Everything Jesus had done so far
hinted at His identity and the purpose of His mission. Now, the humble servant
was clearly identified as the King and Savior. First, Peter was moved to
confess that Jesus is the Christ. Then, in the transfiguration, Jesus revealed
His divine glory. He also began to teach harder lessons, such as denying
oneself, taking up one’s cross, and losing one’s life for the gospel.
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his
life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will
save it” (8:34-35).
Did You Know…?
Caesarea Philippi (8:27): A town in the
tetrarchy of Herod Philip, Antipas’ brother. It was 30 miles from Tyre and 25
miles north of Galilee. The region was especially pagan. It was a Canaanite
sanctuary for the worship of Baal. The Greeks called it Paneas in honor of the
Christ (8:29): From the Greek word meaning, “the
Anointed One.” In Hebrew, it is “Messiah.” The title had a political
connotation because it denoted an ideal king empowered by God to deliver his
people and to establish his kingdom.
“Son of Man” (8:31): Jesus’ favorite
self-designation in the gospel books. We can derive two meanings from the Old
Testament. First, the prophet Daniel saw a vision of “One like a Son of Man”
who was given an everlasting kingdom (Dan 7:13-14). This identifies Jesus as a
king—a theme explored more fully in Matthew. Second, the prophet Ezekiel used
the phrase “the son of man” at least 90 times, referring to himself and his
mission. Therefore, the phrase also identifies Jesus as a servant of God.
Cross (8:34): An instrument of death. It was
detested by both the Jews (cf. Deut 21:22-23) and the Romans as a shameful way
to die. Crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals and the lowest class;
a Roman citizen could not be crucified except by direct order of Caesar.
Rabbi (9:5): A respectful term used by the Jews
to address their spiritual instructor.
is the best part about believing in Jesus Christ? What is the toughest?
a moment when you were inspired spiritually. How did that experience help you
grow in faith?
1. Why did Jesus ask the
disciples about the people’s opinion of Him?
2. What does the people’s opinion
tell you about their understanding of Jesus?
3. How did Peter know Jesus is
the Christ? Does this mean the disciples finally understood who Jesus is?
4. Why did Jesus want to keep His
identity as the Christ a secret (8:30; 9:9)?
5. Who do you say Jesus is?
6. Why did Peter rebuke Jesus?
What does this teach us about jumping to conclusions?
7. Why did Jesus call Peter
8a. Peter took Jesus aside
privately to rebuke Him. Why did Jesus rebuke him publicly before the other
8b. Share one of your past mistakes
that can be used to teach other believers.
9a. What is your cross? How do
you take up your cross?
9b. What does it mean to save or
lose one’s life in this world?
10. What tempts you to exchange
11. Give examples of being
ashamed of Jesus.
12. Explain 9:1. (For teachings
on the kingdom of
God, see Lesson 7).
13. Why was it Elijah and Moses
who appeared? (cf. Mal 4:4-6).
14a. Were Peter’s words (9:5)
appropriate? Why or why not?
14b. Have you ever spoken
something hastily? What was the result?
15. What is the purpose of the
transfiguration? Compare it to what Jesus said in 9:1.
16. After the transfiguration,
“suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus
with themselves” (9:8). What does the disappearance of Moses and Elijah teach
us about the role of God’s workers?
17. While discussing the meaning
of “rising from the dead,” Peter, James, and John asked about Elijah. Why? (cf.
18. The disciples obeyed Jesus,
even while trying to figure out what He meant (9:9-10). Share an example of how
you obeyed the word of God even though you did not fully understand.