Luke 9:18-22 – Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

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Luke 9:18

  1. Did Jesus pray with his disciples? Or had Jesus withdrawn to pray quietly when they came to disturb him? Unfortunately, the text does not say.
    1. For a leader in the Kingdom of God, it is important to find time for quiet prayer. Exactly where, when or how you pray is very individual, but praying is very important.
    1. A leader in the kingdom of God draws much of his inspiration from God. When one prays in silence, it is easier to listen to God’s voice and address in the situation at hand.
    1. In Jesus’ prayer, he seems to feel that now is the time to have a conversation with his disciples about who Jesus really is. Jesus begins this conversation by asking the disciples who people in general think Jesus is.

Luke 9:19

  1. We look at different people differently depending on our perception of that person. When an ordinary person sees a policeman, he feels safe, but when a criminal sees a policeman, he gets nervous.
    1. To answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” actually says more about those who answer than about Jesus.
  2. John the Baptist was known for preaching repentance, Elijah was known for performing many miracles, and the prophets of old preached the word of God and prophesied.
    1. If you think that Jesus corresponds only to one of these personalities, then you have only partially understood who Jesus is. Jesus is more than just a preacher of repentance, he is also a transmitter of God’s word and miracles. But Jesus is not only a miracle worker who offers healing, he also calls us to repentance. And so on.
  3. John the Baptist and the prophet Elijah were also strong personalities who dared to go against the corruption in society. Perhaps the people wanted Jesus to challenge the Jewish establishment and start a rebellion against the Roman occupation.

Luke 9:20

  1. It is not enough to know what others think about Jesus, one needs to recognize and confess one’s own personal faith. This is especially important for second-generation Christians growing up in a Christian family. You are not automatically a Christian just because your parents are Christians. You need to confess your faith in Jesus at some point in your life.
  2. “Messiah”, or “Christ” in Greek, comes from the Hebrew word “mashiach” and means “the anointed one”.
    1. In Old Testament times, it was common for God’s representatives to be anointed with oil to symbolize that they were chosen by God and sanctified for a specific mission. In our Western society, “anointed” can be compared to “crowned”.
      1. David was anointed king (1 Sam 16:1-13).
      1. Aaron was anointed a priest (Leviticus 8:12).
      1. Elisha was anointed a prophet (1 Kings 19:16).
    1. As the Messiah, Jesus is all three:
      1. Jesus is King (Matthew 27:11).
      1. Jesus is a priest (Heb 6:20).
      1. Jesus is a prophet (John 12:49).
    1. Zechariah prophesied of a “son” who would be king and priest at the same time and who would build the temple of the Lord (Zech 6:12-13).
    1. In the Old Testament, it is clear that one must not anoint anyone with oil. The anointing oil is holy and must not be used on anyone “unauthorized” (Exodus 30:30).
    1. Being anointed with oil is a symbolic act that shows that the person is chosen by God and is empowered by the Holy Spirit to do his or her job well. The anointing with oil is on the outside and symbolizes the “anointing of the Spirit” on the inside. In this way, the anointing is similar to baptism, which is an outward symbolic manifestation of an inward rebirth of the Spirit.
    1. The fact that Jesus’ disciples are called “Christians” literally means that we are “anointed” (2 Corinthians 1:21, 1 John 2:20). All Christians belong to Christ and share in Christ’s anointing. This means that all who belong to Christ, the anointed one, are Christians/anointed into holy service for God. We are chosen by God and called to carry out a holy mission. To accomplish this mission we have been given the Holy Spirit who gives us anointing and power. 
  3. Peter, who was in the habit of speaking for everyone, confessed that Jesus is “the Messiah of God”.
    1. The order of the confession is important. Jesus is not “my” Messiah, whom I can decide what he should be, but Jesus is “God’s” Messiah. It is God who gives the commission and decides what the Messiah will be like, not us.
      1. This was particularly difficult for many of the Jews who longed for a political Messiah, a new King David, who would rebel against the Romans and re-establish Israel as a nation. But Jesus opposed this and instead walked the path of suffering and the cross (John 6:14-15, 18:36).
      1. Do we today also have a false image of who Jesus is? Do we want Jesus to be like Santa Claus and give us what we want at the appointed time? Or is Jesus the one who challenges us sinners to repentance, who works miracles in our lives and who teaches us the word of God?

Luke 9:21-22

  1. There was a very big difference between the Messiah that Jesus intended to be, and the Messiah that the Jewish people wanted him to be.
    1. Jesus rejoices that the disciples are slowly but surely discovering that Jesus is God’s Messiah, and may not live up to their expectations in the way they want. But this knowledge has not yet landed with the rest of the Jewish people, and so Jesus does not want the rest of the people to hear that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.
  2. That the Messiah would suffer greatly and be rejected by the Jewish leadership was probably a shock to most people. If Jesus is the Messiah and yet would NOT drive out the Romans and re-establish Israel as a nation, then most people would not want Jesus as their Messiah.
    1. Imagine if Gustav Vasa had gathered the dockers and said he was going to Stockholm, but not to drive the Dane out, but to be captured and executed. How many Dalmatians would he have brought with him to Stockholm?
      1. In much the same way, it is offensive to the Jews to hear that their Messiah is going to Jerusalem to be captured by the Romans and executed. Since this is not very easy to accept, Jesus also does not want this knowledge to reach the people until Jesus is ready to complete his mission to save humanity by dying on the cross.
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