February 08, 2018

When Your Winning Streak Ends

Luke 9:37-44

I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.

—  Luke 9:40

In the first part of Luke 9, we read that Jesus empowered the disciples to drive out demons, heal the sick, and preach the kingdom of God. And they had amazing success. They returned to Jesus full of excitement at what God had done through them. They were on a roll.

Then, just a short time later, a man brought his son to the disciples, but they could not drive out the demon that afflicted the boy. What happened? The disciples had been so successful earlier; why couldn’t they heal this boy? (See Matthew 17:14-20 for some additional details to this story.)

Sometimes we need a losing streak to bring us back to square one: it is all about Jesus and never about us.

The disciples had to rediscover that winning streaks are not about doing things their way, but about living life under Jesus’ terms. Their failure represented a weak attempt to live life according to their terms. Jesus then said to them, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”

It was in losing his life that Jesus won the victory over sin and death. It was in losing the applause and appeal of men and women, who hungered for a winner, that a “loser” would rescue souls.

Master Jesus, help me to realize that the greatest wisdom comes from giving up my world and learning to trust you even when I do not fully understand. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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