This morning our message is about the question “Is Jesus the Messiah?” The is a very important question, for what a person thinks of Jesus influences their entire life and their eternity. Christianity is a completely unique faith, unlike any other religion. What makes Christianity unique is its founder, Jesus Christ. The word Christ means Messiah, which means anointed. Kings were anointed for their offices in the Old Testament.
The coming of the Messiah had been prophesied in the Old Testament for thousands of years. The first prophesy of a coming Messiah is found in the first book of the Bible. In this verse, God is speaking to the serpent, Satan, who had just tempted Adam and Eve into sin.
Genesis 3:15 (ESV) I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
God is saying that an offspring of Eve will crush the head of Satan and destroy him at some future time. We learn that the Messiah would be human and would come to destroy Satan and his works.
1 John 3:8b (ESV) The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, fulfilling the prophesy of Genesis 3. The Old Testament is filled with over 300 prophesies about the coming Messiah. Most have been fulfilled in Jesus’ earthly ministry and some are to be fulfilled at His second coming. Not only would the Messiah destroy Satan, He would also usher in the kingdom of God.
Isaiah 9:6 (ESV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Messiah would be human, yet He would also be God. The Messiah would be King, ruling and reigning through the government or kingdom of God. What was Jesus’ message? It was the message that the prophets said the Messiah would teach.
Luke 4:43 (ESV) but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”
Jesus’ message was of the kingdom of God that was breaking into our world through His ministry. Is Jesus the Messiah? We know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God because He: Fulfilled over 300 prophesies of the coming Messiah. He claimed to be the Messiah He revealed Himself as having the glory of the Messiah as we’ll see today. And after dying on the cross, He rose from the dead three days later.
Since Jesus is the Messiah, the only wise choice is to worship and serve Him as the Messiah. That is the only way to have a relationship with God in this life and for eternity. So, let’s look more closely at the question “Is Jesus the Messiah” as we continue our study of chapter 9 of the gospel of Luke.
Luke 9:18b -19 (ESV) … the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.”
Jesus had been active in ministry for some time and great crowds were coming to see Him. He had been three main things: teaching about the kingdom of God, healing the sick and casting demons out of people. So, Jesus asked his disciples a simple question, Who do the crowds say I am? He got three different answers, but all were similar. All answers thought that Jesus was some type of prophet.
Some thought that he was John the Baptist or another old testament prophet risen from the dead. However, the crowds are usually wrong. Although he was a prophet, he was much more than a prophet.
Luke 9:20 (ESV) Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
So, Jesus then asked his disciples a second question, who do you say that I am? Peter gave the right and only proper answer, that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah of God. You see a prophet was simply a human being prophesying God’s truth. The Messiah, according to the prophets was going to be God in human form. Peter had come to believe that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Now, the people of Israel thought that the Messiah would be a military leader who would overthrow the Romans. But that was not the purpose of the Messiah.
Luke 9:22 (ESV) saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Jesus acknowledges that Peter is right, but corrects any misconceptions the disciples may have about the Messiah. Rather than ruling and reigning at this time, the Messiah would suffer, be rejected and killed. But that is not the end of the story, nor the end of the Messiah. For on the third day, the Messiah would rise from the dead, never to die again. The resurrection is the ultimate proof that Jesus was and is the Messiah of God. Jesus acknowledged that He indeed was the Messiah.
We could ask ourselves the same two questions that Jesus asked his disciples. First is, who do the crowds say that Jesus is? Most today would agree with the crowds in Israel 2000 years ago. Jesus was a good teacher, a prophet, but simply a human being like all the others. Indeed, Jesus was a good teacher, a prophet and a human being, but He was much more.
In the passage we’ve studied so far, we see Jesus accepting the title of Messiah. Messiah means that Jesus was Mighty God, Everlasting Father, God in human flesh. So, what are the possible responses to Jesus’ claims?
First of all, we can’t say with the crowds that Jesus was simply a good teacher or prophet. Why not? Because he claimed to be the son of God, the Messiah. If these statements were not true, Jesus would be either a liar or a lunatic and not a good teacher or prophet. But If Jesus’ statements are true, then he must be the Messiah, the Lord. What are the implications if Jesus is the Messiah?
Luke 9:23 (ESV) And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Jesus has just acknowledged that He is the promised Messiah. Now, what does he tell his disciples are to do with that knowledge? They are to do three things, deny themselves, daily take up their cross and follow Jesus. These three things are another way of presenting the gospel.
