Memphis Belle

Untitled Document
Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
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Luke 9:1-27

 

“Then he called the twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.  And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.  And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.  And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.  And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.  And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.  Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him:  and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; and of some, Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.  And Herod said, John have I beheaded:  but who is this, of whom I hear such things?  And he desired to see him.  And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done.  And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.  And the people, when they knew it, followed him:  and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.  And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals:  for we are here in a desert place.  But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat.  And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.  For they were about five thousand men.  And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.  And they did so, and made them all sit down.  Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.  And they did eat, and were all filled:  and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.  And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him:  and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?  They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.  He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  Peter answering said, The Christ of God.  And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.  But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”

 

“‘Father, we settle our hearts, as we continue this evening.  And Lord, Lord I think of Peter and James and John and Matthew, Lord, those disciples Andrew and Philip, Lord, the beauty and the privilege that they had to sit on the green hills of Judea, and to look into your face, and see the look in your eyes, and to hear the tone of your voice, and to hear the words that we’ve come to love so much, Lord, fall from your lips.  And yet Lord, blessed are those who have believed without seeing.  And Lord, I believe deep in my heart that you have not denied us any blessing that you gave to them.  So Lord, as we continue this evening, we thank you for a public facility to meet in, a place where we can gather, and Lord, that we can sing your praises.  Lord we pray as we continue, that you would be in our midst, Lord, that our hearts might receive, Lord, from your Spirit this evening.  You’re the same yesterday, today and forever Lord, and as your Holy Ghost moves amongst us, Lord, and we journey through Luke, Lord, we pray that you would be as real to us, Lord, as we gather.  That Lord in our hearts each of us as individuals might receive our portion from you.  And Lord I pray that I might receive Lord from you as we’re gathered.  And Lord we pray for those here this evening that perhaps, Lord, are searching, or don’t know you in a personal way, Lord, that they might sense Lord that there’s nothing Lord that we’re doing here Lord just for the sake of ceremony, Lord, but that we’re genuinely here to sing your praises and to seek your face and to study your Word.  Lord, we believe, you are, as you say in the Book of Revelation, moving in the midst of the churches, the Seven Lampstands, Lord, that when two or three of us are gathered in your name, you’re in the midst.  So we look for your continued guidance this evening, your presence Lord, your feeding, we pray in Jesus name, amen.’  [The Seven Lampstands, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation1.html , “When two or three of you are gathered together in my name”, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Prayer-groupGuidelines.htm]

 

Where We’re At In Jesus’ Ministry

 

Luke chapter 9, Jesus is about two and a half years into his public ministry, with approximately a year left.  The disciples have been with him a year and a half, they’ve know him for two and a half years.  They’ve been following him for probably about a year and a half.  And we can think of the incredible things they’ve seen and they’ve heard, the raising of the dead, the healing of the sick, the Sermon on the Mount, the calming of the wind and the sea.  And all of that in context of looking into his face and listening to his words and being with him, and climbing through the hills of Judea with Jesus, and going through rocky hills and having Jesus reach back and pull them up, and sitting around the fire, having a spark shoot out and get on Peter’s robe and everybody going ‘Aahh!’, or somebody spilling their glass of wine and laughing at each other, or getting a bee in their hair, ‘Aaah!’.  I mean, just, they were men, and were together, and it was in a agricultural society, and they were there with each other.  And as John the Baptist talked about Jesus, he said “I would not have known him, accept the one who sent me to baptize said ‘The one upon whom you see the Spirit descending like a dove and abiding upon, that’s the One.’”  And John, what he’s telling us is, ‘If Jesus was sitting here this evening, and he had on jeans and tennis shoes and a shirt, that you wouldn’t be able to tell him from anybody in the crowd.  Of course if he had sandals and a robe on we’d be a little suspicious.  But if he was sitting here this evening dressed like the rest of us, he wouldn’t be glowing, there’d be no orchestra accompanying his speech, he came to be with us, and in our midst.  And now as they head into this last year with him, he will communicate things that will benefit the Church after his death and resurrection.  He is investing in them things that will be pertinent in those that would write the Scripture, ah, very important time as he is with them.

 

Jesus starts stirring up Galilee and Judea by sending the twelve on their first missionary tour

 

