Luke 9:28-62 (NIV)
28About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.
Matthew 5:17 (ESV)
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Moses was the great law-giver. Elijah was the great prophet. Christ is the full meaning of all that they spoke of.
They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33As 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.)
34While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.
The end isn’t the cross. The end is the glory of God.
To see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, to follow Thee more nearly — HERE is “Day by Day” from the musical Godspell, 1970.
The Healing of a Boy With an Evil Spirit
37The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”
41“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
42Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.” 45But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
Wow! Jesus had just revealed His glory in two pretty spectacular ways—the transfiguration and the casting out of a difficult demon. Yet, He reminds His disciples, His mission has not changed; He has still come to die on the cross for our sins.
Who Will Be the Greatest
46An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”
It’s almost laughable! The obvious response to their question, “Who is the greatest among us?” is for Jesus to say, “Well, Me, of course.” But instead He shows them a child and teaches them about humility.
49“Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
50“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they went to another village.
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
James and John were called the “Sons of Thunder.” When they discovered a Samaritan village that would not receive Jesus, they were fully prepared to call down fire to consume the entire community! Perhaps they felt that through such a show of power, their gospel message might be enhanced. The two brothers were willing to sacrifice the lives of the villagers in order to further the cause of the gospel. Jesus rebuked them.
Later, the apostles heard that Samaria had responded to the gospel (Acts 8:14). Who was commissioned to go and help them receive the Holy Spirit but Peter and John! God’s purpose had not been to destroy those people but to save them. God chose not to rain down fire on the village, but to shower it with His Holy Spirit. What must have gone through John’s mind as he saw these same people, now rejoicing in their salvation? How grateful he must have been that Jesus had prevented him from carrying out his plans!
What an enormous difference between man’s thinking and God’s! Man’s thinking would have resulted in the destruction of an entire village. God’s plan brought salvation to it. People will benefit far more from what God wants to give them than from your best plans.
The Cost of Following Jesus
Philippians 3:20 (NLT)
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.
And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Let us not try to join the profession of Christianity, with seeking after worldly advantages. Here is another that seems resolved to follow Christ, but he begs a short delay. To this man Christ first gave the call; he said to him, Follow me. Religion teaches us to be kind and good, to show piety at home, and to requite our parents; but we must not make these an excuse for neglecting our duty to God.
59He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Hosea 10:12 (NLT)
I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness,
and you will harvest a crop of love.
Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,
for now is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come
and shower righteousness upon you.’
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”
62Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Remember how Jesus lived this way. always set to do what lay before Him without longing backward glances! Verse 51 reminds us: Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.