While Jesus prayed with his disciples he asked two questions. Who do people say I? Who do you say I am? Peter said, You are the Christ of God. Have you ever been praying and felt God asked you questions? I have. Actually, I think it’s every time I seriously pray in private. Why does Jesus ask us questions?

GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 9

Christ of God Two Questions video audio notes Luke 9:18-25

By Delbert Young

Christ of God Two Questions video audio notes Luke 9:18-25

Sermon video

audio

Christ of God Two Questions video audio notes Luke 9:18-25

Scriptures: Luke 9:18-20; Luke 9:21; Luke 9:22; Luke 9:23-24; Philippians 2:12-13; Matthew 6:33; Luke 9:25

Luke 9:18-20 Once when Jesus was PRAYING IN PRIVATE AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE WITH HIM, he asked them, “WHO DO THE CROWDS SAY I AM?” 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.” “But what about you?” he asked. “WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus asked two questions. So, why are these two questions so special every Bible teacher I know references them two millennia later? Usually, their emphasis is Peter’s response, but the emphasis was the questions stimulating the response.

I think it interesting Jesus asked these questions. Even more interesting he asked these questions when Jesus, the center of the trinity and God himself, was praying in private and his disciples were with him. If it’s important and critical for Jesus, the Son of God, to pray, it’s beyond critically important for us to pray. Do you agree prayer is critically important for the Christian?

However, my real point is his disciples were with him obviously praying too. These questions came during a prayer time of Jesus and his disciples. Jesus still prays making intercessions for us (Heb 7:25). When I pray, he’s already praying. Here’s my thought. Have you ever been praying and felt God asked you a question? I have. Actually, I think it’s every time I seriously pray in private. How about you?

Why does Jesus ask us questions? Doesn’t he already know our hearts and the answers to the questions he asks? He’s omniscient – all knowing, right? And, he’s certainly not asking us questions to acquire our great wisdom. When you pray and sense a question, the question is designed to force you to look into your heart. Also, you can be certain the question is concerning something you will face in days to come. The question(s) will lead you to a far deeper understanding of who you are, show you issues you need to deal with in your heart, show you who you believe Jesus is, and show you what he expects of you. That’s exactly what happens here in today’s study and in what follows. Realize, Jesus doesn’t just ask questions.

The first question, “Who do the crowds say I am?” forced the disciples to evaluate who crowds (plural) – people, relatives, society, religion, political, college, “Hollywood,” etc – say Jesus is. The second question, “Who do you say I am?” forced each to dig into his own heart and evaluate who Jesus is to them. The crowds are wrong. The crowds are always wrong (Mat 16:13; Mar 8:17; Luk 9:7-8). I pray your personal answer differs from the crowds. A disciple’s does.

However, the popular opinions of the crowds have a tremendous effect on us. Though we know, for example, the majorities in Hollywood are wrong; their opinions affect us from how we vote to how we dress. Though we know many politicians are absolutely contrary to the word of God, we continue to vote for them, or not against them. Relatives and friends are wrong. They affect us. Is your definition of who Jesus is determined by the crowds, or by your answering the question personally? Are we part of the many crowds, or disciples and followers of the Christ of God?

The crowds affect theology, thoughts, ideas, and create theories about Jesus. Though the answer was clear then and now, opinions of who he is continue to range from a good man – philanthropist, to some sort of psychic, to an interesting teacher with an amazing ideology, to someone supernatural, to a total hoax. Why couldn’t people back then and why can’t people today admit who he is? Why is it people resist so desperately admitting Jesus is the Christ of God?

Here is what I want us to ponder. Why did Jesus ask his disciples in a time of prayer those specific questions? Didn’t Jesus already know who the crowds said he is? Didn’t Jesus already know who each disciple said he is? In fact, don’t you think he already knows who you and I say he is? He’s God all knowing – omniscient. That’s why no one plays cards with Jesus. He already knows your hand, yet, so many want to gamble with God. Why? You can’t win.

