This study is one of several in part 1 of the three-part series, Witnesses to Jesus, exploring “witness” in Luke and Acts.
This passage is a hinge point in Luke. After this he "sets his face toward Jerusalem" where he knows he will die (verse 51).
Picture yourself before a really big exam. What do you feel like? What is going on in your head?
Jesus had been ministering with his disciples for a few years. They had seen his mighty acts, heard his powerful words. Now it is time for the big test. Would they know and understand who he really is? Would they present a proper "witness" of what they had seen and heard?
1. Have someone read Luke 9: 18-27. In verse 18, what does Jesus ask to get the disciples thinking? Why do you think he asked a general question before his next very personal and very specific question in verse 20?
2. Why do you think people would have thought Jesus was John the Baptist? How would he have reminded people of Elijah? Why do they think they thought that in Jesus one of the ancient prophets had arisen?
3. Look at Peter's answer in verse 20. What do you think his own words meant to him? What do they mean for us today?
4. Since Peter answered the question correctly, one would assume Jesus would breathe a sigh of relief and then commend Peter and the other disciples. But what does Jesus do in verse 21? Why do you think he did this? How does the fact that he must suffer, be rejected, be killed and rise again explain why the disciples couldn't tell the world that he is the Messiah at that point? (Remember that he still had a year or so of ministry to go.)
5. Verses 23-26 are a profound summary of what it means to be a follower of Jesus-a disciple, one who learns from a teacher. What are three things in verse 23 that one must do to become his follower? What do each of these mean for us today?
6. What do you think Jesus means by "lose their life for my sake" in verses 24-25? How does this "save" our lives?
7. What does he not want his followers to be, in verse 26? What would be the positive opposite of being ashamed of him? Have you had opportunities recently to share what you have experienced of him? How have you felt about the witness that you shared?
8. The exact meaning of verse 27 is controversial. What do you think he meant by "seeing the kingdom of God?" (Some scholars think that the next incident, the Transfiguration, helps fulfill this promise as does his resurrection, the Spirit coming at Pentecost, etc.)
9. From this passage, what does it mean for you to be a follower of Jesus?
In closing, a review
During our ten weeks of study, we have looked at a number of "witnesses" to Jesus, each of whom told us something about him. That is what a witness is, someone who has seen something and then tells what they have seen or encountered. Quickly review each of the witnesses (perhaps write them on a chalkboard, overhead, or easel) and consider what they said about Jesus. What did they have in common, and how were they different?
Who was your favorite witness, and why?
How have you grown and changed in your knowledge of and relationship to Jesus during this time? What impresses you about him? How have you experienced him during these studies? How are you going to respond?
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