Would you notice here that Jesus does not spend one moment correcting any of those false speculations?
But now he changes the question instead into something intensely and unavoidably personal. Verse 20, then he said to them, but who do you say that I am? Let me tell you the most important thing in life will never be what the crowd says about Jesus. The most important thing will be what you say about Jesus. Our Lord's 12 disciples frequently struggled. It was easier to say the right theological truths about Jesus than it was for them to actually believe and live out those truths. After being equipped by Jesus to minister on earth, and after declaring profound theological truths about Jesus, Peter and the disciples were put to the test by Jesus.
He wanted them to understand that their hearts and lives needed to match their head knowledge and words. Jesus is asking the same thing of each of us today. Stephen's going to explore this in a message he's called, Who is Jesus to You? Who is Jesus? Where do you rank Jesus today in your life? That answer is going to impact every aspect of your life, in fact, your eternal life to come. Who is he?
Really? Is he somebody who gets a brief prayer before a meal? Is he a casual acquaintance that's reserved for Sundays? Is he a nice man who delivered that golden rule and told everybody to love everybody? Here's the question, who is Jesus to you today? In the Gospel by Luke chapter 9, you have this fascinating conversation where Jesus actually puts this question, that question, to his disciples.
So let me invite you to take your copy if you've brought one along. Luke's Gospel chapter 9, and I want to pick it up where we left off. We're now at verse 18. Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him.
Remember, if you've been with us, this follows soon after him feeding that massive crowd. The Lord evidently stops a private prayer meeting with his father, comes over, maybe he sits down at the campfire, we don't know. Jesus sort of casually asks his disciples this question.
Who do the crowds say that I am? Now remember, the disciples have only recently returned from their trip abroad. They were sent out in pairs. They were empowered by Jesus to heal, to exercise authority over demons. They were to preach the Gospel. They were to preach the king's message that the kingdom of God is around the corner, and they've come back all excited. Well, Jesus knows they've been surrounded by people.
So he kind of asks them, you know, what are all the opinions of me out there on the street that you've been hearing? Now keep in mind here at this point in the Gospel account that the disciples themselves are not fully aware of who Jesus is. They're growing in their understanding. In many ways, frankly, like you and I, are growing in our personal understanding of the Lord. They didn't have the book of Romans.
They didn't have Philippians, Colossians. They're growing and learning as they follow the Lord. So Jesus now asks them, basically, who do all those people out there think I am? And they answered, notice, John the Baptist, but others say Elijah, and others that one of the prophets of old has risen, that is from the dead. Now Matthew's Gospel account records this event and adds to the list that people out there are saying, some people that Jeremiah, the prophet, has risen from the dead. So I want you to notice here that the popular opinion on the street gives Jesus a pretty high ranking.
I mean, this is not chopped liver here. We're talking about John the Baptist. I mean, he's come back to life, maybe. He's going to take revenge on Herod for executing him.
John's come back, he's going to let him have it. He's Elijah, this is the great Jewish prophet. They were expecting him to come as the forerunner of the Messiah. Jeremiah, wow. Maybe he's Jeremiah come from the dead. See, the Jewish people at this point in time had this legend, they were being taught, that Jeremiah was going to rise from the dead and reveal where he, supposedly, had hidden the Ark of the Covenant. He'd evidently hidden it in a cave somewhere nearby. He was going to go get that back out and resurrect the glory days of David and Solomon and the worship of the nation Israel.
Maybe he's Jeremiah, he's going to go to that cave somewhere and bring that ark out. Again, this is all ranking Jesus very high on the list. But isn't it interesting that everybody had an opinion? The crowd had their assumptions and their speculations and their ideas and their opinions, and all of them were absolutely wrong.
I couldn't help but think that nothing has really changed to this day. John Ryle wrote more than 125 years ago, the world will speculate and talk and reason and invent theories to account for Christ. They satisfy themselves with all the gossip. Year rolls on after year and finds them in the same state talking, criticizing, speculating, but never going any further. They hover like a moth around Christianity, but they never settle down like a honeybee on its treasures.
Why not? Well, they're really not interested in answering the question in their heart. Would you notice here that Jesus does not spend one moment correcting any of those false speculations. He doesn't say, now fellas, let me give you five reasons I'm not Jeremiah or Elijah.
He doesn't even spend any time on it, but now he changes the question instead into something intensely and unavoidably personal. Verse 20, then he said to them, but who do you say that I am? The word for you in the original language is plural, which means he's addressing all 12 of his disciples. I know what the crowd is saying about me, and he already knew anyway.
That's great, he had them rehearse it, but who do all of you guys say? Who do you say that I am? Let me tell you the most important thing in life will never be what the crowd says about Jesus. The most important thing will be what you say about Jesus. And that answer will direct every aspect of your life, and at the end of your life, it will determine your eternal destiny.
This is the question of the ages. Well, Peter gets it right here in verse 20, and Peter answered, you are the Christ of God. Just fires back. He addressed the 12, Peter, of course, is the one who speaks. He's the spokesman again. You're the Christ of God. What does that mean? Well, the term Christ comes from the Greek noun Christos, which means anointed, an anointed one. Christos translates the Hebrew word Mashiach, which we transliterate into Messiah, Messiah.
