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

Part LXI: God's Gracious Use Of Human Spiritual Weakness Or Dullness In Christ's Followers
(Luke 18:31-34)
  1. Introduction
    1. The Bible tells us that " . . . all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose," Romans 8:28. Generally, that seems an acceptable idea as we all can testify of God's use o f unusual, unique events in our own lives to achieve great eventual end products.
    2. However, what may seem to be a contradiction to this theme is what appears to be spiritual weakness or dullness in Christ's followers! Such weakness seems to stunt, not augment the progress of God's plan on the earth w hen we must face it in ourselves or in others who claim to know the Lord.
    3. However, "all things" in Scripture means just that, and Luke 18:31-34 in its historical context gives us a great lesson to that fact as follows:
  2. God's Gracious Use Of Human Spiritual Weakness Or Dullness In Christ's Followers, Lk. 18:31-34:
    1. Luke's Gospel was written to reveal the certainty of the Christian faith to Theophilus, Luke 1:3-4.
    2. Well, long after Luke authored his Gospel, some Liberal Theologians postulated that Jesus did not mean for others to view Him as God or Messiah, and that He did not intend to die on the cross, but that His followers picked up the idea of promoting Christ's passion into a Christian faith! Peter Bien, Professor of English at Dartmouth and translator of Kazantzakis's, The Last Temptation of Christ, said, "I don't think we know who Jesus was. The Gospels, which were written for political purposes -- to convert people -- are after the fact. Fifty years at least . . . I realize much of what we know about Jesus is novelistic. But I act as if it isn't." (quoted in Josh Simon's, "Who Was Jesus?", p. 67-82, Dec. 1994 issue of Life)
    3. As evidence that the Holy Spirit would be aware of this charge centuries after Luke wrote His Gospel, Luke was led of the Spirit to record an event giving clear evidence the disciples did not invent Christianity:
      1. Luke 18:31a reports that Jesus took the 12 disciples aside to tell them something.
      2. What He told them was a very expanded description of His coming passion that forms the bedrock of our Gospel and Christian faith, and how if fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, Luke 18:31b-33:
        1. Jesus told the disciples that they were traveling up to Jerusalem, and that everything that had been predicted in the Old Testament prophetical writings concerning Messiah would be accomplished, 31b
        2. Next, Jesus named the following events that were to be fulfilled: (a) Messiah would be delivered unto the Gentiles, a delivery apparently made by Jews, Luke 18:32a. (b) Next, Messiah would be mistreated by being mocked, v. 32b. (c) Next, the Messiah would be physically mistreated even to being spat upon and scourged, Luke 18:33a. (d) Then, Messiah would be put to death, Luke 18:33b. (e) However, on the third day, the Messiah would r ise again from the dead, Luke 18:33c.
      3. However, the disciples were still so spiritually dull that they did not understand the meaning of this prediction, Luke 18:34. This fact is understandable in light of the Jewish theological mindset that did not allow for a crucified Messiah, but only for one ruling over Israel's Kingdom, Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p. 160-162. It was inconceivable for the Jew that Messiah would die and not leave a kingdom, so the twelve disciples naturally treated Jesus' words as being incomprehensible.
Lesson: The disciples as first century Jews did not naturally accept and thereby understand Jesus' pre-passion predictions of His suffering, death and resurrection from the dead in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. This fact supplies us evi dence today that the Christian faith which is BASED UPON Christ's SUFFERING, DEATH and RESURRECTION was authored by JESUS Who PREDICTED that passion, and that it was NOT authored of His FOLLOWERS' own accord!

Application: (1) When the Bible tells us "all things work together for good to them that love God," it means that even the weakness or dullness of Christ's followers is used to achieve glory to God! (2) Conversely, we should not sin that grace might abound, Romans 6:1. God will discipline us for knowingly rejecting His will, Rom. 8:13. (3) Yet, we must be patient when other believers don't get with God's insights as we may do -- God is so great that such failure doesn't upset His grand plans!