Luke 9:28, “28 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.”
- The phrase “some eight days” is a strange description, but the intent is to connect these words to the words of Jesus in verse 18, which is what we looked at last Sunday, “Who do people say that I am?”
- In verse 20 Peter responds, “Jesus, you are the Christ.” In verse 27 Jesus says, “Some of you will not taste of death until you see the kingdom of God” and in verse 28 Jesus takes Peter, John, and James up on the mountain to see the glory of God revealed in Jesus known as the transfiguration.
- The transfiguration gets very little attention in the local church in the United States. We talk about the incarnation of Jesus (His birth), the resurrection of Jesus (His death), but the transfiguration is a moment in the life of Jesus where His glory is revealed.
Luke 9:29, “29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.”
- The word, “different” in the original language means “different.” I don’t fully understand what takes place in this moment, but in this moment Jesus goes from a caterpillar to a butterfly times a gazillion.
- Verse 29 is the opposite of Philippians 2:7 that describes the glory of Jesus taking on flesh, “Emptying Himself, being made in the likeness of men” but now the “likeness of men” is being pulled back and the glory of Jesus is bursting forth with blazing light.
Luke 9:30-31, “30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”
- Moses and Elijah would have been the two key figures of the Old Testament.
- Elijah is most known for his resistance against false teaching, so that Moses is a representative of the law, Elijah is a representative of the prophets, but in this moment all the attention is on Jesus, because Moses and Elijah are “speaking of His departure.”
- The word, “departure” in the original language is the word, “exodus.”
Luke 9:32-33, “32 Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. 33 And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying.”
- In verse 33 Peter responds, “Master it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles.” In that moment Peter, John, and James are seeing the Kingdom of God, verse 27 is being fulfilled, and Peter, John, and James are face to face with the glory of God, and Peter’s uncontrollable response is, “Lets worship. Lets build three tabernacles.”
Luke 9:34-35, “34 While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”
- In verse 34 Peter is interrupted by the Father so as to say, “Peter this isn’t a time to talk, but a time to listen.” We don’t need three tabernacles, because Jesus is not like Moses and Elijah, and in verse 35 a voice rings out, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”
- The phrase, “This is My Son” is from Psalm 2:7.
- The phrase, “My Chosen One” is from Isaiah 42:1.
- The phrase, “Listen to Him” is from Deuteronomy 18:15-16.
Perhaps there is a layer in us this morning that is uncomfortable with the glory of Jesus? Perhaps we find ourselves saying, “I like Jesus on serving others, showing grace, but when Jesus talks about His glory, His rule, His power, I try not to think about Jesus on those subjects.”
Listen to me, when we do that we are doing the same thing that has happened in our country the last 100 years, and we are simply removing the uncomfortable glorious parts of Jesus, but you need to know it is okay to be uncomfortable with the glory of Jesus.
It is why in verse 34 it says, “Peter, John, and James were afraid as they entered the cloud.” Every time humanity comes even close to the glory of God we see humanity fall on their face in fear. Isaiah 6, “Woe is me I am dead.” Revelation 1, “I fell at His feet like a dead man.” We become fearful when we are in the dark, can you imagine how you might respond to the glory of God?
Please, don’t try to omit the glorious parts of Jesus. Please don’t place your education, emotions and experience over the glory of Jesus. In every part of the globe where Jesus has been made more palatable we see less power in the local church, and the local church is in terrible decline.
But, in every part of the globe where Jesus is taught as He is revealed in Scripture, in glory and wonder, we see the local church thriving in places like Korea, Nigeria, China, North Village Church, and it is because they and we are rallying around the voice of the Father ringing out, “This is My Son. My Chosen One; listen to Him.”