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Click here to read Luke 9 on BibleGateway.com

There’s a lot to be said for new translations of the Bible; they’re easier to read, easier to understand, and (arguably) easier to apply because they relate more directly to our lives.  I’d much rather “think about Jesus said” than “ponder therefore unto these of which he spake.”

However, there are some drawbacks to translations, and one of them is that sometimes we see the section headings as divine separations. In reality, the books of the Bible were (mostly) written as a single unit, without chapters, verses, paragraphs, or separations. Sometimes these separations may make it hard for us to see certain aspects of the narrative, because we see things separated that should maybe have been taken together.

GOING BACK TO WHAT I SAID EARLIER…

Today’s chapter, Luke 9, is broken up into several sections, but let’s look at what the chapter looks like if we break it differently. Verses 7-8 talk about what people thought about Jesus; he was a prophet, possibly Elijah, or maybe John the Baptist. When we jump down to verses 18-19, and Jesus asks his disciples, “who do people say that I am?” They shockingly answer “a prophet, possibly Elijah, or maybe John the Baptist.”

It’s almost as if these two sections are bookends, so we should naturally ask ourselves what is it exactly that they bookend? In between these markers is the story of Jesus feeding the 5000, one of the biggest miracles in the Bible apart from the resurrection. So, what’s going on? What does feeding people have to do with who Jesus is?

WHO AM I?

The answer comes from Peter himself. When the people were asking who Jesus was, the great King Herod decided that he needed to meet this miracle worker, quite possibly because he was afraid that John the Baptist had returned from the dead to draw attetion to his questionable morality once again. But Peter, when Jesus asked him for his opinion, answered “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Peter may have been a thundering bonehead on many occasions, but he knew the power of God when he saw it. Watching Jesus feed the multitudes with virtually nothing convinced him that this was indeed the Messiah that Israel had been waiting for. Jesus then proceeds to tell them that he must suffer and die for the world.

Seen in this way, this passage seems to be preparing the disciples for what lay ahead. Jesus did a powerful miracle to confirm what they probably already strongly suspected; that Jesus was God’s anointed. Once they had passed that crisis point, he began to prepare them for what lay ahead; his miracle had a larger purpose than simply feeding people. Jesus wanted them to know that even though he would suffer and die at the hands of me, he had the authority and power to raise himself again, to perform an even bigger miracle for the whole world.

What is he preparing you for?

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