Luke Series- Session 13- True Discipleship

Session 13- True Discipleship

Luke 9:18-27

Lesson Resources:

Session Notes- Luke Series- Session 13- Luke 9 18 to 27

Subject: Discipleship

Central Theme:  True Discipleship

What does it take to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ?  We must answer three questions that are answered in this passage.

1.  Who was Jesus, really?  We must understand Jesus identity.

2.  What is the Gospel, really?  We must understand the Gospel.

3.  What is the cost of discipleship, really?  We must lose our life.



  • There is an old story that is told about a man who crossed Niagra Falls on a tightrope.
  • We know that the first to do this was a man named Harry Blondin.
  • He was known for all kinds of theatrics in crossing the great expanse.
  • Among his exploits was doing this backwards part of the way.
  • He would take a camera and snap photos.
  • He would go across with a wheelbarrow.
  • The old story that is told is that he would ask the crowd how many thought that he could cross it with the wheelbarrow. They would affirm that he probably could.
  • He would then ask if they thought that he could cross with a man in it. Some thought that he could.
  • He would then ask if some of those people that thought that he could would hop in the wheelbarrow. Of course, the ones who affirmed that he could rarely wanted to volunteer.
  • Here is a picture of someone who trusted him more than getting in the wheelbarrow.
  • (Abbot, 2021)


  • When it comes to salvation, the same is true.
  • There is a difference between belief that Jesus can save a person, and trust in Jesus to save me personally.
  • The Bible says that “the devils also believe and tremble”.
  • There is a kind of faith that is not a saving faith.
  • When we believe, but it does not impact the way we live it may be an indication that our faith was a belief that Jesus can save, but not a trust in Jesus to save us from our sin personally.
  • James makes it clear that a saving faith will produce good works in our lives.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  (19)  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  James 2:18-19

  • Paul expressed this similarly in Ephesians 2:8-10.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  (10)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10

  • Someone who accepts Christ as Savior will produce good works.
  • God’s will for your life is not just for you to be a convert. God’s will for your life is to follow Jesus as a disciple.
  • What does it look like to be a true disciple of Jesus?

What does it take to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ?  We must answer three questions that are answered in this passage.


Question #1- Who is Jesus, really?  We must understand Jesus identity.


(18)  And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?  (19)  They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

Luke 9:18-19



(18)  And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?


  • Jesus is praying with his disciples.  To Jesus, discipleship was both telling, modeling, and participating together.  He did not just tell them how to pray, He prayed with them.
  • During this time of prayer, He asks them questions about His identity.  When it comes to being a follower of Jesus Christ, it is crucial that we get His identity correct.
  • “Whom say the people that I am?”.  I believe that He was not asking this because He did not know.  He was having this moment of conversation with His disciples so that there would be clarity on where they stood with Jesus.  He was pointing out the difference between the world and His disciples.
  • How did the disciples answer?

(19)  They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

  • Here the disciples give three answers that would have all come from what they heard others say about Jesus.
  • Notice that all of the answers were wrong.
  • Jesus was not a re-incarnated or resurrected prophet from the past.
  • To say that He was John the Baptist is strange, because they ministered at the same time and were together.  There was an overlap to their ministries.  They had similar messages of repentance, and so people may have thought that now that John the Baptist had been killed by Herod that He was somehow present in the ministry of Jesus.
  • Others thought that He was Elijah.  Elijah was a prophet that did not see death but was taken up in a chariot.  Maybe this influenced their thinking into giving this rationalization that He was back.


  • Most people had what they would think was a respectful position.  He was seen as a prophet.   There had to be some accounting of the things Jesus was doing.  He had to be a messenger of God at least to heal people from sickness and raise the dead.


  • Many people in our day have what they see as a respectful position on Jesus as well.  They may see him as a moralist.  They think that His ethics are basically good.  They see Him as a good example.  They may see the Jesus of history and the Jesus of the Bible as two different people.
  • Yet, the Jesus of history and the Jesus of the Bible are one and the same, and there are many reasons to believe this.
    1. The Bible’s record of history has an untarnished record of being corroborated.  Jesus’ ministry and theology, as we will see, is grounded in the falsifiable claim that He would rise from the dead.  If He did not, then Christianity never makes it out of the first century.
    2. Every one of these disciples will give their lives based on the fact that they had seen Jesus rise from the dead for our sins.
    3. Peter and John told the Pharisees after Jesus died, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20).
  • It is critical for us to be clear about who Jesus is, both in our own belief and in our message to the world.  He was not just a prophet, good teacher, or moralist.  Even if it is seen as intolerant to say it, we must speak the truth about who He is.

(20)  He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
Luke 9:20

  • Jesus asks the contrasting question after asking them what the world thought of Jesus.  Peter declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Greek term for the Messiah.  He coupled this word for Christ with the Word for God.  He said “Christon Tou Theos.” This was not the first time that Peter believed this.  It was clearly a seminal moment.
  • The world thought that He was interesting.
  • They thought He was something more than a normal person.
  • The crowds even had a level of respect for what He could do. This is why they are showing up in droves.
  • But here Peter declares what they were all believed.
  • You are the Christ of God. You are the Messiah.  You are God.
  • In a parallel passage we learn that Jesus renamed Simon to Peter at this moment.  He had declared something very important.  Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  (16)  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  (17)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  (18)  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:15-18

  • According to Jesus, God had revealed to the disciples that He was the Messiah, and that He was God.


  • The most basic thing a disciple of Jesus must believe to be a disciple of Jesus is that Jesus is who He said He was.
  • The world does not acknowledge Jesus as God.
  • They may acknowledge Him as even from God, but this not enough.
  • Jesus left no room to be declared simply “from God”, though He was from God.  More than just being sent by God, Jesus was God in the flesh.  This was Peter’s declaration, and it was on this very important point that the assembly of Jesus would be built.

What does it take to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ?  We must answer three questions that are answered in this passage.


Question #1- Who is Jesus, really?  We must understand Jesus identity.

Question #2- What is the Gospel, really?  We must understand the Gospel.


(21)  And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;



  • Peters 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.

(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.

  • 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”?
    1. 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.
  1. 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 the disciples tell people that this was Jesus’ purpose?
    1. 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.
    2. 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.

What does it take to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ?  We must answer three questions that are answered in this passage.


Question #1- Who is Jesus, really?  We must understand Jesus identity.

Question #2- What is the Gospel, really?  We must understand the Gospel.

Question #3- What is the cost of discipleship, really?  We must lose our life.


(23)  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Luke 9:23


  • After declaring the Gospel to them, Jesus compares the life of the true follower of Jesus to His life.
  • He has told them that He must suffer, die, and rise again for their sins according to the scriptures.
  • Here he says to all the disciples “if any man will come after me”.  “Come after me” has the same idea as “follow me”.
  • Remember that the expression “follow me” was the call to discipleship in that culture.
  • When the rabbi said “follow me” he was saying, go where I go, think like I think, live like I live, and believe what I teach.
  • Here is where it gets tough, and the men are separated from the boys:
    1. Jesus had just told them that He had to be rejected by the religious elite.  He was going to suffer, die, and rise again.
    2. If His disciples were to live out what He had taught them they must be willing to suffer and die.
    3. The only way to do that is self-denial.


  • When Jesus said “take up his cross daily” we should think of it in the terms they would have thought of the expression.
  • The cross did not yet have the redemptive beauty that we see in it now.
  • Remember that it was an instrument of execution and torture.


  • Jesus was calling those who follow Him to choose the eternal over the temporary.
    1. To choose the eternal over the temporary there must be self-denial.
    2. There must be a willingness to sacrifice.
    3. Following Jesus means paying the price of discipleship.  It isn’t a one-time decision.
    4. It is a daily decision to put Him first, and to be willing to suffer for His sake.

(24)  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.  (25)  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?  (26)  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.  (27)  But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:24-27


  • Jesus is talking to His disciples about what it means to follow Him.
  • He is not teaching a salvation of works here. He is not saying that those who fall into sin because they do not deny themselves in a moment of temptation will lose their salvation.
  • Those who believe in Jesus and are truly saved will become new creatures. Good works will follow faith in Christ.
  • As we grow in Christ-likeness once we are saved, we will do what He did as disciples.
  • The one who would try to preserve His life by disbelief in and rejection of Jesus (someone like Judas) would lose His own soul.
  • Jesus is pointing out that there is something to lose if someone rejected Jesus Christ as Lord.
  • There would be the temptation to try to gain by rejecting Christ.  Yet, it would be a temporary gain and an eternal loss.
  • Those who reject Christ because of the temporary pain of self-denial will lose their soul.
  • There is coming a day where Jesus will come back.  Those who follow Jesus bear His name.  They are identified with Him.  They are following the “Son of Man” who will return with the glory of God.
  • Following the cross is the resurrection, and after the resurrection there is glory.
  • Those who deny themselves and lose their temporary life will gain reward and eternal glory with Christ.  Loyalty to the Lord in His service is worth the price because of the promise of eternity.
  • In verse 27 Jesus states that there will be some who see “the kingdom of God”.  The word translated “kingdom” is the word transliterated “basileia”.  Strong’s Concordance gives this definition:

“properly royalty, that is, (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively): – kingdom, + reign.”


  • In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this statement that some will see the kingly realm is followed immediately by the transfiguration.  Jesus’ royal splendor and authority is on full display when Peter, James, and John go up on the mountain and God allows them to see Jesus in this way.


  • There is a cost to belief in Jesus and following Him.
  • Those who are saved are called to identify with Him and share Him with the world.  This is the call of discipleship.  We are called to be on His mission.
  • He suffered, bled, died, and rose again and calls us to represent Him to the world.
  • If we choose not to trust in Christ because of this cost, we may gain in the short term, but we will forfeit our souls.  If we choose to trust in Christ and follow Him, it may cost us in this life, but we will be rewarded in the next.



  • There is a difference between “belief that” and “trust in”.
  • There are many who believe that Jesus is God, but they have not put their trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. Only those who place their trust in Christ are saved.
  • God’s plan for you was never for you to trust in him for salvation and that be the end of your relationship with Him.
  • He should not just be your Savior. He should be Your Lord.  We must ever grow in submission to His Lordship.
  • God’s desire is not for you just to be a Christian. His desire is for you to be a follower.  His desire is for you to be a disciple.
  • There is a cost to that. To follow Jesus means to go where He goes, to say what He would say, and to do what He says.  To be a disciple of Jesus means we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him, no matter the cost.
  • We must understand His identity, believe the Gospel, deny ourselves and follow Him.


Works Cited

Abbot, K. (2021, February 27). The Daredevil of Niagra Falls. Retrieved from Smithsonian Magazine:



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