‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘The glory of His presence’ pt.2 Text: Luke 9:27-36
Introduction: I recently read about a visitor to the US from England who had something rather profound to say about Christians here in America. • You Americans are so concerned about being happy, • as if our kingdoms were the focal point of God’s designs • rather than God’s kingdom the focal point of ours. (Rodney Buchanan)
Seek first… Seek first, the kingdom of God.
You see, the Kingdom of God, is here now. • It’s here now, when we acknowledge the presence of our King. • It’s here now, when we make ourselves available to serve our King. • It’s here now, when we live to bring glory to our King.For where our King is, so is the Kingdom.
But… as we’ll see in our text this morning, we’re only getting • a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, • a pledge of the fullness of the kingdom of God, when Jesus, our King, returns.
So, how should we then live, in between the glimpse and the fullness of the Kingdom of God?• We live, by denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily, and following Jesus.
Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 9:30.
II. Luke 9:30-31 Moses and ElijahRead: Luke 9:30-31
At this time in our text, Peter, John and James are sleeping. While they sleep, Jesus is transformed; His appearance changed, altered to reveal His glory, His divinity.
OK, when that happened, we’re told that Jesus wasn’t alone. He was talking to two men: Moses and Elijah, who also appeared in glory. • A lot to unpack there. But it’s all good, very good, in fact!
First, Luke introduces this event with the words And behold. Behold in the Greek word idou. • It’s an exclamation of something important.• It’s like saying, hey look, you’re not going to believe this!
Jesus was transformed to reveal His divinity by showing His glory. And if that wasn’t great enough, Moses and Elijah were glowing too!
That’s pretty great. But…why Moses and Elijah?• Why not Adam and Eve, • Jonathan and David, Abraham and Isaac?
That’s a question that has confounded scholars throughout the history of the church. The obvious answer is … we’re not told why.
But that hasn’t kept people from speculating… and in this case, in this, context, it’s helpful to speculate. So, let’s speculate… but let’s stay true to the context.
I think the most contextually appropriate reason why Jesus was talking to Moses and Elijah is because they represent the Old Covenant God made with Israel:• Moses was the great Law giver • and Elijah the greatest prophet.
From the beginning of Luke’s gospel, he’s been showing us how Jesus is not only the fulfillment of the OT Law and Prophets, but someone much greater than both. • So you don’t think I am making this up, listen to what the Apostle Matthew writes in his Gospel.
Read: Matthew 22:34-40 Here Jesus sums up the Old Covenant with the words the Law and the Prophets. So how does that connect to who He is?• After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, He appears to two men on the road to the town of Emmaus. This is what Dr. Luke tells us about that encounter.
Read: Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He (Jesus) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
So w/in our context, why Moses and Elijah? • Both the Law and the Prophets (Moses and Elijah) testify that Jesus, is, the Messiah, and give authenticity to both His authority and divinity. • They also give what seems to be approval of the departure Jesus will soon make.
It’s interesting that the Greek word for departure is exodos. Listen to how it’s used in Hebrews 11:22• By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
In the context of Jesus being greater than Moses and Elijah, it seems to me that Jesus’ death would be in some way similar, but even greater than the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. • Moses who led God’s people to deliverance from the power of slavery in Egypt,• Is now speaking to the One who will bring a new, perfect and complete Exodus of God’s people, a deliverance from the power of our slavery to sin.
Next, notice that Dr. Luke tells us that Moses and Elijah appeared in glory. This too is HUGE!• After Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God… the Messiah, Jesus told them the kind of Messiah He was, and it included suffering and dying at the hands of the religious leaders. He also told them He would be raised on the 3rd day.• Jesus, then told His disciples that if they wanted to continue with Him, they needed to deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Him. Jesus said that if they wanted to live, they needed to die… certainly to their own agendas, wants and passions… but it also might involve actually dying for their faith in Jesus.• I can’t imagine they took that part well. I’m certain, when they heard that, it frightened them.That’s why Jesus made them a promise. Verse 27:• But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God. • Just 8 days later, Jesus keeps that promise here in our text.
This is significantly important. • It’s not just that Jesus always keeps His promises… He does. • But in this case the promise will be a great source of encouragement, not only to Jesus’ followers then, but to us today as well.
Jesus keeps that promise by allowing Peter, John and James, to not only see His transfiguration, but to see Moses and Elijah, • two men who were long dead, • but very much alive and with glorified bodies.
Here’s the encouragement, the promise of the Transfiguration, the great news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:• Those who physically die as followers of Jesus, • will live with Jesus in the Kingdom of God.
Christian… yes, you will die, you will be buried. BUT, like Jesus, you will be raised from the dead and live with Him in His kingdom… forever.