Both Christ and Messiah mean the same thing, literally, anointed one. So Peter is effectively saying here, you know, Lord, there are a lot of people out there saying a lot of things about you, good things, and there are some bad things. It's quite interesting the disciples left out. I don't know if they didn't want to hurt Jesus' feelings, but there were other things said about him.
They didn't mention those. Certainly, people were ranking him very high on the list, and some people had him in the gutter, but we don't believe any of those assumptions because we know they're all wrong. We know you are the anointed one that we've been expecting. You're the Messiah. Matthew's gospel account gives us the fuller declaration from Peter in Matthew 16 and verse 16. Peter adds, you are Christ, the son of the living God. Wow. You are one in essence, in nature, equal with eternal God.
He at this point really doesn't fully understand what he just said. In other words, you're not a resurrected prophet. You're more than Elijah, you're more than Jeremiah, you're more than John the baptizer, more than that you are the son of God. That's an incredible declaration of faith. Jesus is going to respond in Matthew's gospel that Peter is the recipient of divinely inspired revelation. Peter, you didn't come up with that on your own.
You're bright, but not that bright. So you've had a little help from God the Father. You've just been given the truth from my Father of who I am, but then shockingly to me and certainly to them, this revelation is not followed up with Jesus saying, now men, let's go tell the world. Notice back in Luke chapter 9 verse 21, he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one. Why? The son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Luke summarizes what was probably a conversation into one sentence, but it's packed with four verbs. You might circle them. Suffer. I'm going to suffer. Be rejected. He specifies rejected by chief priests, elders, and scribes. That's a reference to the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of Israel. The Supreme Court is going to declare me worthy of death.
Be killed, put to death. Be raised, a reference to his resurrection from the dead. In other words, Jesus now begins to reveal to them some truth here about his future. He's going to wear a crown, but it isn't going to be a crown of gold at first. It's going to be the crown of thorns.
We'll get that later on. See, before he raises up a kingdom, he is going to be raised from the dead. They weren't expecting that. Jesus stuns them.
He effectively tells them, Men, I want you to keep all this under your hat for now. Because any proclamation, by the way, of Jesus for who he is would lead the Jews immediately to plan their next revolt. They've been itching for it. They've already done it before Jesus showed up. Let's overthrow Rome. Let the kingdom come.
You're the king. He knows that's not the plan. See, they don't understand the Messiah's first coming isn't going to lead to a coronation. It's going to lead to a crucifixion. We know that they don't fully get it because Matthew's gospel gives us Peter's response. Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief recent scribes.
Matthew writes it this way and be killed and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him saying, Far be it from you, Lord. You could translate that, God forbid that'll ever happen to you, Lord.
This will never happen to you. And he turned and said to Peter, Get behind me, literally get away from me, Satan. You are a hindrance to me for you're not setting your mind on the things of God when you say that kind of thing, but on the things of man. One English translation reads it this way.
You're a dangerous trap. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view and not from God's. In other words, Peter went from declaring the divine attribute of Jesus to now echoing the deceptive agenda of Satan. Satan doesn't want Christ to fulfill his divine purpose and dying for our sins and rising from the dead. So Peter is essentially redirecting Jesus which plays into the hands of the devil.
You need to get away from me, Peter. Now I want to put this together if you combine the gospel accounts in, this is only six verses. In six verses, really in less than six verses, Peter goes from announcing who Jesus Christ is to missing entirely what Jesus Christ has come to do. In six verses, in a matter of moments, Peter moves from insight to indiscretion. I almost want to say idiocy, but I want to be nicer.
Starts with an I as well in case you didn't notice. Got to go to seminary to get those I's there together. From insight to indiscretion. Now if it's possible for Peter to lose his spiritual footing in less than six verses, how is it, how easy is it for you and for me to lose ours? When I dig into this scene, two words come to mind that explain Peter, not excuse Peter, but explain what moved him from insight to indiscretion. Or you could say it this way, from submission to correction.
What happened? Well the first word is this, estimation. In other words, if I could jump to the application then come back to the text, we need a sanctified estimation of the person of Christ. Again, Matthew records in chapter 16 and verse 22, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
Now what did that look like? Lord, after the Bible study, can I see you for a moment? Come over here. All that talk about you dying, you being rejected, you suffering, that isn't going to happen. Remember, I get special insight from God the Father.
He tells me stuff. This is going to happen to you. See, part of Peter's problem was that he forgot who he was talking to. It's only a few verses earlier, he's declaring Jesus is the Son of God, which means he's not correcting the Son of God. Can you imagine getting to the point where you correct God? I would never correct God, oh.
Lord, your timing is really lousy. You wouldn't say it that way in church, but you're thinking it. Lord, what are you doing? You're missing some details. Let me remind you of what you're overlooking.
