After ministering to the crowds, Jesus spent time alone with the disciples. He prayed. Then he taught them. First, he drew out their understanding by questions. Then he taught them more about himself. This is often how the Lord works on us. He teaches us a little. When we understand it, he teaches us more.
Jesus first asked the disciples who the crowds said he was. The disciples named several prophets. But then, Jesus put them on the spot. He asked who they said he was. In other words, he wanted to know what they believed about him.
Peter answered for the disciples. He said Jesus was the Christ of God. (20) what did Peter mean by this? Christ is an Anglicized version of the Greek word Christos. It translates the Hebrew word for Anointed One.
If you speak and read English, you know the word Messiah. That is an Anglicized version of the Hebrew word for Anointed One. “Messiah” and “Christ” mean the same thing, they refer to the same person. You can see this in John 1:41, where John used the word “Messiah”, then explained that it meant the “Christ”. This is the one God promised in the Old Testament, the one who would come and save God's people.
Peter confessed Jesus was God's Anointed and promised One. It shows two things about Peter: (1) he understood who Jesus claimed to be and (2) he believed it.
You may be more familiar with Matthew's version, which is longer. Peter also confessed Jesus was the Son of God. (Matthew 16:16) Jesus also said God revealed it to Peter. And he went on to speak of building his church. But, we will stick with our text in Luke. Luke's shortened version actually makes a dramatic point.
That dramatic point is made when Jesus responded to Peter's confession by saying: 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." (Luke9.22)
This was a startling response. Most Jews expected the Christ to be a warrior who would restore the Jewish kingdom by force. Jesus quashed that thought immediately. He cast himself as the suffering servant as opposed to the warrior. He painted a gruesome word picture that progressed from bad to worse.
First, he would suffer many things. We know that he did. “But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.” (Acts 3.18)
Second, he would be rejected by the leaders of his own people. John 1:11 says "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him." He was tried before the high priest, who rejected his claims.
Third, he would be killed. That had to be a shock to the disciples. In fact, we know they did not understand it or believe it.
At the end of this bad news was good news, though. In fact, maybe the best news in history: on the third day he would be raised. Sadly, we know the disciples did not understand or believe this, either.
Regardless of the disciples lack of understanding, Jesus had set before them a road map of the rest of his ministry. It was not victory in warfare, it was suffering. He would be humiliated. He would be tortured. He would be killed in a gruesome manner. Redemption would come through death, death on our behalf, bearing our sins, suffering our punishment, so that we might be reconciled to God.
Victory would come, though. Victory over death and the grave would come with his resurrection.
Though the disciples did not believe this at first, they did come to believe it. Peter, at Pentecost, after Christ 's ascension, preached a powerful sermon. He said: "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, "'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.' (Acts 2.22-28)
You, too, must believe in Christ's resurrection. Paul wrote: "But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 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.” (Romans 10.8-9)
It is this glorious truth that gives us hope for eternity. For, as we share in his death, so we will share in his resurrection.