To get any place close to understanding the following verses we’ll look at today, we’ve got to realize their grasp of the Christ of God was not the same as our grasp of Christ. Note, it’s Christ of God. Could there be a “Christ” of something else – perhaps antichrist? Christ – Christos {khris-tos’} – Messiah, the Son, anointed, sent one, king. So its Messiah of God, Son of God, anointed of God,sent one of God. To us, the basic thought of Christ is the savior of our souls. To them, Christ was savior of their nation. To them, Christ was more a political figure. He was anointed of God and sent of God to redeem Israel from all oppression making Israel the ruler of the world replacing, at that time, Rome. To them, Christ would establish a welfare state providing entitlements to all Israelites as all other nations served Israel. To them, Jesus would be a king like that of other nations (Joh 6:15), but far superior. For centuries this was what they were taught and hammered into their heads. This was what they defined the Christ of God to be.

Peter and the disciples gave the correct answer (The “you” in “who do ‘you’ say I am” is in plural form – “you all,” “you’ins” “ya’ll”). They answered correctly but didn’t know what they were talking about. They definitely didn’t have an accurate grasp of what they said.

I find that true today. People have the correct answer – he’s Lord, he’s Christ, he’s the Son of God, but many obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. Jesus will now attempt to show them, and us, what the Christ of God means. We begin seeing why the questions were asked.

Jesus got them stoked and pumped about who he is. He’s the Christ of God. The Romans are about to be driven out of Israel. We’re about to get our thrones. God is about to do a great thing. It’s about to happen. Excitement! Excitement! Excitement! Then… next verse…

Luke 9:21 Jesus strictly warned them NOT TO TELL this to anyone.

What? Can you imagine how confusing this was to them? “You just got us to say you are the Christ of God. That’s obviously the correct answer. Now you say don’t tell anyone. How can we build an army and take over the world if we don’t tell anyone who you are? Why?” Obviously their confused expressions showed. So, Jesus went on.

Luke 9:22 And he said, “The Son of Man MUST SUFFER MANY THINGS and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Jesus again referenced himself as the Son of Man. They referenced him as the Christ of God. Is there a difference? Not really. The Christ of God came in the form of the Son of Man (Dan 7:13-14),but what he said didn’t clarify their confusion. In fact, now they were totally confused. The Christ of God, the Son of Man, was supposed to bring the kingdom. Does Jesus ever confuse you by not doing what you think he is supposed to do? Keep listening. Remember they were together in a prayer meeting. Keep praying when confused.

Luke 9:23-24Then he said to them all: “If ANYONE would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and FOLLOW ME. FOR whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFEFOR ME WILL SAVE IT.

(Who saves your life in this context? You do, right? I’ll expand the thought shortly.) What’s that got to do with anything? Jesus jumped from, who am I, to being killed, to anyone following him taking up a cross. If Jesus is the Christ of God to anyone then this is what it means.

Jesus continues to differentiate the crowds from those who follow the Christ of God. He’s still working from the two questions. The crowds get it wrong and will lose their life now and eternally. Those who get it right will get it right not only by their saying “you are the Christ of God” but also by their coming after Jesus and denying self to the point of being willing to die for him. That’s who will save his life now and eternally. It’s more than having the correct answer and confessing who he is.

This lesson and the following lesson deal with following Jesus, the challenges we all face doing this, and what it truly means if Jesus is the Christ of God to us. Once we admit he is the Christ of God, following means denying self on a daily basis even if it kills me – literally. I have to ask you, how many people do you know who would actually die if challenged with death for their confession of Jesus the Christ of God?

When Jesus said, “take up his cross daily,” realize those people thought cross – death by crucifixion. They were not thinking hyperbole and spiritual truth. They thought execution. Replace cross with electric chair, or lethal injection and you will have a truer meaning. To them, the cross was really a cross – the most horrific excruciating death ever devised by man. Jesus is saying if you follow me, if you experience salvation (both one in the same), you are willing to go through the most excruciating situation even to death. See, Jesus wants my life. If I give it to him, I get life. Jesus wants your life. Being a Christian means giving your life and if you give it, YOU save it. You’re the one who does this.

