- Sermon Notes
Who do You Say He is?
As we continue in Luke 9, we find Jesus and the disciples far to the north of the Sea of Galilee in an area known as Caesarea Philippi. This is a famous location because of what Jesus taught His disciples when they were here. From this place you can see the famous Mount Hermon to the north where there is snow almost all year round.
Some of the headwaters of the Jordan River flow out of this place. There is also a famous rock face that stands massively out of the mountain from where the water flows out of a cave which was formed by flowing water carving it out of the limestone rock.
The spring has been called Panias, or Banias, named after the Greek god Pan, the god of desolate places. In fact, at the base of this mountain was built the Temple of Pan, the remnants of which can be still seen there today.
Here, at this place, Jesus has a conversation with the disciples that has become foundational to our understanding of who Christ is and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. In other words, these are extremely important words for us to understand and so we will look to God's Word for insight and application and to have an impact on our relationship to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The story unfolds around two questions that Jesus asks the disciples. First, he asks, "Who do people say that I am?" The disciples answer by telling Him what the people had been saying. But then Jesus asks the second question, "But who do you say that I am?" This is the most important question you’ll ever answer. In fact, every tongue must one day give an answer.
I. Each One Must Give an Answer
- The disciples reported that there were many opinions about who Christ was.
- There are also many opinions today. If you were to take a poll and ask people to answer that question today, many people would respond, “He was a great teacher,” or “He was good example of living a moral life," or something similar.
- But when Peter answered Jesus’ question and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus commended Peter for his answer.
- In the Greek, Peter's answer is powerful and clear. You are “the” Son of God, “the Christ.”
- In fact, it was for this reason the Jews had Jesus killed by the Romans.
John 5:18, For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
Matthew 26:63, And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself…”
A. This is an open book test
- After Peter gave his answer Jesus also said, "Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."
- In other words, this is the most important question you'll ever answer, but it's an open book test; because God reveals the truth to you.
- You don't have to rely on the opinion of men; God reveals the answer and gives evidence for your faith to be strengthened as well.
Illus – When I was in bible college, I went to the mall to ask people who God is. One person said, "God evolved from the dust of the universe." I then asked, "How do you know this is true?" He responded, "Because I think it is true."
- God reveals the truth and confirms it with the authority and power of Christ and then by raising Him from the grave on the third day.
I Corinthians 15:17, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins.
- And then Jesus, the One giving sight to the blind and healing every disease also said…
John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
Illus – CS Lewis once presented the problem that statement creates for us. It is summarized by the argument, "Either he is a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord He claimed to be."
B. One day everyone will give the same answer
- We live in a time and an age in which God has allowed each man or woman to choose for himself whom he will serve.
Joshua 24:15, "Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
- But there will come a day when God will reveal His Son in such a way that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Philippians 2:9-11 Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
- There will even come a day, and I believe very soon, when the nation of Israel will all recognize him as their Messiah.
Zechariah 12:10, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son.”
II. We Must Deny Ourselves
- This statement, "We must deny ourselves," came right on the heels of Jesus rebuking Peter. When Jesus said that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be killed and be raised up on the third day, Peter rebuked him saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You."
- Jesus then pointed out that Peter’s motives were not right. "Get behind me, Satan! You are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
A. Giving up our selfish desires
- Jesus said that Peter had man’s interests ahead of God’s; in other words, selfishness.
- Peter had just said that Jesus was the Messiah, but they thought of the Messiah as the son of David, the great warrior king who conquered all his enemies; and that's what Peter wanted.
- But before Jesus would come as the great conquering King, He must first conquer death.
- Our problem is that selfishness is a basic part of man and must be conquered. We're born with it.
Illus – Two boys who were brothers were hungry for breakfast and started fighting over who would get the first pancakes. Finally, mom stepped in and asked, "Now what would Jesus do if He were waiting for the pancakes?” …
B. In Christ, we are not our own
- Many people like to think of themselves as being their own man. “No one tells me what to do!”
- But no one “self-made” themselves into heaven. No one has yet been able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps all the way to heaven, though no doubt, many have tried and failed.
1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a, “you are not your own; for you have been bought with a price.”
- That means that He is the Lord of our lives, that He is the commander now. He is the boss, we might say.
Illus – That’s a difficult point to come to isn’t it? It's something our kids must learn so that when they're old they will not depart from it. And of course you keep working with them until you hear those words, "You’re the boss, Dad.”
C. What we should deny
- There are desires, or drives, of the flesh; the more our lives are led by these desires, the more base we are.
Illus – An animal is led by its drives within – we should be much higher than that. But even animals can demonstrate mastery over these desires.
- If we deny these base desires and allow God to have control in our lives, the more godly we live.
1 Corinthians 6:12, All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.
- Deny self- trust, deny self-sufficiency, deny self-confidence, instead have God confidence.
Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Illus – When you feel grumpy, does that mean you should be grumpy? If you don’t feel like being patient, be patient anyway. Bless those around you.
- The word “imitate” in the Greek is “mimic.”
III. We Must Take Up Our Cross
- One of the things we must understand is that Jesus has changed the meaning and significance of the cross.
- The Roman cross was designed to instill terror.
- But now when we look at a cross it means life and hope. Christ has changed the meaning of the cross. Now it's the symbol we put on our graves.
A. Take up your cross by losing your life
- It doesn’t mean carrying a heavy burden or hardship. “I guess that’s a cross I’ll have to bear.” – meaning some unchosen burden like a difficult job, or a mother-in-law, etc.
Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
B. Take up your cross willingly
Illus – Jesus is the example; in the movie “the Passion of the Christ,” this is seen beautifully when Jesus crawls up onto the cross in His own power.
John 10:17-18, "I lay down My life so that I may take it again. "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."
- That’s the point Jesus makes – we must choose to take up our cross, "There are things I want to die to, so I can live for You, Lord."
- Verses 24-25: “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake (and the gospel’s) will find it. What will a man be profited if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
- What is the value of your soul? Many have pondered that question. There have even been many polls asking, "For how much would you sell your soul?"
Illus – I remember growing up my dad would listen to country music driving us out to pick berries. I remember hearing the song, “The devil went down to Georgia…”
Illus - Someone once even tried to sell their soul on eBay...
- Jesus said that if you were offered the whole world, it would not be worth it. What insight!
- By this Jesus is saying that there are two attitudes toward life:
- Save your life now – indulge yourself!Hoard it, cling to it, and in every situation see ‘what’s in it for me.’ Look out for #1.
- Lose your life now – give yourself away, consider others more important than yourself, do what God wants you to do.
- Jesus said the results are predictable… If you save your own life you will lose it.
“You may find that you have everything you want, but you will not want anything you have.”
- Your life will slip through your fingers
- You will be unsatisfied, hollow and empty.
Luke 12:15, “for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
- Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life; follow Him and have that and more…
Luke 9:18-27 NASB