Thursday, July 14, 2011

Matthew 16:28-17:21


28 ``Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.''

Here Jesus makes an astounding statement that many have discussed its meaning for years and will continue to do so. Some who were standing right there would not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom. Jesus' first message was to announce: "The Kingdom of God is near, here and among y'all." Apparently, Jesus brought the Kingdom of God to earth and it is here right now. In a progressive mode the Kingdom of God will ultimately fill the earth in its full form.

Most of what Jesus is doing is to demonstrate His Kingdom. Here He does it most dramatically with what is called the transfiguration of His body, where Jesus' body becomes the undeniable, visible presence of God. He takes three men to come and see it for themselves. Let's look at it.

1 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Peter said to Jesus, ``Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.'' 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ``This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!'' 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. 7 And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, ``Get up, and do not be afraid.'' 8 And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.

Notice how Jesus is joined by Moses, the Jewish representative of the Law, and Elijah, the representative of the Prophets. In these three personages the entire story of the Jewish faith rested. But note just as quickly as they appeared, Moses and Elijah disappeared. I think this is the beauty of this dramatic scene. All of the Law and the Prophets dissolve into Jesus standing alone. It is truly Jesus plus nothing and no one else.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." 10 The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" 11 Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

After Jesus put Elijah into perspective, identifying him with John the Baptist, He moves from classroom to another lab experience to demonstrate the Kingdom and His position as the Son of Man.

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." 17 "You unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" 20-21 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, 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."

In order to move into being disciples with the faith Jesus requires, it seems when He mentions "little faith" He is not referring to a certain amount of faith. In the next sentence Jesus suggests that all that is needed is faith as small as a mustard seed in order to live in the realm of the impossible. We are learning that it's all about developing a consistent, ruthless trust in Jesus, counting on Him to do His work in your life in His way. It ultimately means leaving the results-good and bad-to Him. Are you up for such a lifestyle? Give it a try and watch Jesus at work!