Fourth Day of Lent
Scripture: St. Luke 9:1-27 (NKJV)
1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him; and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. 9 Herod said, “John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?” So he sought to see Him.
10 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.
12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” 13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down. 16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.
18 And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.” 20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” 21 And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”
“But who do you say that I am?”
Who is Jesus? Who do you say that He is? This is a profoundly important question. Is He a great teacher? Is He a political revolutionary? Is He a lunatic? Is He one deity among many others? Or is He God Himself, the One True God, in flesh and blood?
Only one of those answers is thoroughly acceptable. The account of all He did and said does not allow for light consideration. The simple reality that He taught “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” has serious implications.
C. S. Lewis presented in his book Mere Christianity a popular apologetic question that deals with this point. He suggests there are three options; Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. Because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and taught that He would rise again from the dead for the sake of the world, He could not just be considered a good teacher. A man who said such things is either a tremendous liar, or a madman (as Lewis says, “on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg”), or He is truly the Christ, the Son of God, Who is one with the Father.
However, reason and logic do not make us able to faithfully say Jesus is our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to say that. Thanks be to God that He does make us able to see that He has given us life eternal in His Son!
We pray: Lord God, make us to always confess faithfully that Your Son, Jesus Christ, is our true Lord, and true Savior. Amen.