Who Do You Say that I Am? (Luke 9:1-20)

The Context

In our study of Luke 9:1-20, we will ask ourselves the question which Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do you say that I am?”  This morning we will discover that there is only one correct answer and there is only one correct response to this question.

Let us first establish the context.  In verse 1, Jesus grants His disciples “power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases.”  In verses 7-9, Herod, ruler of Galilee, “was perplexed” about Jesus and sought to see Him.  In verses 10-17, the disciples return and Jesus feeds 5,000 men with only five loaves and two fish.  Lastly, in verses 18-20, Jesus asks His disciples: “Who do you say that I am?”  To which Peter replies, “The Christ of God.”

The Question: “Who Do You Say that I Am?”

 

There is only one correct answer to Jesus’ question.

Some people think that Jesus was just a legend/myth created by the early church.  Some other people think that Jesus was a real person who was a great moral teacher but that He never claimed to be the Son of God.  These may be popular opinions but they are all incorrect.

What is the correct answer?  Luke records Peter saying, “The Christ of God” (9:20).  Matthew records Peter as saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (16:16).  Mark records Peter as saying, “You are the Christ” (8:29).  The Scriptures unanimously claim that Jesus is the Christ.

What is a “Christ”?  Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah which means “anointed one”.  What is an anointed one?  In the Old Testament, when a person was anointed; they had oil placed on their head to set them apart to a holy and sacred function.  Priests (Ex 29:29), Kings (1 Sam 16:13), and Prophets (1 Kings 19:16) were anointed and set apart by God.

Jesus Christ is the “Anointed One of God”.  He is the true Priest, the true King, and the true Prophet.  Jesus is God made flesh, the Son of God sent by God the Father to redeem man and reverse the curse.  He is preeminent over all things (Col 1:18) as “all things were created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:16).

There is only one correct response to Jesus’ question.

We know that those who get the answer wrong will be cast “into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 25:30); but it is not enough to just get the answer correct.  Unless you have the correct response to follow the correct answer you too will be cast into the outer darkness.

The correct response to Jesus’ question is not just fear.  James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one; you do well.  Even the demons believe—and shudder!”  Demons are afraid of God.  The demons we saw in Luke 8 were afraid of Jesus.  Fear is a good response, but it alone is not the correct response.

The correct response to Jesus’ question is not just belief.  It is not enough to believe that Jesus is the Christ.  It is not enough to know the correct answer because demons believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ.  Luke 4:41 says, “And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.”  Also, Jesus says in Matt 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”.

The correct response to Jesus’ question is repentance through faith.  Repentance is humbling oneself before God and submitting to Him.  Repentance is the correct response because a repentant person is one who believes, has faith, and submits to God.  Matthew 7:21 says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  Jesus began His ministry by saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

In Conclusion

There is only one correct answer to Jesus’ question; the Christ who makes peace with God and man.  There is only one correct response to Jesus’ question; repentance through faith. If you do not believe Jesus is the Christ and do not have faith or repented; I invite you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and discover His steadfast love. If you know Jesus and He knows you. If you have surrendered yourself to Him, I pray that you know His love and mercy.  My prayer that is your life is fueled by His grace so that you may love God and love others.  An old Puritan Prayer says:

I long to fill all my time for Thee,
whether at home or in the way;
to place all my concerns in Thy hands;
to be entirely at Thy disposal,
having no will or interest of my own.
Help me to live to Thee forever,
to make Thee my last and only end,
so that I may never more in one instance love my
sinful self.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How would you respond to Jesus’ question: Who do you say that I am?
  2. Why is fear alone not the correct response?
  3. Why is belief alone not the correct response?
  4. Why is repentance through faith the correct response?
  5. In what ways can a proper understanding and response to Jesus help you love God and love others?