Summary: Sometimes as Christians we have rough edges that Jesus needs to knock off us including unbelief, pride, competition, judgmentalism and self interest
“Knocking off rough edges – Luke 9:37-62”
Gladstone Baptist Church – 12/3/06 am
S1 - Most people think that we are pretty good Christians and that Jesus is lucky to have us on his side. The disciples thought this also
There was once a man named Tom who was promoted to vice president of his company. He was so excited about his promotion that he kept bragging about it to his wife for weeks on end.
Finally she couldn’t take it any longer, and told him, "Listen, vice president means nothing, they even have a vice president of peas at the grocery store!"
"No they don’t do they? Really?" he said. Not sure if this was true or not, Tom decided to call the grocery store. A lady answered and Tom asked, "Can I please talk to the Vice President of peas?"
The lady replied, "Would that be canned or frozen?"
Have you ever had one of those moments where you thought you’d done something pretty good and then you were just brought crashing down to earth? I get that all the time. I think something has gone fairly well and then I hear someone say that it wasn’t as good as I thought it was. How does that make you feel when that happens?
It is good to sit back and reflect on how we are going in life – but our reflection has to be realistic and tempered by what others around us think. I don’t know about you, but I often wonder how God thinks I am going in my spiritual life. I know that there are some areas that I struggle with – like regular quiet times, like deep and meaningful prayer times. But over all, I often come to the conclusion that I’m not doing too badly and that God is lucky to have me on his team.
Is this how you usually assess your spiritual walk? You’d get a pass mark for spiritual maturity if it came to it. When I look at Jesus’ disciples in the Bible, I see them thinking pretty much the same. They were the chosen few and they felt pretty chuffed about it at times. Jesus was surely proud of them – who wouldn’t be – they were measuring up fairly well as disciples.
S2 - But when it came to whether they had enough faith to heal a demon possessed man – they failed to measure up. Jesus had to knock the sharp edge of unbelief off them. (9:37-43)
One day however, a man came to Jesus, seeking help – You’ll find this in Luke 9:37 if you want to follow along. It was just after Jesus, Peter, James and John had come down from the mountain where Jesus had been transfigured. These lucky three had just seen Jesus’ glory and majesty and I’m sure they were feeling fairly stoked at being a part of it, but their bubble was soon to be burst.
This man came to Jesus bringing his son who was possessed by a demon. His son had been possessed since his early childhood and it had often tried to kill the boy by throwing him into fires or into rivers or lakes. The boy that was brought was in a mess. I imagine that he had eyes that were wide open and wild. I imagine that on his little body were the scars from burns and injuries suffered in the past . I imagine that his parents were scared to let their son out of their sight in case he started convulsing and do himself more damage. He was a tortured boy and when he was brought to Jesus, the spirit took hold of him and threw him to the ground in a fit. The boy began to scream and foam at the mouth. Everyone took a step backwards as the boy rolled around in the dust and dirt at their feet.
The father who brought his son, looked at Jesus through eyes of despair for this was his only child. Imagine having only one child and instead of him bringing joy and fun and laughter, instead bringing worry, fear and pain. This Dad, pleaded with Jesus to help him. He said “ Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”
This Dad had exhausted his options, he’d already asked Jesus’ disciples for help. He thought that surely they also had power like their teacher. The disciples obviously thought they should have had power also, because they tried to drive out the demon – but they failed. They failed because of their lack of faith. They failed to measure up to the man’s expectations, they failed to measure up to their own expectations and they failed to measure up to Jesus’ expectations.