My notes from Don Carson’s session at TGC13′s national conference, “His mission: Jesus in the gospel of Luke.” (All notes are paraphrased.)
Every gospel is organized a little differently; this is something that we sometimes miss in a “bitty” reading of Scripture. In Mark’s gospel, for example, gives us examples of Jesus’ miracles scattered throughout Scripture. Matthew meanwhile, picks up on these miracles and puts them all in chapters 8 and 9.
In our passage tonight, is another ordering that is unique to Luke. Luke is telling us in his ordering of his gospel that he is going to Jerusalem to die. Everything in Luke’s gospel that takes from Luke 9:51 onward is taking place of the looming shadow of the impending cross.
That’s what this structure means. It’s a hint how to read the book. So I’m going to run through this passage before us (Luke 9:18-56) and show you a couple of things that will help you to read this book in light of the cross.
I want to make two assertions that rise from reading the book of Luke carefully. The first is this:
In his own time, Jesus is the misunderstood Messiah. But the reader sees what his contemporaries did not see: Jesus is resolved to go to Jerusalem to die and rise again.
We’ll see how this works out in five sections of this chapter:
1. Jesus is God’s Messiah but this Messiah will suffer, die and rise again.
In Caesar Philippi, Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is; Peter says he is God’s Messiah. What Peter is confessing is that Jesus is God’s Davidic King whom God promised. But Peter did not mean what we mean when he made that confession. Peter doesn’t have the category of a Messiah going to the cross to die.
What Peter meant is not all that the Bible teaches—what he says is the truth and he’s blessed by Jesus for speaking the truth; but it’s still not full Christian truth. And this is pointed out in verse 21 when Jesus strictly orders them to tell no one. And the reason for that is that what the crowds understood by Messiah is a cluttering up of expectation—of dominion, of kingship. That’s why he works to reorient their understanding of what Messiah means.
But there’s no way they understood this. How do we know? When Jesus is crucified, they are shattered. They still have no category for a crucified Messiah. They were probably looking at each other saying, “Deep, deep. Jesus says deep things you know.”
But they didn’t understand. [Read more…]