Chapter 9, verses 1-6 say, “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.  And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.  And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.”  ‘Don’t take a suitcase and a backpack.’  “And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.  And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.  And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.”  Now, important, as Jesus sends them out, he sends them out, it says, with, now this is Judas too, remember.  He sends them with power and authority, with dunamis and exousia.  He sends them with power, dunamis, Jesus told the disciples in the first chapter of the book of Acts we read, ‘Wait in Jerusalem until you are endued with ‘power from on high.’  That’s dunamis, the anointing of the Spirit on their lives so that we would serve Christ and his kingdom, not in the energy of our own flesh, but in the anointing of the Spirit.  But it says here that he gave them dunamis, he gave them power and authority, exousia [Strongs #1849, exousia :---authority, jurisdiction…power, right, strength]  that is, he gave them the royal right or the royal privilege over all devils [demons] and all disease.  So the idea here is very different from what we have in the Book of Acts, because the King was in their midst, he took them, and when he sends them out, not only does he give them power, but he gives them the authority to exercise it freely over all demons, over all sickness, over the dead, raising the dead, healing the sick, cleansing lepers, with just all authority.  And he sends them out as public relation men.  Now it’s the last year, they’re going before him, and they’re stirring up the whole area. And he will be following after them, preaching through the cities of Judea and of Galilee.  Very important for you to take note of that, because there are those today in the Church [i.e. the greater Body of Christ] that would compare this ministry of Jesus sending out his disciples, and kind of overlay that on you, and maybe question you why you don’t see any real power or authority…We don’t see him giving the Church exousia anywhere.  He doesn’t give those who serve him in the Church just the royal privilege to exercise whatever power they want whenever they want to.  We don’t see that.  Now some of the people we see on TV may give you that impression.  They walk around swinging around their sports jacket, and people are falling over, and they may give you the impression they have just the complete authority to do whatever they want whenever they want to.  They don’t.  In fact, it’s used of kings in the Book of Acts, those in authority have exousia.  But the next time we see it in a spiritual sense, is the anti-christ will be given exousia, because, it says, people in the world love not the truth, God will give them over to believe a lie, and he [the anti-christ] will be given the power of all lying signs and wonders, and there will be an era before this world is over when the anti-christ has the authority from God, to perform miracles without restraint.  Whatever he so desires to wield in front of people’s eyes to deceive them, he will do.  But here the disciples are given power.  You and I have that, we’re encouraged to walk in the power of the Spirit.  But they’re also given this exousia, and they’re sent out.  Now Jesus says to them, ‘When you go, don’t take anything for your journey.’  Now this is not enjoined on the Church [Body of Christ] either.  Because he will say in Luke chapter 22, ‘Now when you go take a scrip when you go, take money, if you don’t have a sword sell something and buy one.’  It will be a different story that we get later on in Luke.  But now he’s sending them out with his authority, his exousia for a temporary ministry in this last year, as the Kingdom is being preached and the Good News is coming to the people.  ‘Don’t take money, don’t take two coats, whatsoever house you enter into, abide there.’  Another words, if someone lets you into their house, and they’re having Spaghetti’Os and Hamburger Helper for dinner, and you hear they’re having Prime Rib next door, don’t move to the next house.  If you go somewhere and they have you in there, you stay there while you minister in that city, and then depart from that house.  Another Gospel says ‘Let your peace abide on it.’  It says if they don’t receive you there, shake off the very dust of your feet as a testimony against them.  Now, you have to understand, they understood what he was talking about, because the Jew in Jesus’ day understood well that Israel was a specific piece of real estate that God had set his affections on.  Deuteronomy 11 says his eyes are upon Israel forever, that he observes it, that it is different from all the other real estate on the face of the earth in the heart of God.  And they understand that it was the “Holy Land.”  But what they didn’t understand is what that meant, in their Pharisaic and self-righteous attitude, a Jew if he went to Tyre and Sidon or if he went over into the area of Jordan, if he left Israel proper, the Holy Land, when he came back across the border into Israel, he would shake the dust off of his feet so that he wouldn’t bring Gentile dust into the Holy Land.  Jesus is telling them, ‘When you are walking under my guidance and you are walking under my instruction, you are in the Holy Land, wherever it is.  ‘And in any city, even in Israel, whoever doesn’t receive the Word of God,’ which was to set Israel apart from all of the nations of the world, ‘even that city,’ Jesus says, ‘shake off the dust of your feet as a testimony against them.’ 

 

They are is so stirred up that even Herod starts to wonder

 

“And they departed, and went through the towns,  preaching the gospel, and healing every where.  Now Herod the tetrarch”---this is the one who, Antipas, had cut off John the Baptist’s head---“heard of all that was done by him:  and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; and of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.”  So there was a big bruha going on because of these men going around, people being raised from the dead, the lepers being cleansed, demons being cast out, there’s a big stir, and Jesus is following up, and the Kingdom is being preached.  It says, “Now Herod the tetrarch heard all that was done by him, he was perplexed, because that it was said of some that John was risen from the dead.”  Now I bet he was perplexed.  Because he cut John’s head off, and gave it to the daughter of Salome on a platter.  Now imagine all of a sudden Herod is hearing all this, Herod’s hearing of all this miraculous stuff that’s going on.  And his conscience is pricked anyway.  And now he’s hearing some people say ‘John the Baptist is risen from the dead!’  Now you know when he went to bed at night, he went to bed with a candle on, a light on.  Because as he was laying in bed at night, he was expecting that door to swing open and John the Baptist would come walking in with no head, with his head on the platter, and the head on the platter saying ‘You thought you killed me, huh?’  You know he had nightmares, a guilty conscience.  He was perplexed, I bet he was.  “And some said that Elijah had appeared.”  And because the Jews were waiting for Elijah, because Malachi, chapter 4 had said “Before the great and terrible day of the LORD come, behold I send Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest I smite the earth with a curse.”  There’s grace there, “lest.”  “And others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.  And Herod said, John have I beheaded:  but who is this, of whom I hear such things?  And he desired to see him”  (verses 8-9).  And he would, about a year later, during Jesus’ trial.

