Sermon: Jesus’ Glory and Exodus (Luke 9:28-36)

Jesus’ Glory and Exodus

The text before us today is one that has amazed and confounded scholars for centuries.  It’s a text in which the indescribable is being described.  Luke is struggling to find just the right words to convey this eternal vision only to be frustrated because words themselves could never fully capture the events being portrayed here.  This is a lot like the experience John had when he wrote the Book of Revelation.

Lk 9:27

27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” [1]

The some Jesus refers to; we’ll discover is Peter, James and John.

What these disciples are about to see is an unveiling.  It’s not a changed Jesus, but Jesus how He really is.  When they catch this amazing glimpse of the Kingdom of God and of Christ, it’s not future.  This is Jesus.  They were seeing the glory that the Son had with the Father before the world began.

Jn 17:5

And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. [2]

This is Jesus with the veil of flesh lifted.  This is Jesus as He was prior to the incarnation.  This is Jesus now.  What they saw that day was the Kingdom of God that is a different dimension.  Jesus has control of the earthly dimension and the spiritual dimension.  As a result of His prayer, they were brought together for a few moments.

Please hear God’s Word…

Lk 9:28–36

28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. [3]

1. The Transfiguration (9:28,29)

 

28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.

This change the Gospel Writer’s call altered in Luke, transfigured in Matthew and Mark, came about after Jesus had prayed.  Luke marks off his sections with Jesus in prayer.  To Luke, prayer in the life of Christ was extremely important.  So it should be in our lives as well.

This next section in the Gospel of Luke points Jesus to Calvary.

The transfiguration was the moment in time when eternity and time met for a brief few moments.  Jesus was seen as He actually is.  What the disciples saw, was Jesus and all His glory.  When theologians speak of the glory of Christ, they are often speaking of this radiance that illuminates from the person of Christ, His deity is visible as bright white light.

The OT writers spoke of God’s glory and when they did it was always in reference to brightness, light, lightning, brilliant illumination and words like these.

As an example, Ezekiel chapter one speaks of the glory of God as lightning flashing a cloud surrounded by or outlined with light and a great illumination that penetrated everything.  This is what we see today in our text.

The visible transformation of Jesus was literally a complete change.  Luke mentions Jesus’ face being transformed.  Matthew, His face shone like the sun and clothes were even glorified.  Mark, His clothes became intensely white more white than anyone could bleach them.

What most scholars believe is that it wasn’t so much the clothing that changed but that the glory of God began to shine through them.

This is the picture we have in Revelation…

His face was like the sun shining in full strength. [4]

We should also be reminded that this is the Christ who will return.  When the second coming takes place, this is whom we will see and stand in awe of.

Jesus is so bright that in the New Jerusalem, there will be no need for the sun because the light will radiate from the Son.  Think of the light being so bright that it will shine through all the emeralds and safires and rubies that John tells about in the Book of Revelation.  All of creation will reflect His glory.  I was thinking that precious stones today are basically worship rather than Christ because our world is fallen.  Their real purpose will be fulfilled.  As they are placed in various places around the city, they will reflect and refract the beams of Glory throughout the eternal city.  I want to see that.

The Old Testament believers knew of Christ, God’s final revelation in part.

14 Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,

and how small a whisper do we hear of him! [5]

In the Old Testament, God whispered of His glory and of salvation but in Christ, God shouts.  In other words, Christ is clear while the OT prophets and Lawgivers were shrouded in unrevealed revelation.  They heard just a whisper of God’s revelation.

This truth becomes amazingly clear in the Book of Hebrews…

1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,[6]

Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory.  Never before had a man seen this glory in the way Peter, James and John saw it that day.

At this point, we must make the connection from last week…

26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. [7]

The next time Jesus is seen in glory will be at His second coming.  When He returns, in glory, He will come to set up His Kingdom and all history will be consummated.

It’s too bad that the majesty of Christ is often not highlighted as it should be.  I believe that humans can worship a King like this.  We can honor and follow a King who is God and proves it by revealing Himself and all His glory for a moment to His disciples.  We can treasure this King and not be ashamed as He warns us in Luke 9:26.

2. Old Testament Fulfilled (9:30,31)

30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

As believers we can take comfort in knowing that everything Jesus had been telling His disciples about eternal life was true.  Moses had been dead for about 1,500 years and yet, there he is standing and speaking with our Lord.  Elijah didn’t die but had been gone for 900 years and there he was as clear as day.

Why Moses and Elijah?  Moses being the great Lawgiver and Elijah being the great prophet were representing the Old Testament.  He is a symbolic picture of the OT heroes submitting their authority to Christ.

