Luke 9

* The apostles sent forth. (1-9) The multitude miraculously fed.

(10-17) Peter's testimony to Christ, Self-denial enjoined.

(18-27) The transfiguration. (28-36) An evil spirit cast out.

(37-42) Christ checks the ambition of his disciples. (43-50) He

reproves their mistaken zeal. (51-56) Every thing to be given up

for Christ. (57-62)

1-9 Christ sent his twelve disciples abroad, who by this time

were able to teach others what they had received from the Lord.

They must not be anxious to commend themselves to people's

esteem by outward appearance. They must go as they were. The

Lord Jesus is the fountain of power and authority, to whom all

creatures must, in one way or another, be subject; and if he

goes with the word of his ministers in power, to deliver sinners

from Satan's bondage, they may be sure that he will care for

their wants. When truth and love thus go together, and yet the

message of God is rejected and despised, it leaves men without

excuse, and turns to a testimony against them. Herod's guilty

conscience was ready to conclude that John was risen from the

dead. He desired to see Jesus; and why did he not go and see

him? Probably, because he thought it below him, or because he

wished not to have any more reprovers of sin. Delaying it now,

his heart was hardened, and when he did see Jesus, he was as

much prejudiced against him as others, #Lu 23:11|.
10-17 The people followed Jesus, and though they came

unseasonably, yet he gave them what they came for. He spake unto

them of the kingdom of God. He healed those who had need of

healing. And with five loaves of bread and two fishes, Christ

fed five thousand men. He will not see those that fear him, and

serve him faithfully, want any good thing. When we receive

creature-comforts, we must acknowledge that we receive them from

God, and that we are unworthy to receive them; that we owe them

all, and all the comfort we have in them, to the mediation of

Christ, by whom the curse is taken away. The blessing of Christ

will make a little go a great way. He fills every hungry soul,

abundantly satisfies it with the goodness of his house. Here

were fragments taken up: in our Father's house there is bread

enough, and to spare. We are not straitened, nor stinted in

Christ.
18-27 It is an unspeakable comfort that our Lord Jesus is God's

Anointed; this signifies that he was both appointed to be the

Messiah, and qualified for it. Jesus discourses concerning his

own sufferings and death. And so far must his disciples be from

thinking how to prevent his sufferings, that they must prepare

for their own. We often meet with crosses in the way of duty;

and though we must not pull them upon our own heads, yet, when

they are laid for us, we must take them up, and carry them after

Christ. It is well or ill with us, according as it is well or

ill with our souls. The body cannot be happy, if the soul be

miserable in the other world; but the soul may be happy, though

the body is greatly afflicted and oppressed in this world. We

must never be ashamed of Christ and his gospel.
28-36 Christ's transfiguration was a specimen of that glory in

which he will come to judge the world; and was an encouragement

to his disciples to suffer for him. Prayer is a transfiguring,

transforming duty, which makes the face to shine. Our Lord

Jesus, even in his transfiguration, was willing to speak

concerning his death and sufferings. In our greatest glories on

earth, let us remember that in this world we have no continuing

city. What need we have to pray to God for quickening grace, to

make us lively! Yet that the disciples might be witnesses of

this sign from heaven, after awhile they became awake, so that

they were able to give a full account of what passed. But those

know not what they say, that talk of making tabernacles on earth

for glorified saints in heaven.
37-42 How deplorable the case of this child! He was under the

power of an evil spirit. Disease of that nature are more

frightful than such as arise merely from natural causes. What

mischief Satan does where he gets possession! But happy those

that have access to Christ! He can do that for us which his

disciples cannot. A word from Christ healed the child; and when

our children recover from sickness, it is comfortable to receive

them as healed by the hand of Christ.
43-50 This prediction of Christ's sufferings was plain enough,

but the disciples would not understand it, because it agreed not

with their notions. A little child is the emblem by which Christ

teaches us simplicity and humility. What greater honour can any

man attain to in this world, than to be received by men as a

messenger of God and Christ; and to have God and Christ own

themselves received and welcomed in him! If ever any society of

Christians in this world, had reason to silence those not of

their own communion, the twelve disciples at this time had; yet

Christ warned them not to do the like again. Those may be found

faithful followers of Christ, and may be accepted of him, who do

not follow with us.
51-56 The disciples did not consider that the conduct of the

Samaritans was rather the effect of national prejudices and

bigotry, than of enmity to the word and worship of God; and

through they refused to receive Christ and his disciples, they

did not ill use or injure them, so that the case was widely

different from that of Ahaziah and Elijah. Nor were they aware

that the gospel dispensation was to be marked by miracles of

mercy. But above all, they were ignorant of the prevailing

motives of their own hearts, which were pride and carnal

ambition. Of this our Lord warned them. It is easy for us to

say, Come, see our zeal for the Lord! and to think we are very

faithful in his cause, when we are seeking our own objects, and

even doing harm instead of good to others.
57-62 Here is one that is forward to follow Christ, but seems

to have been hasty and rash, and not to have counted the cost.

If we mean to follow Christ, we must lay aside the thoughts of

great things in the world. Let us not try to join the profession

of Christianity, with seeking after worldly advantages. Here is

another that seems resolved to follow Christ, but he begs a

short delay. To this man Christ first gave the call; he said to

him, Follow me. Religion teaches us to be kind and good, to show

piety at home, and to requite our parents; but we must not make

these an excuse for neglecting our duty to God. Here is another

that is willing to follow Christ, but he must have a little time

to talk with his friends about it, and to set in order his

household affairs, and give directions concerning them. He

seemed to have worldly concerns more upon his heart than he

ought to have, and he was willing to enter into a temptation

leading him from his purpose of following Christ. No one can do

any business in a proper manner, if he is attending to other

things. Those who begin with the work of God, must resolve to go

on, or they will make nothing of it. Looking back, leads to

drawing back, and drawing back is to perdition. He only that

endures to the end shall be saved.
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