Then we hear of Jesus’ baptism and anointing, the trial in the wilderness and His victory over all that would undermine His knowledge of Himself and His reason for being here.
So by the time we get to Luke 9:18-27, when Jesus asked His disciples “Who do people say that I am?”, He knew who He was and what He was here for.
Peter was the one who declared “You are the Christ of God.” This was an explosive declaration, pregnant with expectation. “The Christ of God” was widely recognised as the One who would rise up and restore the national fortune and sovereignty of God’s chosen people. He would be enthroned in Jerusalem to the fanfare of the nations. And all who stood against the Lord and His anointed would be destroyed as a rod of iron smashes pottery (Psalm 2).
Jesus affirmed Peter’s declaration, and immediately told His disciples not to tell anyone. Such heightened expectations would hamper the work Jesus had to complete before His time came to go to Jerusalem.
Because Jesus did have to go to Jerusalem. God’s Anointed One rode triumphantly into the city to the fanfare of the crowds. He was received by royalty dressed in shackles. He was whipped and humiliated. He was paraded under the weight of a wooden cross. His coronation was being nailed and raised up on the cross, His crown made of thorns. The Christ of God died a brutal physical death at the hands of the powerful and the corrupt.
But that was the purpose for which He came. He understood this as He reasoned and explored the Hebrew Scriptures, of the meaning of the Messiah and the Suffering Servant. He knew the Christ of God meant the perfect sacrifice for once and all for the sin of the world. Jesus the Christ knew His coronation would bring victory and salvation to all who turn to Him in faith, blessing to all who took refuge in Him – and destruction to all who did not.
His kingdom was not of this world, and yet will overcome the kingdoms of this world. His resurrection is evidence of His truth and life, and His ascension is the evidence of His glory and the promise of His return.
Jesus the Christ always knew what this explosive title meant. I think too often we forget, or worse ignore, the expectation and power of the title. And for those who use Jesus’ title and name blasphemously, as a swear word or in a derogative manner, they will find that their bluster that is as brittle as clay is no match for the sceptre of the living Christ.