(21) And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; (22) Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.Luke 9:21-22
Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah come from God seems to be the declaration of the whole group. The disciples all agreed that this is their position. You can see this in Jesus response not just to Jesus but to “them”. He charges “them”, and commands “them” not to tell anyone this news. This is an interesting thing. Why would he want them to be silent about His identity at this point?
Well verse 22 seems to be the explanation and expression of the command given in verse 21. In this verse you have a wonderful expression of the core of the Gospel. In the title “The Son of Man” Jesus declares Himself as Messiah, and God who will be given dominion, authority, and power. The expression “must suffer many things” describes and predicts the coming passion of Christ, including but not limited to His scourging, the placing of the crown of thorns on His head, and His crucifixion.
Why the word for “must”? Well, it “must” happen because it was predicted it would happen. Not just by Jesus, but in the Old Testament Scriptures. The classic prophetic passage for this is Isaiah 53.
(4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
(7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.Isaiah 53:4-8
Of course, the word “must” did not just refer to the suffering but also to the resurrection, which was also predicted.
(9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.Isaiah 53:9-10
Notice, death and the grave predicted. His soul is made an offering for sin, yet “he shall see his seed, he shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand”. This predicts His resurrection. Even the term “Son of Man” denotes future dominion, which must come, but obviously comes after His death.
The other reason the word “must” is appropriate is that it speaks to God’s mission. God’s purpose in sending Jesus is that He would save His people from their sins. Jesus said, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost.” His mission was expressed in Luke 4:18-19.
(18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.Luke 4:18-19
How would he do this? By securing their salvation by his atoning death, burial and resurrection for our sins.
So, in this verse you have Jesus identifying Himself as God, saying that He must suffer, die, and rise again, according to the scriptures. This was what He later declared through the apostle Paul as the definition of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-6.
(1) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (5) And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: (6) After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.1 Corinthians 15:1-6
Why couldn’t they tell people that this was Jesus’ purpose? Doing so must have been at odds with God’s purpose and plan at this moment. Jesus had a timing and a plan. He wanted the disciples to be included in knowing what would happen. The time for them to declare His position as Messiah and mission would come.
Jesus death, burial, and resurrection were always a part of God’s plan to redeem the world. Not only did he plan for it to happen, but He also revealed it by predicting it would happen. Then He called the apostles to see the prediction, see the prediction come to pass, and be a part of the establishing of local churches by making disciples in accomplishing the Great commission.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means understanding and following Jesus through belief in the Gospel- the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins as predicted by the scriptures. You cannot be a true disciple and reject the Gospel.
- Have you called on the Lord to save you because of His offer of forgiveness through the Gospel?
- Who do you need to declare the Gospel to today? Find someone to share the Gospel with today!