Certainty In Uncertain Times: Luke 9:18-20 – Accepting Jesus As The Messiah

We are continuing our series in Luke, entitled “Certainty In Uncertain Times.”  We will discover this morning why we can have certainty in uncertain times.  Thank you for the opportunity to share God’s Word with you.  There are few things that I love to do more, than preach God’s Word.Before we go any further, let’s do some review from the book of Luke.  We know that Luke is writing this account of Good News about Jesus to a recipient named Theophilus.  In writing this account, Luke sought to tell an accurate and orderly account so that Theophilus and others could be certain of the things that were heard concerning Jesus.  As we read through Luke, we see that he intended to point out that God intervened into our world and provided to promised Messiah that would bring good news to all the world.

So far, as we have studied we have seen key elements presented.  In particular, we have seen . . .

God’s preparation for

The coming of His Son,

God’s power at work,

God’s prophesies fulfilled,

God’s provision for

The problem of sin.

In case you are interested in additional study on this passage, we see this same account in Matthew 16:13-20 and Mark 8:27-30.  In addition to this account in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there is a similar event in John 6:67-71.

One fact to be mentioned here is that Luke places this story directly after the feeding of the 5,000.  If you read the other Gospel accounts, you will see that there was actually quite some time between these two events.  Luke left a lot out on purpose.  The purpose of Luke placing this event where he did was probably to show the significance of the disciples finally professing Jesus as the Christ after seeing numerous miraculous works by Jesus, including one of His greatest, the feeding of the 5,000.  It seems that Jesus’ purpose in asking this question to the disciples was to solidify in the minds of the disciples who He truly was.

We see that the important question in this passage is, “Who is Jesus?”  The popular Christmas song asks, “What child is this?”  However, here the people ask the question, “What man is this?”

The first thing we will see is that . . .

I. Jesus Is Not Just A Man.

There is no doubt that Jesus was in fact a man.  He was born just as you and I were.  He lived a life just as you and I did.  He was tempted.  He cried.  He had friends.  He became angry.  He became hungry.  He had to sleep.  The point in this passage is not to say that Jesus was not a man, but he was not just a man.  More than likely, the people that were predicting that Jesus was John the Baptist, or one of the prophets were not the people that hated Jesus.  They were probably just the normal people of the area surrounding Jerusalem.  This was probably the overwhelming public opinion of Jesus.

At that time, it was far-fetched to believe that a man could be the Son of God.  Although, the people of Israel did expect the Messiah to come, they did not expect Him to come in the manner that Jesus came.  They did not expect Him to live a life the way Jesus lived His life.  Make no mistake, there was no doubt in the minds of the people that something was different about Jesus, and so they discussed among them who He may be.  They came up with the best solutions that they could using their human minds.  However, we know that the things of God are not easily understood by the minds of men.

These questions about who Jesus was were already circulating before this time, and rightly so.  Surely the news of Jesus was spreading quickly.  Just think about all that Jesus had done in His short time of ministry so far.  We saw in chapter 9, verses 7-9, that Herod wanted to know who Jesus was and some had offered the same suggestions given in our passage as to who Jesus was.  In fact, John the Baptist himself wanted clarification as to the true person of Jesus.  He sent some of his disciple to Jesus to ask Him if He in fact was the Messiah that the Israelites were expecting.

The idea that Jesus was more than a man is still far-fetched in our time.  Nearly everyone acknowledges that Jesus existed, as the historical record clearly reveals.   However, many people simply label Jesus as a good man who lived a good life and taught good things.  A good man that taught good things and lived a selfless life may be a similar label that people would put on John the Baptist.  They would say something like, “He was a man that was in touch with God and tried to lead others closer to God.”

We see clearly, though, from the words of His disciples that Jesus was not just a man.

Next, we must recognize that . . .