Philippians 2:1213 …continue to WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to WILL and to act according to his good purpose.

No one can force you to deny yourself. You alone make that call and it comes daily. However, none of us can do the cross thing on our own and few will be required to die. Yet, even if required to face death, the Holy Spirit – God who works in you – dwelling in us will give us the ability – to will – to do what is necessary. The martyrs through the ages didn’t want to die, but when facing death the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to will the choice to follow even to death.

The crowds won’t do this. Who would deny self and face death for a psychic, a good teacher, or a hoax? But, if you truly believe he is the Christ of God, you will.

Being a Christian is a decision I make dailyDaily he asks me, “Who do you say I am?” It’s a daily realization, denying self, and following Jesus that makes him personally the Christ of God.

Does this mean I never get to do what I want to do? You know better. You get to do everything you want to do. Priorities change as what you want to do becomes more focused, but it all comes. I’ve learned, and am learning, when I truly put his daily questions first, most of what I want and everything I need to happen happens. It’s exactly as Jesus said it would happen.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU AS WELL.

What things? Jesus just previously spoke about wealth and treasure (Mat 6:19), worry and stress (Mat 6:25), food, health, clothing, savings, etc. It’s the things you want. The kingdom of God is the craziest thing and 180 degrees reverse from how the crowds have it figured. I live the greatest life I can live by dying to myself. I get by giving. I lead by serving. I’m forgiven by forgiving. When I execute my will and seek his, I actually receive what I want plus get to do what God asks of me. When I put God first, everything else I could possibly want simply comes to me. (Talk about the “law of attraction”!)

I’m not saying this to make the sermon work. It always works this way. Life really is abundant when you live this out. It requires patients (a huge challenge for me), but all these things always come. Let’s read again what Jesus said.

Luke 9:23-24 Then he said to them all: “IF ANYONE WOULD COME AFTER ME, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will SAVE IT.

The subject is how following Jesus and having a saved life works out. This is what you do. He didn’t “command” you to do it. You just do it. It becomes your will – desire. We see the reason for the original questions – “Who do the crowds say I am?” “Who do you say I am?” The reason the crowds so resist admitting who Jesus is, is not that they don’t know the answer. It’s they refuse to deny themselves, take up a cross life, and follow Jesus as the Christ of God. “What fun is that,” they say. “I can have everything I want without all that cross and denying stuff,” they think. Jesus understands that’s what people say and think, so he said… (next verse)

Luke 9:25 What good is it for a man to GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

We’ll end here today even though Jesus’ response to the two questions continued.

Jesus knows the crowds have doubts and questions. Why go the route of self defecation following Jesus when I can have a pretty good self-pursuit life doing it my way and life being all about me? Jesus said, “Ok. What if you gained the whole world and have everything it and the crowd has to offer – all the money, power, prestige, anything you want, so what? What does any of that mean if you lose your soul (Mat 16:26)? How much is your soul worth? You’re gambling with God.”

You will be dead in 80-100 years or sooner. The crowds say the more stuff you have, the happier you are. Really? If you get it all – the whole world – but lose your soul, you made a bad bargain. You gambled with God and you lost. You pushed “all in.” But, you lost. That’s the choice YOU made. You didn’t work out your life or salvation very well.

Two questions during prayer meaning everything. Two questions, but not only two questions. Two questions meant to force us to evaluate our hearts. “Who do the crowds say I am?” “Who do you say I am?”

Other Related Sermons:

Revelation Chapter 11, Two Witnesses – sermon video audio notes

Revelation Chapter 14, Zion, 144,000, New Song, Babylon – sermon video audio notes

Revelation Chapter 18, Jerusalem Babylon the Great – sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young