Are You Really Hearing the Gospel? – Luke 9:7-9
Pastor Doug Klein
What are you hearing when you hear the Gospel? People hear all kinds of things whenever the Gospel is preached? A pastor friend of mine who ministers to millennials in the city commented that rarely do people he speaks with actually reject the Gospel. They reject a caricature of the Gospel that is usually an expression of morality or some kind of legalism. It’s rare to hear someone who clearly knows the Gospel reject it out of hand. It’s really important that we hear carefully the message of the Gospel.
All four Gospels deal with the same question in many different ways: “Who is Jesus?” So let’s delve into what was happening in Luke 9 after Jesus had sent the 12 disciples out on their first mission trip in the Galilean region.
The first principle is 1.) A true hearing of the Gospel. Luke 9:7a
There was a considerable buzz in the air after Jesus sent out the 12 with the very first mission to preach the Gospel. Many rumors were circulating concerning His identity. But Jesus was doing something very significant in sending out the 12. He was delegating His very ministry in the world to His people. We become the hands and feet of Jesus in the world due to the fact that we are part of His body. He uses us to carry out His purposes. What an incredible privilege. It’s the working out of John 14:12:
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works
that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the
The greater works Jesus is referring to is the ministry of the body of Christ in the world being able to expand and influence worldwide.
So the rumors were varied and changing concerning who this Jesus is: “He is the Messiah who will overthrow the Romans; he is John the Baptist returned from the dead; ‘he is one of prophets’; he is the return of Elijah promised at the end of the Old Testament. The crowds in northern Galilee had witnessed hundreds of miracles and Christ’s teaching personally. But they failed to acknowledge Jesus for who He is. They were simply “interested” in what He was doing. They failed to discern the glory of Jesus. Even John the Baptist questioned whether Jesus was really the Messiah when he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one promised of old or should I expect another?”
But Herod Antipas understood the implications of what Jesus was teaching. He cared little about the theology or the miracles. He understood the meaning of the word kingdom and he knew it was a direct threat to his agenda and power. He was growing uneasy about who Jesus could possibly be and he wondered if he might be John the Baptist having come back from the dead.
What a reminder of the threats to our own autonomy and independence. We are comfortable with Jesus as long as we get to call the shots and retain the rights to do what we want with our lives. But Herod became increasingly perplexed about the implications of Jesus. He was at a loss, being permeated by doubt and fear. He wanted to see Jesus but wasn’t sure what to do next. His preoccupation with Jesus was haunting him. His hearing of the Gospel was very uncertain and unclear.
It’s imperative for us to hear the Gospel clearly and correctly. The implications for our life and for eternity are huge. A true hearing of the Gospel is our only hope for salvation.
The second principle is 2.) A true healing of the Gospel. Luke 9: 7b-9a
Unresolved guilt will destroy our souls and produce an unwarranted resurrection of bitterness and shame years later in our lives. Herod was a powerful, but troubled man who was haunted by his decision to offer the head of John the Baptist to his wife’s daughter. Herod had previously imprisoned John the Baptist due to John’s insistence that it was not lawful for Herod to marry his brother’s wife. Herod had feared and respected John the Baptist but he became entrapped by his own drunken commitments.
The Gospel is the only thing that can heal our sinful, diseased hearts. Without the profound transformation found in Christ, any other healing is superfluous and temporary. Herod wanted to seek Christ but found himself torn by conflicting emotions. There is often in the life of individuals a small window of opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel. Herod had to decide whether he was mildly curious about knowing Christ or really committed to finding out the truth. His response would determine the rest of his life and his eternity. The door would only be open for a very short time. Again, what he really needed was a true healing of his diseased soul that only Jesus could provide. He needed salvation.
I reminded us last week that Jesus is making all things new. That has begun in us, of course. But, he is also making all things right. That’s includes the deepest areas of our lives and our hearts. True healing has already begun.
The third principle is 3.) A true seeking of the Gospel. Luke 9: 9b
A genuine seeking of Christ doesn’t just happen. It’s a result of the Holy Spirit already working in us. But a genuine seeking also involves a persistence on our part to truly seek him with all of our heart, mind, and soul. Hearing involves obedience. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey me.”
So why didn’t Herod really go and see Jesus for himself with an open mind. The same reasons we are hesitant. He was too proud to humble himself before Christ. He was too proud to submit to any other kingdom than his own. He didn’t want any more conviction of his sin. He wanted, like we do, to maintain his autonomy and independence. He wanted to call the shots. It’s a powerful thing to submit to Christ as Lord. But it also involves great resolve and humility
So unlike Herod, who refused to bow the knee to Jesus, I am also perplexed like Herod. But I choose to run to Jesus and fall down before Him, confessing my sin. I will give Him everything because I have never seen or known anyone as glorious and true as Jesus. And I will really hear the Gospel.
Faith Presbyterian Church
September 25, 2016