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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
Who, Then, Is This?
(Luke 9:7-9)

By Delbert Young
(video audio page)

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE Who, Then, Is This? (Luke 9:7-9)

Scriptures: Luke 9:7-9; Luke 5:21; Luke 7:20; Luke 7:49; Luke 9:18; Luke 22:70; Luke 23:3; Luke 8:25; Luke 8:3; 1 Corinthians 14:23; Luke 9:18-20

Do you recall a time, prior to your coming to Christ, overhearing a discussion about Jesus, church, etc? Maybe it was around friends or family. Maybe it was at work, or anyplace. Though you were not yet a believer and didn't attend church, you joined in the conversation adding your comments and thoughts.

Luke 9:7-9 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, "I beheaded John. WHO, THEN, IS THIS I HEAR SUCH THINGS ABOUT?" And he tried to see him.

Not only Herod was discussing this, everyone was and they debated, arguing their thoughts. Herod asked, "Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" What a pertinent and significant question! Quest-ion meaning, go on a quest to discover the answer. It's a question every person should ask. It's an old question, but new every day. Every day someone asks it. One day you asked it. I asked it. It's the most important question you ever asked and the one question every person needs answered as quickly as possible. Sadly, like Herod, many never settle with the true answer.

All through the scriptures and ages people asked "Who is this?"

Luke 5:21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "WHO IS THIS fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Some religious people trained in the scriptures don't know who he is.

Luke 7:20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'"

John the Baptist wasn't certain. Jesus didn't perform as John was taught, so Jesus couldn't be the Son of God. Jesus doesn't do what people want today. He can't be God, they say. But, he is!

Luke 7:49 The other guests began to say among themselves, "WHO IS THIS who even forgives sins?"

These were the guests of Simon the Pharisee. As you recall, the sinful woman knew who Jesus is, but those who should know didn't.

Luke 9:18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "WHO DO THE CROWDS SAY I AM?"

Those crowds didn't have a clue.

Luke 22:70 They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am."

Questioned on trial by the High Priest and religious leaders, the only explanation can be that Jesus is the Son of God. That's the only possible conclusion that he could be. Yet, they took him before Pilate to be executed who asked:

Luke 23:3 So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

The political leaders, the religious leaders, the people, everyone asks the question, "Who then is this I hear such things about?" Jesus answered, but people frequently refuse to believe. There is nothing at all wrong with asking. Disciples ask.

Luke 8:25 ...In fear and amazement they asked one another, "WHO IS THIS? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

We must ask the question if we are to discover the answer and when Jesus, the things of God, and his church are brought up, discussion always ensues. Preachers, theologians, crowds, religious zealots, the lost, relatives, friends all jump in on "Who, then, is this? It's good to ask.

The problem is doing as Herod.

Luke 9:9 ..."Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" And HE TRIED TO SEE HIM.

Billions have gone to their graves and hell as they only "tried to see him." Herod had the ability to see Jesusand acquire the correct answer. Crowds went to see Jesus every day getting answers. People give lame reasons for never finding the correct answer. Let's don't try to see Jesus. Search for him. Quest for him until you find him.

 The eternity of every person breathing hinges upon discovering the answer to this one question. Eternity in heaven or eternity in hell hinges on acquiring the correct answer to this one question. Amazingly, demons know who Jesus is. The devil knows who Jesus is. The wind and waves and creation know who he is. Sickness and disease know who Jesus is, yet many people don't know. Be thrilled this is a topic of debate every time Jesus and church comes up.

Luke 9:7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about ALL THAT WAS GOING ON.

