Reading for Thursday, March 15: Luke 9
Luke 9 is really a pivot point in Luke’s Gospel. We find Jesus doing many of the same things Luke has already recorded: teaching, healing, casting out demons, performing miracles. But we also find Jesus resolutely turning His face toward Jerusalem (v53). Jesus reveals to His disciples God’s ultimate plan of redemption: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised,” (v22). And he says it again: “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men,” (v44). The remainder of Luke’s Gospel will focus on Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem and, ultimately, His death and resurrection.
Along the way, Jesus is going to give us some of His most profound teaching on the nature of discipleship. Look at what Jesus has to say about what it means to follow Him:
In vv1-6, He commissions His followers to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Following Jesus necessarily entails a life of proclamation.
In vv18-20, Peter confesses Jesus as Christ, God’s Messiah. Following Jesus necessarily entails a life of confession, both in word and deed.
In vv23-26, Jesus calls His followers to take up their own crosses. Following Jesus necessarily entails daily, willful recognition of the call to self-sacrificial living.
In v43, the crowds are astonished at the majestic power of God at work before them. Following Jesus leads to a life of wonder and awe.
In vv46-48, Jesus acknowledges the lowly position of a child, teaching them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,” (v48). Following Jesus requires a posture of humility to receive the least over against self-advancing appeals to the greatest.
In vv51-56, Jesus and his disciples are rejected by a village of Samaritans. Following Jesus means responding to rejection in love rather than hate.
And finally, in vv57-62, Jesus offers some “hard sayings” on the cost of discipleship. Following Jesus is to pledge ultimate allegiance to Him, committing oneself to His way no matter the cost.
Sandwiched in between these episodes is the glorious Transfiguration account of vv28-36, culminating in God’s declaration: “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” (v35). Following Jesus is the ultimate recognition of God’s willful interaction in human history, the fulfillment of every promise of the Law and the Prophets.
Following Jesus is a life of listening to Him, accepting His lordship, recognizing Christ as the defining center of history and, moreover, the defining point of our lives.
This is what it means to follow Jesus.