Please… again not my words:• For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:40) • No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44) • Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51–52) • knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. (2 Corinthians 4:14)
Now, Peter, John and James, at the time of our text, didn’t have all those promises of life in the Kingdom of God, with our King, Jesus. • What those three men saw in our text was a glimpse of the Kingdom and of the promise of their presence in it.• For us today, God’s Word graciously reinforces both the glimpse of the Kingdom and the promise of our presence there with King Jesus.
III. Luke 9:32-36 The ‘3’ wake upRead: Luke 9:32-36
When they became fully awake… I got to wondering why Luke added fully? • Perhaps when they first started to awaken, they were groggy and didn’t believe what they were seeing, thinking they were dreaming. • Perhaps being half asleep kept them from seeing the fullness of what God was doing around them.
Not unlike the life of many Christians who live out their faith, half asleep, • Not able to fully recognize God when He moves around them. • Not able to fully respond to God because they’re only partly aware of who they are in Christ and what that means.
God, however, calls us to wake up… fully. • To not only recognize when He’s moving around us but how He wants us to use that for His glory.
I think our text confronts us with a very important truth:• To see the King in all His glory.• To see God at work around us. • We need to wake up and stay awake!
So what happens when the 3 wake up? • They see Jesus, Moses and Elijah in glorified bodies.• They hear what they are talking about, and they want more… more time in this wonderful and exciting, moment.
And that’s all good. They wanted the right thing. It just wasn’t the right way or the right time.• Remember, this was supposed to be a glimpse of the Kingdom, not an ongoing encounter.
Peter, speaking for the 3, asks Jesus if it’s OK to set up three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. But before he can continue or before Jesus can answer Him, Dr. Luke tells us that God the Father interrupts Peter.Before I get to what the Father said, I want to point out something scholars saw in Peters suggestion that I failed to see. • By asking to set up 3 tents, Peter was placing Jesus on the same level as Moses and Elijah. • This event, the transfiguration, was to show that Jesus is greater than both Moses and Elijah.
God the Father interrupting Peter here, and what He says, shows that Jesus is in fact, superior to both Moses and Elijah. So, what did the Father say?• This is My Son, My Chosen One, listen to Him.
First, the Father acknowledged that Jesus was His Son… That makes Him Divine.
Second, the Father acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah. He used the title Chosen One, and all Israel knew that term meant Messiah. • At the cross, the religious leaders associated the term Christ / Messiah with the phrase Chosen One.
Read: Luke 23:35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!
Third, the Father acknowledged Jesus’ superiority over Moses and Elijah when He said… Listen to… Him. Not listen to Moses, not listen to Elijah. Listen to Jesus.• Folks, it’s not the OT Law or the Prophets that saves us. It’s Jesus and only Jesus!
Here’s something not to miss. Dr. Luke tells us that as Peter was speaking a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. (Luke 9:34)
The cloud was a familiar OT symbol of God’s presence. No wonder the 3 were afraid. You see, they knew it no longer was about what they were thinking or doing, it was all about God’s presence and what He was going to say.• That must be our posture, our thought, our heart as we navigate our journey of faith.• Life is not about what we think or do or want, it’s always about God’s presence, what He’s doing and what He’s saying.
One last thing. Why didn’t they tell anyone about what they saw? Marks Gospel tells us… Jesus told them not to, until after He was resurrected. (Mark 9:9)Why? We’re not told. • But we are told to listen to Jesus… and Peter, John and James did.• Are you?
Conclusion: It seems each week as we go further into Luke’s Gospel, I come up short on time. So, once again a few bullet points of application for you to take home and consider:
First, Christian, don’t allow prejudice, being comfortable, difficult situations, a lingering sin, even a passion for our families, don’t allow them or things like them, to lull you into a spiritual stupor. • A good and simple daily prayer is ‘Lord, keep me always awake to Your presence and activity in my life.’
Second, did you notice that Peter, John and James recognized Moses and Elijah… w/o having been told who they are? I’m often asked if we’ll know people in heaven when we get there. The answer is yes, and this is just one text that shows that.• The 3 recognized Moses and Elijah, even though they never met them, even though they lived hundreds of years in their past.
That tells me that we will not only know people we knew on earth who were saved, we’ll know everyone who was saved. • Including those we didn’t know when we lived. • Including those who lived before us and those who will live after us.
We may die before we see our children or their children come to faith… but if they do place their faith in Jesus, we will see them and know them in heaven.
Third, we need to be aware of the times in our lives when God interrupts us; interrupts what we’re saying and doing, and tells us to listen to Jesus… particularly in that moment. • Don’t be so caught up in your own lives, in your own agendas, in your own desires and passions, • that you miss God speaking to you.
Peter was right. It was good, that Peter, John and James were there with Jesus, in His presence, focused on His glory.• And it’s always right for us too.