Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday, 26 July 2013 ~ Roxie

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Corinthians 16; Psalm 128; Ezra 5, 6
Today's scripture focus is Friday, July 26th: Luke 9:27-36

27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.
28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure,[a] which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 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.)
34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 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.

I wonder a little bit about the comment Jesus makes at the beginning of this passage. Is He saying "some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God" in reference to the following events? Is he referring to seeing Him rise from the dead? Is He referring to the perception changing experience of receiving the Holy Spirit?

I think that the Kingdom of God is not even close to what we think it is like. I often have to remind myself that God is so very much bigger than I could ever even imagine. These three disciples got one tiny glimpse of what the Kingdom will look like. They watched as Jesus prayed on a mountain, off kinda by Himself, like the gospels describe Him doing. These disciples were probably already used to this practice...and, if the tales of the garden of Gethsemane are a glimpse of the usual occurrences among these men used to physical labour, not sitting and waiting...sitting and praying...sitting and dozing.

When I worked night shifts, I was often surprised by the stamina and alertness that kept me awake and working when there was work to do. Occasionally, there were nights when very few patients would come in (often that would be when it was raining...snow storms usually meant that all the children of the city would be on their way!) and just sitting and waiting would leave me nodding off at the desk...trying so hard to keep my eyes open...just like these disciples, watching their beloved teacher pray.  

How bright did Jesus' face get before the disciples were nudging each other awake, rubbing their eyes, wondering if they were dreaming? How many pinches did it take before they realized they were fully awake and Jesus had two other companions, shining almost as brightly as He?? How much squinting did it take for them to recognize that Jesus was chatting with Moses and Elijah?? How they would have known who these men were, I am unsure, but apparently they knew them. 

I love the way that God sends these two men to encourage Jesus as He prepares for the dark struggle of the coming days. The NLT translates verse 31 this way: "And they were speaking of how he was about to fulfill God's plan by dying in Jerusalem." How many hours had Jesus spent talking with these men, discussing the salvation of creation? How much of Scripture had they picked apart together enjoying the cleverness of God, weaving the same story of His love throughout generations...a story drawing each generation closer and closer to the moment when the Kingdom of God is no longer confined to the boundaries of Heaven, but is poured out on those who recognize Jesus for who He is.

And "a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”

The voice of God, the Father, Jesus' Father, telling these three petrified disciples...telling Jesus that God, His Father is proud of Him. Beautiful. Holy perfection....A Father loving on His Son...loving enough to let Him make a difficult choice...loving Him enough to let go...and save the world through death. A kingdom unlike anyone was expecting.

Monday's scripture focus: Monday, July 29th: Luke 9:37-42
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezra 7, 8


tammi said...

I love how in the book "The Incomparable Christ" J. Oswald Sanders points out the miracle was not so much His glory revealed in this instance, but His glory hidden for 33 years and allowed to shine forth only this once during that time.

Tammy said...

Good point Tammi! That a mere human body could contain the glory of God is miraculous indeed.

I think that v 27 is the prophecy and the rest of our passage is he fulfillment of that prophecy. The prophets of the OT always prophesied something that would come to pass in the immediate future so that there word would be proven true and so that they could be trusted with their far off prophecies as well. MacArthur says that that is what this is. That these 3 men are being given a glimpse of the Kingdom, so that Jesus' other words can be trusted.

Faith isn't just believing something hard enough that it comes true. Faith is believing it because God said it and allowing that belief to change your life. But our faith isn't blind faith either. Jesus' words are fulfilled right in this passage (as in many other passages) and we can trust that He will always keep His promises and that His Word will always come to pass.

Can you even imagine how utterly terrifying this scene would have been to witness?! It's really almost beyond imagination.

And what's almost funny is that Peter manages to speak at all, when most everyone else would be totally speechless. It's almost like God starts talking in order for Peter to just be quiet and listen to Jesus for a change. :)