Thursday, February 25
Luke 9:18-36 — Who is this Jesus?
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, He asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And He said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
23 Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
25 What good is it for you to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit your very self? 26 If any of you are ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when He comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about His departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very
sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to Him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
Points of Interest:
- (v.18) “Who do the crowds say I am?”—the disciples list off the same possibilities Herod had heard about in yesterday’s passage. This seems to be the question that’s on everyone’s mind: who exactly is Jesus?
- (v.20) “God’s Messiah”—Peter recognizes that Jesus is even better than one of the great prophets of the past: Jesus is the one the prophets were hoping for.
- (v.21) “warned them not to tell this to anyone”— Though He hides his identity, it’s not meant to be a secret forever; Jesus actually wants it to be known, but He doesn’t want people to be told. Maybe Jesus wants people to discover He is the Savior because they’ve followed Him, rather than following Him because they’ve heard He is the Savior.
- (v.22) “The Son of Man must suffer many things”—here’s another reason Jesus might want the disciples to remain quiet for the time being on the topic of the Messiah. He wants them to understand the Messiah better first. Jesus wants them to understand how His suffering and rejection will ultimately fit into His mission before they start telling others that He is indeed the Messiah. (see Isa.53)
- (v.22) “and on the third day be raised to life”—though His mission involves suffering and rejection, it ends in life: ‘After He has suffered/He will see the light of life and be satisfied’ (Isaiah 53:11). Mysteriously, the Messiah’s apparent defeat and death is His path to even greater glory, and the means by which He accomplishes His rescue of others. “On the third day,” may be a reference to a prophecy of Hosea (Hosea 6:2).
- (v.23) “take up their cross daily”—this teaching is hard enough to understand now, after Jesus’ crucifixion, but Jesus is saying it before He is killed. In fact, it’s the first mention of a cross in the story. At this point, the cross is not at all a religious symbol, but just a means of execution. Jesus is saying here, ‘If you want to follow me, you ought to know that something has to end up on death row.’
- (v.35) ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him’—the Father last spoke from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, when he said to Jesus, ‘You are my son’ (Luke 3:22). Now, he directs similar words to the disciples, saying, “This is my son.” At this crucial moment, when Jesus is revealed as the Messiah, He starts to make His way toward the cross, and He invites His disciples to follow Him to death, God the Father speaks from heaven to confirm Jesus’ identity and corroborate His words.
Taking it home:
- For you: This passage makes it look like Jesus’ prayer times were pretty exciting: flashes of lightning, transformed appearance, conversations with long-dead heroes of faith, a voice out of the clouds. Could your prayer time use a little livening up? Ask God to give you visions, words from him, amazing experiences, or whatever else he’d like to give you.
- For your Six: Pray that your Six would grow in their curiosity about Jesus, and that He would reveal Himself to them.
- For our church/ILTJ: Pray that God would open up new pathways for our church to “lose and give away”, so that we can receive and hold on to what is most important. Pray today for those who “lose and give away” by volunteering in our church, including anyone helping with our kids programs, guest services, and community outreach. Pray that God would give them a specific moment of encouragement this week as they serve.