What was going on? Remember from our study last time Jesus sent out the twelve. They were all over Herod's domain. So, it wasn't only Jesus who Herod heard about. He heard about all that was going on. The verse prior says,

Luke 9:6 So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

Jesus wants his church, his bride (Eph 5:25; Rev 21:9) to be heard about. It creates discussion. Jesus wants what we do to be heard about. People hear when we go out ministering and preaching the kingdom of God. Listen, nothing stirs up discussion more than bringing up the kingdom of God. Believe me. People ask questions and debate. Wouldn't it be great if each of us did one thing every week that caused people to ask, "Who is Jesus"? Have you done anything recently causing people to ask?

Herod heard... Weeks back we discussed the women who traveled with and supported Jesus. One of those women was Joanna.

Luke 8:3 JOANNA THE WIFE OF CUZA, THE MANAGER OF HEROD'S HOUSEHOLD; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Certainly Joanna talked to her husband Cuza about Jesus. Perhaps Cuza went to work and tells people what Joanna said happened yesterday! They're discussing it as Herod walks in.We never know who will eventually hear about Jesus through us. Herod doesn't know who this is and Herod is supposed to know everything. When we talk about Jesus, church, the kingdom, etc someone will hear. Who have you told about Jesus lately? Who have you to told about what God is doing in your life recently?

Luke 9:7-8 And HE WAS PERPLEXED, BECAUSE SOME were saying that John had been raised from the dead, OTHERS that Elijah had appeared, and STILL OTHERS that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life.

It was a debate causing Herod to be perplexed - diaporeo {dee-ap-or-eh'-o} - to be entirely at loss.Herod didn't have a clue because people had him perplexed. Every commentary I read and all my study helps cast this in a negative context. They say we perplex people today by making denominations like Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, by declaring false doom and gloom prophecies for today from the Old Testament prophets, by mixing the Old Testament commands with New Testament grace, etc. I get that and there's probably truth there, but here's my thought. At least Herod was perplexed. He'd come to the end of himself. He didn't have a sufficient answer. He was asking, right? The suggestions given of who Jesus was, though all erroneous, caused not only Herod to ask but many people around Herod to ask who Jesus was. The truth is its working and it always works.

I remember hearing things about Jesus I later discovered some were unfounded, but they caused me to ask and search and study. I'm satisfied it's because of all the things people say about Jesus, even though many are not close to accurate, caused people like you and me to begin looking to find who Jesus really is.

What's fascinating to me is Jesus ministered in the area of Galilee close to three years. Hundreds, if not thousands of miracles took place. Yet, people continued to deny who he is. Was it they could not see, or was it they refused to admit who Jesus is? "He's John the Baptist. He's Elijah. He's one of the prophets." I see it as they were so obstinate, their hearts so hard, their ears so dull, and their eyes so blind they would not admit the obvious. They experienced the very presence of God, yet rejected his identity. Not one of them said, "Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." Not one. Jesus gave it his best shot, but so few believed.

How different is this today? People observe the amazing things God does today. We go to church and actually feel his presence and his Spirit. We sing. We worship, but then deny who he really is by our actions.

We do see one important aspect of their and our response to his identity. There is no earthly explanation of who he is. They knew, and we know, there is something supernatural about him, but minds battle accepting he is God.

It's amazing how the carnal mind battles who he is. There's no human explanation. That's why people can never figure him out and never will. His identity is revealed to us by the Spirit.

Jesus was with his generation ministering as God incarnate for a few years and we are amazed why they didn't get it. Mankind has known for two thousand years and we still can't get it. It amazes me how people today, after two-thousand years, continue to avoid admitting who he is. We refuse to repent and bow to God. So we say he was a prophet, or he was a good man, or he was a great teacher, or he was a great philosopher, or he was a fake. "He's a magician, Harry Houdini who did some great tricks." "He's the head of Christianity." "A Jew. A reformer." "He's like a rock star." "He's who you believe yourself to be." "Historical figure." "Someone above us." "He may have existed, but I don't buy into the water and wine thing." It's not an issue of evidence. There's sufficient evidence. It's an issue of being obstinate. So, as Herod two thousand years ago, we continue to battle today with "Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" and the battle is our minds.

