Summary: Jesus' teaching on discipleship in Luke 9:23-27 shows us what is involved in being a disciple of Jesus.
We have come to what one commentator called “a turning point in Luke’s Gospel.” In the first part of his Gospel, Luke demonstrated the identity of Jesus. Then Peter, on behalf of the twelve disciples, confessed Jesus as the Christ (9:18-20). From this point on now Luke focused his attention on “the necessity of Jesus’ suffering, his vindication, and the resultant discipleship required of those who will follow him.”
So, immediately after Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ, Jesus foretold his death, and then taught all those who wanted to follow him what was involved in being one of his disciples.
Let’s read about Jesus’ call to discipleship in Luke 9:23-27:
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:23-27)
Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He grew up seventy miles north of Bethlehem in a village called Nazareth, in the region of Galilee. Just four miles north of Nazareth was a city called Sepphoris. Sepphoris served as the Roman capital of Galilee during Jesus’ time. Jesus probably knew it well and perhaps worked there as a carpenter during the building boom of his day. Excavations have revealed Sepphoris to be a cosmopolitan Roman city with beautiful buildings, temples, an amphitheater, and other marks of sophistication.
Commentator William Barclay describes an historical event that took place in Sepphoris during Jesus’ childhood:
When [Jesus] was a young boy of about eleven years of age, Judas the Galilean led a rebellion against Rome. He raided the royal armory at Sepphoris, which was only four miles from Nazareth. The Roman vengeance was swift and sudden. Sepphoris was burned to the ground; its inhabitants were sold into slavery; and 2,000 of the rebels were crucified on crosses which were set in lines along the roadside that they might be a dreadful warning to others tempted to rebel.
Jesus, like other Jews living under Roman oppression, knew what crucifixion meant. They routinely saw people publicly carrying crosses. Whenever they saw a person carrying a cross, they knew that only one fate awaited that person: death.
So, it is extremely instructive that Jesus chose crucifixion as the explanation for what is involved in discipleship.
Jesus’ teaching on discipleship in Luke 9:23-27 shows us what is involved in being a disciple of Jesus.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Terms of Discipleship (9:23)