 

No Rest For The Weary

 

“And the apostles, when they returned, told him all that they had done.  And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida” (verse 10).  So this must have been a special time for them, Jesus said to them ‘Let’s go apart for awhile.’  Vance Hafner says if you don’t come apart for awhile, you’ll come apart.  He took them and said, ‘Let’s just go aside for awhile.’  And I can imagine the trip across the Sea of Galilee, just the guys thinking, ‘We’re going to have some R & R now, we’re going to have some time with the Lord.’  It was spring, it was beautiful.  The Sea of Galilee is 15 miles long, about 7 miles wide, those of you who have been there know that you can see from a hill, you can see the whole perimeter of the Sea of Galilee, see all the way across.  So they headed across to this area of Bethsaida.  Of course the problem is, the people can see him.  If you get on a hill anywhere around the Sea of Galilee you can see him and his disciples headed across in the boat.  And that’s what happens at this point in time.  They start watching.  “And the people, when they knew it, followed him:  and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing” (verse 11).  Now what happens is, Jesus and the guys are going across the Sea of Galilee in a boat, they’re going probably from the area of Capernaum kind of heading eastward over towards Bethsaida.  As that goes on, the word’s spreading, ‘There he goes, there goes the Rabbi.’  And you can just see them, running through Capernaum, running around the northern end of the lake, they’re having a foot-race, they’re all headed around, because they can see where the boat’s headed.  And by the time Jesus gets to the shore, there’s 5,000 men, plus women and children waiting for him.  And you can imagine the disciples, ‘Great R & R, great time alone with Jesus.’  And they’re going to give Jesus all this marvelous information, they’re going to say ‘Lord, it’s getting late.’  ‘Well thanks guys, Lord of the Universe, I need that kind of information.’  ‘There’s nothing here for them to eat.  ‘Wish I had thought of that.’  I mean, you guys counseling Jesus.  And finally they’re saying, ‘Send them away!  Send them away.’  And they’re in that time in their ministry where more than once they say to Jesus, ‘Send them away!  Send them away!’  And you can get people’d out sometimes.  And we want Jesus to send other people away, not us of course.  Now these are the guys that are going to represent Christ after he ascends.  So there’s still some work to do.  At this point they’re saying ‘Send them away!  Send them away!’  This crowd now follows him.  “And he received them,” because he sees them, Mark tells us, as sheep without a shepherd.  He looks at the multitude, and he sees them as sheep, without a shepherd.  You see, because he understands something that’s essential to human life.  And that is, that no human being alive was meant to live without a shepherd.  As God created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden he came in the cool of the day, and he had fellowship with them.  And there is no human on earth that was meant to live without God’s shepherding care, without his love, without his guidance. 

 

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

 

“And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals:  for we are here in a desert place” (verse 12).  If you watch the Beverly Hillbillies  you know what we’re talking about here.  “For we are here in a desert place”, important for Jesus know, ‘Really?’  A desert place?  No fast food, the closest McDonald’s is 2,000 years away.  “But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat”---‘You give them something to eat.’  The central thing that’s going to happen here, now, and you have to understand, this is the only miracle before the Resurrection that’s recorded in all four Gospels.  All four Gospel writers wrote about this feeding of the 5,000.  It made such a dramatic impression upon their lives.  And then there are many other things Matthew, Mark and Luke kind of juggle around a little, and certain accounts are exclusive in one Gospel or another.  But this is the one thing before the Resurrection that all four of them record for us.  And that I believe is because it made such a dramatic impression upon them, and certainly the lesson was for them.  And there was compassion for the people.  Jesus sees them as sheep without a shepherd.  And we know that the LORD is our Shepherd, thou shalt not want, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures,’ we see Christ here making them sit down, Mark says, in the green grass in companies of 50 and companies of 100.  And Jesus can’t rest, the guys are tired, they’ve got boat-lag, you know, they’ve been traveling, or donkey-lag or whatever you have in those days, sandal-lag, they’re shot, they’re tired.  Jesus sees the multitude, he always has time for them, ‘Send them away’.  Again, I love it in Zephaniah where it says there’s a day coming in the Kingdom where he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”  (Zephaniah 3:17)  The fact is that today Jesus loves us, but Jesus does not rest in his love.  Imagine if you had children in a hostile area of the world right now, this evening, you know your children were somewhere where there was an enemy who wanted to take their soul and kill them.  As Jesus looks at the world, he loves the world, in the sense of the sea of humanity, and he so loved that world that he [God the Father] gave his only begotten Son that whoever would believe would not perish, but have everlasting life.  And he loves, but he does not yet rest in his love.  There’s a day coming when Satan will be put away [with all of the demons too], when weapons will be put away, when the Lord will be ruling over the entire earth, and the Redeemed will be there.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm]  Then, the Bible says in Zephaniah 3:17, “he will rest in his love, and he will joy over thee with singing.”  Isn’t that interesting?  I wonder what kind of a voice he will have?  Last night Cathy and I were sitting up, there was a special on about The Who.  If you’re young you’re probably saying ‘Who?’  The Who, and it took us back, it was in Black and White, of course, in the days we grew up in.  And looking at Roger Daltry, and man, he had a set of pipes on him, you know.  But I think, that ain’t nothing.  It tells us in the Psalms that the Lord, his voice shakes the cedars of Lebanon, causes the hinds to give birth to their calves, that the wild goats give birth when he sings.  So, he’s going to hit a note and the whole Universe is going to reverberate.  The day’s coming when he’ll rest in his love.  But he has no rest at this point in time, he looks at the multitude, they’re like sheep without a shepherd.  And he begins to minister to them and heal them and speak to them of the Kingdom of God. 

