Learning About Jesus — Lesson 3
The Gospel tells how Jesus’ enemies sought to stop him. Finally they had him arrested and put to death. Many of the people who had seen Jesus’ power and had believed his words were confused when these things happened. They began to ask themselves questions: How could such things happen to God’s servant? How could he be put to death? In this lesson we will look at two passages which show that Jesus’ arrest and death did not come as a surprise to him. In fact, Jesus considered these things to be part of God’s special plan.
Read Luke 9:18-22.
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?" 19 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life." 20 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God." 21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
Please also read Luke 18:31-34.
31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33 On the third day he will rise again." 34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
Jesus Predicts His Death
In the first passage, Luke 9:18-22, we read that one day Jesus decided to talk to his close followers about the mission God had sent him to fulfill. First he asked what the crowd was saying about him. The disciples answered that some people thought he was John the Baptist (a powerful prophet who came just before Jesus). Other people thought he might be Elijah. (Elijah, one of the greatest of the prophets, had lived about 800 years before Jesus, but some Jews believed that Elijah would return in the last days.) Still others thought he might be one of the other prophets returned from the dead.
But then Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was. These were the men who knew him best and had seen his works most closely. One of them, Peter, replied, "You are the Messiah." (The word "Messiah" is sometimes translated "Christ".)
It is important to understand something about this name. The prophets of long ago had spoken of a great king who would come with God’s power and blessing. This expected king was called the Messiah. Most people in Jesus’ day thought that when the Messiah came he would be a powerful political leader who would free the people from the domination of Rome and give the nation peace and prosperity. No one would be able to defeat him.
Peter was right. Jesus was the Messiah. But we read in verse 21 that Jesus warned his disciples not to tell this to anyone. Why not? Because most people at that time had the wrong idea. They thought the Messiah would immediately lead armies to victory. Jesus knew that in reality God had given him a different kind of mission. Before he reigned as king there was something else that he had to do first.
Answer the following questions based on verses 20-22. Note that "the Son of Man" in verse 22 is another title of Jesus, the Messiah.
1. Did Jesus plan to immediately destroy all his enemies and free his people from the Romans?
2. What did Jesus say was going to happen to him?
What The Prophets Said
The second passage we must look at is Luke 18:31-34. Here again we see Jesus talking to his disciples, the twelve men whom he called to be his close followers. Jesus spoke to them about how God had given the prophets of long ago glimpses of his plan for the Messiah, the Son of Man. Jesus told his disciples that the events of his life were not just a result of chance or human planning, but were a part of God’s plan made long before and revealed to the prophets.
3. Where was Jesus going?
4. What did the prophets say would happen to Jesus there?
5. What would happen on the third day?
6. Did the twelve disciples understand what Jesus was telling them?