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In Luke 9:28-36 we come to a most amazing scene:
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
Talk about a wild ride! The disciples were on the adventure of their lives. Most likely the greatest shift of gears was in their thinking about what the kingdom was going to look like. They wanted a political agenda to deal with their oppressors, but Jesus was into setting up His invisible kingdom. He had just said that a few of the disciples would not die before seeing the kingdom of God.
He wasn’t speaking of His second coming. He was speaking of this very incident of taking Peter, James and John up on the mountain with Him to reveal His glory to them. This is what Jesus is talking about. This was a very unique field trip for specialized training for the three. This was one of three times Jesus pulled the three—Peter, James and John—aside for something special. The other two were when Jesus went into Jairus’ daughter’s room to raise her from the dead and the other was when He invited these three to be with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus definitely was into training an inner circle of His disciples. If we are to learn the training methods of Jesus, we will also include the importance of training an inner circle of leaders according to their degree of readiness and willingness. This isn’t about treating a certain few in a special way, but it’s all about starting a fire of kingdom business that will most surely spread.
Jesus revealed Himself in all His glory and radiance in front of these three disciples. This is much like when Moses met with God on Mt. Sinai. The revelation of the presence of God was so radiant and powerful that Moses’ face shone for awhile after coming down from the mount. This radiance makes a lasting impression upon John to the point of saying in John 1, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Peter, James and John see on the face of Jesus what has been described as an "unapproachable light" during this event. It is called the transfiguration. Luke describes Jesus' clothing in a similar striking manner: "his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning" (9:29). How bright is a flash of lightning? Bright! One minute Jesus seems normal enough with a beard and dusty clothing from the walk. The next minute his face is shining like the sun and his clothing as bright as lightning! He is changed, transfigured in divine glory before their eyes.
Moses and Elijah supernaturally show up and appear in some form of splendor and were talking with Jesus. They spoke about His departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem—literally His “exodus”. I think this refers to the fact of Jesus’ move toward Jerusalem bringing to a close what He has come to accomplish.
Moses representing the Law and Elijah representing the Prophets, are talking to the Messiah concerning what He is about to do to deliver His people. But because of what Jesus said in the prior paragraph about a few of His disciples actually seeing the kingdom of God with their eyes, I think this transfiguration is a revelation of the King in all His glory. And, where the King is, there is the Kingdom.
Peter immediately wants to erect three tabernacles—one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. Peter was still cloudy (or sleepy) in his thinking about Jesus. Jesus is not the latest in a string of God’s anointed prophets. They are not equal. Jesus is the God-Man. Jesus is God’s Messiah. It’s all about Him.
Then a voice booms out from heaven and basically tells Peter to stop babbling and listen to Jesus. As this happens, both Moses and Elijah disappear, leaving Jesus as the One. Though they don't understand what in the world Jesus is talking about when he predicts his sufferings and death, or what Moses and Elijah mean by Jesus' "exodus," they no longer question it. They have seen Jesus in his glory and heard the Father's voice. They no longer experience the doubting. Though in somewhat of a daze, they simply believe and trust Him.
They are so overwhelmed by seeing the revelation of the King and His Kingdom they are getting a little closer to getting it. Jesus is not only God’s Messiah. He is the Son of God. You see, God is so awesome He is unknowable and therefore Jesus took on flesh so that we might relate to God. To know Jesus is to get to know the heart of God. So be diligent to spend more time hanging out with Jesus and the God of gods will become clearer and closer to you. Overlook Jesus and you miss out on God.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
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