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Lesson 3: Who Is Jesus Christ? *

Introduction: The debate continues as to the nature of Jesus. Was He merely a great man, a good prophet, or was He fully God and fully man? Was He the Messiah, the Son of God? Luke, we decided, is fully convinced of what he is writing. So, far, he recorded that Gabriel and the angels said Jesus was God. Let's dive in and continue to explore what Luke records that Jesus said about Himself!

  1. Nazareth

    1. Read Luke 4:14-15. What kind of reputation does Jesus enjoy? ("Everyone praised Him.")

    2. Read Luke 4:16-21. What does Jesus mean when He says "this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing?" (This comes from Isaiah 61:1-2 and Isaiah 42:7. These are prophecies about freedom and healing. This suggests that Jesus is going to release and heal the Jewish people, meaning He is the Messiah.)

    3. Read Luke 4:22. How did the people react? (It seems they were very impressed, but then they said, "Wait a minute, isn't this Joseph's son, the guy who worked in the carpentry shop?")

    4. Read Luke 4:23. Is Jesus reading their minds? (Yes.)

      1. What are they thinking? (Right after the "Wait a minute," they recall the stories about Jesus' miracles, and so they think that a miracle or two will help confirm that they should consider His claim to be the Messiah.)

    5. Read Luke 4:24-27. Is Jesus going to perform a miracle for them? (No!)

      1. Why not? (First, Jesus says they will not accept Him because they know He grew up there. Second, He says that God has a practice of helping those who are not Jewish, when at the same time Jews are in need.)

        1. Put yourself in the place of the Jews of Nazareth. How would you react to this? (I would be insulted. Why not give me a chance to believe? Why assume I will not, and then insult me by saying God helps non-Jews.)

    6. Read Luke 4:28-29. Would you get that mad? (No. I would simply be insulted - hardly mad enough to try to kill Jesus.)

      1. Was Jesus raised in a town filled with lunatics - people with an anger management problem? Or, can you explain this behavior? (Moses told them in Leviticus 24:16 that those engaged in blasphemy should be put to death. This proves our understanding of what Jesus was saying in the synagogue. They understood Him to claim to be the Messiah - the coming God who would save them. Thus, killing Jesus (if He was not the Messiah) was required by Moses. Luke shows us both what Jesus said and how the crowd understood it.)

    7. Read Luke 4:30. How do you walk through a crowd that wants to kill you? Isn't the best approach to start running as fast as you can? (Luke wants us to know that something extraordinary happened. Jesus walked through the crowd like He was invisible.)

      1. What does this say about Jesus? (He said He was the Messiah, and God protected Him thereafter.)

  2. Demon

    1. Read Luke 4:31-34. Why does Luke record the statement of the demon? (The fallen angels with Satan know Jesus, and they know He is "the Holy One of God.)

      1. What do demons think Jesus has in mind for them? (Destruction.)

    2. Read Luke 4:35-37. Why didn't the people remark about what the demon said about Jesus? (They were not crediting the witness of demons, but Luke has now told us that both unfallen angels ( Luke 2:9-13)and fallen angels testify that Jesus is God.)

  3. Disciples

    1. Read Luke 9:18? Put yourself in Jesus' place. Why would you ask this? (A central part of Jesus' mission was to let the people know that He was the Messiah. He was taking a survey on His progress.)

    2. Read Luke 9:19. Is this an encouraging response? (They think Jesus is special, but not the Messiah.)

    3. Read Luke 9:20-21. Peter gets the answer exactly right. Why would Jesus tell them not to tell the very thing that Jesus needs to have known? (Read Luke 9:22. Robertson's New Testament Word Pictures tells us that this occurred after the feeding of the 5,000, where the people tried to make Jesus King ( John 6:15). Luke 9:22 reveals that Jesus has a time-line. Jesus had to preserve a careful balance to maintain His timing - to do things that would cause people to later believe He was the Messiah, but at the same time avoid starting a revolution right now.)

    4. Read Luke 9:23-27. If the crowd wants to make Jesus King, and Jesus is concerned about this, what do you think the disciples want?

      1. How does this series of verses speak to the thoughts of the disciples? (No doubt they wanted Jesus to declare as King more than any of the others. But, Jesus is telling them this is a much more complicated question - that glory comes much later. First, is sacrifice.)

      2. Notice the very peculiar thing that Jesus says in Luke 9:27. Is Jesus saying that His Second Coming will be in their lifetime? We know that did not happen.

  4. John the Baptist

    1. Read Luke 7:17-20. Why would John the Baptist ask such a thing? (The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary points out that John the Baptist had been imprisoned for a year. Re-read Luke 3:4-5. No doubt John wondered why Jesus had not done these dramatic things - and freed him from prison while He was doing it. This created doubt.)

      1. What about you, do you sometimes doubt when things are not going as you think they should? (Consider that Jesus said about John "there is no one greater than John." Luke 7:28.)

    2. Read Luke 7:21-23. What do you think about Jesus' answer? Does He give John an answer? (I think He gives John an answer without specifically saying that He is the Messiah. He encourages John to "not fall away," not to become discouraged because Jesus is not doing everything John expected.)

  5. Transfiguration

    1. Read Luke 9:28-31. Who are these people? (Moses was raised from the dead (Jude 9) and Elijah was taken to heaven while he was still alive ( 2 Kings 2:11). These are the heavenly representatives of those who will be resurrected from the dead, and those who will be translated alive at the Second Coming.)

      1. What is the topic of their discussion? (Jesus returning to heaven! They missed Him and no doubt thought Jesus was anxious to return.)

    2. Read Luke 9:32. What have Peter, John and James seen? (Re-read Luke 9:27-28. We now see that Jesus' prediction that "some who are standing here" will "see the kingdom of God" took place eight days later! Jesus was not talking about His Second Coming.)

    3. Read Luke 9:33-34. Why is Peter speaking nonsense? What happened while he was speaking? (Peter is overwhelmed, thinks he needs to say something, but does not know what to say. In the meantime a cloud surrounds them and it is very scary time.)

    4. Read Luke 9:35-36. Who is Jesus? (Luke records that God said Jesus is His Son!)

    5. Friend, what do you say about Jesus? We have the witness of the Old Testament about a coming Messiah. We have the witness of the angels, both those who did not sin and those who did. We have Jesus' statement that He is the fulfillment of prophecy, and we have God's affirmation that Jesus is His Son. Luke wants us to be absolutely clear on his belief that Jesus is the Son of God. How about you, will you affirm your faith that Jesus is God?

  6. Next week: The Call to Discipleship.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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