Our journey through Lukes gospel suddenly has a solemn tone.
After being alone to receive direction from His Father, Jesus gathers close disciples. He prophecies that His future will include rejection, suffering, humiliation and finally death.
Jesus starts by asking the question that still divides people today.
Who do people believe He is?
How would you answer?
In the short time they spent together, the disciple Peter had experienced the power of Jesus. He answers “The Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) of God!” 1
Jesus orders them to tell no-one.
The Jewish people have many writings about their awaited Messiah. This includes Daniel’s dream of someone called a ‘son of man’ coming from heaven.
As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed. 2
Jesus uses this phrase ‘Son of Man’ over eighty times to refer to himself. It had more than one meaning.
He was clearly identifying with mankind. Jesus had to become a man in order to make atonement for man’s sin. It was a man who had broken God’s law and sinned through disobedience. Therefore it was a man with complete obedience that had to pay the penalty for that sin.
There was no man qualified to do this, so God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ and did what was crucial for our salvation. As Jesus (Son of Man) reveals:
He will be rejected.
He will die on a cross.
He will return in glory.
If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
Being hung on a cross was a humiliating death, used by the Romans to send a message to any onlookers. Speaking of death on a cross must have been slightly confusing for the disciples. What has that got to do with their powerful saviour?
Jesus carried on to say those that seek a life of pride and fame risk losing their soul. To take up the cross is to lead a humble life. Some people won’t accept or obey Jesus and ultimately never enter His kingdom. 3
This conversation must have created a buzz of conversation and questions among His followers. What does it mean to take up a cross daily? Am I ashamed of the message of Jesus?