“The Majesty of God” (Luke 9:37-45)

“The Majesty of God” (Luke 9:37-45)

The Majesty of God

The Majesty of God

Brad Mills / General

Luke / Healing; Demon Possession / Luke 9:37–45


Most of us instinctively think humility is a sign of weakness. There is an assumption among leaders that they need to avoid showing any gaps in their armor. They have to be guarded at all times. To show any vulnerability is to throw in the white towel.

But, in reality, there is a direct connection between our willingness to be vulnerable and the strength of our character. Brene Brown has done some excellent research on the subject and concludes,

“Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose.”

Not convinced? Consider Jesus. He possessed all authority in the universe, but his greatest act was his willingness to lay down his life. We might think the majesty of Christ’s authority would protect him from enduring such humility. But, in fact, it is his pinnacle act of humility (Php 2:5-10) that assured his exaltation in glory. The link between majesty, authority, and humility are revealed in this passage.

We have just considered the transfiguration of Jesus. Three disciples were privileged to catch a glimpse of the glory of the Messiah. That glory points both to his authority to save (Lk 9:28-36) and to judge (Rev 1:12-20). The following day, even the crowds are beginning to recognize the majesty of God displayed in the authority of Christ. The same word “majesty” in v43 is used by Peter to describe the transfiguration (2 Pt 1:16). They will witness his power to heal a boy convulsing under demonic possession, and they are amazed.

But the reference to majesty is quickly followed by Jesus’ second announcement to his disciples of his impending death. Peter’s confession that Jesus was “The Christ of God” (18-20) was immediately followed by Jesus warning the disciples that he would “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (22). That same pattern repeats itself just over a week later.

The majesty of God that is revealed by Christ’s authority is magnified by his humility.

Read Luke 9:37-45.

I. The  Authority  of Christ’s Majesty (37-43)

The crowd was never far from Jesus. After having some time alone with the disciples, and then spending a day with his closest disciples, Jesus finds himself being pressed into action by a crowd.

A father immediately comes to him crying out and begging for him to rescue his son who was suffering demonic possession. He could no longer bare watching his only child continually shattered by the demon so that he convulsed and foamed at the mouth. This demon rarely gave the boy any reprieve. Kent Hughes notes:

“When we piece the Gospel descriptions together, we get a heartbreaking picture. When the demon seizes the boy (Mark 9:18; Luke 9:39), the child screams (Luke 9:39). The spirit throws him to the ground in convulsions so that he foams at the mouth (Luke 9:39). He grinds his teeth and becomes stiff as a board (Mark 9:18). Many times he had been cast into fire or water by the evil spirit (Matthew 17:15), and he is covered with scars. Even worse, the spirit has made him deaf and dumb (Mark 9:25).

It was an awful site for this boy. And his father witnessed the torment day after day. The disciples were unable to heal the boy which raised his desire to see Jesus. Notice the father’s relentless dedication to his child. He would not give up. He would continue to seek the help of Jesus until his boy was healed because he knew that was his only hope.

Do we bring our own children before the Lord in prayer? Are we crying out to God on their behalf and seeking the Lord’s favor in their lives? We have a great high priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses. We can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence that we will receive mercy and grace (Heb 4:14-16). This father is an example for us all.

What did Jesus mean by his rebuke of this “faithless and twisted generation”. Was he rebuking the father, his disciples, or the whole crowd? This father is recorded as declaring, “I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mk 9:24). We also know that later on the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to cast out the demon, and he told them it was because of their “little faith” and lack of prayer (Mk 9:28-29). Both the father and the disciples were struggling to believe.

But the rebuke is probably primarily directed towards this crowd, much like God’s rebuke of the wilderness generation that frequently distrusted God’s ability to provide. Maybe this crowd was more interested in watching a circus than trusting that Jesus could heal the boy.

Jesus asks for the boy to be brought to him and in the middle of another demonic attack, Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy. The boys mind and body were immediately and fully restored! It was amazing.

