Luke 9 v 20. “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God”.

Some time has elapsed between the last miracle and the event where the disciples confess that Christ is the Messiah. Jesus has given them time to think about all the things people have said about him. But all other suggestions prove to be too inadequate to express who He is. He can be nothing less than the incomparable Messiah of God. The great anointed One who was to come.

When the apostles recognise this, we reach the climax of the first part of Luke’s Gospel. He was at the pinnacle of His popularity. But now Jesus proceeds to tell his disciples of the sequence of events that would lead up to the establishment of God’s Kingdom, namely his death and resurrection.

It is hard for us, from our vantage point in history, to understand what a shock this must have been to his disciples. Their understanding of the Christ, was not one of weakness and death, but of victory and power.

Notice also by whom he would be rejected. Not the ordinary people, but the religious leaders of the nations. They would repudiate His claims to be the Messiah and they would have him killed. As for the people, according to Luke, he remained popular right up until the final week of his life. In Luke 22 v 2 we read that the religious leaders were “afraid of the people”. That is, the crowds who thought so much of Jesus.

In today’s world, a massive campaign would be launched to inform people of who He was and get popular support to overthrow his enemies. But here Luke tells us that “Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anybody” (9 v 21). Why was this?

One reason was probably that his followers would have started a political movement. People are always more ready to take up the sword than the Cross.

But the main reason for telling his disciples to keep silent lies in v 22 “And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the leaders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”.

He must be killed? Must? Yes, this was God’s strategy to set up His Kingdom and save all those who believed in Him.

In today’s world of self-seeking hedonists this sounds like crazy stuff. Far from it. It was the only way a God could match his love and his justice together.

Do you believe this?