I thought about getting into a lengthy discussion about Herod the tetrarch and his depravity, but it's sufficient to say he was a vile and wicked man coming from a vile and wicked family. His father, Herod the Great, attempted to kill Jesus as an infant in Bethlehem. His father was incestuous and a murder. This Herod the tetrarch learned from his father well, murdering John the Baptist, taking his brother Phillip's wife Herodias, also his niece, then lusted for his step-daughter. We've already talked about all that. If anyone needed to ask and find who Jesus is, it was Herod, but we could say that about many people.

On the surface, it appears Herod might be spiritually interested. (Later we will study his plan to kill Jesus in Luke 13:31). However, being curious about Jesus is vastly different from being serious about Jesus. Many people are intrigued with and curious about Jesus. Being curious and even intrigued with Jesus is at best a beginning, but it is a beginning.

Here is where I want to bring this today. What should Herod have done? Gone someplace to find the answer, right? The church should be a safe and great place to go and explore the question, "Who, then, is this? Do you agree? What better place should there be? What should anyone do today when curious about Jesus? Go find the answer. They should come to church. They should be permitted to observe believers without being put under pressure and head locked before they get out. They should be encouraged to ask questions even if they don't know what to ask.

Yet, our church gatherings can't be "seeker focused," but rather "seeker sensitive." When seeker focused, believers never mature by the teaching of God's word and operation of the gifts of the Spirit. It remains shallow for the seeker. We dumb down things in an attempt to accommodate the curious. We've done this some here. If seeker sensitive, we're aware people are in our gatherings that are curious. So, we attempt to behave ourselves, but not at the cost of the committed believer's spiritual growth. The apostle Paul warned the church concerning this.

1 Corinthians 14:23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone SPEAKS IN TONGUES, and SOME who DO NOT UNDERSTAND or SOME UNBELIEVERS come in, will they not say that YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND?

Paul expressed the needs of three groups of people who should be in the whole church gathering: (1) those who understand and operate in the gifts; (2) those who do not understand (believers who do not understand); and (3) unbelievers. Paul says there's a way to experience church where the gifts operate and members mature, those who do not understand can gain understanding, and the curious can learn "Who, then, is this?" How many desire a church like that? I'm not going to go into all he taught (1Co chapters 12- 14), but I do have a plan and suggestion.

First, I'll explain how this functions here at Life Gate. Spiritual gifts manifest every week here during our prayer time right in front of you. Words of wisdom and knowledge, faith, healing, prophecies, perhaps tongues, discernment of spirits, etc operate right here. It's not put on display exactly as Paul taught, but it happens every week. Also, our Life Group home meetings are instructed to manifest the gifts when ministering to people. Gifts happen at Life Gate.

However, I feel some of you might be interested in some biblical teaching and impartation concerning this. After last week's sermon, someone came to me asking some questions and expressing a need toward the gifts. I feel that may be a desire for many. Perhaps you've never been taught about the Holy Spirit and his gifts being for today. We need to correct that.

I want to ask you, how many would consider coming to a class one evening a week for a few weeks for teaching straight from the Bible? We will get that set up.

Let's finish up our lesson for today. One day Jesus will ask each of us who we say he is.

Luke 9:18-20 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, HE ASKED THEM, "Who do the crowds say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life." "BUT WHAT ABOUT YOU?" HE ASKED. "WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God."

This was obviously popular discussion everywhere. It does interest Jesus to know who the crowds say he is. This means there is discussion and that's very good, but the real question is who do you say he is? It doesn't matter who the crowds say Jesus is. Crowds can't tell "you" who Jesus is. People can tell you who he is to them, but not who he is to you. So, I ask you, "Who, then, is this you hear such things about?" It's the greatest question you will ever ask. It's the most important question for which you will ever acquire an answer. Your eternity with Christ or your eternity in hell depends on getting this one right. Who is Jesus to you?

 

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