And yet, doesn’t this all seems a bit anticlimactic in light of the way exorcisms are portrayed by Hollywood today? Hollywood directors embellish their stories, giving much more authority to the unclean spirit than we see in any of the gospel accounts. There is no great battle between the demon and Jesus. Even the unsuccessful disciples were not killed by the demon. Jesus gave a simple rebuke and the unclean spirit had no other option, but to obey.

This exorcism left the crowed “astonished at the majesty of God.” They went from doubt to astonishment in a matter of moments. This reaction makes perfect sense. It is appropriate to be astonished by Christ’s display of great spiritual power and authority.

We keep finding this reaction to the ministry of Jesus. The people were routinely amazed by him. For many of them, this was as far as their reaction would go. They do not inquire further about following him or seeking to understand his identity.

The implication for us is twofold:

1. Are we routinely amazed by the ministry of Jesus? Do we wonder at the majesty of God when prayers are answered? Maybe we should appreciate his majesty more than we do as we read and meditate upon his word, or as we see his faithfulness to keep his promises.

2. Do we stop at being amazed? Are we simply coming to Jesus for the show? Are we bored with Jesus once we have seen or experienced something spectacular? Are we only interested in the power of Jesus and not the suffering that oftentimes accompanies it.

› Jesus was not enamored by the astonishment and marveling of the crowd.

II. The  Humility  of Christ’s Majesty (44-45)

In the midst of their marveling Jesus takes the opportunity to warn his disciples about his upcoming death. This was the second time they were now hearing this. The crowds might seem to acknowledge his authority now, but that authority will be almost entirely forgotten in short order.

There is a paradox in the humility of Christ. Because when he emptied himself of his divine privileges, he didn’t cease to be Sovereign. The passage that speaks of this is Philippians 2:6-10. Bryan Chapell tells the story about a visiting missionary from Sudan who picked that passage for his sermon. Chapell had recently preached on the passage so he was worried the congregation would find it boring. He began much the same way Chapell did, but when he got to the idea that Jesus “made himself nothing” instead of going to the Greek word (kenosis) as Chapell did, this missionary gave an illustration.

He spoke of a tribe that automatically selects the strongest man as their chief. One day this chief removed his headdress and robe in order to descend into a well where a man had fallen and broken his leg. The chief placed the man upon his shoulders and carried him out. He did something that no one else could accomplish.

Then the missionary asked the church this question: “When the chief took off his headdress and robe did he stop being chief? No, of course not. In the same way, when Jesus “made himself nothing” and put aside his heavenly glory, he never ceased being God.”

When someone who possesses all authority, willingly humbles himself, we do not consider him weaker but stronger. However, initially, that wasn’t the understanding of the disciples.

Even though this seems to have followed fairly closely after his initial warning of his forthcoming death in his conversation with the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, the disciples still do not understand what Jesus was telling them. Here we are told that the saying was concealed from them. The divine passive is typical of biblical literature. The implication is that God did not allow the disciples to perceive Jesus’ meaning. Rather than chastise the disciples for their thick heads, we should wonder why God would conceal the truth from their understanding?

It seems the only reason Jesus would tell them this and then God would conceal it from their understanding at that time, was in order to give them greater clarity at a later date. After his death, they would be able to remember all the warnings they had been told leading up to the crucifixion. What brought the disciples great confusion now, would then become a great encouragement.

The result of this would be a strengthening of their faith and resolve. They would have greater confidence in the fulfillment of his promise to send his Spirit and to come again. In other words, the humility of the cross would have served to magnify their view of his majesty. They had seen his authority over all physical and spiritual powers. They knew full well at that point, that Jesus was willing to lay down that authority in order to accomplish the redemption for which he was sent.

The humility of Christ did not threaten his majesty, his majesty was magnified by his humility.

And that is the same mindset we are to have, a mindset we have already received if we are united to Christ.

Philippians 2:5–8 ESV

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


The majesty of God that is revealed by Christ’s authority is magnified by his humility.

Let us allow ourselves to be changed by his show of humility. And let us give him the honor and praise he is due, not only for the majesty of his authority, but also for the majesty of his humility.