As they spoke, they spoke of Jesus’ departure.  In the original Greek, the word used is exodus…Moses the leader of the OT exodus, which led the captive Israelites out of bondage, was only a foreshadowing of the true exodus that was to come.  Jesus’ exodus would lead all His people out of bondage to sin and into God’s promised land.

They showed an amazing interest in Christ’s atoning death.  Old Testament saints were concerned with the details of the cross.  They were as much affected by the cross as we are today.  They were saved the exact same way we are saved.  They knew much about what was getting ready to take place but they had questions.  These events that were getting ready to transpire were the talk of heaven.  Moses and Elijah were amazed and wanted to know more.  What in times past were only whispered would be made very clear in Christ.

These are the events in which angels long look into.  These are the events for which the entire Bible pointed.  Jesus was getting ready now for the cross…His exodus.

All this was going on and the three disciples were still sleeping!  I’m amazed that they were asleep and yet how much of Jesus’ majesty do we sleep through?  How much of what God is doing all around us are we totally oblivious to?  We’re often put to sleep as worldly things distract us.  We sleep through things of eternal significance and are wide-awake to the trivial worthless things of this present world.

3. The Disciples Wake Up (9:32,33)

32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.

Now the disciples are awake and become witnesses to Jesus glory and to the fact that Moses and Elijah are standing right in front of them speaking with Jesus.

This brings us to the theological purpose of this event.  This event wasn’t for the benefit of Jesus or Moses or Elijah.  This event was to help these disciples and strengthen their faith.

It has always been the practice of God to fulfill prophecy on multiple levels.  For example, when Isaiah would make a declaration of prophecy from God, there would be an immediate fulfillment of that prophecy or fulfilled in part which was for the benefit of his contemporaries and to prove that he was a prophet from God and not a false prophet.  Then there would be a future fulfillment that he was calling his contemporaries to believe.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He has made some pretty amazing claims.  He has spoken of His coming Kingdom, His death and resurrection.  He has spoken of His rule and authority.  Up until know, His followers have only seen some effects of His rule and reign.  They seen the sick recover, evil spirits flee, dead raised.  They’ve never actually seen the Kingdom Jesus has been preaching about all along…that is until now.

Jesus had made the statement in our text last week that some would not taste death until they see His Kingdom…why three?

Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.[8]

In time their testimony would also be credible evidence to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God.

Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here.

Peter, be quiet.  You’re getting ready to say something you’ll wish you hadn’t said.

Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.

Peter’s mistake was placing Moses and Elijah on the same level as Jesus.

Again, it’s good for us to refer to the Book of Hebrews to see the truth…

For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. [9]

4. Who Does the Father Say Jesus Is? (9:34-36)

34 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. [10]

Remember from earlier in the Gospel of Luke, this section of Luke is about identity.  Reports came back to Herod about the possible identity of Jesus earlier in chapter 9.  Then Jesus asked His disciples, who do the people say that I am?  Remember Peter’s answer? Some say John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets of old (Moses).  Then Jesus asks Peter, who do you say I am?  Peter answers the Christ, the Son of God.  Then Jesus affirms his answer.

Now we have a confession like no other.  There is no confusion here.  No ambiguity.  Make no mistake about the identity of Jesus…

“This is my Son, my Chosen One;

This same cloud that was God’s glory on earth during the exodus with Moses would descend and engulf those present.  God would speak.

The Father would go on to say what the disciples were to do…Listen to Him!

The disciples were still not getting it.  They really hadn’t got it all along.  Jesus would tell them the truths about Himself and His kingdom and they heard but really didn’t hear.  They heard Him speak of an eternal kingdom and all along they were focused on an earthly ruler who would reestablish Israel as a super power.  The Gospel writers speak about the disciples even arguing among themselves about who would be the greatest in this reestablished monarchy.

God declares to those present and to us that Jesus is His Son.  Jesus is deity.  Are you following King Jesus today or are you ashamed of Him?  I pray we are not asleep when it comes to eternal things.  I pray that as we read and study this section of Scripture today that our faith is strengthened.  Jesus showed them a sneak preview of the fullness of His kingdom.  After these types of events, the disciples would follow Jesus even to death if necessary.  Are you a follower?

Lord’s Supper

 

Next week-

 


[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Lk 9:27). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Jn 17:5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Lk 9:28–36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Re 1:16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Job 26:14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[6] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Heb 1:1–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Lk 9:26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[8] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Dt 19:15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[9] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Heb 3:3–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[10] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Lk 9:28–36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

%d bloggers like this: