I Am!

by LA UBF   10/28/2006     0 reads


I Am���

 I Am!

Luke 22:54-71

Key Verse 22:70

1. Skim through verses 54-62. What does this passage tell us about: 1) Peter's knowledge about himself; and 2) Jesus' knowledge about Peter? 

2. Read verse 61. When did the Lord turn and look "straight" at Peter? Why did the Lord do this? (Luke 22:31-34)

3. Read verse 62. Peter wept "bitterly". What was he so "bitter" about? Peter was determined to follow Jesus even "to death" (Luke 22:33), and yet was unable. What can we learn from this episode?   

4. Read verses 63-65 and think about Jesus who endured lawless men. What does this passage show us about Jesus? (Isaiah 53:3-7) (Hebrews 12:2)

5. Read verses 66-71. The council asked (in effect) two questions: 1) Are you the Christ?; and 2) Are you the Son of God? What was Jesus' answer to each of the questions? What does this passage tell us about: 1) the members of the council; 2) Jesus; and 3) the cause of his death? 



I am���

 I am!

Luke 22:54-71

Key Verse 22:70

They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" 

He replied, "You are right in saying I am."

From this passage we would like to think about five important keys to following Jesus to the end. Jesus came to pioneer the way to God’s kingdom. In Orlando, Florida, there is the Kennedy Space Center where they send space shuttles into orbit in building a space station. Downey used to be the home of NASA manufacturing facilities. However, because of continued improvements to the Space Shuttle, they no longer were in need of the said facilities, so the old NASA site became the Downey Landing Project. If the Space Station is completed, and as the technology for space travel keeps improving, there will come a time (I hope) when space travel will be commonplace among regular citizens. 

But the ultimate space travel does not take place through a physical vehicle such as a Space Shuttle. How then is it made? We know the answer. It is through Jesus Christ. It comes through the spiritual vehicle called Jesus the Son of God. Since day one of Jesus’ coming to this world and beginning his public ministry, Jesus kept inviting people to this journey (not to the moon, or to Mars) to God’s kingdom. And Jesus invited people saying, “Come, follow me.” 

What then is it to follow Jesus? In the passage for today then we would like to think about a few critical steps for us to remember:

First, in order to follow Jesus to the end, we must know that it is impossible for one to follow Jesus to the end on one’s own 

When Jesus came to this world, he established his home first in Nazareth of Galilee. By the time he was about thirty years old, he began his public ministry. 

One of the first things he did as a servant of God was to go out and invite several people to follow him. One of the people to whom Jesus extended his invitation was Simon Peter. At first Simon Peter was wishy-washy about the idea of following Jesus, for Jesus looked like a poor and humble, yet noble, country rabbi. But his view of Jesus changed dramatically when Jesus helped him to make a huge catch of fish. The previous night he had gone out for night fishing, but he caught nothing. However when he obeyed Jesus’ words, he was able to make a huge catch. The catch was so big that his eye balls almost popped out of his head. Since that time he left everything behind and followed Jesus. 

Now a few years had passed and all of a sudden Jesus started talking about his leaving this world after suffering at the hands of lawless men. Simon Peter could not understand why Jesus had to suffer like that. Yet, it was still his commitment to follow Jesus to the end. No matter what would happen down the road, he was determined to follow Jesus. 

How then did he do as Jesus was going through hard times? Already he started stumbling. For example, when the mob came to arrest Jesus with clubs and swords, Peter became furious. He pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of a man named Malchus. 

In the previous passage of Luke’s gospel, Jesus then surrendered himself to the hands of these lawless men. As a result they seized Jesus and led him away. They took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him." But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean." Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. [I don’t know how it crowed. Different languages express the way roosters crow differently. In Hebrew, the sound is written, kukuriku. In English it is cock-a-doodle-doo. In Korean they say kko-kki-yo. Japanese say it, kokekkoo.] At that very moment, the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." 

Let us remember three words: remembered; Lord; and three. Peter “remembered” what “the Lord” said. And the Lord said he would disown Jesus “three” times. 

Let us stop for a moment and think about the miracle. What Jesus predicted to happen is a complete miracle. Eccles. 7:14 reads, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” A man “cannot” discover “anything” about his future. But in Jesus all is seen. Jesus saw it and said it in advance. And it happened as Jesus said it would happen. A miracle is something which is of super natural origin. Jesus displayed certain knowledge which is super-natural. Peter did not know it, but Jesus knew it. Yes, Peter thought he knew it, but in the wrong way. But Jesus knew correctly. 

We wonder why God orchestrated the events in such a way that the three times of disowning would be followed by a rooster crowing. People may be tempted to ignore this saying, “Look, it is just a coincidence.” But if there is a thing called coincidence, even this coincidence is a calculated one. So there is only providence. Why this providence? In my opinion, it is to let us remember one thing for sure: we cannot follow Jesus to the end on our own. Animals know it. But we do not know it much less admit it. Animals did not fall, but the Bible continuously maintains that all men sinned. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Here “fall short” means we cannot cross from the place where we are to the place where God (the God of glory) is. I can jump a couple of feet. But God is so far away that it is impossible for me to jump from my place to God’s place. Jesus came to lead us to God’s kingdom. And in coming to God’s kingdom through [following] Jesus, the first thing we must remember is this: on our own it is impossible for us to follow Jesus to the end. For this reason the first thing Jesus asked his followers to do is “to deny oneself.” 

After remembering what the Lord had said, what did Peter do? He went out and wept bitterly. Over what did he weep? Certainly it was over himself. He was so confident that he would not deny Jesus. But now the trust he put upon himself was shattered to pieces. He could no longer trust himself. In following Jesus he was supposed to deny himself. But because he did not deny himself and still wanted to follow Jesus, he was “forced” to deny himself. And to be “forced” is not fun, for it leaves a lot of wounds and scars on your soul. However, when we deny ourselves voluntarily we will not have to be broken. And God does not take pleasure in seeing his children broken. 

Second, in order for us to follow Jesus to the end we need to learn to endure many hardships, such as those who mistreat us.

Look at verses 63-65. “The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?’ And they said many other insulting things to him.” All the while Jesus remained silent. He did not retaliate. This means Jesus “endured” lawless men. 

In order for one to achieve something noble, he or she has to learn to endure all kinds of difficulties. We see the same truth operating as a universal truth, working in nature, physical science, or in the human world. 

After October will come November. Then we have the fall season running in full force. Trees that are deciduous start dropping their leaves. Then winter will come. During the winter season, trees and plants endure the cold weather. Then spring comes, and there is new life emerging everywhere. 

In order for the Space Shuttle to make its way into orbit, it has to endure tremendous pressures and heat. 

For a student to earn an advanced degree like a Ph.D, he must go through academic disciplines. And during his course of study, such as a Ph.D program, he or she must endure professors finding faults with his work products like his thesis.

The same is true in our spiritual journey to God’s kingdom. In following Jesus to the end then it is inevitable that we will have to go through lots of difficulties, particularly the hardships that come from people who are obstinate, disobedient, and ignoble.  

Our day to day experience indicates that it is not easy for us to “endure” hardships. As we know, many stop enduring and give up in the middle. Why? It is because they do not hold onto the purpose and vision for which they have to undergo hardships. 

A couple of weeks ago one missionary called me saying, “There is a very nice church property on sale nearby in the city of Bellflower. Go and check it out immediately.” I went and checked it out, not “immediately,” but reasonably soon after. Indeed, the property looked very attractive. But I was not one hundred percent sure what other people might think. Last Friday, Dr. John Jun and Mother Barry visited LA. After lunch fellowship at a Restaurant in Cerritos, because the property was on the way to Downey, I took them to see the property. Dr. John Jun, Mother Barry, Pastor Ron, Daniel Yang, Paul Chung, Matthew Kim, and some others saw the property. Dr. John Jun really liked it. Because he liked it so much, Mother Barry said to me, “Look, Dr. John Jun is licking his lips. Yum, yum, yum, yum.” Then Missionary Daniel Yang who is the vice president of Charter One Bank in Chicago, liked it so much that if he had a shovel, he wanted to scoop it up, and take it to Chicago. Then after the dedication service at the W. LA chapter, there was an eating fellowship. I was seated at a table working on my dish. Then, Dr. John Jun came to my table and then said to me, “If I were you, I would move into the Bellflower property immediately. What difficulties do you think you have?” I mumbled and jumbled. And then he suggested that in order to achieve a noble result, one must learn to endure hardships like opposition. 

When you think about it, the same truth is applicable to our spiritual journey to His kingdom. The idea of following Jesus is never an easy proposition. It is never like walking through a rosy garden, for it comes with tons of difficulties, most of which are spiritual. (Acts 14:22) And in the business of enduring hardships, there is one thing we should never forget: the end (or goal) of our journey. In this regard, Jesus set a perfect example, for reminding us of Jesus’ example, Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

Third, in order to follow Jesus to the end we need to know what Jesus came to accomplish, that is, to save men from their sins. 

We know that in the business of following Jesus to the end, only to arrive at God’s kingdom, there are tons of difficulties. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress testifies to this truth. But of all the difficulties, hardships, obstacles, and stumbling blocks, the greatest one is what is internal, the one called “sin”. All other obstacles are of secondary importance, and they are all peripheral. It is this sin that exists inside of man that hinders man from following Jesus to the end. 

Once upon a time a pastor was surprised by one brother deciding to leave the ministry. The pastor thought that this brother wanted to leave the ministry because something was wrong with his ministry. So he asked the boy, “Why? What is wrong with the ministry?” The man said, “Oh, nothing is wrong with your ministry. In fact, I like your ministry.” Then the pastor said, “Why then do you want to leave the ministry?” He said, “I will talk to you later.” Then later he sent an email to the pastor talking of the real reason he was leaving: “In talking to a pastor who is senior to you, I posed 72 questions, and I got all the answers, and I am satisfied with the answers. So don’t feel bad about you or your ministry. But I am still addicted to pornography. So just let me go.” 

However the good news is that God never asks his children to do anything without first providing them with the means by which to do what God has in mind. And Jesus came to resolve the problem of sin once for all. 

Look at verses 66-67. “At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. ‘If you are the Christ,’ they said, ‘tell us.’” Here the Christ means the Anointed (or Messiah in Hebrew). In describing the coming of the Messiah the Anointed, the Prophet Daniel described the mission of the Christ this way:, “Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy” (Daniel 9:24).

Every once in a while a pastor used to listen to Christian radio programs. One thing he noticed was that almost all radio evangelists talk about the problem of people addicted to pornography. And there is so much statistics going around regarding the problem, particularly its addictive nature. Any serious Bible student will realize how much God hates sexual immorality. But we must remember: even this addiction to sexual immorality, God sent Jesus to put an end to it. What does end mean? End means end.  But here is the deal: Jesus is NOT going to inject himself to anyone; each person is going to make his own personal decision to sincerely depart from the way of the world and follow Jesus! Then, God honors his decision. God then starts working in His life, giving him complete release from the bondage to all kinds of addictions.     

Fourth, in order to follow Jesus to the end we need to have resurrection faith in God who is mighty. 

Look at verses 67b through 69. “Jesus answered, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.’" 

Jesus prefaced his statement on the resurrection by saying, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer.” This preface is like one saying in modern terms, “Believe it or not.” 

One preacher in the U.S. said, “Two things are hardest to teach to the average American: tithing and resurrection.” However the truth about God’s resurrection is hard to teach not just to Americans, but also to the people of Jesus’ day. And it is hard to teach to people outside of the church and inside of the church. In the day of Jesus, the Sadducees, for example, did not believe in the resurrection. In the passage, Jesus expressed his personal faith in the resurrection to the body of religious leaders in the Sanhedrin. And it was thanks to Jesus’ resurrection faith in God who is Almighty that he could endure all kinds of difficulties and opposition from evil men.  And we must do the same thing in following Jesus. 

Fifth, the deity of Jesus 

Look at verses 70-71. “They all asked, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’ He replied, "You are ‘right in saying I am.’ Then they said, ‘Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.’” Here Jesus openly stated that he is the Son of God. This is to proclaim his deity. 

In the eyes of carnally minded people, Jesus is just a country rabbi. But Jesus is different from any human being in that he himself is God. The Apostle John speaks of the same truth in John 1:1-4. John 1:1-4 reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” This means that following Jesus is following God himself. It also means that it is only when we follow Jesus that we can experience the kingdom of God arising within us. All other ways of life will keep man to be stuck in the eternal isolation from the eternal presence of God. 

One word: I am 




I am��

  I am!

Luke 22:54-71

Key Verse 22:70

This passage shows us the way of salvation, that is, by faith in God who sent Jesus the Son of God, the Savior of the world. 

1. Skim through verses 54-62. What does this passage tell us about: 1) Peter's knowledge about himself; and 2) Jesus' knowledge about Peter? 

** He did not know his weaknesses. He did not know that he was a sitting duck before the devil the tempter. 

** Jesus knew Peter's weaknesses, so Jesus prayed for him. 

2. Read verse 61. When did the Lord turn and look "straight" at Peter? Why did the Lord do this? (Luke 22:31-34)

** When Peter failed "completely". 

** It was to help him that his faith would not fail. In other words Jesus wanted to build up His faith in God who sent Jesus as the Savior, so he would be a man of indomitable faith. 

3. Read verse 62. Peter wept "bitterly". What was he so "bitter" about? Peter was determined to follow Jesus even "to death" (Luke 22:33), and yet was unable. What can we learn from this episode?   

** Arguably he was bitter about himself especially him being so weak a person, weak to pressures like peer pressure.  

** His case is another proof that in order to follow Jesus we need to deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Jesus. The call to "deny oneself" is based on God's knowledge of our inability to follow Jesus on our own. It is only through faith in [almighty] God that we can overcome challenges and obstacles, and follow Jesus to the end.  

4. Read verses 63-65 and think about Jesus who endured lawless men. What does this passage show us about Jesus? (Isaiah 53:3-7; Hebrews 12:2)

** It was to bring peace upon us by himself being punished for our inequities, the peace between God and men, and among men. We also learn that Jesus had resurrection faith. Because he believed in the power of God he was not afraid of death, so he could affirm the truth. In this way Jesus set the example of true faith. 

5. Read verses 66-71. The council asked (in effect) two questions: 1) Are you the Christ?; and 2) Are you the Son of God? What was Jesus' answer to each of the questions? What does this passage tell us about: 1) the members of the council; 2) Jesus; and 3) the cause of his death? 

** To both questions, Jesus answered affirmatively, demonstrating that he is indeed the one sent by God as the Christ, and the Son of God. 

** The members of the council were blind. They were "representatives" of all sinners, so to speak.

** The title "Christ" goes to the question of "what", the Son of God goes to the issue of "who." What did Jesus come to accomplish? He came to save us from our sins and the consequences of sins. Who is he then? He is the one from God, his divine origin, so he alone is qualified to save men from their sins.

[Note: Jesus stood as the perfecter of faith, for he could stand because of his faith in God who is Almighty.]   

** The cause was his claim (to be the Christ and the Son of God), indicating that he died for the cause for which he came to die.  

The end