Study 3: Surrender to Inherit
Sermon Date: March 19, 2017
Readings: Luke 9: 18-27; Isaiah 53:1-12
Having feed the 5,000 men (plus women and children) on the shores of Galilee, Jesus and the disciples walk 25 miles north to the region of Caesarea Philippi. Caesarea Philippi was outside of the domain of Herod Antipas. You’ll remember that Herod had beheaded John the Baptist and now wants to see Jesus! The population of this area was mostly non-Jews - so perhaps Jesus was looking for some quiet time to reflect and relax with his disciples.
This area contained 14 temples dedicated to the pagan God Baal. Through their history, the Israelites had clashed with the followers of Baal e.g. Elijah (1 Kings 18) and Jehu (2 Kings 10:18-28)). Near the area where it is thought that Jesus and the disciples spent some time was a famous landmark – a large hill with a deep cavern. At the time, this place was considered to be the birthplace of the great pagan god Pan - the God of nature. Interestingly, before it was renamed Caesarea Philippi by the Romans (in honour of the Emperor), the area was named after the god Pan.
Through this episode, Jesus is also demonstrating his willingness and authority to redeem all people in all places. To offer freedom to all who will accept him as Messiah.
So, it was into this pagan place, that the Son of God intentionally journeyed with his disciples as he leads them on their journey to the cross and beyond.
Have you visited a place that was closely associated with a particular event or with something in particular e.g. Bruges – chocolate. How was this association evident to you?
Questions: (see “Helpful Hints” at the end of this section)
Read Luke 9:18-27:
1. (verse 18) Why do you think Jesus prayed?
2. What do you think it was like to pray with Jesus in private? How do you think he prayed?
3. (verses 18b-21) Why was Peter’s answer important?
4. (verses 23-25). Through his life and ministry, how does Jesus embody the teaching that he gave in these verses?
5. (verse 23-25) Re-read these verses and explain what they mean to you in your own words and experience. How are you living them out?
6. (verses 26-27):
a) How does Jesus’ teaching in these verses speak to you today?
b) How can people “be ashamed…” of Jesus?
c) What response does this elicit in us? What is the response that Jesus is expecting of us, his beloved children/disciples, today?
Jesus took his disciples into a place that was famous for the worship of pagan Gods - idols. It was here that he chose to ask if his beloved disciples knew His identity. Then, having learnt of their knowledge of him as their Messiah, Jesus began to explain what this meant for Him and how this their belief was to be lived out in their/our lives – what the life of freedom that Christ gives is in the reality of our daily lives. The life of freedom is built on surrendering to Christ and in so doing, growing in the fullness of His love.
Who is Jesus to you?
The area where Jesus taught and the society of his time, were dominated by visible idols? What idols do people worship today?
Take some time to think of people you know who don’t know Jesus as Lord and pray for them to come to receive the freedom that Christ offers.
How can you continue to be a witness to them? Consider committing to pray regularly for these people to come to faith in Jesus.
Helpful Hints for discussion questions:
1. To deepen his personal relationship with God the Father. For guidance, protection and strength in his ministry through the Holy Spirit to do the will of the Father.
Also, to model Christian living with his disciples (see Luke 11:1) and to deepen their unity in community as they abided in the love of the Father.
3. The identity, mission and character of Jesus are foundational to faith.
Peter’s immediate and confident public reply that Jesus was/is “God’s Messiah” revealed that he personally knew and accepted Jesus to be the divine son of God who, in fulfilment of
the prophecies, had come to set His people free from sin and grant them new life (freedom) with God.
The Hebrew word, “Messiah” literally means ‘anointed one’. Hence the belief of many people at the time that Jesus was a prophet, priest or King. This is behind Jesus’ question to
the disciples. To ensure that Peter and the disciples were clear in their understanding of what it meant for Jesus to be “God’s Messiah, he immediately begins to explain.