II. Jesus Is Not Just A Prophet.

The people of Israel certainly believed in prophets, and there were many in the history of Israel.  However, it had been a long time since they had heard from any prophets, until the arrival of John the Baptist.  The people knew that Jesus appeared to be in touch with God.  He not only knew the Scriptures, but He proclaimed the Word of the Lord boldly, unapologetically, and with precision.  This was all very much in line with the behavior of a prophet.  Luke’s point here is not to say that Jesus was not a prophet.  Let’s be clear, Jesus was a prophet.  He did proclaim the Word of the Lord and the message that was sent to Him by the Father.

However, Jesus was much more than just a prophet.  Robert Stein, Senior Professor in the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says, “It is not an incorrect description, but an inadequate one by itself [to describe Jesus as a prophet].”  Jesus was greater than the other prophets, and all the other Old Testament heroes.  In fact, we see elsewhere in John 8:58 that Jesus was so bold as to say that He was even greater than Abraham, the greatest Old Testament hero.

Nearly everyone gives credit to Jesus as being a man, and many give Him credit as being a great prophet.  In fact, nearly every other religion in the world acknowledges Jesus a prophet.  Saying that Jesus was just a prophet is more of an injustice than saying Michael Jordan was just an athlete, or that Bill Gates is just a computer technician, or that Beethoven was just a guy who knew how to play an instrument.  Although the people supposed that Jesus was a prophet of some sort, they were way short of knowing who he truly was.

III. He Is The Christ.

We see from the declaration from Peter in verse 20, as spokesman for all the apostles, that Jesus was the Christ of God!  I am presuming that all of you know this, but Christ is actually not Jesus’ last name.  The term “Christ” is the English translation of the Greek word, “Khristós,” which is the Greek translation for the Hebrew word that means “Messiah” or “Anointed One.”  Just as a matter of note, the Greek letter Chi was sometimes used as short to refer to Christ.  This is why in English you sometimes see the letter X as an abbreviation for Christ.  All that to say, that the word, “Christ,” that Peter used here was to refer to the Messiah, that was promised to the Israelites long ago.

The Jewish people were very familiar with the concept of a Coming One, that would be the Anointed of God.  This was prophesied and promised since the beginning of creation.

Peter’s confession is very short, but there is so much contained in those words.  The title “Christ” was not a title that you would just flippantly label someone with.  When Peter used this term, He ascribed to Jesus all the glory and honor that came with that title.  He was acknowledging that Jesus was indeed the One sent by God to this world.

 Luke places emphasis on the phrase “of God” after the word “Christ,” in order to keep with His emphasis of God’s intervention with His people.    Luke is making it clear that the apostles recognized that this was a result of God’s working.  It seems from this passage that something finally clicked in the understanding of the apostles about who Jesus was.  Although they had seen numerous miracles and heard much of Jesus’ teaching, it seems they previously did not understand who Jesus was.

Let’s look back at some of the miracles, as recorded by Luke, that Jesus had already performed up to this point . . .

• Jesus casts out an unclean spirit (4:31-37)

• Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law (4:38-39)

• Jesus heals many and casts out demons (4:40-41)

• Jesus cleanses lepers (5:12-16)

• Jesus heals a paralytic (5:17-26)

• Jesus heals a man with a withered hand (6:6-11)

• Jesus heals a great multitude (6:17-19)

• Jesus heals a centurion’s servant (7:1-10)

• Jesus raises the son of a widow from the dead (7:11-17)

• Jesus calms the winds and the waves (8:22-25)

• Jesus heals a demon possessed (8:26-39)

• Jesus brings a dead girl back to life (8:40-56)

• Jesus heals a woman’s bleeding (8:40-56)

• Jesus feeds the five thousand (9:10-17)

Remember what the disciples said after Jesus calmed the storm, “Who can this be?  For He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him!” (Luke 8:25b).  It is clear, that they finally acknowledge that He is the Christ.

The apostles were not the only ones to name Jesus as the Christ.  Let’s do a little review . . .

• In Luke 1:26-28, an angel declared to Mary that Jesus would be the Son of God.

• In Luke 2:8-12, an angel declared to the shepherds that Jesus would be the Christ.

• In Luke 2:25-32, Simeon declared the baby Jesus as the Christ.

• In Luke 4:31-35, an unclean spirit declares that Jesus is the Holy One of God.

