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Oct 10 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

October 7, 2018 – Luke 9:43-45

What the Cross Says

And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”
But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement Luke 9:43-45

Intro: I wasn’t here last Sunday – spoke to a church in Bellflower

After I spoke, a woman told me how much she appreciated me being there
– I told her that I enjoyed being with them, because I loved them
• she said, “We know”
◦ that surprised me
• I had not mentioned my concern for them, that I could not sleep Saturday night,
◦ and that I got up at 3:00 am to rework the message I had prepared
– I guess people can tell when they are loved
• but I cannot and learning I’m loved usually comes as a surprise

It may not seem like it at first, but this story’s about Jesus’ love for you

In verse 9, King Herod asked a question that hangs over the chapter

By now, Jesus had drawn lots of public attention
– but no one knew how to classify him: he was not rabbi, scribe, priest, etc.
• Herod heard speculations that Jesus was:
◦ John the Baptist risen from the dead, or Elijah had appeared or another prophet had risen

Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” (vv. 8-9)

◦ that’s the question that floats through this chapter
• meanwhile, Jesus continued his itinerary
◦ along the way, he miraculously provided food for a crowd of thousands
(Luke, however, does not interpret its meaning or make anything of it)
– in the next scene, Luke revisits Herod’s question (the parallels with vv. 7-9 are obvious)
• only now it is Jesus who asks, Who do the people say that I am (v. 18)
◦ he gets same answers as we read before: John, Elijah, a prophet had risen again
• but then he asks for a more definite answer,

But you! You’ve been with me; you’ve seen all I’ve done and heard what I’ve taught, who do you say that I am?

◦ Peter answered, The Messiah of God

Jesus’ response to Peter was strange, it was not a denial, affirmation or correction
– instead, he warned them not to tell anyone else
• then he predicted what was going to happen to him
◦ perhaps his concern is that this would confuse them
◦ it would violate their theology regarding the Messiah (cf. Mt. 16:20-22)
• notice that Jesus refers to himself as the “Son of Man” (v. 22)
◦ this was his assumed identity – it was not a term that many people attached to the Messiah
◦ a possible reading of Daniel 7:13 introduces a Son of Man
(Jesus may use it to affirm he is the Messiah, but incognito)
– Jesus links “Son of Man” to suffering but also to glory (v. 26)
• in this same chapter, he uses Son of Man in his “mission statement” (v. 56)
◦ and one more time in verse 58, where the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head

What follows these predictions of his death, resurrection and glory is his transfiguration
– of all the events and miracles in Jesus’ life, this reveals his identity most clearly
• but it’s over so quickly, at least as Luke tells it,
• that we’re not given an opportunity to reflect on it
– if the plot of Luke’s Gospel is answering the question, “Who is this man?”
• then the  transfiguration would be ultimate answer – the climax of the story
• but Jesus’ predictions of his death point us in another direction
◦ his death and resurrection are the climax of the plot

It is not so much that Luke is simply telling us who Jesus is, but that as he reveals Jesus to us he is saying, This great Person is the One who died for you!

Now we’re ready to drop into the verses I read at beginning

Verse 43 consists of two parallel sentences that reveal the mood of the crowd
– both begin with Greek word de, translated “And” and “But”
• both contain word pas, translated “all” and “everyone”

And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing . . . .

• the people were in a state of awe at God’s greatness
◦ and God’s greatness was revealed through all that Jesus was doing
– while the crowd was lost in wonder, Jesus spoke to his disciples
• “Quick, take up an offering,” “Pass out flyers for my next big rally”
◦ of course not! He did not push or exploit the mood of the crowd
• his voice was serious and his words were sobering

Let these words sink into your ears

His desire was for his words to penetrate the surface
– to make a lasting impression on them, be remembered by them
• and later on, be understood and prove useful to them
– the statement itself is brief and somewhat cryptic

The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the hands of men

We know the disciples well enough by now to not be surprised that

they did not understand this statement

– sometimes it was their own fault – they could be “slow learners”
• or more accurately, “slow believers”

O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? (Lk. 24:25-26)

• only here it was not their fault
◦ the meaning of his words was concealed from them
◦ they were not supposed to perceive it
– they did not ask the meaning, because they were afraid to
• after all, they had just received a scolding for being unbelieving (v. 41)

Here’s the point, it was precisely because they wouldn’t understand, that Jesus told them to let it sink in
– it was like working on a math problem or a riddle
• the insight was not for that moment, but for later on
• without this understanding, when it came time for Jesus to die,
◦ they might be tempted to interpret the cross as failure
◦ that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah after all, and then give up on him
– Jesus made them responsible to hang onto this statement,
• but they weren’t responsible for understanding it
◦ Jesus did not demand that from them
◦ they would come to understand
• this is very hard for us
◦ we want everything we believe to make sense right now
◦ but that is not God’s challenge – his challenge is trust

A lot of noise falls on our ears that doesn’t sink in

That’s normal – a healthy function of our nervous system
– it’s only a problem when we filter out the important stuff

How does information, lessons, or insights normally sink in?
– most often, when it is something that interests us
– if the information is big or that could have a big impact
• like learning there has been an outbreak of a deadly disease
– if the information is disturbing – disgusting, heartbreaking
• some things stay with us that we wish wouldn’t
– if the information is shocking
– if the information or insight is something we discover on our own
• Jesus used parables to lead people to discovery
◦ that’s what I think he meant to do here
◦ the meaning would be revealed to him when he was arrested
• perhaps there are many things God wants us to discover
◦ what we discover for ourselves, we own

How can we let something sink in?
(by the way, the wording of this line is beautiful even if not entirely accurate)
– Jesus did not say, “Stuff this into your long-term memory”
• but, let these words sink in – or lay this to heart
◦ hold onto it in a special way
– we do this with a statement, a Bible verse, or an insight when:
we reflect on it – mental reflection is:
◦ a way of looking at something that bounce insights back at you

Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything (2 Tim. 2:7)

Rick Hanson, “Imagine that your mind is a garden. You can tend to it in three ways: observe it, pull weeds, and plant flowers. Observing it is fundamental, and sometimes that’s all you can do. Perhaps something terrible has happened and you can only ride out the storm. But being with the mind is not enough; we must work with it as well. The mind is grounded in the brain, which as a physical system doesn’t change for the better on its own. Weeds don’t get pulled and flowers don’t get planted simply by watching the garden.”

contemplation: the way we look at favorite painting, listen to our favorite music
◦ we open ourselves to receive what it offers us
by bringing it into our bodies as well as our thoughts
◦ experience it, feel it – that’s how it becomes part of us

Conclusion: Can you experiment with doing this for the next week?

Let this sink in: the cross tells you, broken as you are, you are loved

This past Wednesday after picking three of my grandkids from school, grandpa took shopping. I wasn’t sure how much I spent, but knew it was a lot. When we got in the car, my eleven year old granddaughter, Addison, pulled the receipt out of the shopping bag. I asked her, “Would hand me the receipt, please?”
Addison asked, “Why?”
“I want to see what it says,” I replied.
She answered, “It says how much you love us.”

That is what the cross says

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