Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXXIV: The Credibility Of Christ's Authorship Of Christianity Versus Authorship By His Disciples
(Luke 9:36-50)
  1. Introduction
    1. Liberal theology has at times suggested that the historical Jesus never intended to start a religion, but that his followers took his teachings and biography, embellished it, and foun ded the Christian "religion."
    2. Well, Luke's account of Christ's second prediction of His death shows Jesus was Christianity's sole Author:
  2. The Credibility Of Christ's Authorship Of Christianity Versus Authorship By His Disciples:
    1. Luke's Gospel was written to give evidence of the certainty of the Christian faith to Theophilus, Lk. 1:3-4.
    2. Accordingly, He showed that Christianity was not concocted by the imaginations of His followers as Jesus alone predicted His death amidst the sheer spiritual ignorance of His followers, Lk. 9:36-50:
      1. Luke revealed that before Jesus gave His second prediction of His demise in Luke's Gospel, He displayed enormous power in great contrast to the impotence of His disciples, Lk. 9:36-43 , 44:
        1. Before this second prediction of His coming death, Jesus displayed His great future Messianic glory in the presence and with the testimony of heavenly associations, Luke 9:36 with 9:29-35.
        2. Before this second prediction of His coming death as Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, He displayed His vastly superior power over the impotency of fallen man: (a) as He descended from the Mou nt, a crowd met him with a father of a demon-afflicted son claiming that the disciples of Jesus had been unable to cast the demon out, Lk. 9:37-40. (b) Jesus responded that this powerlessness was unnecessary, that due to the sinful faithlessness of His gen eration in the power of God, 9:41. (c) When the demon then threw the son down and tore him, Jesus rebuked the demonic spirit, healed the son, and gave him back to His father, Lk. 9:42. (d) This caused the crowd to marvel greatly at the mighty power of God displayed in Jesus over the forces of Satan and in the face of the spiritual impotency of His whole generation, Lk. 9:43a. (e) Then, while all men marveled, Jesus shared with His disciples of His coming deliverance to the authorities, Lk. 9:43b-44.
      2. Then, following Christ's prediction of His passion and death, events unfolded to expose the spiritual bankruptcy of Jesus disciples, Lk. 9:45-50:
        1. Following His prediction of His coming death in Lk. 9:44, the passage records the inability of the disciples to understand the prediction, that its meaning was hidden from their understanding, and that they were afraid to ask Jesus wha t it meant for possible fear of being scolded, Lk. 9:45. The spiritual numbness and weakness of the disciples versus Jesus' great understanding is thus clearly displayed.
        2. Following His prediction of His death in Lk. 9:44, Jesus had to correct the debate among His disciples as to who of them would be the greatest in God's kingdom, Lk. 9:46-48. [This debate is remarkable in light of the spiritual impotence of these men displayed so far in the context!] Jesus had to show that greatness in His kingdom depended on God's giving it to men just as a little child with no innate greatness in himself must be helped by adults around him.
        3. Following His prediction of His coming death in Lk. 9:44, John saw Jesus' point and admitted to having ungraciously criticized a party that had cast demons out in Jesus' name. Apparently this criticism had risen out of a self-help competitive spirit: Jesus revealed that those who were not against Him were with Him, and that the disciples needed to look to God for glory and not compete with one another to belong to God's "in" group, cf. G. Campbell Morgan, Luke, p. 128.
Lesson: The second prediction of His death by Jesus was given against the backdrop of the obvious display of Christ's SPIRITUAL WISDOM and POWER versus the CONTRASTING spiritual impotence and ignorance of the disciples. Accordingly, the Christian faith was not a concoction of Jesus' followers, but was authored by Jesus Christ Himself as He worked among His weak followers!

Application: Since God is glorified in revealing His SOLE authorship of the Christian faith, and that through the CONTRAST of Christ's spiritual power with His disciples' weakness, we should expect God to get glory in our lives by showing His power in spite of our weaknesses, cf. 2 Cor. 4:7-11!