Luke 9

5 This symbol means that if the city rejected God, He would in turn reject them. The soil that was left behind would be a testimony of their rejection.
13 Jesus' request sounds preposterous! Jesus' ministry was not "well funded." In fact, the disciples had to hunt around to find any available food (Mark 6:38). In fact, the food that was found was intended to be lunch for one young boy (John 6:9).
14 Jesus employs some administration to make sure that everyone is able to share this miracle He was about to perform.
16 Jesus often prayed openly before performing a miracle. Everything He did always pointed people to God.

The disciples now did what just a few moments earlier sounded preposterous -- they gave the five loaves and two fish to the entire multitude to eat.

17 Some critics have tried to dismiss this miracle by saying that the people really had food already, and they simply brought it out when they saw that a little boy had generously "shared" his lunch with the crowd.

However, this theory has no scriptural foundation. The preceding text indicates that the people were in need of food. And, if this were not enough of a miracle, Jesus later performs this miracle again under more dire conditions.

18 Jesus is not taking an opinion poll here. As we find out, this is not a question for Jesus' information, but a test for the disciples.
19 When people encounter something extraordinary and different, they tend to put it in terms of things they can understand. Many of the people might have been taught by John the Baptist. While it should have been obvious that the Person, character, and teaching of Jesus were all different, the people still felt that Jesus was John the Baptist "reincarnated." Others attempted to identify Jesus with characters they had learned about in the Old Testament.
20 The disciples had seen Jesus' works first hand. Peter's answer shows that he has at least had a glimmer of understanding of Jesus' true nature. He is persuaded by Jesus' works and teaching, not by the opinions of people.
21 Jesus often attempts to conceal His true identity. This still puzzles people today. There are many reasons Jesus might have done this. Jesus certainly wanted to avoid making Himself into a spectacle. Jesus is not interested in being a popular icon or a trendsetter. In fact, the crowds that came to Him only for healing hindered Jesus' teaching about God to a certain extent (Mark 1:45).

It was common knowledge among the Jews that the "Christ" would rule over God's kingdom. However, Jesus' reign as King is intended to be later, and Jesus' mission was to prepare people for that day. Despite their concept of the Messiah, Jesus did not intend to lead an army to fight Rome and regain Israel's independence (John 6:15).

22 Even though Jesus was the promised Messiah and would one day reign as King over the world forever, His mission here was to be much less glamorous. He came to suffer with us as a man.

The ungodly world would persecute Jesus because he was good, perfect, and right. Surprisingly, the fiercest persecution would come for the religious establishment that was designed to honor Him. At the end of this mission Jesus would allow Himself to be killed as a sacrifice to God, but God would later bring Him back to life. Jesus wanted His disciples to know all of this ahead of time so that they would later believe this and everything else He said.

23 This is a powerful set of criteria for Christian living. To deny oneself means to give ownership of your body and soul to God. He bought us with Jesus' blood, and we must realize that it is no longer "our" lives. This does not mean that we stop thinking or planning. It simply means that is whatever we do we do them to benefit God, not ourselves. Yes, we can work to better ourselves, but we must do that with an eye to pleasing God and benefiting His kingdom in our own growth.

The disciples knew exactly what it meant to take up a cross. Romans nailed their enemies to a cross as a form of capital punishment. Such executions took place beside roads or other locations where people could easily see what was happening. Before these executions the Romans made the condemned parade down the street carrying their own instrument of execution.

The word "daily" here indicates that He is being metaphorical. Not everyone would become a physical martyr because of his faith in Christ. But in giving God complete ownership and facing a cruel world with Jesus' message of love we are "dead" to ourselves and to the world. A dead person is not affected by the influences of the world. While that may not be obtainable for Christians, our focus should be so much on pleasing God that the distractions of this world are greatly diminished. However, Jesus' words are not completely metaphorical. The worlds so hates goodness that it will mock, persecute, and even attempt to kill it.

The greatest criterion of being a Christian is following Jesus. It must be very clear that this does not mean blindly obeying any preacher, teacher, parent, friend, or other authority figure. These are all due their respect, but ultimately we are not accountable to any of them. We are accountable to God alone, so we must weigh and measure everything we see and hear in terms of what He says is best for us. The only way to God is through Jesus, so we must follow Him.

24 An ungodly person will do everything imaginable to try to live "forever" because he has nothing else to look forward to. However, in the end he will die. The verb for "lose" here indicates complete destruction.

The man who "loses" his life by giving himself completely to God will be saved in the end because of his faith in the One who is able to save him.

25 We are often tempted to become envious when we see people who have acquired great power and wealth. However, when they die they will leave all of it behind. They will then stand before God empty handed, just like everyone else. If God then finds that they have lived their lives without faith, then they will be destroyed. In the short term, earthly wealth might seem like a good thing, but in the long term it will not benefit anyone who does not have a relationship with God.
26 When we are faced with a hostile audience we might become embarrassed that we know God. It is not that there is anything to be embarrassed about, but we are tempted to be when peers or otherwise respectable people ridicule us. The majority of people may not believe the God of the Bible, but we should realize that mistaken evidences and philosophies shape their opinions. On Judgement Day it will be those people who will be embarrassed for having harassed those who knew and obeyed the Truth.

