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THIS SAYING WAS HID FROM THEM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, March 22, 2015

“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:34).


This is the third time, in the Gospel of Luke, that Jesus told the twelve Disciples that He was going to die (Luke 9:22; 9:44). In Luke 18:31-33, Jesus made it very plain, when He said,

“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again” (Luke 18:31-33).

How could this be any clearer? Yet, “They understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:34). Mark 9:32 says, “They understood not that saying.” Dr. A. T. Robertson gave this comment on Mark 9:32, “They continued not to understand. They were agnostics [unbelievers] on the subject of [Christ’s] death and resurrection” (A. T. Robertson, Litt.D., Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman Press, 1930, volume I, p. 344; note on Mark 9:32).

The Gospel of Christ was stated briefly and plainly by the Apostle Paul,

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

Yet, at this time, the twelve Disciples did not understand or believe the Gospel.

“They understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:34).

As Dr. A. T. Robertson said, “They were agnostics [unbelievers] on the subject of [Christ’s] death and resurrection” (ibid.). The twelve Disciples did not yet believe the Gospel! Commenting on Mark 9:30-32, Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “This is not the first time He has announced His death and resurrection to them, and still they do not understand” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume IV, p. 201; note on Mark 9:30-32).

“They understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:34).

Three words in the text tell us of their unbelief in the Gospel.

I. First, they did not understand the Gospel.

“They understood none of these things.” The Greek word translated “understood” means “to comprehend mentally” (Strong). Although Christ spoke plainly and literally, the Disciples were unable to grasp the meaning of what He said. The text says, “They understood none of these things.” Matthew Poole said, “The words were easy enough to be understood” (A Commentary on the Whole Bible, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 reprint, volume 3, p. 258; note on Luke 18:34), yet they understood none of these things! The Disciples did not understand that Christ would “be delivered unto the Gentiles.” They did not understand that He would “be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on.” They did not understand that He would be “scourged,” whipped to the bone of His back. They did not understand that he would be put “to death” on a cross. They did not understand that He would rise from the dead on “the third day.” As we are told in the Gospel of Mark,

“The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him” (Mark 9:31-32).

The human answer to their ignorance was explained by William MacDonald,

Their minds were so filled with thoughts of a temporal deliverer who would rescue them from Rome, and set up the kingdom immediately, that they refused to entertain any other program (William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989 edition, p. 1440; note on Luke 18:34).

Their minds were prejudiced against believing in a suffering Messiah (Messiah Ben Joseph) because most Jewish people of that day were looking for a Messiah who would liberate them from Rome (Messiah Ben David). They did not realize that the two Messiahs are one. See my sermon, “The Fear of the Disciples” – click here to read it. But there is another reason for their ignorance of the Gospel.

II. Second, the Gospel was hid from them.

“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them...” (Luke 18:34).

The word “hid” is translated from a Greek word which means “concealed, hidden” (Strong). It is exactly the same Greek word found in John 8:59 which says, “Jesus hid himself.” So, in our text, “This saying was hid from them.” There was a supernatural element involved when Jesus hid Himself, as they took up stones to throw at Him in the temple (John 8:59). There is also a supernatural element in our text, “And this saying was hid from them.” Speaking on those words in Luke 18:34, Dr. Frank Gaebelein’s commentary says, “Luke attributes the ignorance of the disciples to what is apparently a supernatural withholding of understanding” (Frank E. Gaebelein, D.D., general editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Zondervan Publishing House, 1984 edition, volume 8, p. 1005; note on Luke 18:34). That is exactly what I think the text means. It was a supernatural withholding of understanding. “And this saying [the Gospel] was hid from them.”

Now we see that the Disciples were not great saints at this time. They were only men. As men they were, like the rest of us, descendants of Adam. Thus, they were as “dead in trespasses and sins” as I was for seven years in church, before I was saved; and as some of you still are (Ephesians 2:1, 5). As descendants of Adam, their carnal minds were “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). As descendants of Adam they were only natural men, and “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (I Corinthians 2:14). As descendants of Adam, “the preaching of the cross [was] to them that perish foolishness” (I Corinthians 1:18). As truly as Christ said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7), so the Disciples “must be born again.” They could not be born again by leaving their occupations and following Christ. That would be salvation by works! That is the way Roman Catholics interpret it! But we believe in salvation by grace, so they could not have been saved by following Him!

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Judas was one of the twelve Disciples. Was he born again? Christ said he was “lost,” and called him “the son of perdition” (John 17:12). Was Thomas born again? After the resurrection, Thomas steadfastly said, “I will not believe” (John 20:25). I know that Peter had some illumination from God (Matthew 16:17) but only a few minutes later he rebuked Jesus for telling them He would be “killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matthew 16:21-22), and Jesus “said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). Clearly Peter denied the Gospel, and was influenced by Satan to reject the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

“They understood none of these things: and this saying [of the Gospel] was hid from them...” (Luke 18:34).

