Luke 9:18-23

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

January 24, 2001


People had been talking, asking the question of who Jesus was …

(Luke 9:7-8 KJV)  Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; {8} And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.

:18  And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

prayingproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

alonekatamonas (“according to” + “alone”) – apart, alone

were withsuneimi – to be with

he askedeperotao – to accost one with an enquiry, put a question to, enquiry of, ask, interrogate; to address one with a request or demand; to ask of or demand of one

the peopleochlos – a crowd; a multitude; the common people, as opposed to the rulers and leading men

:19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

This is exactly what Herod had heard people saying (Luke 9:7-8)

Some thought that Jesus was really John the Baptist come back from the dead.

Others thought that Jesus was Elijah, who was prophesied to come back before the coming of the Lord:

(Mal 4:5 KJV)  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Others thought Jesus might be one of the “old prophets”, meaning older than Elijah.  This was a term that was used by the Jews to refer to prophets like Samuel or David.

:20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

ye – plural; Jesus is speaking to the group of disciples.

The ChristChristos – “anointed”; the Messiah, the Son of God.  This is the Greek form of the Hebrew word:

Messiahmashiyach – anointed, anointed one

In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word “mashiah” is translated every time as “Christos”.  It means “anointed”.

It is used of priests Ex 28:41 40:15 Nu 3:3 prophets 1Ki 19:16 and kings 1Sa 9:16 16:3 2Sa 12:7.  All were anointed with oil,  and so consecrated to their respective offices.
The great Messiah is anointed "above his fellows" Ps 45:7 i.e.,  he embraces in himself all the three offices.

Matthew records this incident and tells us a little more information:

(Mat 16:13-17 KJV)  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? {14} And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. {15} He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? {16} And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. {17} And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

What Peter was saying was something that God had told him.  He wasn’t saying what the “crowd” was saying.  He was telling Jesus what the Father had told him (Peter).


Peer Pressure:  Going along with the crowd?

Peer pressure can be a very strong, influential factor in our lives.
Dr. Dobson tells of a study done at a University where a teacher supposedly was testing a group of students on their perception.  A group of students was shown two drawings of lines.  One line was definitely shorter than the other.  The group was asked to choose which line they thought was shorter than the other.  But in the study, everyone in the group was told ahead of time to pick the wrong line, all but one student.  When the teacher pointed to the longer line and asked who thought the line was shorter, everyone raised their hand except the one student who wasn’t “in the know”.  In almost every time they ran the experiment, the “unclued” student eventually went along with the rest of the crowd, even though they knew they were wrong.
Sometimes “peer pressure” can be good.
(John 4:1-42 KJV)  When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, {2} (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) {3} He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. {4} And he must needs go through Samaria. {5} Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. {6} Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. {7} There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. {8} (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) {9} Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. {10} Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. {11} The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? {12} Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? {13} Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: {14} But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. {15} The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. {16} Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. {17} The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: {18} For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. {19} The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. {20} Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. {21} Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. {22} Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

The Samaritans were a race of “half-breeds”.  They were not pure bred Jews.  And they had a twisted, perverted form of worship that was almost Jewish.  They changed the names and places of events to make it all more convenient for Samaritans.  Almost like Mormonism is to Christianity.

{23} But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. {24} God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. {25} The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

I think the woman is saying this because she is beginning to get a clue that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.  But since Jesus is speaking with such authority, and since Jesus has been telling her such wonderful things, she isn’t just coming out with it, but hinting at it.

{26} Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Jesus outright claims to be the Christ to this woman.

I’m not positive, but I believe it’s very possible that this occurs chronologically before our chapter in Luke.  This Samaritan woman “got it” before possibly the disciples did.  Hmmm.

{27} And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? {28} The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, {29} Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

She is excited to share her discovery of the Messiah.

{30} Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. {31} In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. {32} But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. {33} Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? {34} Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. {35} Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. {36} And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. {37} And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. {38} I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. {39} And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. {40} So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. {41} And many more believed because of his own word; {42} And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

In this instance, the Samaritans heard about Jesus being the Messiah from the well-woman.  But because they came to Jesus, they found out for themselves that Jesus was indeed the Christ.

Sometimes peer pressure can be bad.
We often think of peer pressure in terms of teenagers and the pressure to do drugs, have sex, smoke, whatever.  But we don’t often think of how peer pressure still affects us even when we’re old.

We’re always conducting “polls” to find out what everyone thinks on certain matters.

We may say we’re against the majority, but we still like to be included in a group that thinks a certain way.

Sometimes we have to be willing to step away from what the “others” are saying and find out what God is saying.
What is God telling you about your life?
Are you going along with the crowd?  Are you paying more attention to what others say, or are you paying attention to what God is saying?
What if God tells you something different than what the crowd is telling you?

:21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;

straitly chargedepitimao – to show honour to, to honour; to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely; to admonish or charge sharply

commandedparaggello – to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command, order, charge

Why didn’t Jesus want the disciples to tell people that Jesus was the Messiah, even when He was?

Perhaps He didn’t want the scribes and Pharisees to be too provoked too quickly.