• In Luke 4:40-41, multiple demons declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God.

Luke is making it very clear, and bringing everything together, to show that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed Son of God.

Jesus was not just a man, He was not just a prophet, He was, and is, the One   True Son of God, the Christ.

How Does This Change My Life?

1. Embrace Jesus As The Christ.

Jesus was not just a man, a prophet, a good teacher, or a guru of sorts.  He is the Christ.  Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the prophecies made concerning Him.  He was sent by God, but not only for the redemption of the Jewish people, but for anyone in the world who will embrace Him as the Christ.

  • Realize the real reason that Jesus came

As mentioned earlier, many people give Jesus some sort of credit as a good man, that sought to bring peace and good teaching (or something like that).  However, this falls short of the true identity of who Jesus is, and of the true meaning of the Gospel.

Let’s be very clear . . .

* Jesus did not come to make you a better person. 

Although, He will make you a better person. 

* Jesus did not come to bring world peace. 

Although, one day He will bring perfect peace to His creation. 

* Jesus did not come to bless you. 

Although, no one can bless you greater than He can. 

* Jesus did not come to teach you good morals. 

Although, there is no better teacher than Him.

The reason Jesus came

Was to rescue us

From the curse of sin!

The Bible says it well in Luke 19:10, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

There is no greater message that the world needs to hear.  The famous British born, Canadian theologian J.I. Packer said, “The message of the Christ is that there is hope for a ruined humanity.”   When we celebrate that wonderful truth that God sent a Redeemer to rescue us from the curse of sin in our hearts, in our lives, and in our world.  There is nothing greater to celebrate.

  • Live Your Life As A Christ Follower.

For those of you that have a relationship with Jesus, do you live your life as if He is truly the Christ the Lord?  What I mean is, do you live your life knowing that you owe everything to Him because He has bought you with His life and rescued you from the death brought by sin?  Because, if Jesus is really the Christ, if He really is God, then that changes everything.  If He really is the Christ, then every day we live should be lived for Him.  Everything thing we possess should be used for His purposes.  Everything we do, should be done for His glory.

If He is not the Christ, then that changes everything.  If Jesus is not the Messiah, then all of this is a waste of time.  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:19 that if Jesus was not sent by God, then we are to be pitied more than all men.  If you do not live your life as if Jesus is Lord, why are you wasting your time?  The fact of the matter is, Jesus is Lord!   Jesus is the Messiah!  None of this is a waste, because we are devoted to Him because He given us new life, when we were dead in our sins.

Let me ask you, “Who do you say Jesus is?”  I beg you to answer that question in your own mind and in your own heart.  Let me close with this quote from one of my favorite books, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. When one of the characters, Lucy, stumbles upon a secret wardrobe that opens to the magical world of Narnia, she excitingly tells her siblings.  Not believing in magical worlds, her siblings dismiss it as false.  Upon discussing this with the professor that owns the house, he questions them as to whether they think Lucy is not telling the truth.  The siblings respond that she is not.  He then asks them if they think she is mad; they again respond that she is not.  Next, the Professor says, “There are only three possibilities.  Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth.  You know she doesn’t tell lies, and it is obvious that she is not mad.  For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”

 This is the same logic that the author of that book, C.S. Lewis used to formulate the idea that Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or He was Lord.  Not only did the apostles, and many others, profess Jesus as the Christ, but He Himself claimed to be God.   Either He was lying, He was crazy, or He was telling the truth.  My hope and prayer is that God will reveal to you that Jesus is fact the Christ, the Son of God.  He is fact, God Himself.  He is the only solution to the curse of sin.

The Bible tells us that because we have sinned, we are separated from God.  We are destined to an eternity in Hell in eternal punishment.  We cannot be in the presence of God because He is holy and we are not.  But God, because of His love for us, sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin.  He died in our place.  He lived a perfect life, was put to death in on a cross, was buried in the ground, rose from the dead, and ascended back into Heaven.

That is the Good News.  If you have never asked God to forgive you of your sins, and you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord, as the Christ, the Bible tells you how to do that.    Romans 10:9-10 says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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