Our Lord’s attitude toward this man was one of severe discouragement, “for He knew what was in man” (John 2:25). We would have said, “I can’t imagine why He lost the opportunity of winning that man! Imagine being so cold to him and turning him away so discouraged!” Never apologize for your Lord. The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to be hurt or offended. Jesus Christ had no tenderness whatsoever toward anything that was ultimately going to ruin a person in his service to God. Our Lord’s answers were not based on some whim or impulsive thought, but on the knowledge of “what was in man.” If the Spirit of God brings to your mind a word of the Lord that hurts you, you can be sure that there is something in you that He wants to hurt to the point of its death.
Luke 9:58. These words destroy the argument of serving Jesus Christ because it is a pleasant thing to do. And the strictness of the rejection that He demands of me allows for nothing to remain in my life but my Lord, myself, and a sense of desperate hope. He says that I must let everyone else come or go, and that I must be guided solely by my relationship to Him. And He says, “…the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Luke 9:59. This man did not want to disappoint Jesus, nor did he want to show a lack of respect for his father. We put our sense of loyalty to our relatives ahead of our loyalty to Jesus Christ, forcing Him to take last place. When your loyalties conflict, always obey Jesus Christ whatever the cost.
Luke 9:61. The person who says, “Lord, I will follow You, but…,” is the person who is intensely ready to go, but never goes. This man had reservations about going. The exacting call of Jesus has no room for good-byes; good-byes, as we often use them, are pagan, not Christian, because they divert us from the call. Once the call of God comes to you, start going and never stop.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
The emphasis to-day is placed on the furtherance of an organization; the note is, “We must keep this thing going.” If we are in God’s order the thing will go; if we are not in His order, it won’t. Conformed to His Image, 357 R
Explore First Dallas with Mike Huckabee | September 27, 2020
Mike Huckabee explains Christ, the Constitution, and Capitalism.
Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. Luke 15:6
Living near cattle ranches as he did, humorist Michael Yaconelli noticed how cows were prone to wander while grazing. A cow would keep moving, always looking for the fabled “greener pastures.” Near the edge of the property, the cow might discover some cool fresh grass under a shade tree. Just beyond a broken-down part of the fence was a tasty clump of foliage. Then the cow might push far beyond the fence and out to the road. It slowly “nibbled” its way into being lost.
Cows aren’t alone in their roaming problem. Sheep also wander, and it’s likely that people have the biggest tendency of all to stray.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons God compares us to sheep in the Bible. It can be easy to meander and “nibble our way” through reckless compromises and foolish decisions, never noticing how far away from the truth we’ve strayed.
Jesus told the Pharisees the story of a lost sheep. The sheep was of such value to the shepherd that he left his other sheep behind while he searched for the wandering one. And when he found the one that had strayed, He celebrated! (Luke 15:1–7).
Such is the happiness of God over those who turn back to Him. Jesus said, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep” (v. 6). God has sent us a Savior to rescue us and bring us home.
Reflect & Pray
In what way might you be wandering in the wrong direction? What’s the first step you need to take to get back where you belong?
Father in heaven, I feel lost. Have I wandered too far? Redirect my heart and show me the way home.
To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.
Each of Jesus’ statements in the Beatitudes includes a way of being and a promised result if we embody the trait described. But we’re not meant to pick and choose from the various benefits (and respective costs), as if we could decide which challenges we’re willing to take on. Jesus presented them as a unified whole: Our understanding of each beatitude both depends on and affects the others.
In other words, to be truly righteous means we embody everything in Matthew 5:3-14. We’re never free of the calling to obey God, whether or not that makes sense to our culture. This is true even if the world despises us because of Him. And when we embrace rejection for the sake of righteousness, we receive heavenly rewards and what all people long for but can’t find anywhere else: the light and goodness of our Creator, in whose love we are truly free. (See John 8:12; John 8:31-36.)
Think about it
- Matthew 5:3 promises the same outcome as Matthew 5:10 (“for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”). How are poverty of spirit and persecution for righteousness’ sake related?
- How might the other traits described in the Beatitudes lead to persecution?
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
The Word of God (both the written Word and the living Word, Jesus Christ) is “living and energizing” and is the double-edged sword of the Spirit, piercing into the deepest recesses of body, soul, and spirit, where it “discerns” even the very thoughts and intents of our hearts.
This discernment, however, is more than just understanding or insight. The Greek word for “discerner” is kritikos and is used only this one time in the Bible. Our word “critic” is derived from it, and this is an important dimension of its meaning. Its discernment is a critical, judging discernment—one that convicts and corrects, as well as one that understands.
It is paradoxical that people today presume to become critics of the Bible when it should really be the other way around. There are textual critics who sort through the various ancient manuscripts of the Bible, trying to arrive at the original text; there are the “higher critics” who critique vocabularies and concepts, trying to show that the traditional authors did not actually write the books attributed to them; and then there are many other purely destructive critics who criticize the Bible’s miracles, morals, and everything else, hoping thereby to justify their rebellion against the Word.
But the Bible still stands! It stands in judgment on our lives and our subconscious motives. It will have the final word when “the books [are] opened…and the dead [are] judged out of those things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12). It is far better to heed the constructive criticism of the Word now than to hear its condemnation later. HMM