It is a searching question that Jesus posed to his disciples, “But whom say ye that I am?”… and it requires more than words to demonstrate this… 1John 2:3-6 “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked”
The events in this chapter span a period of 6 months in the Lords ministry, so with this in mind while the events in this chapter are chronological, they aren’t really linked by time, but without a doubt they are linked by one very strong theme, that being, the cost of being a disciple of the Lord.
A disciple of the Lord is a person desiring to be seen as a follower of him. Before remembering our Lord in the emblems let us consider what sort of life our Lord expects of those desiring to be his disciples as portrayed in this chapter…
Often we routinely and rightly define the Gospel as the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, but in doing this do we remember the power of the Gospel to “Heal”! (cp. Luke 9:1,2,6,11). The ability to heal by the power of the Holy Spirit was a visible sign of the real power the Gospel has, to heal us from mortality caused by sin. Remember how Jesus demonstrated this when healing the lame man.
Luke 5:23-24 “Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”
What an excitement it brought to the disciples as they eagerly returned and recounted to their Lord their preaching and healing experiences (Luke 9:10). As preaching disciples do you recount your experience to your Lord? Do you speak to him in prayer and share your happiness or struggles when someone listens to the Gospel? Do you realize the power of the Gospel you have?
Perhaps the reasoning of our Lord in feeding the 5,000 gets compromised in our minds when thinking about the words of the disciples who came to Jesus and said, “This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food” (Matt.14:15). To be ready teachers to those that want to hear when the time is appropriate is obviously right, but surely there are times when they should leave and look after their own practical needs like food and a bed for the night!
In our Lord’s actions is one of the simplest expressions of a disciple’s depth of faith and love; the willingness to provide help even when it is inconvenient. After all, what good are encouraging words when a person needs physical help?
James 2:15-16 “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”
Do we ever find our Lord refusing to give spiritual food to those in need because it was inconvenient for him? What about the woman of Samaria, when our Lord was famished and wearily longing for food! Far from holding back, he overcame his physical weariness to give of the “living waters” (cp.John 4:6-14)
It is humbling to think about the selflessness of our Lord’s life. How much he went without that His Father’s will might be done we can only wonder, but in wondering, we are motivated to do likewise as best we can, that we might be seen as his disciples.
It is a common human trait to look at the way another person lives their life and to find weak points, but our Lord was deliberate in his words to ensure that his disciples realized the full importance of their own conviction. Maybe it is easy to look at other religions and mock their beliefs, but if we don’t fully understand the responsibilities of our own confession, than who are we to criticize?
Peter’s answer to our Lord was academically correct… Luke 9:20 “But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God”, but our Lord deliberately continued on to expand what this meant in practice…
If we believe that our Lord is the Christ of God then…
· (v23) We will resolve to deny our own selfish wants,
· (v23) We will renew this resolution daily, (v25) for the rest of our lives
· (v23) Not only will we deny, but we will actively follow our Lord
· (v26) We aren’t ashamed of being seen as a disciple of Christ
· (v23) 我们要舍己
· (v23)我们要天天更新这个决心， （v25）用尽我们的一生
· (v23) 不仅仅是口里承认，还要积极地跟随我们的主
There is a cost for choosing to be a disciple of Christ. Those that remain faithful are those who have counted the cost and know that the reward far outweighs any sacrifices that there might be now.
2Cor.4:17-18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal”
God leaves us in no doubt that the lesson for the disciples in this awesome event of the transfiguration of Christ was to realize “This is my beloved son: hear him” Luke 9:35.
At times in life our focus slips from our Lord and we become preoccupied with our own activities. But Jesus example far excels any other focus we can choose in life. From him we learn of God, we gain the promise of eternal life, in a future with immortal bodies, the wisdom of the angels, and Divine nature!
1John 3:2-3 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as God is pure”
Coming from the presence of the glory of the Lord into the surrounds of the mortal disciples struggling and failing to heal the sick man, highlights the vast difference between our Lord and we his disciples. Matthew records how the disciples came to their Lord after this embarrassing moment asking him why they could not heal the man…
Matt.17:20-21 “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”
Our Lord clearly shows that their lack of faith was the only thing stopping the “mighty power of God” (Luke 9v43) from being displayed.
Faith is a steadfast belief in the invisible power of God. Jesus explained that a steadfast belief isn’t simply shown by our words, but rather is demonstrated in action. Jesus used the figure of a seed to describe faith because just like that seed, faith grows the more it is watered and nurtured. We will be convinced of the presence God by prayer, by noticing his handiwork in creation, by observing the fulfillment of prophecy, and daily appreciating His guidance in our lives.
No doubt the disciples were confused when the Lord took a child and set him in their midst. None of them had told him about the dispute they had been having as to who would have the higher position in the Kingdom.
From this we are made to examine our motivation for being a disciple. A disciple isn’t motivated by the desire to get higher status than another disciple. To the world it is foolishness to look at the humble and simple character of a child, to us we realize it is the only way the power of God can shape us to be ready for salvation. The proof of this is in our Lord…
Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the image of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped at to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant… as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death… wherefore God hath also highly exalted him”
It isn’t the self will of a disciple that ensures a place for him in God’s kingdom; it wasn’t the talents of our Lord that saw him rise from the grave, only the power of God can bring salvation to any of us.
As the determination of the Lord is seen in his eyes which were “steadfastly set” to go to Jerusalem, the fervent characters of James and John were stirred up by the arrogance of the Samaritans in denying entry of the Lord into their city. Their vengeful desire to call down fire and punish the unbelievers would perhaps seem to be the right thing given the defiant actions of the Samaritans.
But the thinking of our Lord is recorded for us to learn from: “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” Luke 9:56.
If James and John had looked at the Lord a little more deeply, they would have realized that his “steadfast” determination to go to Jerusalem wasn’t motivated by the desire to destroy all evil. The will of the Father was far greater than this, the will of the Father was to change all evil that it might be good! That is Salvation!
Though the time of the end will come, when all evil that is unrepentant will be destroyed, as disciples looking to our master, motivated by the love that he has shown to save us, we preach to save others.
2Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any would perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…”
As disciples we have been called to leave our selfish ways and to follow our Lord. Perhaps at times there are daily jobs that seem to need more urgent attention than our discipleship! But that can never be, rather our daily jobs must shew our discipleship.
We have chosen to be followers of the Lord and if we look at the memorials before us this morning we see the symbols of remembrance that he told us to look at, reflect on, and remember the life that he lived as an example for his followers.
The unleavened bread shows a life that through prayer and fasting was never tainted by hypocrisy or sin. The kneading, rolling, and baking of the bread reminds us of God’s hand that works the humble in spirit to be shaped in his character and Glory.
The wine remembers the pressure that came upon our Lord as he crushed the desires of sin, and the resulting goodness that flowed from his life we remember in the wine extracted from the crushing of the grapes.
We think upon our Lord by reflecting, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13
Our Lord reflects upon his disciples when saying, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God” Luke 9:62
Having considered the lessons of discipleship, the life of a person desiring to be seen as a follower of the Lord, before we take the memorials, let our Lord ask us disciples a question… “But whom say ye that I am?”…