TGC 2013 Conference Plenary Session #4: Don Carson: Jesus’ Resolve to Head Toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:18-62)

Different authors of the gospel accounts have different points

Everything that takes place from Luke 9:51 on is that all that takes place takes place under the looming shadow of the cross. That’s what the structure means. It’s a hint on how to read the book.

A couple of important lessons from reading this book in light of the cross

Read Luk 9:18-56


COMMENT 1: In his own time, Jesus is the misunderstood Messiah. But his readers see what Jesus’ contemporaries could not see. Jesus is resolved to go to Jerusalem to die and rise again. (We’ll see how that’s worked out in 5 sections of this chapter before going to the second comment.

  1. Jesus is God’s Messiah who will die and rise again. This meant he was the fulfillment of Jewish expectation. He’s the promised Davidic anointed one. When Peter made his confession, he didn’t mean what we meant because we include the cross as central in that confession. What Peter meant was the truth and is blessed by it with genuine insight, but it isn’t full Christian truth (pointed out in v. 21). Why would Jesus tell Peter here not to announce it? Because the crowds understanding of messiahship is triumphalistic and earthly-kingdom oriented. V. 22 tells Jesus purpose, but they don’t get it. When Jesus is crucified, they’re shattered, not hopeful. They didn’t have a category for it. Jesus doesn’t let it rest there. He says, not only am I going to the cross, you’re going to if you’re going to follow me (vv. 23-27). Jesus uses this extreme language because death to self-centeredness is always painful, why they’re still think of triumphalism. Jesus is God’s Messiah, but this Messiah will suffer, die, and rise again.
  2. Jesus stands in line with Israel’s greatest God-endowed prophets, but he utterly outstrips them (vv. 28-36). Jesus is talking to them about his departure, his “exodus” (v. 31). Peter speaks not knowing what he said. God interrupts and calls Jesus his Son. Not Moses. Not Elijah. Jesus. He is God’s Son. Sonship has many different threads in the OT. Sonship can be bound up likeness – David’s son will be God’s son. Later on it is also bound up with the doctrine of the Trinity.
  3. Jesus is the misunderstood Messiah. He has total control over the sick and demonic, but he is about to depart (vv. 37-43a). Scan it quickly but leave out v. 41. What Luke throws in in verse 41 is fascinating. This text suggests that Jesus had a really hard time being with us. Jesus was looking forward to going home. Reading v. 41 in light of v. 55 is insightful.
  4. Jesus announces his impending betrayal but makes it clear why self-absorbed people cannot follow him (vv. 43b-50). The deepest reason they couldn’t get it is because they are thinking in terms of worldly greatness (v. 46). Look at the twist in Jesus’ words here: whoever welcomes this child welcomes Jesus. They want to be close to Jesus because they esteem him great. But Jesus wants to see how they welcome a child since there is no benefit there.
  5. Jesus heads toward Jerusalem to be killed but he forbids killing the Samaritans who are not welcoming him (vv. 51-56). In some ways for him this is a relief. So why are the Samaritans mentioned here? They don’t want to support him because he’s going to Jerusalem and to one of the feasts. Should Jesus kill the Samaritans? If so, then should he kill his disciples? Or the crowd that shouted crucify him? Or should he kill us since our sin held him there? In what sense, yes. Jesus won’t let it happen because he is resolved to go to Jerusalem where he is going to die for sinners.

COMMENT 2: There’s a second crucial point established by Jesus’ resolve to go to Jerusalem: In his own time, Jesus is the misunderstood Messiah, but his readers see as his contemporaries did not how everything that takes places in Jesus’ life is clarified because it falls under the shadow of the impending cross.

9:57-62 – read the cost of discipleship as that cost of following the one who is set on going to the cross.

10:1-20. In v. 17 they rejoice. Jesus’ response in vv.18-20. Your identity is not bound up with your ministry but with your election. MLJ was perfectly content as he was sidelined on the shelf. Many of us spend our lives with a green envy giant. Rejoice our names are written in heaven, not the fruitfulness of your ministry. Jesus said this on the way to Jerusalem. In light of his knowledge of the coming cross, he tells them to rejoice in heaven because Jesus would secure them on the cross. Their names in heaven are tied to Jesus’ resolution to die for them. (thought of the honor of being in the hall of fame or having your jersey retired).

Parable of good samaritan (vv. 25-37) – The expert asks a question. Jesus asks back. The lawyer answers correctly. But the man knows he’s been got out. But he does ask, “who is my neighbor?” So Jesus doesn’t answer his question, but asks his own question, but uses the parable to set up his question. Once he set up his question, he asks the question which one was his neighbor. Jesus is the Samaritan and Luke shows it by his structure.

What did Jesus mean by “do this and you will live?” Some say a way to get to heaven. But the man didn’t take it that way. And Jesus quoted this text in Mark 12:30ff and uses it in a different way. There he tells us the 2 greatest questions. This man asks a different question, what must I do to get in, to get eternal life and the inheritance? Jesus says, do the great commands and you’ll get in, no problem. Does anyone in this room love God with all their being and love their neighbors as themselves? If these are the standards we’re all damned. Jesus says, go ahead, try it. The man knows he’s not ok yet. Self-justification is a theme in Luke. Justification is God declaring sinners to be just. Self-justification is when sinners declare themselves to be just. For example, Luke 16:14ff. They were justifying themselves by their money. What Jesus says is that you justify yourselves but God knows your heart. See also the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. One man justified himself, the other is justified by God himself. (I dozed off here and didn’t get his connection to Luke’s passion pursuit)


  1. Away with driving a wedge between Jesus teaching and his actions and cross.
  2. Away with saying Luke is not interested that much in the atonement because there is no parallel to Mark 10:45/Matt 20:28.
  3. We can’t reflect long on Luke’s gospel without focusing on the cross. If you try to pick and choose Jesus’ teaching then you will end up in self-justification unless you go to the cross and empty tomb. Or do you think in therapeutic terms, Jesus is a very nice man. When you break down Jesus comes and fixes you. But Jesus dies for you and insists you take up your cross and follow him. Or do you read the Bible in bitty ways? This resolve of Jesus shows what the Bible points to: the cross, resurrection, and ascension. We need to see it and take it in.

“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.” (2 other song lines quoted)

Jesus’ resolve to go to Jerusalem.


About pjtibayan

I love Jesus Christ and live to share life and share Jesus together with First Southern Baptist Church of Bellflower primarily to Southeast Los Angeles County.
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