In Luke 9:18 while Jesus was praying, He begins to question the disciples about who the people were saying He was. Their answers of course varied from “John the Baptist” to a “risen prophet of old”. Who the people identified Jesus as was not the true concern for Jesus at the time. He had larger concerns on His mind. His next question to the disciples was “who do you say I am”? Of course Peter (who was always outspoken and bold in his faith) responds, “The Christ of God”. While it may seem to most every day Bible readers that this was a simple series of questions, the truth behind those questions goes much further. The motivation behind the questions can be found in the language of the original scrolls which these words were copied from. The first reason was to re-affirm the faith that was present in the disciples and the second was to affirm again the true identity of Christ to the reader.
Jesus already knew the answers to the two questions. He also knew that the disciples were aware of the answers. The disciples were already aware of the identity of Jesus because they had already witnessed the miracles, they had heard the demons casted from people acknowledge Him as Christ, they had seen the dead rise to life, He had given the authority to the disciples perform such miracles, they had heard the parables, they had heard the teachings that marveled others, they had witnessed Jesus forgive sins, and they had heard the profession that Jesus was Christ by John the Baptist. Jesus would later go on to verbally affirm His identity himself in John 4:25-26 directly, but at this point in time of His ministry He had already proven in through the ways listed here. Jesus was simply reminding the disciples who He was.
By reminding the disciples of who Jesus was would bring the thoughts and knowledge of God’s will to the forefront of the disciple’s thought process. The disciples really needed to consider the coming responsibility and weight of their decision to follow Christ that would be upon them in the days ahead. The question of who they thought Jesus to be could be compared to that of the question in which Jesus asked Peter ,”Do you love me Peter?” (John 21:15). Jesus knew the burden that lay ahead for the disciples in the coming days as He also knew the will of God the Father ahead for Himself. To acknowledge themselves as “Christ followers” and disciples would cost them dearly on earth in the near future. Many of the early church leaders would go on to be martyred for their faith, while also suffering in the near future for simply following Him. We know great men of God such as John and Paul would be beaten, imprisoned, exiled, crucified, and some even beheaded. One was even believed to be crucified upside down as He was said to have not felt worthy to be crucified in the same manner as the Christ. To follow Christ would not only mean to commit oneself in service to God’s Kingdom and will, but to also possibly even give up your life to be a martyr. Jesus needed them to know that their decision to follow Him was eternally rewarding, but not without a risk. Without the faith and understanding of the foundation of the church, there would be no day of Pentecost. There would also be no successful start of the church as would result soon from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus needed to know if they were sold out, committed, and ready. By hearing himself respond, Peter was reassuring his own self in faith, further preparing Him and His fellow disciples for their coming assignment.
Another purpose of Jesus asking the questions in Luke 9:18-20 was to once again reveal the true identity of Christ to the reader of the scripture, but this time affirming it from the mouths of the disciples. By not denying the statement of Peter, Jesus was in essence confirming the statement as accurate and true. As we have already mentioned, Jesus would also directly affirm this statement in John 4:25-26. The Bible tells us that in order to charge something as legal or legitimate there must be more than one witness to testify to the fact. In this instance we not only have Jesus testifying as to who he is, but the people, the disciples, John the Baptist, and even demons testifying on His behalf (Deuteronomy 19:15). There are religions that believe Christ existed as a man, but deny His deity. Their defense is that Christ never claimed to be the Messiah nor God, but we know this to be false due to the given scriptures and evidence right here in this article. If the God of the Holy Bible and Jesus Christ never proclaimed Him to be the Messiah then that makes Jesus of Nazareth a fraud. If He wasn’t a fraud, then He was at minimum mad or delusional if He isn’t the Messiah. There was and is no in-between with Jesus Christ. Either He is God or HE is a liar. It is impossible with the direct proclamations that Jesus made to be anything less than the Christ. Thank God that He was our Messiah. Thank God that He does live. Thank God that He does reign at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf to Him today. I pray that if you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, that you can make that decision today. For more information about the Gospel of Jesus, click here!
Luke 9:18-20 (ESV)
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
John 21:15 (ESV)
Jesus and Peter
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
Deuteronomy 19:15 (ESV)
Laws Concerning Witnesses
15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.