Luke 9:37-50 – Wisdom

Read Luke 9:37-50

Today’s reading may be a bit disjointed by several stories. I did see a couple common themes. The disciples are struggling, and Jesus was getting a little frustrated. Up to this point, Jesus has seemed very positive, in contrast to some of the verses in Mark.

We can also discern much wisdom in these verses.

So, what’s happening here? We’re just down from the mountain top experience for Peter, James, and John. Now, the next day, these disciples couldn’t cast out the demon causing the young boy to foam at the mouth. I don’t know about you, but Jesus’ response was a little startling.

It took  me back to a time when my children were small and exasperating me! Not sure I ever said, “how long must I put up with you?” However, certainly there were times when their behavior, or misbehavior, tried my patience. You probably have instances like that when you have been frustrated by someone or something. How did you respond?

Jesus healed the boy, whereas the disciples could not. This seems like an instant replay or deja vu, doesn’t it? What I took away here was that the people saw the miracle and were amazed. It didn’t say they were amazed that Jesus got angry at the disciples’ lack of faith or failure to heal. This is a good lesson to us. Always focus on the positive and do not dwell on the negative around us.

Jesus didn’t seem to stay mad for long. As the people’s attention was diverted to the miracle and their wonderment of that, Jesus shared truth with his disciples again. This is another instance of Jesus preparing his followers for what was to come. However, we are told the truth was “hidden” from them and they didn’t understand.

How often is the truth so obvious in front of us and yet we don’t see? God has given us his Word as a way to get to know him, and yet we either don’t read it, or when we do, we don’t seek understanding. The spirit of truth will provide us discernment. We need to be open and listening.

What do we do instead? We bicker with each other, or we distract ourselves with other things, like power, prestige, or recognition. Do you see yourself in the disciples here?

How did Jesus respond? He used a child for his visual and said, “whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” Take a moment to let that sink in. What does it mean to be least? He isn’t saying whoever “has” the least, but who “is” the least. Humility. We must humble ourselves, empty ourselves of “us” and our selfish desires. Then we will be great.

Is Jesus’ teaching only for us? Does Jesus intend his promises for only people who look like us or who belong to our church or live in our neighborhood? Not even close. The disciples wanted to stop someone “not in their group” from using the name of Jesus. Jesus isn’t exclusive. In fact, he said, “Anyone who is not against you is for you.” Anyone who follows is welcome.

I don’t know about you, but I can do a better job of being less selfish and being more welcoming. We can all listen better.

Let’s pray. Father God, forgive me for my selfish heart. Open my eyes to see you clearly. Take away the preoccupations that keep me separated from your perfect will for me. Forgive me for times when I frustrate you with my behavior. May I be the best me that I can be. Thank you for this opportunity to share and serve you. May my words help others to draw closer to you as well. Reveal to me your truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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