Summary: The text reveals several problems that the disciples had to deal with, they are not only problems they had to face, but are problems that have plagued the church all down through the centuries.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 24
“Classic Problems That The Disciples Faced”
Luke 9:11-17, 28-32, 37-42, 46-52
Jesus had revealed that the following him will involve a radical change of perspective. The life of a disciple is different from that of the world or even what the world expects for the Christian. Last week we examined the teaching of Jesus concerning what it means to be a Disciple. You will remember that the disciples had been sent out to preach in their first public ministry alone. When they reported back they reported that they had successfully preached, conducted healing and even cast out demons (9:1).
This morning I want us to examine the same text (Luke 9) to glean several classic mistakes that the Disciples made in the process of learning what it means to truly be a follower of Jesus. We will see that the initial instinct of the disciples of how they should respond to certain events is usually wrong. They need to listen and learn and so do we. The text reveals several problems that the disciples had to deal with, they are not only problems they had to face, but are problems that have plagued the church all down through the centuries.
1. Suffered From A Lack of Vision (vv. 11-17)
Jesus taught and healed, just as He had always done (v. 11), and as the disciples had done in the villages. As the day wore on, the disciples in verse twelve, asked Jesus to send the crowds home, so that they could obtain food. “… "Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." On the surface this appears to be a request based upon the disciple’s compassion for the crowds (though I doubt that it was such). It seemed a very reasonable solution. It even seemed to be the only possible solution.
How shocked the disciples must have been to hear Jesus’ response: “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:13). The disciples thought that acquiring food was the people’s problem. Jesus told the disciples it was their problem. Jesus’ command to feed this crowd reminds us that faith is seldom learned in the classroom, but is learned in the crises of life, when we must obey God without all the visible means available to do so. The disciples need to see that they can accomplish things they never dreamed of doing through their association with Jesus.
The two greatest faith killing phrases heard in the church of today is “We have never done it that way before,” and “We could never do that.” These statements have a way of limiting our vision and squashing our ability to see with faith because of practical concerns or because of traditional ways that things have been done in the past. When we are in a pressing situation we often tend to focus on what can not be done and so the disciples respond in verse thirteen, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people." (14) For there were about five thousand men…. ”
Perhaps the saddest thing is that the disciples who have witnessed Jesus perform many miracles, had no expectation that he would be able to meet this current need. How like us they are. We too remain dull to the power of Christ, no matter how many times he may have met our needs in the past, the next crisis always seems to cause us to question God’s ability to meet our needs. How silly!!!
Jesus then had the disciples seat the crowd into groups of fifty (v. 14) and he blessed the five loaves and two fish (v. 16) he broke them and “gave them to the disciples.” The words he “gave” is literally “kept giving” – (imperfect tense) them to the disciples. Jesus kept producing bread and fish in his hands with the supernatural power of the Creator. Jesus kept on creating tons of barley cakes and fish between the palms of his hands until all of the thousands were fed. Verse seventeen concludes the story by saying, “So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them” The lesson is that Jesus does not demand what we cannot supply, he only requires disciples through whom he can work!
They Suffered From A Lack of Vision and
2. Suffered From A Lack Of Perspective
In verse twenty-eight we are told that Jesus takes three of the disciples (Peter, James and John) up the mountain to pray. Because they are weary, they fall asleep. While the three privileged disciples sleep they miss a glorious display of God’s power and glory.