God shares His glory with His faithful angels. Glory has compounded meaning that includes honor, fame, beauty, and light. When Jesus returns He will be surrounded with God's characteristics in a way that may seem tangible.

27 This verse has caused much confusion because we do not understand that it means to "see" the kingdom of God. Many feel that the following section explains that some "saw" it when Jesus was transfigured. I feel it could also apply to John's vision of the end times in Revelation. However, this phrase could also refer to those who saw Jesus after the resurrection, and it might even refer to those who would eventually find salvation by placing their faith in Him (Luke 17:21).
46 The disciples tended to think that Jesus would set up His earthly kingdom immediately. In their worldly way of thinking, the disciples wondered who would be second in command and who would be in charge of what. Oddly, they did not think to ask Jesus what the organization of the Kingdom would be like. They presumptuously assumed they could guess what it would be like.
47 In other similar passages, the disciples are ashamed to share such conversations with Jesus. They instinctively knew that such things went against the humble attitude that Jesus encouraged others to have. Jesus, however, knew what His disciples were thinking about and confronted their pride.
48 Children are not perfect people, nor are they without sin. However, one child-like characteristic that makes people acceptable to God is the lack of preconceived notions. Children accept what they see and hear at face value. Our approach to God should be one of discovery and wonder. We can not approach God with prideful belief that we have "figured Him out" and could even tell Him how He should run His Kingdom.

A more important characteristic of children is their dependence on their parents (or other adults). They instinctively know that they need their parents to provide food, clothing, shelter, training, and love. They trust their parents to provide without even a thought of trying to attain these things themselves. In many ways, we must approach God the same way. Especially when we think about spiritual things, we realize there is so little we know and understand. We must rely on God to provide our spiritual food, clothing, shelter, training, and love, because we simply do not have the means to attain them ourselves.

Jesus often speaks of the "lesser" people (e.g., children, poor people, and slaves) as being the greatest in the Kingdom. Undoubtedly, such people have no illusions about their status in relationship with God. Those who are "great" on earth often have the mistaken notion that God sees them as people see them. However, such pride interferes with their relationship with God. The "lessers," approaching God in humbleness (which may be all they know) attain the most favor in His site.

49 This reply seems completely off topic. Jesus was dealing with the power struggle within the group, but John's statement also reveals there is a power struggle in relationship with others outside the group. Someone had performed an exorcism in Jesus' name but apparently was not a disciple that traveled along with Jesus. John's statement indicates that he felt that the work of God can and should be limited to a select group of people. It shows that he did not even consider that God could use other people in different places to do His work. John felt that this particular group of disciples had an exclusive "right" to God's power, and pridefully believed that he had the authority to regulate God's work.
50 Jesus did not commend John for his elitist attitude. Instead, He pointed out that people who are doing God's work are all on the same side. If a church or group sets itself up as "the only way," they will probably do more damage than good to the cause of Christ. We need to recognize that if a person or group believes in salvation through Jesus and the authority of the Bible, then they have the proper foundation for ministry. How that ministry works or flourishes should be left to God. Other Christians have no right to interfere with God's work elsewhere simply because it is different from His work somewhere else. Instead, we should do what we can to encourage and assist those groups that are reaching people we can not.
51 Jesus was always obedient to God's commands. On previous occasions Jesus escaped from dangerous situations because "His time had not yet come" (e.g., John 8:20). Now, however, was the right time for God's plan to save people to enter its deciding phase. Jesus, therefore, was determined to follow through on God's plan, although He knew the pain and humiliation He would endure.
52 He was resolute in reaching His destination, but His pace was still slow enough for Him to minister to those along the way. He sent messengers ahead to prepare lodging so that He would not have to worry about those details along the way.
53 This was obviously not the same Samaritan town which had welcomed Him earlier (John 4:39-41). It is too bad they were unwilling to experience the joy that the other Samaritan town had when Jesus visited. Despite what they may have heard about Jesus, they held on to their prejudices against the Jews and would not welcome Him. They were especially unwilling to welcome Jesus because they found that He was headed to Jerusalem to worship, which was a very sore point between the two peoples (John 4:20).
54 James and John were incensed that these Samaritans would reject the Messiah (they probably had some of their own prejudices, too). They recalled the time when Elijah was protected from a hostile king (2 Ki 1:9-15) and asked if they should ask God to punish these people in a similar way.
55 Jesus rebuked the disciples because they did not understand that He was about to give His life up for these Samaritans and all other people. This was a time for compassion and sacrifice, not vengeance. God will deal with our enemies at the proper time. We are not supposed to ask for their destruction, but rather that they might come to know God and be saved.
56 Instead of making a calamity, they made a more practical plan and simply went somewhere they would be accepted.