Spending Time With Jesus: The Glory of Christ – The Transfiguration Luke 9:27-36

19 Nov

What is the greatest event in your life? What about the greatest religious experience in your life? Hopefully, for most of us it would be the same event. I suspect if you could ask Peter, James, and John that question, they would answer, t was the day we went with Jesus to the mountain to pray, and He was transfigured in our sight.

We know that Peter never forgot that day, for he wrote: 2 Peter 1:17 (ESV) 17  For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

This was truly a mountaintop experience for Peter.

The Transfiguration is one of the most sublime scenes of all sacred history. It occurred about a week after Jesus had promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18). This event took place on a mountain that was probably on the road between Caesarea Philippi and Jerusalem.

Lk 9:28 with Mt 17:1, Mk 9:2 28About eight {sixMT, MK} days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a {highMT, MK} mountain to pray {where they were all aloneMK}.

They were the select three on other occasions as well. Of all the apostles, maybe these three were best prepared in heart and life for the purpose Jesus had in mind. Paul later referred to them as men “who were reputed to be pillars” (Galatians 2:9).

Lk 9:29-32 with Mt 17:2, Mk 9:2-3 29As he was praying, {he was transfigured before them,MT, MK} the appearance of his face changed {shone like the sunMT}, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning {as white as the light,MT} {dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach themMK}.

 30Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two me Lord {Rabbi,MK} {MasterLK}, it is good for us to be here. If you wish {let us,MK, LK} I will put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. {6(He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)MK}

5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, This is my Son, whom I love {whom I have chosen;LK} with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!

6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. Get up, he said. Don’t be afraid. {8Suddenly,MK} 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

What were the reasons behind this event?

  1. For one thing, it was God’s seal of approval to Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:14).
  2. It was also the Father’s way of encouraging the Son as He began to make His way to Jerusalem. The Father had spoken at the baptism (Luke 3:22) and would speak again during that final week of the Son’s earthly ministry (John 12:23-28). Beyond the suffering of the cross would be the glory of the throne, a lesson that Peter emphasized in his first epistle (1 Peter. 4:12-5:4).
  3. Our Lord’s own words in Luke 9:27 indicate that the event was a demonstration (or illustration) of the promised kingdom of God. This seems logical, for the disciples were confused about the kingdom because of Jesus’ words about the cross. Jesus was reassuring them that the Old Testament prophecies would be fulfilled, but first He had to suffer before He could enter into His glory (note especially 2 Peter 1:12-21).

   Why, in particular, did Moses and Elijah appear to Jesus? Both of these men had, during their time on earth, met with God on a mountain (Exodus 24; 1 Kings 19). Both men also had departed from this earth in an unusual way—Elijah was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11); Moses was buried by the Lord (Deuteronomy 34:6), and the location of his body became a matter of great speculation (Jude 9).

These men represented the sweeping vista of God’s plan of salvation across the ages. Moses represented the Law, or the Old Covenant. He had written the Pentateuch and had predicted the coming of a great prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Elijah represented the prophets who had foretold the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6). Together they confirmed Jesus’ mission: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17 niv).

These men were talking with Jesus . . . about his departure, which was about to happen in Jerusalem. The “departure” referred to Jesus’ death. The word for “departure” is exodos, an unusual word to use for death, yet a helpful word picture. As Moses delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt through their exodus from there, even more significantly, Jesus would deliver people from bondage through his “exodus” from this life. His death, which would happen on a dusty hill outside the walls of Jerusalem, would accomplish true freedom for all people who believe in him. It would happen according to God’s divine plan (see 1 Peter 1:19-20).

DOWN IN THE VALLEY When they came down from this great experience, they found problems among the ones left behind. What a powerful lesson can be learned!

Mk 9:17-19 with Mt 17:14-17, Lk 9:37 17A man in the crowd {approached Jesus and knelt before himMT} answered {called out,LK} {Lord, have mercy on my son.MT} Teacher, I brought you my son {for he is my only child,LK} {he has seizures and is suffering greatlyMT} who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever it seizes him, {he suddenly screams,LK} it throws him to the ground {into convulsions.LK} He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. {It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.LK} I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit {heal him,MT} but they could not.

19O unbelieving {and perverseMT, LK} generation, Jesus replied, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.

A boy had been brought to them by his father because he had an unclean spirit which seized him, and he would suddenly cry out. His father said, t throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth, and as it mauls him, it scarcely leaves him (9:39).

The apostles who were left behind had tried to heal the boy but were unsuccessful. How frustrating to them! They had been given power over unclean spirits. Why could they not cast them out? Jesus answer, according to Matthew’s Gospel, was that this kind comes out only through prayer.

While Jesus and the three disciples had been up in the mountain praying, the others had not taken the time to pray. Even miraculous powers were left weak when not sustained by prayer. How much more must this be the case with regard to nonmiraculous powers. As we try to help others, we must take time to pray.

Jesus rebuked the apostles, saying, O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you, and put up with you? Bring your son here (9:41). Jesus healed the boy and presented him to his father. Two lessons must stand out.

First, unless you take time away from the crowd for prayer and renewal, you will often come up empty when you so desperately want to help someone. Even in our dedication to serve God, we sometimes overload our bodies and our spirits so that we have nothing left when the hour of crisis comes. Thus, let us learn to take time away from the realities of daily life. Go on the retreats; take time for the lecture programs and workshops; get away with a few who share the same faith and dedication we do.

Second, mountaintop experiences have value only when we bring them down from the mountain to where people are hurting. The cry for help was still ringing out in the valley. People were still agonizing with life. Many today do not view worship services today as a mountaintop experience to help us with life. Instead, our worship is seen as a part of the humdrum activity that we must endure.

Too little of what is learned on Sunday is applied on Monday. Learn from worship and study of His Word and apply what you learn to your everyday life to make it better.

9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them {gave them ordersMK}, Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead. {10They kept the matter to themselvesMK} {and told no one at that time what they had seen,LK} {discussing what rising from the dead meant.MK} 10The disciples asked him, Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?

11Jesus replied, To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. {Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected?MK} In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands. 13Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Mk 9:20-24 with Lk 9:42 20So they brought him. When the spirit {demonLK} saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21Jesus asked the boy’s father, How long has he been like this?

From childhood, he answered. 22It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.

23If you can? said Jesus. Everything is possible for him who believes.

24Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!

THE MAJESTY OF GOD And they were all amazed at the greatness of God (9:43). Note that the majesty was not seen clearest on the mountain with Jesus face aglow, but in the valley in helping a lad in trouble.

It is always easiest to see God’s majesty against the background of helping hurting people overcome their hurts. It was with the marvel still in their hearts that Jesus challenged the disciples to allow something to sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men (9:44).

 Mk 9:25-29 with Mt 17:18, 20, Lk 9:42b-43 25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. You deaf and mute spirit, he said, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.

26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, He’s dead. 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. {[H]e was healed from that momentMT} {and [Jesus] gave him back to his father. 43And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.LK} 28After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, Why couldn’t we drive it out?

29He replied, {Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.MT} This kind can come out only by prayer.

30They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after {onMT} three days he will rise. 32But they did not understand what he meant {it was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it,LK} and were afraid to ask him about it. {And the disciples were filled with grief.MT}


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Posted by on November 19, 2020 in Luke


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