Text: Luke 9:7-9, 18-27 | Listen to Message
The Death of Your Designer Jesus
“Who is Jesus?”
This is easily one of the most important questions you’ll ever consider at any point in your life.
In Jesus’ day, people assumed they knew who he was. “He must be John the Baptist,” some thought, “because he’s talking about repentance, forgiveness, and good news – and he’s leading a populist movement outside of mainstream Judaism.” Others thought, “Certainly this is Elijah, who was taken up in the whirlwind, for he’s doing the same kinds of miracles that Elijah did.” Still others concluded that Jesus was one of the prophets, because he spoke with authority the very words of God.
Knowing that each of these identifications was erroneous, Jesus pulled his disciples aside and asked them, “But you, who do you say that I am?” Peter’s response is the famous confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16, Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20).
The crowds did with Jesus what everyone tends to do: they related him to someone or something they already understood. They took someone infinite, eternal, mysterious, and categorically other, and they reduced him to someone they could grasp and explain. They fashioned an ahistorical, heavily edited, designer Jesus who made sense to them.
The disciples made a different mistake: they projected their own expectations onto a biblical title, thinking Jesus the Messiah would be and do what they wanted. They wanted a charismatic warrior-king who would lead a nationalist uprising to overthrow Rome and give Israel her freedom forever – and Jesus was just the guy!
But Jesus says in essence, “You’re right that I’m the Messiah, but you’re wrong about what kind of Messiah I am. I have not come to wear a crown; I have come to bear a cross. And I will not free you by killing your enemies; in fact, your enemies will kill me. But after three days, I will rise and then you will be truly free!”
What kind of Jesus says that? What kind of God dies for sinners? What kind of King chooses suffering and self-sacrifice over world domination? What kind of Warrior looks beneath the surface to the real enemy who lies within all of us? And what kind of Man can conquer death itself?
Your designer Jesus can’t save you, but the real Jesus can – because he’s God’s true Messiah, come to suffer and die to break the power of sin, come to be raised to break the power of death. This is who Jesus is!