Luke 9:28-36 NASB
Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 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. 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. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.
My thoughts -
In the previous passage Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say I am?" and Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
We looked yesterday at how Jesus then took the idea of what it might mean to be the Christ and turned that on its head. Jesus, as the Christ, came to serve. Power, or at least the human idea of power, became inverted. The Lord serves. The Messiah suffers. God, the source of life itself, dies.
Maybe that went over Peter's head. I know I don't get it and we've had an extra 2000 years to study this. But as soon as we turn around Peter (with James and John) has gone from "You are the Christ" to "one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah".
Jesus didn't rebuke them here. This time that wouldn't be necessary. The First Person of the Trinity stepped in. A voice from a cloud declared "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!"
I love what comes next.
They kept silent.
Peter and James and John had an awesome experience. They went up the mountain with Jesus and they saw things that they'd never seen, that no one had ever seen. They got excited. Who wouldn't?
But in that moment of excitement, in that moment of awe and wonder, they forgot what they had just learned about Jesus. They forgot that Jesus wasn't/isn't some really smart teacher or even a prophet. Jesus wasn't/isn't a really devout man or a great guide or a self help guru who's got everything figured out. Jesus wasn't/isn't someone who, as great as it would seem to Peter and James and John at that time, was on par with Moses and Elijah. This is no prophet, not even the greatest of prophets. Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus is not a way. Jesus is not a great teacher who can show us God's ways. Jesus is the way. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is God Incarnate. And the voice from the cloud had the best advice anyone has ever received.
"Listen to Him!"
So what does He say? There's the hard part. He doesn't say things we want to hear. He doesn't use power the way we would want Him to. We want a Lord that's on our side and is fierce and will help us win and then Jesus says things like:
Love your enemies.
Turn the other cheek.
Die to your self.
Take up your cross and follow me.
Sell all you have and give to the poor.
The meek shall inherit the Earth.
This is not the message one might expect. This is not what we'd like to hear. We wouldn't mind something affirming, something strengthening, something encouraging. We wouldn't mind something that lets us know that Jesus is on our side and that everything's going to be okay and that we're going to prevail because we're good and right and holy.
But are we on Jesus's side? That's what matters. Are we listening to Jesus? Are we allowing Jesus to rule our lives? Are we living lives that reflect our Lord who, rather than fighting his enemies, went to the cross to save them? Are we living lives that reflect a Saviour who commanded a rich man to sell everything he had and give all his money to the poor because it stood in the way of his living in a reconciled relationship with God? Are we living lives that reflect the Son of God who did not regard equality with God to be something to hold onto but instead humbled himself, became weak like us, and lived and died to reconcile Himself to us, His own enemies?
Are we listening to Him?