Luke 9:20

ESV Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
NIV "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "God’s Messiah."
NASB And He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' And Peter answered and said, 'The Christ of God.'
CSB "But you," he asked them, "who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "God’s Messiah."
NLT Then he asked them, 'But who do you say I am?' Peter replied, 'You are the Messiah sent from God!'
KJV He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
NKJV He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”

What does Luke 9:20 mean?

Ancient accounts such as the Gospels were not necessarily chronological. That is, stories and incidents were not always recorded in a strict timeline. If Luke's account is chronological, Peter's words carry more weight than they might otherwise appear. Peter is not just responding to Jesus feeding thousands of men, women, and children (Luke 9:10–17). Nor is he primarily thinking of how Jesus walked on the waves of the Sea of Galilee—and how He had to save Peter when he almost drowned (Matthew 14:22–33). Rather, it would mean Peter responding to Jesus' difficult teaching: that He is the Son of Man mentioned by Daniel (Daniel 7:13–14), the Son of God (John 6:27), the bread that brings eternal life (John 6:35), and He who will raise the faithful from the dead (John 6:40).

When Jesus fed the crowds, their idea of Him switched from "prophet of old" to potential king (John 6:14–15). With this teaching, however, they remember He is the "son of Joseph" whom they know (John 6:42). Many who had followed Jesus abandoned Him (John 6:66). Jesus questions His disciples: "Do you want to go away as well?" to which Peter replies, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:67–68).

But even though Peter declares that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, he does not yet know that Jesus is God and the Son of God. And none of the disciples have any idea as to what it is the Messiah has come to do. Like the crowds, they think He is there to drive the Romans out of Jewish territory and give the Jews national independence and peace. As Jesus will soon say, "…You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man" (Matthew 16:23b). Even moments before Jesus returns to heaven, they still await the promise of a restored kingdom (Acts 1:6–11). Jesus doesn't dissuade them of hope—in fact, He tells them to look for it (Luke 21:29–36; Mark 13:32–37)—but it does not happen in their lifetime, and it has not happened yet in ours.

Jesus is not preparing the disciples for the fulfillment of God's kingdom. Instead, He readies them for the expression of His rule through the church, which He will found in Peter's testimony (Matthew 16:18).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: