot any longer keep possession of it. “As he was yet a-coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him.” Perhaps I speak to some tonight who are coming to Christ, and yet have worse fears than ever. They are more troubled than ever they were before. Well, you are like this poor child: “As he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him.” It was, however, the devil’s last throw.

Luke 9:42. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.

How well it is done, bow perfectly it is done, how easily it is done, how quickly it is done when Christ comes on the scene! Let us pray distinctly tonight for those who have been our failures hitherto. They will not he Christ’s failures if in prayer and by faith we bring them to him.

Luke 9:43. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God.

But while they were amazed, many of them did not believe. It is one thing to be astonished, it is another thing to be humbled, and to be led to simple faith in Christ. Never be content with any emotion but that which leads you to believe in Jesus for yourself.

Luke 9:43-44. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

Just after the transfiguration, just after he had cast out the devil, he tells his disciples that “the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.” The shadow of the cross fell upon Christ long before the substance of the cross was on his shoulder. He never forgot that the day would come when he must lay down his life as a ransom for many, and he never started back from it, either.

“This was compassion like a God,

That when the Saviour knew

The price of pardon was his blood,

His pity ne’er withdrew.”

45. 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.

They were not as yet spiritual enough to spy out his meaning; and when they had even a faint glimmering of it, it made them feel so sad, so cast down, that they did not dare to go and ask him fully to explain it. Do not you think that you and I may have tonight, something pressing upon us that would all vanish if we but took it to Jesus? And yet we fear to ask him. Let us drive away that fear, and be familiar with our Lord, and tell him everything that vexes our spirit.

Luke 9:46. Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

Sad, sad, sad, a hundred times sad! When he was talking of his death, and of his being delivered into the hands of wicked men, his disciples were disputing as to who should be the greatest. Ah, brethren, but we may be guilty of quite as great an inconsistency. If, after Christ’s death for us on the cross, and after he has given up everything for us, and has washed us in his hearts blood, if we begin to want to he great and famous in the eyes of men, what wretches we are! May God deliver us from all ambition, from every kind of self-seeking, and from any measure of pride! Otherwise, we are inconsistent in pretending to follow such a Master as the Lord Jesus.

Luke 9:47-48. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, and said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

The way to rise in the ranks of Christ is to go down. Be willing to do the meanest thing, and you are growing in Christ’s esteem. When you are great, you are little. When you are nothing, then are you great. The Lord take away from us the black drops of pride that make us stand up on our dignity, and think we must be somebody! Somebody? God will not use you as long as you are somebody; but when you are nobody, then will God greatly magnify you, and use you in his Church.

Luke 9:49. And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.

This man who was casting out demons was a dissenter, he was not with the regular church. He was doing good; but still, what right had he to do it? John said, “He followeth not with us.” He was outside the pale; and even John, with all his loving disposition, felt that he must blow that candle out. He had no right to shine in anything but the regular, orthodox candlestick. “We forbad him, because he followeth not with us.”

Luke 9:50. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

Jesus also said that no man could do a miracle in his name, and then lightly go and speak evil of him; so that it was for the good of the cause to let the irregular practitioner go on with this business. Besides, if anybody can cast a devil out, by all means let him do it; for there is none too much of the power of casting out devils; and, remember, that these gentlemen who found fault, could not cast the devil out themselves. They had been beaten in this very task; and yet, when somebody else did it in the power of God, they began to complain, and forbid them. That is surely being like the dog in the manger. God save us from falling into that spirit!

Luke 9:51. And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up,

Is not that a wonderful expression? Christ is to die, and to be buried. Ah! but this word comprehends everything, “that he should be received up.” Think not of the gloom of death, specially concerning your dear friends who have lately fallen asleep. Think of their being received up. They did seem to go down; they went as low as the grave; but they could not go any lower. Thank God for his abounding mercy in receiving them up.

Luke 9:51. He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

To go where he must he scourged, and spit upon, and crucified: “He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

Luke 9:52-53. And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

He used to be welcomed in Samaria; but now the evil spirit has come to the front again: “They did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem,” and they wished nobody to go up to the feast at Jerusalem, but desired all to stop and worship God with them on Mount Gerizim. So they would not receive him.

Luke 9:54-55. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

When you read the Old Testament, you will remember that the spirit of the Old Testament was in accordance with the law of Moses; but you are not under the law but under grace, and the spirit of Christ is another spirit, not the spirit of judgment, bringing down fire from heaven, but the spirit of mercy, bringing life and blessing from above.

Luke 9:56. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

That was all Christ did by way of punishment of these Samaritans: he “went to another village.” Yet, gentle as was this treatment, it was really a very severe punishment, such a punishment as will fall on all of you who reject Christ. If you will not receive him, he will go to somebody else. If you will not hear him, somebody else will; and if, when you hear him, you will not accept him, it may be that you will not hear him many times more, the word may never again be spoken with any power to you, but Christ will go to somebody else.

Luke 9:57-62. And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.


Verses 51-56

Luke 9:51. And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

It is a very remarkable expression that is here used: “when the time was come that he should be received up.” It does not say “that he should depart,” or “that he should die.” It overleaps that, and speaks only of his glorious ascension into heaven. When that time was drawing near,—and, of course, his death would come before it,—Christ “stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,” where he knew that he should die upon the cross.

Luke 9:52-53. And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

And, of course, Jerusalem was a sort of rival of Samaria; and if he was going there to worship, they did not want him to stay with them. Yet the Samaritans were believers in the first five Books of the Bible; they accepted the Pentateuch, and they ought therefore to have practiced hospitality, imitating Abraham’s noble example. They erred both against their own Scriptures and against the dictates of humanity when they refused to receive Christ because he was on his way to Jerusalem.

Luke 9:54. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

James and John, two of the most loving of Christ’s disciples, John the most loving of all, startle us all by failing in the matter of love, and so being as bad as the Samaritans themselves. I have often noticed that very “liberal minded” people, who denounce bigotry in general, do it with about seven times as much bigotry as those who are out-and-out bigots. In fact, it is a wonderfully easy thing to be a bigot against all bigotry, and to be illiberal towards everybody except fellow-liberals. Well, that is a pity; it is better far to have the spirit of Christ, even when the Samaritans refuse to exercise hospitality. At any rate, let them live. You notice that John quotes the example of Elijah; and this should teach us that the best men mentioned in Scripture did things which we may not copy, and that they did some things rightly which it would be wrong for us to do. Under special inspiration of God, Elijah, the prophet of fire, may call down fire from heaven; but you and I must not do so; we are not sent for any such purpose. Let us, therefore, be cautious how we make even prophets our exemplars in everything,

Luke 9:55-56. But he turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

If that principle had been always remembered, and followed, there would have been no persecution. To cause a man to suffer in his person, or in his estate, because of his religious opinions, be they what they may, is a violation of Christianity. Consciences belong to God alone; and it is not for us to be calling for fire, the stake, the rack or imprisonment, for men because they do not believe as we do. “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

Luke 9:56. And they went to another village.

That was the easiest thing for them to do, and a great deal better than calling for fire from heaven upon anybody. If one village would not receive them, another would; and if you cannot get on with one person, get on with somebody else. Do not grow angry with people. That is not the way to make them better. To fight God’s battles with the devil’s weapons is generally, in the end, to fight the devil’s battles on his behalf; let none of us make such a mistake as that.


Verses 57-62

Luke 9:57. And it came to pass, that, as they went in, the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

He was a volunteer; but his zeal was too hot to hold out long. He had never fully known what following Christ meant, so he came forward without a thought.

Luke 9:58. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man, hath not where to lay his head.

He did not reckon on such hard fare as that, to lie hard, and live hard; so we hear no more of him. That is would-be follower number one.

Luke 9:59. And he said unto another, Follow me.

Not a volunteer this time; but one actually called by Christ, and commanded to come, a conscript, as it were.

Luke 9:59. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

We do not even know that his father was dead. He would like to stop at home till the old man was ready to be buried.

Luke 9:60. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

When Christ wants men to go upon his errands, they must make no excuses. The King’s business requireth haste. The King’s commands are peremptory. Other people could bury the dead; let them do it. They were not alive unto this holy ministry; they would therefore be doing right in stopping to bury the dead. When Christ says to a man, “Follow me,” he must not let even the tenderest relationship detain him, or the most proper duties stand in the way of the highest duty. That is would-be follower number two. We hear no more of him.

Luke 9:61. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

“Lord, I will follow thee; but I must have time. I want a little allowance, and a permit to leave home. I will follow thee; but let me first go and bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.” It might be a long distance; and as it was now Christ’s time to send out the seventy, they must go at once, or not at all. This man intends to wait till he has gone, perhaps, fifty miles home, and back again.

Luke 9:62. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

You must go at once when you have orders to go, and not even the courtesies of life, or the fondnesses of affection, may make you disobey the command of the Captain. It would be a pretty thing, in the day of battle, if the soldiers came to the general, and one said, “I must go back to bury my father,” and another said, “I cannot fight, for I want to go and bid farewell to my mother.” The country would soon be in a desperate state for want of soldiers; and the great King, whose war is more important than any other, will not have for soldiers those who talk in this fashion. So, you see, there are three would-be followers gone; but there are at least seventy faithful followers left, as the next chapter shows. Our third reading will be at the end of the Gospel according to Matthew.

This exposition consisted of readings from Luke 4:16-30; Luke 9:57-62; and Matthew 28:16-20.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Luke 9:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/luke-9.html. 2011.

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