To deny yourself is to turn away from your selfish life of sin, to repent. To daily take up your cross is to completely die to your old way of life and sin and put your trust in Jesus. Finally, to truly believe in Jesus, one must follow Him, doing the things that Jesus did.
Luke 9:24-25 (ESV) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
Jesus is teaching his disciples and us today, what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We are to lose our lives for Jesus’ sake. That means that we are to spend our whole lives serving Him, not living for ourselves. The end result of losing your life for Jesus is that you will save your life for eternity. The world that we see around will not last in its present form. Jesu sis tell us that we must live for eternity by giving up everything to follow Jesus.
Luke 9:26 (ESV) For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Some are ashamed of Jesus and the things he said. Why would that be? Most likely because they care more about what the crowd thinks than about Jesus. If Jesus is ashamed of someone on judgement day, they won’t be spending eternity with Jesus. So, we must put Jesus first above everyone else in our lives.
Luke 9:27 (ESV) But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
What is Jesus talking about here? We’re going to see in the next passage that we study this morning. Jesus is going to unveil himself in a way that he had never done before in his earthly ministry. Jesus was going to reveal what the king of the kingdom really looks like to his closest disciples. We must follow Jesus the Messiah.
Jesus gives us some frank instruction as to what it takes to follow him as the Messiah. Following Jesus is not just getting a ticket to heaven. Following Jesus is taking up our crosses for him, just as Jesus took up his cross for us. Following Jesus is to deny ourselves and putting Jesus and his kingdom in first place in our lives. It means we can’t live life like the crowds around us. Yet the rewards, both in this life and eternity make it all worthwhile.
I’d encourage you this week to think what Jesus’ words mean for your life. What does it mean to deny yourself and daily take up your cross? What does it mean to follow Jesus all through life? God will give you answers to those questions. As you follow Jesus, the Messiah, God will bring blessing into your life.
Luke 9:28-29 (ESV) Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.
Although Jesus had done many miracles, so had his disciples. Doing miracles did not prove Jesus was the Messiah. But now Jesus was going to unveil his glory in a way that no human being ever could. As Jesus was praying on the mountain with his closest disciples, it was if the veil of humanity was drawn back to reveal the glory of the son of God. Jesus’ face and clothes began to shine with a light and glory that no human being had. It was similar to the vision of Jesus that John had in Revelation 1. There Jesus face was like the sun shining in full strength. Not only was Jesus’ appearance transformed as he was transfigured, but there was even more proof that he was the Messiah.
Luke 9:30-31 (ESV) And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Moses, the great leader of Israel and Elijah the prophet appeared with Jesus. They were Old Testament believers who were in heaven with God. They now came to tell the open-eyed disciples what Jesus’ mission was. Peter wanted to build some shelters for everyone and camp out, but that was not to be.
Luke 9:34-35 (ESV) As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
Finally, God the Father spoke with a thundering voice out of the glory cloud. He announced that Jesus was the son of God, His chosen one. They all were to listen to him and do what he said. This was an experience that Peter, John and James would remember for the rest of their lives. There would never be a shadow of doubt in their minds that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. They would follow him for the rest of their days, laying down their lives for the kingdom. Jesus revealed the Messiah’s glory.
Jesus, the Messiah came to this earth to fulfill God’s mission. A mission to destroy the power of Satan, to provide forgiveness and bring the kingdom of God near to all. The capstone of his mission would be dying on the cross and rising from the dead three days later. After 40 days instructing his disciples, he would ascend back into heaven.
In heaven, he would begin pouring out the baptism in the Holy Spirit to empower every believer with the same power that he had on the earth. The kingdom of God would begin advancing on the earth. The supernatural power of God would continue through Jesus’ disciples. The gospel of the kingdom would continue to spread, people would be healed and set free from demonic powers through Jesus’ followers.
But his followers would still await his second coming. For when Jesus comes again, all evil will be banished and the kingdom of God will reign supreme forever and ever. Jesus reveals the Messiah’s glory.
The most important question in life for every person to answer is who is Jesus? The only true answer is that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God. Knowing that answer, the only proper response is to bow the knee and believe in Jesus. One day, the Bible tells us, that every knew will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. But is only those who confess Jesus is Lord in this life, who will spend eternity with him. Those that only recognize him for who he is after his coming, will not spend eternity with him.
God gives everyone an opportunity in their lifetime to accept or reject Jesus. May each of us accept that opportunity and bow our knee to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. And may we do all we can to lead those around us to also believe in Jesus the Messiah.