An Ulterior Motive?

An Ulterior Motive?

Passage: Luke 9:44-50
Service Type:

An Ulterior Motive?

“It is amazing what you can accomplish 

if you do not care who gets the credit.” 

― Harry S. Truman.

44 “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

Why might the words of Christ be concealed?

But at some point they were all willing to give their lives for the Gospel.

Why do some see it right away while, for others, it takes time?

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Mark 8:22-25 NIV

Why would he say it then it be concealed from them?

1. Impatience in waiting for revelation.

The journey from the head to the heart can be a long one.

Example: You’re the last one to realize your own progress.

Revelation might come without one even noticing. 

Application: Be patient, stay in the word, keep believing, do the next right thing.

44 “Let these words sink into your ears: 

The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” 

This was the gospel, the kingdom coming to earth in front of them.

2. Ignorance can be bliss.

Not wanting to know Jesus would be betrayed and suffer.

Not wanting to have to follow through in the word (information).

Example: “Did you pray about it?” 

Maybe because “…they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” 

3. Fear of looking ignorant.

The only stupid questions are the ones not asked.

God rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Ask and you shall receive.

…maybe we can see another reason here:

46 An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.


“…to be famous means to be better known than other people, the desire for fame appears to me as a competitive passion and therefore of hell rather than heaven.”

C.S.Lewis ~ The Weight of Glory

This is…

4. pride and spiritual blindness.

They always go together.

Jesus always knows what to say…

47 But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

receiving Jesus is somehow like receiving a child

Receiving a child is a metaphor for being humble and hence truly great.

The least become great by…

Welcoming a child in the name of Jesus.

What childlike qualities is he talking about here?

1. thinking of themselves less often

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”

~ C.S.Lewis 

Having a child is the chance to “die to yourself” a million times a day.

Example: Hans “…are you traveling with in infant on your lap?", 

“It’s as bad as it sounds.” About Jonathan sharing the same seat on a flight.

Family can be the source of both the greatest joy and the greatest pain. 

Are you willing to receive a child (literally or figuratively)

This can be done without actually having children.

Example: Hans has this on his wall.  

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”

Proverbs 14:4

Cleanliness or Abundance?

2. taking a risk on a liability.

Love is risky. A child needs food, shelter, guidance and. TIME…

Example: “Uncle Nelson, watch me, watch me, watch me.”

3. loving without reciprocation. (unconditional)

Family can be the source of both the greatest joy and the greatest pain. 

There are very few things as helpless and needy as the human child.

4. starting over for the sake of another.

A child doesn’t know anything.

Being willing to teach someone else instead of doing it yourself.

People over projects.

Speaking of not learning anything… this is their answer to Jesus.

Luke 9:44-50

Still “us and them”.

Why would the disciples try to stop others from doing good?

The intent to stop these men and the earlier argument showed the disciples were in competition to become great.

The disciples didn’t have the same goal as Jesus… not yet.

Advancing the kingdom of God.

They would brush away a child or another person doing ministry. BUT…

Jesus is inclusive

“…for the one who is not against you is for you.”

Why would someone cast out a demon or do a good work in Jesus’ name?

1st motive: Hopefully to bring freedom to the demon possessed person born out of their own love for Jesus and love for the suffering person. 

2nd possible motive: To do something impressive, become famous, and receive praise from men.

Paul goes a bit further weighing motives and says this:

Philippians 1:15-18

Good for the advance of the gospel. 

God uses even the wicked for his purpose.

The disciples wanted to send the people away when Jesus welcomed them.

Luke 19:10

Is that my goal too?

Do I bring every person I come into contact with closer to Jesus?


1. Check your motives.
Do I judge others in ministry or leave it up to God?

Do I tend to be exclusive or inclusive?

Do my words about others build up or divide and tear down?

If you are like me, you are saying, “I fail at these things every day.”

If you say, “I am a good person. This table is not for you.” 

Only “not good people” are allowed to eat the bread and drink the cup.

Motivation by the forgiveness and the righteousness of Christ is the only way to improve things we fail at.

  • Repent of wrong motives/attitudes. 
  • Include others even when it’s inconvenient or inefficient.
  • assume the best about others in ministry

Example: My membership at BBC

“Individual commitment to a group effort…”

Topics: ,

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *