Verses 1-6 The twelve disciples sent forth.
The disciples were invested with awesome power. Verses1-2.
At this point they would have the opportunity to practice the principles the Lord had taught them.
They were to trust Him for the supply of their material needs.
1. They were to take nothing for their journey. Verse 3. No walking stick-wallet-food-money-extra coat.
2. They were to stay in the first house that made them welcome. Verse 4. No moving around looking for more comfortable lodging.
3. They were not to prolong their stay among those who rejected the message.
4. They were to shake the dust from their feet as a testimony against them.
Verse 6 They traveled throughout Galilee preaching the Gospel and healing.
Verse 7-9 Herod’s perplexity.
Word was sent to Herod that someone was performing mighty miracles in his territory. Immediately his conscience began raising questions. The memory of John the Baptist still haunted him.
Some said that Jesus was John risen from the dead. Others said that He was Elijah. Herod said it cannot be John for I beheaded him. He wished he could see Him, but never did until just before the Savior’s crucifixion. This illustrates the power of a Spirit-filled life.
Verses 10-17 The feeding of the five thousand.
The disciples returned from their preaching tour, and reported to the Lord the things that had happened. He took them away to a quiet place.
Verse 11 The people followed them.
He received them-spoke to them-and healed those who needed healing.
The disciples dilemma-Five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000. Humanly speaking this was an impossible situation. He asked His disciples to seat the crowd.
Then He took the loaves and the fishes, gave thanks to God for them, and miraculously they were multiplied in His hand. The multitude were fed and there were twelve baskets left over.
This incident is filled with spiritual truth for us today.
· The 5,000 represent lost humanity-starving for the bread of God.
· The disciples picture helpless Christians, with limited resources.
The Lord’s command “Give ye them to eat,” is simply a re-statement of the great commission. The lesson is that if we give what we have, the Lord can multiply it to feed the spiritually hungry. This world could be evangelized in this generation if believers would surrender to Christ all that they are and have.
Verse 18 Note that Jesus is praying again. When He was finished praying, He asked them, “Who say the people that I am?”
All kinds of rumors were in the air. Jesus was on every tongue. Some thought He was John raised from the dead. Others said He reminded them of Elijah—Jeremiah or at least a prophet. They recognized Him as a great person. Is this not the situation today? He is being discussed far beyond the boundaries of the Christian Church.
Jesus was leading up to a crisis when He asked the question, “Who say ye that I am?” This is the watershed of our Lord’s teaching ministry with the twelve. Up to this point He had been leading them to a deeper appreciation of Himself. Two truths were about to emerge that would establish His identity forever, and publicly set the course of His life to the Cross.
1. “Thou are the Christ of God.”
2. “The Son of man must suffer many things.”
Verses 23-26 Christ’s invitation to take up the Cross.
The Lord had just announced the taking up of His Cross. Now He invites His disciples to take up theirs.
(1) This passage teaches that a true disciple of Christ must deny himself. He willingly renounces any right to choose or plan his life. He gladly recognizes the Lordship of Christ. He accepts the reproach of the world, submits to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
(2) Then secondly he must take up his cross daily. The natural tendency of everyone is to save or preserve his life. We live selfishly-complacently-routinely. We bask in comfort-luxury-and ease. Smug in our own achievements. We may enjoy to the full the fruits of our attainments, but miss the true purpose and joy of life. On the other hand we may lose our life for the Savior’s sake. We relinquish our selfish ambitions, and yield ourselves unreservedly to Him. We abandon our life and seek the kingdom of God and find new life full of joy unspeakable, and peace that passeth understanding. New life in Christ.
Verse 25 The context of this verse determines its meaning. It was spoken to the disciples and is a continuation of the previous thought introduced by the Lord.
1. Material riches can be a deterrent against full surrender. The Lord said, in effect: Suppose you could acquire all the gold and silver in the world. Could own all the real estate and all the stocks and bonds. But in the effort to acquire this you missed the true purpose in life. Where is the profit or what good is it to you?
2. Verse 26 Another deterrent to total commitment to Christ is the fear of shame. Why should the creature be ashamed of the Creator? Why should the sinner be ashamed of the Savior?
There is always this possibility of being ashamed. The Savior warns that those who are ashamed of Him and ashamed of His Word. When He comes in His triple-splendored glory, He will be ashamed of us. Dreadful thought.
The mention of His glory in Verse 26 is the introduction to what follows.
The Lord said that some of the disciples who were standing there would see the kingdom of God before they died. Verse 27. This was fulfilled on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Verse 28-36 gives a description of the transfiguration.
About eight days afterwards Jesus took Peter, James and John up into a mountain to pray. As He prayed the appearance of His countenance changed. This is a glorious truth: prayer can change the look of a man’s face.
