Summary: We focus too much on the love of Jesus for us at the expense of focussing on Jesus’ love for the Father. True disciples devote themselves to doing the will of the Father as Jesus did.
DISCIPLESHIP – DOING THE FATHER’S WILL - Luke 9
How many of you here are observing Lent in one way or another. Some people observe Lent merely out of ritual or as a tradition. I was astonished and somewhat bemused when Liz told me of someone she knows who is giving up swearing for Lent!
Lent – what do we make of it? Should we not be in the spirit of Lent all year around?
Lent is one of the oldest church traditions. It is a way of preparing ourselves spiritually to remember the events of Easter week in the manner of Jesus’ fast in the wilderness for 40 days.
Many of us dismiss Lent because we see it as a church tradition. And yet it is a good opportunity for fasting in one way or another. King David said ‘I humbled my soul with fasting’ (Ps 35:13). Fasting is a spiritual discipline and the observance of a fast during the 40 days of Lent can be a discipline that both humbles the soul and focuses the mind – enhancing our appreciation of what Jesus Christ has done for us in his death.
Our series on the Drama of Scripture continues with the ministry of Jesus as it moves towards its conclusion, and it coincides with season of Lent.
Jesus had taught and preached in Capernaum. He had then gone to preach in Samaria and now -
Luke 9:51 tells us that Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem (set his face as a flint)
READING – Luke 9:51-62
• What might it have been like to journey with Jesus?
• Are there parallels in the Christian life between the ministry of Jesus and our own way of living as Christians?
We might not have been able to join with Jesus on his physical journey, but there is a sense in which we can join with Jesus on a spiritual journey in this season of Lent.
Travelling with Jesus was quite extraordinary
(quote Nicky Gumbel)
‘He went to a party and turned water into wine’ We could also add that he took one boy’s picnic and fed 5000 – went to the seaside and walked on water… went to a hospital and healed the sick…went to a funeral and raised the dead.
Did Jesus have a strategy? Yes.
THE JOURNEYS OF JESUS
• The first part of Jesus’ ministry was in the region of Galilee around Capernaum.
• After about two years Jesus journeyed outside Jewish Galilee into Gentile territory.
• Opposition grew. Jesus turned his attention to instructing and preparing his disciples to carry on his work.
• Then he embarked on the final phase of his journey to Jerusalem and to the cross.
It was just before Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem that we read about Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Christ, and the account of Jesus being transfigured on the mountain.
READING Luke 9:18-35
Although Jesus was unique, the people of the day had various theories about who Jesus was.
Jesus asked Peter two questions:
Luke 9:18 ‘WHO DO THE CROWDS SAY THAT I AM?’
Some thought he was:
- John the Baptist – (Risen from the dead)
- Elijah – A miracle worker (whose appearance was expected)
- One of the prophets – Any one of those who challenged the idolatry or moral standards of the people.
People today have opinions about Jesus.
Some say Jesus was just a good man.
CS Lewis made it clear that Jesus could not be ‘just a good man’. For he was either:
Deluded, a blasphemer or the Son of God. A good man cannot say he is the Son of God when he is not. The alternatives are either insanity or deceit, either of which lead people astray.
QUOTE: C.S. Lewis:
"It is a very foolish thing when people say,
"I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher,
but I don’t accept His claim to be God."
Jesus was unique.
BUT THEN COMES THE SECOND QUESTION:
“BUT WHAT ABOUT YOU?” WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
“The Christ of God” Luke 19:20
This was pivotal. Not long after Jesus was transfigured on the mountain witnessed by Peter, James and John. And soon after that he resolutely set out for Jerusalem. His call to all who would follow him was this:
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
WHAT PARALLELS TO DO WE FIND BETWEEN THE LIFE JESUS LIVED AND LIFE HE CALLS UPON US TO FOLLOW?
Is there a pattern that we can observe as disciples of Christ?
1. THE CALL TO BAPTISM
Jesus’ ministry began with his baptism. He set himself apart and devoted himself to doing the Father’s will for which he had been sent.