Luke 9:55

ESV But he turned and rebuked them.
NIV But Jesus turned and rebuked them.
NASB But He turned and rebuked them.
CSB But he turned and rebuked them,
NLT But Jesus turned and rebuked them.
KJV But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

What does Luke 9:55 mean?

A Samaritan village has rejected Jesus (Luke 9:52–54). The way James and John react in comparison to Jesus is telling. Although the disciples have been commissioned to spread Jesus' message (Luke 9:2), they do not fully understand it.

They understand that Jesus is the Messiah: He is God's chosen one who will reign on earth. They understand He has the authority of God in both His actions and His teachings. They understand He has given them some of that authority and that they will reign with Him. And they understand that Jesus condemns anyone who defies Him.

What they have missed is the full context of those truths. Jesus will reign, but not yet (Acts 1:6–7). Jesus does have the authority of God, but He uses it judiciously and in service of the lost. He did give the disciples authority to preach and perform miracles, but He also told them that if no one would hear their message, they were to leave (Luke 9:1–6). Finally, they didn't quite get that when Jesus castigates people who reject Him, they are always religious leaders who should know better. With lost and confused who respond in ignorance and fear, He shows incredible restraint. Jesus condemns scribes and Pharisees who refuse to see the truth. But their judgment and destruction are set for another time (Revelation 20:11–15). His power to save is a higher priority than His power to rule (2 Peter 3:8–13).

In this chapter, Luke weaves stories together to form interesting contrasts. Among these are the different habits of Jesus and His earliest followers. First, Jesus gives the disciples power to heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach the arrival of the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1–6). Shortly after, the disciples fail to understand they can feed a crowd (Luke 9:10–17). Luke compares Herod Antipas and the crowds who think Jesus is a prophet (Luke 9:7–9) to the disciples who rightly declare Him the "Christ of God" (Luke 9:18–20). Jesus twice reveals His coming death (Luke 9:21–22, 44–45) and warns that His followers should expect the same treatment (Luke 9:23–27, 57–62). The Twelve argue over who is greatest (Luke 9:46–48), persecute a man who could be a disciple (Luke 9:49–50), and attempt to destroy a village that doesn't honor them as they think they are due (Luke 9:51–55). Most significantly, Jesus reveals His glory as the Son of God (Luke 9:28–36), then discovers nine disciples together can't expel a single demon (Luke 9:37–43).

Luke doesn't reveal Jesus' frustration with the Twelve like Mark does, but the stories he has put together give us a glimpse of how gracious Jesus is with all of us. Today, we are called to illuminate the truths of God's Word. We are to explain how those truths compare with the evil and broken systems and fallible individuals around us (1 Peter 3:15–16). We are not called to destroy the lost but to be patient as we call them to repentance.
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