 

‘I Have the Resources You Need For Ministry’

 

And then he turns to his disciples, and he’s going to challenge them, because he has something to teach them.  They say ‘Well send them away, it’s getting dark, you can’t get vittles here, send them away.’  He says to them, ‘Well you give them something to eat.’  Now John gives us a remarkable part of the record, it says Philip right away, and evidently that’s the way God wired him, he pulls out paper and pencil and says, ‘Let’s see, we have so many denarii, that’s two cents per person…’ he’s right away, here he is sitting in front of the Creator of the Universe, Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord our Provider with a paper and pencil figuring out how to feed 5,000 men plus women and children.  You know, he’s sitting there with a…so we see him telling the Lord, ‘This is what we need, the kingdom’s not going to go forward unless we have this, this, and this, this is what we need here.’  There’s people like that today, thinking the Kingdom can’t go forward unless it meets the budget they’ve got figured out.  Andrew, when Jesus says ‘You give them something to eat’ says, ‘We have here five small loaves and two fishes.’ Now I wonder, right after he said that I think all the other disciples went, all their eyebrows must have went up.  ‘WHAT?!’  ‘I have five loaves and two fishes.’  He must have thought, ‘I can’t believe I said that.’  Everybody’s looking at him.  ‘Here’s a PBJ, how’s that?’  5,000 people sitting there plus women and children.  And then there’s a colon [:], I’ll read it to you, he says to Jesus, “There’s a lad here which has five barley loaves and two small fishes” colon, :, that means there’s a pause.  That means everybody looked at him and said, ‘WHAT?!?’  And then, we don’t know how long it took, but he said, ‘but what are they amongst so many?’  He adds that onto the end there.  He must have thought, ‘I can’t believe I said that.’  Now I’m glad there was a little lad there, who was naive enough to volunteer his lunch, because I know if it was an adult that had the five fishes and two loaves, he’d have never pulled them out.  And I’m glad that there was a Mom somewhere that morning that cared enough to, you know how a kid, everybody’s running to see the Master, and it was almost like a circus environment, a healing side-show, people followed him for the wrong reason many times.  And as this kid no doubt is running out the door, ‘Where you going?  I’m going to go see the Master.  Did you wash your ears?  Did you brush your teeth?  Did you comb your hair?’  Same thing we say to our kids.  ‘Did you pack a lunch?’  ‘Here’s a PBJ,’ but in those days it was five loaves and two fishes.  She had no idea she was going to feed over 10,000 people that day, just because she was a good Mom.  Now there are some who say ‘Well, what really happened,’ those who like to explain away miracles, ‘is that they had these big rolls in their sleeves and everybody kept food there.’  Like you would enjoy walking around with smoked fish in your sleeves.  [laughter]  Somebody cut me a break, please.  Well Jesus wanted them to come to those conclusions, you know, the one guy’s there with the pencil, ‘no, we don’t have enough to do today,’ another guy’s looking at what they have, and saying ‘We don’t have the resources, they’ll kill each other over this PBJ,’ because everybody’s sitting there hungry staring at ‘em.  And they’re basically answering Jesus’ charge when he says ‘You give them something to eat,’ by saying ‘We don’t have enough resources to do this.’  Now see, that’s important for them to know, because they’re going to go out when Jesus ascends, and evangelize the world, and they have to know about his resources.   They said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fishes, except that we should go and buy food for all those people,’ “for there were about five thousand men” Matthew and Luke say, plus women and children.  “And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.  And they did so, and made them sit down” (verses 14-15).  Now you have to get the scene, you have to realize something here.  These boys had never read the chapter.  They don’t know what’s going on.  Here they are, five loaves and two fishes, you know, this big, barley loaves, which was the cheapest form of bread for the poorest people, little ball of food about this big.  Jesus says to them in Matthew, ‘Well, give it to me’, which is the most important phrase in the whole story.  He takes it, this little, you know, McFish sandwich, and he says ‘Make them sit down in companies of fifties.  So you can imagine the twelve apostles going out now, fifty here, hundred here, all the people saying ‘What’s going on?  What’s going on? and they’re saying ‘What do we tell ‘em?  Ah, doesn’t matter, the Master says sit down.’  They’re getting 10,000 people sitting down, and they’re looking at Jesus with a McFish sandwich.  And then look what it says.  Now remember, they hadn’t read the story.  ‘Make them sit down by fifties in company, they did so, they made them all sit down, “Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them,” You know what that says, “he blessed them”?  Jesus looked up to heaven and said grace.  He’s got 10,000 people sitting down, he’s got a McFish sandwich, the disciples are wearing riot gear, never read this before, didn’t know the chapter.  Jesus’ is holding these little things in his hand, looking to heaven saying ‘Father, we’re so thankful for this meal.’  The disciples are looking around thinking ‘They’re going to eat us alive when they find out what’s going on.’  ‘Father, please bless this, we thank you for your provision, for your bounty’, saying grace.  And then it says “and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.”  Now the thing you don’t pick up in the King James is the word “break” there is in the present-perfect tense, it says, “he continued to break, and he continued to give”, there is a miracle of creation taking place right in his hand [sort of like the food replicator in Star Trek, the Next Generation].  As he’s breaking off the loaves, they’re growing, breaking it off, they’re extending, breaking off, they’re growing---as he’s breaking them the miracle’s taking place right in his hand.  Imagine having, imagine being able to do that with a steak sandwich or a hoagie, and he’s just breaking it off, and it’s growing, and they’re watching, and they’re going out and they’re going down the aisles between the groups of fifties and they’re giving it out, and they’re passing each other on the way back up to get more, and they’re saying ‘Can you believe this!?  I can’t believe what he’s doing!  Did you see that!?  What’s going on?’  And you know, they’re in as much shock as anybody, they’re feeding 10,000 people with two fishes and five loaves, and he’s breaking them off, breaking them off, and the miracle’s happening in his hand, it’s extending and extending and extending and extending, the Creator sitting in their midst, the LORD, the Shepherd of Israel, Jehovah-ra, remarkable scene.  And the guys no doubt, they’re sweating carrying these two fishes and five loaves out to 10,000 people. 

