Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
October 11, 2009
18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;
22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
1901 ASV Translation:
18 And it came to pass, as he was praying apart, the disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Who do the multitudes say that I am?
19 And they answering said, John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
20 And he said unto them, But who say ye that I am? And Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
21 But he charged them, and commanded them to tell this to no man;
22 saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
23 And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24 For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit his own self?
26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in his own glory, and the glory of the Father, and of the holy angels.
27 But I tell you of a truth, There are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
- I. Jesus' Crucial Question.
- A. Luke sets this record in the midst of Jesus "praying".
- 1. Given his comment in 9:15 that Jesus was "looking unto heaven" when He began to break the loaves (which seems to indicate a kind of "prayerfulness") it is remarkable that His question of "the disciples" regarding His identity is set in a more emphatic "prayer" setting. It would seem that feeding 5,000 men with five loaves and two fish would take more "prayer" than seeking to get His identity firmly in the disciples' minds. But, given Matthew 16:17, it seems that getting people to "see" the critical Truth is far more difficult than "merely" feeding 5,000 men with a few small loaves and a couple of fish.
- 2. That Jesus was about to disclose to "the disciples" that any true "following" of His truth would lead to a daily death to "oneself" may well be the reason that He preceded it with "prayer". If "seeing" that Jesus is the Christ is of a significant level of difficulty, what level of difficulty is there when that "sight" summons one into the Truth? There is this suggestion: the "barriers" to faith are not "informational", or "logical"; they are "implicational".
- 3. Luke's words were, "And it came about in [the midst of] Jesus' praying in accord with the standard of solitude, the disciples were [imperfect tense] with Him...".
- a. Clearly Luke wished for Theophilus to think "prayer" before he turned his mind to Jesus' dealings with "the disciples". In other words, it was more important, from Luke's perspective, that Theophilus understand that the words of Jesus to the disciples were secondary to His words with His Father. This indicates that, even for Jesus, "prayer to the Father" was more fundamentally critical to any "outcomes" than His miracles or His words to others.
- b. Even the disciples' presence with Jesus on a continuing basis was not going to "automatically" result in spiritual progress by them. They were not that different from "the crowds".
- c. That "it came about" is simply another of Luke's many indicators that the overall development of God's massive Plan is under the "process" of a vast number of incremental steps and stages.
- d. That there was/is a "standard" (this is the linguistic element of "kata" when it is used with the "accusative" form of the plural "monas" -- see Robertson's A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pps. 608-609) for "prayer" that insisted upon "solitude" is significant on two levels. First, according to Logos Library's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains, the plural accusative of "monos" was used with "kata" as "an idiom, literally, 'throughout only places'): the only item of a class in a place - 'alone, all by oneself.'" This means that Jesus was the only one "praying". And, second, Luke's record is that Jesus was following His own teaching in Matthew 6:6. Talking to the Father is talking to "the Father" and that is best done if no one else is around for two reasons: it squelches the tendency to actually address others; and it squelches the temptation to be impressive to others. With no one "around", reality tends to dominate. This was not a problem for Jesus, but He did not typically violate His own teaching to others simply because His actions would, like everyone else's, "speak louder than His words".
- B. Jesus asked a "preliminary" question.
- 1. This question was a matter of "the crowds' opinions".
- 2. It was of great import in the light of Jesus' declaration in John 8:24 that those who do not "believe that I am" will "die in their sins". The greatest single issue in the universe confronting man in the light of his unending participation in eternity is "Whom shall I trust?". This is, ultimately, a question of God's identity. But it moves beyond "identity" to the human plight: the reality of "death" in the face of "sins". The issue of God's "identity" can be simply a matter of "Who is it before Whom I shall eventually stand to give an account?" There is little "comfort" at this level of the "answer". The more critical issue is "What shall He, before Whom I stand, do with me?". The answer is no small issue. And in that light, the matter of "how" He shall decide what He shall do is, likewise, no small issue.
- 2. Jesus was, as the continuing conversation is revealed, primarily interested in bringing to light the question of whether His "disciples" were "with Him" or "with the crowds".