The Apostle Paul said,

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not...” (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

Yes, there was a “supernatural” blinding, a Satanic blinding of the Disciples, as well as a blinding to the Gospel from their own carnal, Adamic natures. Jesus said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Who did He say that to? He said that to “the disciples” (Matthew 18:1). Please stand and read Matthew 18:1-3,

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-3).

You may be seated. The Disciples wanted to know which of them would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1). Jesus told the Disciples, “Except ye be converted...ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

“They understood none of these things: and this saying [of the Gospel] was hid from them...” (Luke 18:34).

III. Third, they knew not the Gospel by experience.

The end of our text says, “neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:34). The Greek word translated “knew” means “be aware of, be sure of, to be conscious of by experience” (George Ricker Berry, A Greek-English Lexicon of New Testament Synonyms, coded to Strong, number 1097). The same word is used in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings...” The Disciples did not know the Gospel by experience. They heard the words, but had not experienced the reality of the Gospel. Now let us stand and read the whole passage aloud again. It’s Luke 18:31-34.

“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:31-34).

You may be seated.

Do you see it now? “They understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they [by experience] the things which were spoken.”

Listen to the testimony of C. H. Spurgeon. He was raised in the home of a Gospel preaching pastor – his own father. He spent his summers in the home of his grandfather, who was also a Gospel preacher. He heard the Gospel preached every Sunday, all of his life. Yet he was as unconverted as the Disciples were before the resurrection. Spurgeon said,

I had heard the plan of salvation by the sacrifice of Jesus from my youth up, but I did not know any more about it in my innermost soul than if I had been born [in a heathen land]. It came to me as a new revelation, as fresh as if I had never read the Scriptures...[then] I understood and saw by faith that He who is the Son of God became man and, in His own blessed person, bore my sin in His own body on the tree [on the Cross]...Have you ever seen that? (C. H. Spurgeon, How Can a Just God Justify Guilty Man?, Chapel Library, Pensacola, Florida).

Spurgeon knew about Christ. He had heard the plan of salvation. But he “understood none of these things: and this saying [of the Gospel] was hid from [him], neither knew [he by experience] the things which were spoken.” The Gospel came to him suddenly, with such force, that he said, “It came to me as a new revelation, as fresh as if I had never read the Scriptures.”

That is real conversion – when your soul is made to feel the weight of your sin – and you are drawn to the risen Christ. Someone said to me, “Where does the Bible teach that the Disciples were converted by encountering the risen Christ?” The answer is simple – at the end of all four Gospels – in Matthew 28; in Mark 16; in Luke 24 (especially clear here, in verses 36-45); and in John 20:19-22. Dr. J. Vernon McGee, America’s most well known Bible teacher, said of John 20:22, “I personally believe that at the moment our Lord breathed on them, and said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost,’ these men were regenerated [born again]. Before this, they had not been indwelt by the Spirit of God” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, volume IV, p. 498; note on John 20:21). You can hear Dr. McGee on the Internet at www.thruthebible.org.

Now it is our prayer that you will be convicted of your sin by the Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit of God will open your heart, and draw you to Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God, for cleansing from sin by His precious Blood.

Every one of Dr. McGee’s programs ends with the hymn, “Jesus Paid It All.” It is number four on your song sheet. Stand and sing it.

I hear the Saviour say, “Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find Thy power, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots, And melt the heart of stone.
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I Whereby Thy grace to claim –
I’ll wash my garments white In the blood of Calvary’s Lamb.
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,” My lips shall still repeat.
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
   (“Jesus Paid It All” by Elvina M. Hall, 1820-1889).

Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Luke 18:31-34.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Open My Eyes” (by Clara H. Scott, 1841-1897).


THE OUTLINE OF

THIS SAYING WAS HID FROM THEM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:34).

(Luke 18:31-33; Mark 9:32; I Corinthians 15:3-4)

I.   First, they did not understand the Gospel, Luke 18:34a;
Mark 9:31-32.

II.  Second, the Gospel was hid from them, Luke 18:34b; John 8:59;
Ephesians 2:1, 5; Romans 8:7; I Corinthians 2:14; 1:18;
John 3:7; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 17:12; 20:25; Matthew 16:17;
Matthew 16:21-22, 23; II Corinthians 4:3-4; Matthew 18:1-3.

III. Third, they knew not the Gospel by experience, Luke 18:34c;
Philippians 3:10.