 

They’re All Filled, Glutted

 

They “set them before the multitude.  And they did eat, and were all filled:  and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.”    “all filled” now that’s glutted.  You know what that is.  That’s after thanksgiving dinner, football game’s coming on, you have so much triptophene in your system you’re only going to see part of it, you’re fading.  And you’re so full you can hardly breathe.  And that isn’t what bothers you, what bothers you is you don’t have room for desert, the heck with air, you know, and you’re thinking ‘I need to go for a walk,’ it’s freezing, you’re sticking your head outside so you can breathe till you feel like you’re going to pass out---that’s glutted, where you’re loosening your belt under the table, hoping nobody’s watching, thinking ‘I wish I was home with my sweatpants on.’  That’s glutted.  Now you have to understand, there’s a chance that many of these people had never been glutted, many poor people there, that had eaten, they had sustenance, they were alive.  There’s a good chance that there were thousands of people there that had never had that much food before in their life.  And they’re all sitting back on the grass, now, because they can’t sit up, it pushes on your diaphragm, your lungs can’t go down, they’re all sitting back, burrp, belching, they’re glutted.  Everybody’s zoning out, just imagine.  Now, but he’s not done with the disciples, he’s fed his flock, as it were.  And look what it says, “And there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.” (verse 17)  Now it’s not thirteen baskets, because Jesus had “meat to eat that they knew not off.”  Twelve baskets, that means, at the end of the day, the guys who at the beginning had been saying ‘Send them away, send them away, we need rest, we just need to renew our souls, we need Lord just to sit with you.’  Here they come at the end of the day, you can imagine, it’s just about dark, and they all come back to Jesus, because he doesn’t want to waste anything, and they gathered up the fragments, and each of them has their own basket, twelve baskets.  And it means the personal-sized basket.  And you imagine as they came to him and looked at him, I can’t help but think that Jesus had a little bit of a smirk on his face, looking at these guys.  He may have said, ‘Andrew, Peter, John, James, I appreciate you guys helping me, one of you guys want to say grace?’  Man, imagine what it was like saying grace with those twelve guys seated around the Master at the end of that day, each with their own basket.  No wonder it’s recorded in all the gospels.  What a scene.  How incredible. 

 

“Who Do You Say That I Am?”---Who Is Jesus?

 

It says, “And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him:  and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?  They answering said, ‘John the Baptist; but some say, Elias [Elijah]; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.  And he said unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  Peter answering said, The Christ of God.”  The Messiah.  Matthew tells us he says “Blessed art thou Simon bar Jonah, flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  The questions are central to life, ‘Whom do men say that I am?’ and ‘Whom do you say that I am?’  And you have to understand that the questions were asked in an atmosphere of hostility.  Jesus is going to kind of withdraw with the guys because it had gotten to the point where Herod Antipas is looking to get his hands on Christ to see what’s going on with him.  The political leaders were not in favor of this whole spiritual movement.  John the Baptist had pointed his finger at them, and called Herod an adulterer publicly, it was not politically correct to believe in Jesus.  Do you believe that?  The religious people, the religious leaders, it was not religiously correct to accept the Messiah of the Bible.  Can you imagine that?  It was an environment and an atmosphere of hostility, in a sense.  It was an atmosphere of rejection.  And to accept Christ for who he was, you might be rejected, of your friends, or of your family, those that are around you.  [That time’s a coming, in a sense it’s already here in America.]  But the questions remain.  “Who do men say that I am?”   Now it’s interesting, because they say ‘Well some of them say you’re John the Baptist.’  Very interesting, you and I have an idea of John the Baptist, we understand certain things about John the Baptist that John the Baptist didn’t understand about himself, and that the people didn’t understand about John the Baptist.  John the Baptist was the greatest prophet that had ever lived, Jesus says, more than a prophet.  He didn’t understand that about himself.  Because of all the Old Testament prophets, and the Bible says they prophecied from Samuel to John, he was the last of the Old Testament prophets, he alone was the one that could actually point the finger at Jesus and say “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”  That made his testimony clearer than any prophet that had ever lived.  He was a greater prophet than Abraham, or than David, or than Elijah or Isaiah or Ezekiel or Jeremiah, the greatest prophet that ever lived.  And yet it says in John chapter 10 he did no signs, never did a miracle, never spoke in tongues, never healed anybody.  The greatness of his ministry was the clarity of it, and the Bible tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  So he could point right at Jesus and say “Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.”  But the people didn’t know that, they heard it, but they didn’t appreciate that part of his greatness.  What they were amazed with was his courage, his boldness, he was as it were a reformer, he was calling people to “the baptism of repentance,” and he was challenging them about their sins, and he was pointing to the religious leaders and calling them a brood of vipers, and calling for reform there, and he was pointing at the political leaders, and he was calling for reform there.  And you see there are people who think that that’s all that Jesus is, is a great reformer.  [Comment:  Considering what John the Baptist was, and the work that he did, just so clearly described there---and that John the Baptist was sent to announce the Messiah’s 1st coming---I have always wondered whether the Church’s, the Body of Christ’s final work will be to perform a similar task, work, which was so clearly defined by Pastor Joe here?  Are we in these end-times called out to perform a “John the Baptist-type work which will challenge the whole world (and our nation) about their sins, pointing to the religious leaders and calling them a brood of vipers, calling for reform there…pointing at the political leaders, and calling for reform there”?  That’s something I have always wondered about concerning Jesus’ assignment for the Body of Christ for the end-times, which must also accompany his stated assignment in Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:18-20.  That’s a question we need to be asking ourselves, those of us who are in the active parts of the Body of Christ, as we prepare a people for his 2nd coming, just as John the Baptist did for Jesus’ 1st coming.]  [Jesus was] a great teacher, he had great things to say, social things, political things.  And they want to equate Jesus like that, ‘Jesus is a great moral teacher.’  Very dangerous.  Because he made some incredible claims.  And unless he was God and the Son of God, he was not a great moral teacher, he was a liar.  But there are those who still today think that he’s like John the Baptist.  Other’s say, ‘Well, Elijah,’ because who was Elijah?  Elijah was the miracle-worker of the Old Testament.  They saw the fish and the loaves, they saw the dead being raised, they saw the paralytic being healed, they saw the man with the withered hand in the synagogue straightening out, they saw that, and they said, ‘No, this is Elijah’ because he was a miracle worker.  But that wasn’t what he was, who he was, all those things were way less than who he was and what he was.  He was the Saviour, he was the Messiah, he was God in human flesh, the Son of Almighty God [he was also, in his pre-incarnate state, Yahweh, the very God of the Old Testament], Deity.  And there are people today that want to put all of these distinctions on Jesus [limiting who he is].  C.S. Lewis talked about how dangerous that was, that people want to make him a great teacher, or a great healer, or a great reformer.  That’s what people were doing in his day, and they didn’t know who he was.  Because he said he’s either God, or he’s a lunatic or a liar.  Josh McDowell kind of put that in the trilemma, lunatic, liar or Lord, he’s one of those three.  [Comment:  Any teaching that makes Jesus Christ out to be anything other than the very ever-existent God, making him out to be a created being, or anything else other than the ever-existent Creator God of the universe, is pure heresy.  The apostle John was fighting Gnosticism, which denies Christ’s Deity.  Another form of heresy which does this is Arianism.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm to understand more about these heresies and how to recognize them so you can avoid them.]  It’s a question you have to answer, because the next question is, “But who do you say that I am?”  And if you don’t know Christ tonight, you need to think about it, who was he?  You have to answer that question.  He was either a lunatic, and I’ll tell you why.  You don’t believe me?  He looked like ordinary men.  That’s what it says, that he came to walk amongst them.  And John the Baptist said ‘I wouldn’t have even known him except that God told me how he would point him out to me.’  Now imagine one of you guys, sometimes after church on Wednesday night, some of you, I don’t know if you’re guided by the Spirit, but you end up in Friendly’s, it has to be the Spirit to guide us to that ice-cream, doesn’t it?  But after you’re done eating, tonight, stand up on the table, and say ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man cometh to the Father but by Me!’  And watch all of your friends go, ‘We don’t know him, we don’t know him, never saw him before.’  Lunatic, lunatic.  That’s what everybody would think, lunatic.  Think of the things he said.  “If you have seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”  Imagine somebody in the crowd here tonight saying that.  ‘Hey, see me?  See God.’  [he laughs]  Ok, [They’re coming to take me away, haha, they’re coming to take me away, to the funny-farm…remember that one?  Try stating some of the things Jesus stated about himself, and the men in white coats would be taking you away.]  “I am the resurrection and the life.  He that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall live, and he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”  Imagine somebody who looks like an ordinary human being saying that.  And yet I think it’s extremely interesting, because we have a world today, we live under a government today that seems to be in some way (and we praise God for the good things, and for the good men and woman that serve in public office, and the Bible expects us to pray for our President and everybody who serves in public office, because the powers that be are ordained of God, that’s what the Bible says.  We should be praying for our public officials, for our mayor, and for the President, and for our military and for our policemen and firemen.  We should pray them.)---  but it isn’t politically correct to say Jesus is God, he’s the only Way, the Truth and the Life.  They don’t like that.  You’re part of some fringe.  [he chuckles]  And the scary thing is it isn’t even religiously correct, because so much of America that is in a post-Christian era has stepped away from the Word of God, and embraced sin in the name of ecumenicalism, and embraced all kinds of other forms of worship in the sense of universalism and ecumenicalism, and one-world religion [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism and http://en.wikidpedia.org/wiki/Universalim.]  It is appalling to see what has gone on.  We’re still left with that question, “Who do you say…” Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?”  He’s either a lunatic, because he said that, “No man comes to the Father…but I am the way the truth and the life.”  Imagine a guy standing up on the table tonight and saying that.  Or he’s a liar, deliberately out to deceive.  Or he is the LORD, or he is the LORD.  And everybody has to make a decision about that, and it is the most important question that any human being whoever lives will ever face, “Who do you say that I am?” in regards to Jesus Christ.  Your eternal destiny is attached to that question.  The quality of life you live, your perceptions are attached to that question.  And you see, it doesn’t matter if the government outlaws him, it doesn’t matter of the Church tries to put him out, because with all of this atmosphere of rejection that’s around today, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds are continually getting saved [entering into the process of salvation].  God is doing a great work.  And it isn’t by miracle-working and fire coming down from heaven, it isn’t by political reform like John the Baptist, it is simply by the Word of God and by the calling of the Spirit.  The same thing that it was then, they had the opportunity, they could say that, “you’re the Christ of God.”  And you know what?  It wasn’t because of the miracles, other people saw that, it wasn’t just because of his challenges, it was because of what was going on in their hearts, and Jesus would say “Flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, Simon bar Jonah, but my Father which is in heaven.”  It was a conviction, they looked into his eyes, they listened to the tone of his voice, and they sat with him, and they knew that he was the Christ.  And the Holy Ghost is still ministering that to people today, we see people get saved all the time, and it’s wonderful. 

