The Natural Man vs The Spiritual Man
Luke 9:37-50 – December 05, 2021
Luke 9:37-43a. What Jesus said to His disciples then applies to His disciples to this day, in other words to us as well. Looking at the first word unbelieving or faithless, there is no better example of this than the disciple Thomas. After the resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples except for Thomas. When told about Jesus’ appearance, Thomas refused to believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes and further insisted he would not believe until he saw Jesus’ wounds, until he touched Him. Jesus appeared one week later when Thomas was there. John 20:26-29 records what went down,
Are we so different from Thomas today? Look at what Jesus said at the end of the passage, you believe because you have seen. This was Thomas’ issue, he had to see Jesus’ wounds, had to feel them before he would believe. He would not believe Jesus was alive unless he saw Him and heard Him. Thomas was demanding God submit the evidence to him that Jesus was alive or else he was not going to believe. Jesus did grant Thomas’s demands that day, but He also said blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed
Question: Why did Jesus pronounce this blessing for those who have not seen yet have believe? Why?
Thomas was a prime example of the natural man, a man who uses his senses to judge all things and those senses are the final judge for the natural man. The natural man exalts his five senses as the ultimate means of determining truth.
Paul defines the natural man in 1 Corinthians 2:14, That is why Jesus pronounced a blessing on those who had not seen yet believed. They knew they needed God’s help to see things as they truly are.
What about a believer who falls into the natural man’s way of thinking? This is what Jesus is describing in verse 41 in the first word about His disciples. This is captured perfectly in Psalm 73 where a believer has fallen into the trap of only seeing the world through his 5 senses. That is until he gets to verse 16 & 17 where a switch occurs, 16 When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. What changed? Not until he entered the sanctuary of God when he could see things spiritually. Then he saw their end and his, where in verses 23&23, 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
The other key word Jesus used was perverse NIV or twisted ESV. It is the same Greek word and it means, to distort, to make crocked, to misinterpret, to turn away, to pervert. Why did Jesus use that term? Because the world we live in is a twisted or perverse version of the original and we accept it as normal.
The one key difference between the natural man and the spiritual man is that we look beyond this world. We know something better awaits us. Jesus launched God’s plan to untwist the world through the exodus where He leads us from this world to the next. That is our hope.
What will be the result of our hope? Turn to Revelation 21:4. That is our hope, that is our faith.
If we look at Hebrews which is the hall of fame for those who lived by their faith we find something very interesting in Hebrews 11:13&16. They lived by faith and were given spiritual discernment with the rewards of heaven waiting on them. Now that we have a good idea about what Jesus was saying in verse 41, let’s go to verses 43b-45 where there is a sudden subject change.
Luke 9:43b-45. How was it hidden from them? I believe not by God nor by Satan, but by their own lack of understanding as evidenced in Luke 24:24-25 (NET), This is when Jesus joined two disciples who were walking on the road to Emmanus.
Immediate change of subject
Luke 9:46-48. The disciples were thinking in natural man terms of who would be the greatest. Jesus quickly disabuses them of their twisted thinking and shows them how the Kingdom of God sees greatness.
They did not want to deal with that so there was another immediate change of subject.
Luke 9:49-50. 49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” 50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
Once again there thinking was that of the natural man. Jesus again quickly corrects them.
We have so many choices each day to think in terms of the natural man or in terms of the spiritual man of faith.