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Jason Sampler
New Orleans, Louisiana

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B.A. History Education, SWOSU
M.A. Theology, NOBTS
Th.M. Theology, NOBTS

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Lesson on the Kingdom

This morning, in my quiet time, I read portions of Scripture from Robert Murrey M'Cheyne's Bible reading plan. This plan has been incorporated by D. A. Carson in his book For the Love of God, Vol. 1 (there is also a volume 2, in case you are wondering). In M'Cheyne's Bible reading plan, there are four portions of Scripture for each day. Carson (usually) takes one of the first two portions and writes a brief *commentary*. This morning's exposition was on Luke 9. I found it to be very insightful and wanted to share it with you. The following is lifted directly from Carson's book:

One of the tasks imposed on those who wish to read the canonical Gospels sensitively is to see how the various units are linked. Casual readers remember individual stories about Jesus from their Sunday school days, but do not always reflect on the links that weld these stories into a complete Gospel. Moreover, the individual evangelists did not arrange their material exactly the same way as the others, so the special flavor of each gospel is often lost unless the distinctive links are thoughtfully pondered.

An instructive example is found in Luke 9.49-50. The preceding verses (9.46-48) find Jesus' disciples arguing as to which of them would be greatest (in the consummated kingdom, presumably). Knowing their thoughts, Jesus teaches them an embarrassing lesson, employing a little child to make his point. Important people honey up to even more important people. Those who follow Jesus welcome the least powerful members of society--the little children. What Jesus demands is an outlook fundamentally at variance with that of the world: "For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest" (9.48).

It is at this juncture that 9.49-50 comes into play. John comments that he and the other saw a man driving out demons in Jesus' name, "and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." Jesus forbids them this course of actions, "for whoever is not against you is for you." At first glance this is a somewhat different topic from that of the preceding verses. Then again, maybe not: the connections call for reflection. John's complaints no longer sound like godly concern for orthodoxy, but like power-hungry moaning more concerned than those who preach and heal belong to the right party than that the mission itself be advanced. So this is pathetically tied to the debate over who would be greatest. Personal aggrandizement will inevitably prove an unstable base for making wise assessments of the ministry of others.

The following verses (9.51-56) find Jesus in Samaria. When the Samaritans prove inhospitable, Jesus' disciples are quite prepared to call fire down upon them. Jesus rebukes them. Since these verses follow the themes already elucidated, the attitude the disciples here betray is clarified. Their passion for judgment against the Samaritans is motivated less by a genuine grasp of and devotion to Christ Jesus, than by a power-hungry self-focus.

The closing verses of the chapter highlight the same contrast (9.57-62). The three who protest the loudest about how eagerly they will follow Jesus are firmly put in their place: the have not counted the cost of discipleship, and so their pious protestations take on the ugly hue of self-love.

posted by Jason Sampler at 5:08 AM


Blogger art rogers said...

Precisely incisive, Jason. A good word.

9:19 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Maribel said...

I grew up Catholic, but I feel more comfortable at my friend's church who is Baptist. I prayed to God for forgiveness, but at a catholic church, you get baptized and do good works for salvation, my mom said that I got baptized when I was little, ate bread and dranked wine. At Baptist, you pray with friends, volunteer to minister and get baptized, but I can't cus I already did. I'm doing bible study and discipleship there. When I was at a Catholic school, I wasn't paying much attention and think it was boring, but I still go to the church to make my parents happy.

7:34 PM, March 25, 2006  

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A Treatise on Church Order by John L. Dagg

Christian Doctrine by W. T. Conner

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The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Revised Edition) by Wayne Grudem

Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 by D. A. Carson

Previous Posts

Second Annual Younger Leaders Meeting
"Greatness Personified"
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Finally Back Home
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A response to Drs. York and Caner, and a word from...
Happy Birthday to Me
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On the road again


The views presented on this blog do not represent the opinions or positions of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, the SBC, any local, or state Baptist association, or of Edgewater Baptist Church. The views represented here are solely the personal views of the author. Also, it should be made public that I am a rabid University of Oklahoma sports fan . . . BOOMER SOONER!


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