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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1012. See true greatness and pursue true greatness (15/3/24)

This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we see Jesus developing and growing His disciples, as He grows us, by stretching our faith through challenging opportunities and giving us deeper revelation of who He is. 


‘The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.  A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”  Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.  And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
While everyone was marvelling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,  “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”  But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it. An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.  Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.  Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:37-50) 

Lesson: We are all tempted to pursue false greatness and we must learn to pursue sacrificial service -modelled on the glory of the cross -  which is true greatness


You can listen to this devotional below (It’s also available on Spotify on the Community Church Putney podcast)



After that great revelation of Jesus in the ‘transfiguration’ where we heard God’s words saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him”, we have another moment when Jesus’ glory is revealed. As He returns from the mountain, He released a boy from the oppressive power of a demon. It’s interesting to note that the disciples could not cast it out which, stops us from assuming that the ‘power and authority’ that they were given at the beginning of the chapter (9:1-9) works automatically and without fail! No, we are still to operate in the power and authority that are ours by virtue of being in His kingdom, but this does not mean that we will not face the mysteries when it seems that God doesn’t answer our prayers. However, that said, Jesus reveals His glory, leading to the response: ‘And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.’ 

Having revealed His glory, He uses this opportunity to tell them that, although being The Son of God and worthy of worship, He will go to the cross. We read, ‘While everyone was marvelling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,  “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”’ I hope we understand that the cross was the greatest revelation of the glory of God. We read in John:

‘When [Judas] was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.’ (John 13:31-32)

Jesus’ death reveals the glory of God’s mercy, hatred of sin and the depth of His humility. Not in the calming of the storm, not is the healings and deliverances, not even in the transfiguration, but in the cross, we are taught about true greatness and how it is to be pursued. As the disciples argue among themselves as to who is the greatest, Jesus points to a child and tells them,  “it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” It’s those who will carry the cross of sacrificial service, in imitation of the glory of the cross, it is those who are truly great!


Response

We are all tempted to pursue false greatness and we must learn to pursue sacrificial service -modelled on the glory of the cross -  which is true greatness. Have we become self-absorbed and caught up with our own ambitions and our own esteem? Are we addicted to ‘likes’ on social media? How are we pursuing true greatness by laying our lives down in service to others? Will we imitate Jesus’ glory? 


 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals which is accessed in Church News or the Teaching button on the website. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday was entitled, ‘With Christ is the School of Growth’. 

In the section that we looked at (Luke 9:1-50), the disciples’ are grown through revelation of Jesus and by stretching ministry opportunities. To grow as a Christian or leader, we must be amazed by Jesus through fresh revelation,  and we must also take on responsibilities that stretch us. The two things, as I hope we can see, work together. 


Please read Luke 9:1-50, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What are the various moments of revelation - where Jesus’ glory and mission are revealed - in this text?

  • What do these revelations teach us about Jesus and how should this affect our lives?

  • How does Jesus give His disciples responsibility - hard things to do - in order to develop them? 

  • What hard things is Jesus calling you to do in order to grow you? 

  • SIV - What does this text teach us about the ways we can seek to bring our community to Jesus?

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s come out of our time in God’s Word.

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