“It is necessary that the Son of Man suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.” Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it. For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and that of the Father and the holy angels. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God” (9:22-27 CSB).
Third, we hear the explanatory remarks of Jesus (9:22-27). Jesus wanted the apostles to know that since he was the Christ of God, he was on a redemptive mission (9:22). God sent him to free and save his people from sin and its consequences.
God had planned for his Christ to suffer many things, to be rejected, and to die for sinners. When someone interviews for a job, it is helpful when the employer clearly sets forth the demands of the position. Reverently, let us imagine God the Father interviewing God the Son for the position of Christ. After the Father described everything in its horrid details, the Son responded that the plan was good and wise and that he was willing to do everything commanded. As the psalmist wrote of the Messiah, “I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 NIV).
This must have been a shock to Peter and the others, for it seems that they were ignorant of all that the Scriptures had revealed about Christ. They read or heard selectively, paying attention to the glory parts and overlooking the suffering parts. This remains a problem for Bible readers, especially during this Covid-19 crisis. Everyone wants to hear words of comfort and hope. How many want to feel challenged to endure hardship during this time?
From this point on, Jesus began to explain to his disciples the significance of his first coming. It is the turning point of his ministry with them. He started to explain this divine necessity (“it is necessary”, 9:22) to them.
Action Step: As you teach the Gospel of Luke to someone, or read it with them, you should clearly present the significance of 9:22-26 to the person.
God had planned for the Christ to be raised to life after his suffering and death. Though Jesus would say this clearly many times, it went right over their heads. It was only after his resurrection that they understood (24:5-8, 25-27, 44-49). Do you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead? Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (Romans 10:9-10 ESV).
Jesus wanted his apostles to know that since he was the Christ of God, that they must follow him (9:23-27). Jesus was not someone on a search for significance. He knew that he was the most significant person in human history and he demanded and continues to demand that all follow him.
- You must practice self-denial and put your way of life to death daily and follow him (9:23). Notice his words “come after me” and “follow me”.
- You must reevaluate your whole life in relation to Christ (9:24-25). Notice his words “but whoever loses his life for me”.
- You must be willing to stand up for Christ and his teaching in the marketplace of human opinion (9:26-27). Notice his words “if anyone is ashamed of me and my words.”
True Christianity demands a change of mind and complete commitment of oneself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Has this happened to you? If it has not, you will die and then die in the Lake of Fire forever. If it has not, you are not a Christian. You will lose yourself! You must leave the way of rebellion and return to the Lord. This will only happen as by grace you see the significance or value or worth or glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Now is the moment for you to bow in faith before him. Cry out to him, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!”