I fear we correct them all the time. If Jesus Christ were to show up today and ask you, who do you think I am? I'm sure I would hope that everyone in this audience would say with theological conviction, you are the Messiah, you are the Son of the living God. Peter did. You see, it's possible to know who God is, and struggle with what God does. That's what's happening here. I think Peter can't imagine that God the Father would ever allow this to happen to his Son.
What are you talking about? Rejection and being murdered. God forbid. The problem is at this particular moment, Peter is straightening the Lord out, or trying. He's treating Jesus like one of the disciples. His estimation of Jesus is far too low. Beloved, any estimation of Jesus that diminishes his glory and dilutes his word and abandons his authority and doubts his wisdom is aligning with the agenda of Satan.
We end up on the wrong side in our struggle. There's another word that I believe led Peter to indiscretion. It's the word expectation. Just as believers need a sanctified estimation of the person of Christ, believers need to surrender their expectations to the purposes of Christ. At the moment, this is part of Peter's hang up, I believe. They had expectations for the future.
They didn't have anything to do with Jesus dying. So when the Lord begins to reveal his expectations about his future, they don't line up with Peter's expectations. You know what you got here? You've got a battle of expectations. Lord, I wasn't expecting this to happen. Lord, I expected you to do that. Lord, I expected my life to be turning out a little differently at this point.
But I didn't expect you to allow that. Life becomes a battle of our expectations over and against the expectations of God. You know what the Christian life is? It is not an immediate solution to that battle. It is in a very real way the beginning of that battle. It is living not according to our own expectations, but learning to trust the Lord as we discover what his expectations are for us as he unveils them.
Think about it. Peter is expecting a kingdom. Jesus is expecting rejection. Peter is expecting to see Judaism reformed. Jesus is expecting the end of Judaism and the creation of a church made up of Jew and Gentile. Peter is expecting to see more miracles. Jesus is expecting to see the head of the serpent crushed and death defeated. Peter's expectations about his own life were wrong.
He expected to remain faithful. There wasn't any rooster in Peter's expectations. No nails, no cross, no tomb.
See, the problem with our expectations is that they're usually too self-centered and too short-sighted and way too small. Peter, he sees fish dinners by the seashore. Jesus sees the marriage supper of the Lamb. Peter can see houses filling up with disciples. Jesus can see heaven filled with the redeemed of all time.
What do you see? Answer his question. Who do you say that I am? What is your personal estimation of Jesus Christ? And from all that you're growing and learning, what are you learning about him? And what are your expectations from him?
Well, here's the good news. When we get it wrong, as those who follow him as believers, he's patient to teach us more. Jesus did not respond to Peter by saying, it's been nice knowing you.
Take a hike. No, he didn't kick him out of the group. He continued to teach him. Peter is embarking on a lifetime of learning, like you and I, in the process as well.
In fact, Peter records this experience as he writes now as an old man, and he applies it this way in his second letter. But grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Keep learning about him.
All you can. And as you get to know him, you learn to trust him. He can only see so far away. But Jesus Christ is already there as far ahead as you can see. Peter writes in his final letter, and that's because to him belongs the glory of both now and to the day of eternity. Jesus knows what he's doing. He's in charge of eternity.
He's taking us there with him. See, this is the sanctified estimation of who he is, and this is the surrendered expectation to what he is doing. Have you ever thought about the fact that when the day comes, at the end of human history, as we know it, there's going to be a universal ranking of Jesus?
The redeemed and the unredeemed are going to end up with the same conclusion, but only the unredeemed will be judged, for it will be at their bar too late. But they will acknowledge, along with those redeemed, Paul writes it to the Philippian church, of this future universal declaration that comes at the end of human history at some point. As we know it, it will be the ranking of Jesus by all of humanity.
Paul writes, here it is, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is Lord. Not tenth place.
Not third place. Not just among a hundred influential people that have impressed the world. He will hold the highest ranking of everything and everyone he created and our praise of him and our worship of him and our singing to him and our declarations to him in his glory will last forever and ever and ever throughout eternal glory. Paul wrote it this way to the Colossian believers that Jesus is before all things because he is preeminent.
You know what that means? That means Jesus Christ is first. I hope you'll take time to ponder today the place and the role Jesus has in your life and that you'll evaluate whether or not your life lines up with what you claim to be true. Stephen called this lesson, Who is Jesus to You?
It comes from his series in Luke called Into the Spotlight. Stephen is the pastor of the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. You can learn more about Stephen or send him a message from our website which is wisdomonline.org. Of course we'd love to hear from you but I also want you to make use of the free resources that will help you grow in your faith.
All of Stephen's teaching from this program Wisdom for the Heart and our other program The Wisdom Journey are posted there. In addition to equipping you with these daily Bible messages we also have a magazine that we publish monthly. We send Heart to Heart magazine to all of our wisdom partners. But we'd be happy to send you the next three issues if you'd like to see it for yourself. You can sign up for it on our website or you can call us today. Our number is 866-48-BIBLE. We'd love to talk with you and introduce you to this resource Heart to Heart magazine. Call today. Then join us back here next time for more Wisdom for the Heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-26 15:58:09 / 2023-02-26 16:07:26 / 9