The Lord’s face glowed with a heavenly radiance. His clothing gleamed with dazzling brightness. This prefigured the glory which would be His during His coming kingdom. While He was on the earth His glory was veiled under flesh. During the millennium His glory will be fully revealed.
The picture here is awesome but glorious. We see the Lord clothed in most excellent glory, not in the rags of humiliation. We see Moses in a glorified state, representing those who have died in Christ. We see Elijah shrouded in glory, representing those who will be translated or raptured into the kingdom. Peter-James-and John are the representatives of Israel during the millennial.
Then there is the multitude at the foot of the mountain, representative of the nations who will be brought into the kingdom. They talk about the Lord’s decease or exodus. His death was not a cessation of existence, but a departure from one place to another. The disciples missed some of this spectacular; they were asleep. These same disciples slept during the agony in the garden. When they awakened they saw Christ’s glory. In an effort to preserve this heavenly atmosphere Peter proposed building three tents, etc. Then Moses and Elijah disappeared-a cloud of glory enveloped them-they were very much afraid.
God spoke from the cloud. Verse 35. As soon as the voice of God was past-Jesus was left standing alone. This is how it will be in the millennium; He will have the preeminence in all things. He will not share His glory.
Verses 37-43 The unclean spirit cast out.
The next day Jesus and His disciples left the mountain and descended into the valley. From the multitude there came a distraught father, who pleaded for help for his demon-possessed son. This was a sad case; the demon was extremely violent. It tore him, and bruised him so badly that he foamed at the mouth. What added pathos to the condition was that the man had gone to the disciples with his problem, but they were not able to help.
Why could not the disciples help the boy? Was it their lack of faith? Was it dependence on flesh? Were they taking things for granted?
The power of God was available—the power of God was able—the human vessel was weak. The Lord was grieved and said, “O faithless and perverse generation.” The power was there, but the faith was weak.
Jesus healed the child, even though the demon resisted. They were astonished at His mighty power.
Verses 44-45 Jesus foretells His death.
Fresh from the glory of the mountain of Transfiguration, the Lord reminds His disciples of the gloom of the cross. This is the second time that the Lord predicts His death. Chapter 9:22. The disciples could not understand. Perhaps they were still thinking in terms of an earthly kingdom.
Verses 46-48 Humility is the secret of greatness.
Not only did the disciples expect a glorious kingdom to be set up, but they hoped to hold positions of prestige and power in it.
Verse 46 Already they were arguing among themselves who should be the greatest. To offset this wrong Jesus brought a little child beside Him. Then He said, “Whosoever receiveth this child in My name, receiveth Me.”
The truth that Jesus is proclaiming here is that true greatness in God’s sight is loving children-caring for those who are passed by by the world.
“The least among you shall be great.” Those who humble themselves and associate with humble-insignificant believers. Those who identify themselves with the lowliest of God’s children just as the Savior did—these are the greatest in God’s estimation.
Verses 49-50 It is surprising to find John in this role of prejudice.
They had found someone casting out demons in Jesus name, and evidently he had been successful. Those who witnessed this took exception to it. The Lord rebuked them and said, “Forbid them not; for he that is not against us is for us.”
Note two things here.
1. There can be no neutrality as far as the Person and work of Christ is concerned. If men are not for Him, they are against Him.
2. In Christian service we must realize that no earthly society, however holy can lay exclusive claim on divine power. God is sovereign and can use whom He will.
The Galilean ministry of the Lord closes at this point. From now until Ch 19:28, the narrative covers the journey to Jerusalem.
Verses 51-56 The spirit of intolerance rebuked.
Verse 51 Jesus knew that His life was drawing to a close, and that between His being translated back to heaven and His present circumstances, lay the cross. To face this hour, He set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem.
Enroute a Samaritan village was inhospitable to Him, because He was determined to go on to Jerusalem. “They would not receive Him.” Verse 53. It was their last opportunity.
John and James were angry at their treatment of the Lord, and asked for power to call down fire from heaven to consume them, just as Elijah had done.
Jesus rebuked them, and reminded them again that this was the acceptable year of the Lord, and not the day of vengeance of our God.
Verses 57-62 The test of discipleship.
1. We have the volunteer disciple. He offered himself to the Lord—he was self-confident—self-reliant—his zeal was greater than his knowledge—he had never counted the cost. When the terms of discipleship were presented to him, Verse 58, they were too much for him, and we never hear of this man any more.
2. Verses 59-60 present another case. The Lord said to this man “Follow Me.” This man must have had potential and evidently he was willing. But there was something he wanted to do first. Verse 59. The words “Lord” and “me first” cannot go together. Jesus said, “Let the spiritually dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Nothing should come between us and our service for God.
3. Verses 61-62 The third example of hindrances to discipleship. Like the first this man was a volunteer. He also said “Lord”—“me first.” The lesson here is that, nothing is to come between me and my service for the Lord. The expression, “Not fit for the kingdom of God” refers to service, not to salvation.