Title: Life Requires Faith & Courage, Luke 9:18-27
One time when Jesus was off praying by himself, his disciples nearby, he asked them, “What are the crowds saying about me, about who I am?”
They said, “John the Baptizer. Others say Elijah. Still others say that one of the prophets from long ago has come back.”
He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”
Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”
Jesus then warned them to keep it quiet. They were to tell no one what Peter had said. He went on, “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the religious leaders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and on the third day be raised up alive.”
Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?
“If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”
Truth: Jesus took this opportunity to discuss with His disciples that real living – a life with an eternal or heavenly view – requires “faith” to follow what the Lord says and where He may lead, as well as the “courage” to accept the obstacles and threats that may come because others may want to fight you along the way. But, you must not stumble on your own pride and stop following to fight back. It is not an easy life to follow, but it is worth the reward!
Application: The timing of this meeting with His disciples was just after they had been out on their own sharing the Good News they had received from Jesus. They had been visiting and preaching throughout the countryside and ran into many situations because of their relationship and association with Jesus. They heard people discuss what they thought about Jesus. Sometimes it was good things they heard and other times bad things. So, Jesus wanted to share some hard truths with His disciples because there will come a time when they will be on their own and Jesus will be no longer available to them as they knew it then.
Jesus asked them first to clarify what they heard about Jesus: Who do they say I am? There was obvious uncertainty on that question. No one they met had the right answer. So Jesus then asks the disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter, speaking for the other disciples immediately shouts out – “You are the Messiah of God!” Or, in other words: They knew Jesus as the specially chosen and promised Savior for God’s people.
And today, Jesus remains God’s specially chosen and promised Savior for you too! He earned that title with honor because as He promised He knew people would rise up against Him and accuse Him, put Him on trial, and then execute Him, not because of what He did, but what He represented to them: a threat to their selfish lifestyles! Jesus shared openly to them that following was a sign of glorifying and honoring God. However, the fact remains that most people in this world prefer to lead their own lives and sacrifice nothing. In fact, if given the opportunity, these selfish people would prefer that you sacrifice your life for their benefit.
But is that what Jesus was trying to teach His disciples? What do you think matters.
Jesus told His disciples that a life that honors God, trusts Him, and seeks the life God promises includes a heavenly home as a reward. If that is your life choice then you must not only recognize who Jesus is, but also follow Him and obey His Way, His Truth and His Life, because only by following Him will you discover your Heavenly Father waiting with open arms for you. (John 14:6) However, Jesus declares there will be trials, times of testing, and tribulation that may come along the way in the life that He leads, but your “faith and courage” are God’s gift to you to face those challenges, because Jesus desires to introduce you to your Heavenly Father as one of His followers.
The choice though is yours to make! You can try to control your own life now, which will deny the values and promises of God in this life, or you will choose the life that God has promised and follow the lead of Jesus as your Savior, as God the Father looks on with a smile of approval.
Which choice you make will be up to you! However, just know your family is praying for you to choose life with God, because we all are looking forward to the day we all will share a new home together in heaven together as we walk with Jesus as one happy family.