Sermon Summary: Luke 9:18-36
In this passage we see three deficient human opinions about who Jesus is. Firstly the crowds say that Jesus is a prophet (v19), one sent by God and gifted with extraordinary power and an extraordinary message. Secondly, Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ of God. (v20) Although Peter is correct, he still does not fully understand what this will mean for Jesus. To a first Century Jew, the Christ was supposed to have been a glorious military leader and King; one who would restore Israel to glory and defeat the country’s enemies. Thirdly, we see the that the religious leaders of Israel believe that Jesus is a dangerous rebel and heretic, worthy of the death penalty (v22). Each of these opinions is either wrong or deficient in some way. But in verse 35 we see God’s opinion of Jesus, “He is my Son, my Chosen one, listen to Him!”. This is the truth about who Jesus is, he is the Son of God, the Christ of God. He is the one to whom we must submit and obey.
How close are you to that verdict?
Agreeing with God’s opinion carries with it tremendously important implications, that will mean your life will never be the same; it involves a cost since, as Jesus says we must deny ourselves. That means that being a Christian will involve loss, even pain. Why then would a person become a Christian? Because there is much so much to gain. Firstly Jesus gives meaning to our existence, “whoever loses his life will save it” (vs24). Ironically, life isn’t worth living unless you’ve got something worth dying for and Jesus is that thing. Secondly, Jesus gives meaning to our personal identity what good is it to gain the world and lose oneself? (vs25). Selfish enjoyment of this world and its goods leads to an empty, superficial and isolated life that is a poor reflection of what God made human beings to be. But when we live in relationship to God, by following Jesus, obeying him and trusting him we find that we become who God truly made us to be. Thirdly, Jesus gives meaning to our personal destiny, ““If anyone is ashamed of me, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him.” (v26). If we reject him then we reject the gift of eternal life, but through faith in him, trusting that he is who God says he is, we receive it freely.
How much is it worth to you to be a disciple of such a unique and wonderful person? As the missionary and martyr Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”