 

‘Keep a lid on it for now, guys’

 

It says “And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;”---that he was the Christ.  Now why is that?  Well, as we go on you’ll see, because they’re still going to fight over who sits on his right hand and who sits on his left hand.  They haven’t got a clue, they say “you’re the Christ”, but they don’t know what that means.  Because even the Jews, the Messiah they were looking for was the Messiah that was going to set them free from Roman bondage, not the Messiah that was going to set them free from sin and [eternal] death.  They had a witness in the heart of who he was, but they didn’t know everything that meant yet.  Jesus says, ‘Don’t be my promotion people quite yet, please.  All the pieces of the puzzle are going to come together, but right now let’s keep a lid on that.  You’re right, I’m the Messiah, but hold that down a little bit right now.’  And he says because “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.”  Now Peter’s going to say, “Lord, far be it from you.”  And Jesus is going to say “Get thee behind me, Satan.”  In other words, this is so far away from their idea of who Jesus is, and what he was going to do.  That’s why he’s saying, ‘Do me a favor, don’t tell anybody.  Because you’re still fighting over whose going to sit on my right hand and on my left hand, I’m going to the cross.  So wait till you get the whole story before you start to spread the news.’ 

 

Count the Cost---The Cost of Discipleship

 

“And he said to them all,” and to us all, everybody here this evening, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (verse 23).  Now you’ve got to answer that first question, ‘Who is he?’  Who do you say that he is?  Is he just your Saviour, or is he your Saviour and your Lord?  Is he your King and your Shepherd and your Father and your Friend, your Guide?  Is he Sovereign in your life?  Is he who he says he is?  Do you receive that, is he the one who has the marching orders for your life?  Do you realize that he’s paid for you?  Are you really willing to say every day, “Jesus, your Word, your Spirit, I’m yours, I’m your servant, I’m your blood-bought child, you lead me”?  Are we willing to say that?  That depends on how you answer the question, ‘Who do you say that he is?’.  He says to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  “Continually following me” [present-perfect tense] the ideas is, “continually denying himself.”  “For whosoever will save his own life shall lose it:  but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,”---and that was the atmosphere, one of rejection, and that’s the atmosphere we live in today---“of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (verses 24-26).  He says ‘What’s going to war against this, that is, you taking up your cross and following him daily, and it implies moment by moment, and it isn’t self-denial, it’s denial of self, there’s a vast difference. 

 

The Cost, Giving Christ the Steering-Wheel to Your LIfe

 

Lots of people practice self-denial.  Jenny Craig, that’s self-denial.  But it’s really epitomizing self.  It’s not denial of self, but it’s self-denial.  You know, somebody who trains to be in the Olympics, you’re body-building, there’s all kinds of self-denial there, eating proteins and they’re working out so they can stand in front of the mirror and go, ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop, look at me standing in front of the mirror.’  That’s not denial of self, that is epitomizing self.  I mean, we can do that with karate, we can practice all kinds of self-denial that has nothing to do with denial of self.  Not that any of those things are wrong, it’s not my point.  But denial of self is way different.  The denial of self is setting aside your own interests, and yielding your life for somebody else.  He may say to you ‘Be the best body-builder in the world so you can stand up and give a testimony.’  He may say to you ‘Be the heavyweight champ, even if somebody does bite your ear off, [laughter] so you can give a good testimony.’   Of course when there’s two Christians fighting each other, it’s hard to tell then.  Or he may say, ‘Leave behind that thing that you’ve pursued, because I want you to go to China, or I want you to go to the inner city, or I want you to do this, or I want you to go to Bible school.’  You see, that’s denial of self, is giving him the steering-wheel. 

 

What Will War Against That In Your Life?

 

Now what will war against that in your life?  Well he says, “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world”?  Gain, the pursuit of gain.  You know, in the far east, ancient kings, sometimes if you pleased a king in India and in that part of the world, a king, he would give you a royal elephant.  You hear people talk about a white elephant.  Well he would give a white elephant.  Now, that was considered a great privilege, that the king would give you a white elephant.  But the problem was, he expected you to take care of that elephant for the rest of your life.  So if he felt indebted to you, or you had impressed him, or he wanted to show his gratitude to you for some reason, he would give you a white elephant.  Now if he was displeased with you, he might give you many white elephants, because you had to feed them all and take care of them all.  And it would end up to be your ruin.  And it’s kind of like that, you know, pursuing gain in this world.  One white elephant might be a blessing, many ends up to be a curse.  But Jesus goes way beyond that.  Let’s go beyond white elephants.  Let’s raise the stakes.  What would a man be gained if he gains a million bucks, no let’s go billions, what if you were the President of the United States, no let’s go all the way to the end, what’s the sense of messing around?  What will it profit a man or a woman if you gained the entire world, all of the nations of the world, all of the shipping, all of the money, all of the animals, all of the people, all of the power, all the military strength, what does it profit you if you gained the whole world, and lose your soul?  [I think of Alexander the Great when I read that verse, and I’m just finishing up a good history book about him.]  You know what Jesus is saying there, if you look at it, you think about it, he’s saying ‘You’re soul is worth more than the entire world, because this world, the Bible says, is passing away.  And one day Jesus is coming in his glory, and in the glory of his Father and all the holy angels, with fire, it says.  And in that moment, you will realize, your soul is something that’s eternal, and it has more value than the entire world to God.  That’s why he gave his own Son, so whoever would believe wouldn’t perish, but have everlasting life.  [Comment:  Within the Body of Christ there are various differing beliefs about heaven and hell, and the soul.  The point he’s making is valid, and applies equally well to all these interpretations.  But to read some of these interpretations, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.]  What does it gain you if you gain, you know, most of us, what do we sell out for?  $100?  Jesus says, ‘Come on, let’s be real, let’s raise the stakes.  You’re going to go to hell for 100 bucks?  Let’s raise the stakes, what about the whole world, what about if you gained the whole world---all the political power, all the knowledge, all the books and all the universities of the world can flood into your mind.  What if you gained the whole world, and you put it on the scales against your soul?  What have you gained?  What have you been profited?’  Because to him, your soul, one soul, is worth more than the entire world.  What do you think he was like when he said this?  You know, we’re not there, there’s not a lot of exclamation marks given to us here, to give us…is he saying, you know, is he having an aneurism.  You know, I think, because no doubt there are some of you here this evening who have thought that a man’s life consists of the abundance of things he possesses [he who dies with the most toys wins mentality].  And Luke will tell us, from the lips of Jesus, that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things that he possesses.  And no doubt there are some of you here this evening that haven’t decided, because it’s not popular to accept Jesus, politically, sometimes even religiously.  Jesus says ‘But look’, and I have a feeling he said it with tears in his eyes, I think he looked around at the twelve and said, ‘What does is profit a man if he gains the whole world, and looses his soul.’ 