Perhaps He didn’t want the Romans to be stirred up against what they might perceive as a “threat”.

Surely Jesus didn’t want the people to fall into the trap of thinking that He was to be their earthly king.  He had other plans in mind.  Like dying on a cross.

Jesus did things at times that purposely kept His popularity lower than it could be (like when He went north after hearing that people were thinking that Jesus was more popular than John the Baptist – John 4:1).

:22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

mustdei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper

sufferpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

be rejectedapodokimazo (“away from” + “test or prove”) – to disapprove, reject, repudiate; from the word dokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals; to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

The leaders of Israel would put Jesus to the test and reject Him.

elders – probably the Sanhedrin

chief priests – the leaders of the Judaism as a religion

scribes – those who are experts in the Scriptures

be slainapokteino – to kill in any way whatever

be raisedegeiro – to arouse, cause to rise; to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life

Jesus is going to tell His disciples several times about His death and resurrection before it happens.

Don’t get the idea that the disciples even had a clue what He was talking about.  Later on, in this same chapter, Jesus will repeat Himself on this subject, and notice how the disciples respond then:

(Luke 9:44-45 KJV)  Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. {45} But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.
Take heart if you feel like you’re a little “clueless” sometimes when it comes to the plans of God.  You’re not alone.  Even the disciples were often “clueless”.

:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

willthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

This is for those who have a desire, have a heart, who want to follow Jesus.

If you want to follow Jesus, you’re going to find Him leading you

deny himselfaparneomai (“away from” + “deny”) – to deny; to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone; to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests

take upairo – to raise up, elevate, lift up; to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to bear

crossstauros – a cross; a well known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections, and occasionally in the provinces, at the arbitrary pleasure of the governors, upright and peaceable men also, and even Roman citizens themselves

We don’t usually think of the cross in the proper way.  We think of it as some kind of symbol, something that people wear as jewelry around their neck.


When Jesus said, “if you are going to follow me, you have to take up a cross,” it was the same as saying, “Come and bring your electric chair with you.  Take up the gas chamber and follow me.”  He did not have a beautiful gold cross in mind—the cross on a church steeple or on the front of your Bible.  Jesus had in mind a place of execution.
-- Billy Graham in "The Offense of the Cross" (from Great Sermons on Christ, Wilbur M. Smith, ed.).  Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 12.

daily – “according to the day”.

followakoloutheo – to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him; to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple; side with his party


-- Stuart Briscoe, Ordinary Folks Make Great Disciples," Preaching Today, Tape No. 47.
I was in Edinburgh about a year ago speaking at Charlotte Chapel, and a delightful young lady gave her testimony. She had come back from Kabul, Afghanistan, where she was a missionary nurse. She said how she was really enjoying the work she was doing there, and then she'd met a young man and fallen in love. He'd asked her to marry him, but she had said, "I made a commitment to my church back home to serve on the mission field. If I were to marry you, that might change everything. So before I can give you an answer, I need to talk with the leaders of the church." And so that was why she was home. She'd flown home all the way from Afghanistan to talk to the leaders of the church.
As I was looking at the congregation, I noticed a fellow sitting in the front row who had the weirdest look on his face. So when she was through and sat down next to me, I said, "Who is that fellow? Do you know him?" She said, "That's the young man." I said, "I thought he was in Kabul." She said, "He was. He heard I was flying back to Scotland to talk to the leaders of the church, so he said he wanted to talk to them as well. So he jumped on the next plane."
You can always tell lovers: they don't give up. They "come after," as a lover comes after the beloved. And that's the picture that Jesus gives: "If you're going to come after me, it's because you love me because I first loved you, and there's something about me that draws you irresistibly to me." Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?


Following Jesus.

If you are going to follow Jesus, then you are going to find Him leading you in certain kinds of places.
He will lead you in places that will require you to deny your wishes and desires.  He will lead you in places that will require you to be “crucified”.
I had walked life's way with an easy tread,
I had traveled where pleasures and comfort lead
Until one day in a quiet place,
I met the Master face to face.
With station and rank and wealth for my goal,
Much thought for my body but none for my soul,
I'd entered to win this life's mad race,
When I met the Master face to face.
I built my towers and reared them high,
'Til they had pierced the blue of the sky. 
I'd sworn to rule with an iron mace,
When I met my Master face to face.
I met Him and knew Him and blushed to see,
That His eyes, full of sorrow, were fixed upon me. 
I faltered and fell at his feet that day, While my castles melted and vanished away.
Melted and vanished and in their place,
Nothing else could I see but the Master's face. 
My thoughts are now for the souls of men,
I had lost my life to find it again.
Since that day in a quite place,
When I met the Master face to face.

-- Insight for Living 7/30/90

Bishop Walpole, the father of Hugh Walpole, the novelist, once said to a friend who was weighing a [life] call:  "If you are uncertain of which of the two paths to take, choose the one on which the shadow of the cross falls."

-- Rupert Hart-Davis in Hugh Walpole, A Biography. Christianity Today, Vol. 31,  no. 18.