 

If we want to follow Christ, Take up your cross daily---What does that mean?

 

He bids us, if we want to follow him, to take up our cross.  We’ve romanticized that.  We have cross jewelry.  In the culture of that day, you wouldn’t ever speak of a crucifixion at dinnertime.  It wasn’t proper.  It was a tool of execution, it was despised.  It says of Jesus, you know, “despising the shame, he endure the cross.”  It’s the equivalent of the electric chair or the gas chamber [not quite, those being electrocuted don’t feel a thing, they pass out before pain registers].  Only anyone who was ever crucified would have preferred the electric chair or the gas chamber, because of how much faster and more humane they are compared to a crucifixion.  Dr. Paul Bromley says as he searched Roman history, the shortest crucifixion they found was 32 hours, on record, the longest one was 13 days.  And you weren’t way up in the air like the pictures we see, your feet were down by the ground.  Often jackals would come and eat that human being from the feet up while they were alive.  It was something that was despised.  Imagine having a necklace with a little electric chair hanging around your neck, or singing, you know, “I love to sing of the old rugged electric chair” or “There’s room in the gas chamber for you.”  Haven’t we romanticized it?  We’ve forgotten what it means.  They knew exactly what Jesus said when he said “take up your cross.”  Imagine if he said to us today, ‘Do you want to find life, take yourself to the electric chair.’  Not literally, but put self to death.  Not self-denial, but deny yourself.  Take yourself to the gas chamber, the electric chair, execution of self-interests.  Because your natural inclinations will be towards this world and toward the things of this world.  But the Son of man is coming in his glory and the glory of his Father and the holy angels, there’s another Kingdom.  And if you want to find life, Jesus says, ‘You have to set aside self, and listen to me and my words, because therein is life.’  And how many of you here this evening, like me, years ago, you have money but you’re still empty?  You spend it on drugs, you spend it on alcohol, you spend it on pleasure.  Jesus says, ‘If you come to me and drink, I’ll give you water so you’ll never thirst again.’  And how many of us would go out on a Friday or Saturday night and get drunk and wake up the next morning with a hangover and we’re drinking tomato juice and raw eggs and honey and Tabasco sauce and black coffee, saying, ‘I’ll never do this again!’ and you’re out there doing the same thing next weekend?  Because you have not satisfied that thirst, that hunger, that longing for genuine life that’s in your heart.  Jesus said that is satisfied by answering this question, “Who do you say that I am?”---Am I a lunatic, am I a liar, or am I the Lord?  And if I’m the Lord, God, the LORD God, set aside your own self-interest, and you’ll find your life.’  If you seek to save your life, he says, you’ll lose it.  You ever hear people say that?  They try and try and try and try and try to save money, try to pay their bills, try to do this, try to do that, and they say ‘I feel like I’m loosing it!’  You are loosing it.  That’s what the Bible says, you’re loosing it.  Let go of it, and then you can’t loose it.  If you don’t have it, you can’t loose it.  I am not worried about loosing a 747, I don’t have one.  When I go to bed at night I don’t loose any sleep over loosing a 747.  If you give up your life, give it away for Christ, for his Kingdom, you don’t have to toss and turn anymore.  The remarkable thing is he’ll take it, he’ll take it just the way it is, with all your problems, with your drugs, with your anger, your bitterness, with your insecurities, with your wounds and your bruises from the past, with your bitterness, with murder on your conscience, with rape on your conscience, with abortion on your conscience, it doesn’t matter, self-righteousness, he will take you the way that you are.  [And then he will transform you, into his image, as Paul said.]  That’s what the Bible says, you come the way you are.  I’m going to have the musicians come…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Luke 9:1-26, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links: 

 

“Who do you say that I am?”  If anybody is teaching that Jesus Christ was not God in the flesh, the ever-existent LORD God, Creator of the Universe, that person is a heretic, teaching heresy.  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm      

 

A Day Is Coming When Christ Will “Rest In His Love.”  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm

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