Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 5 Study # 2
February 7, 2010
28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
1901 ASV Translation:
28 And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, that he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up into the mountain to pray.
29 And as he was praying, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became white and dazzling.
30 And behold, there talked with him two men, who were Moses and Elijah;
31 who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 Now Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
33 And it came to pass, as they were parting from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah: not knowing what he said.
34 And while he said these things, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my chosen: hear ye him.
36 And when the voice came, Jesus was found alone. And they held their peace, and told no man in those days any of the things which they had seen.
- I. He Declares That Jesus' Purpose Was Focused Upon "Prayer".
- A. There are several words for "prayer" in the New Testament, each with its own focus. The word Luke chose to use is found in 18 texts in Luke and 16 in Acts. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that this particular word is a generalized term that is focused upon the "act" and not the "content". The basic "act" is "to call upon God".
- 1) Luke's first use (1:10) fits this notion well: "...the whole multitude of the people were praying ... at the time of incense." Everyone probably had their own "content", but they were united in the "act".
- 2) Again, in 3:21, the issue is the "act", not the "content": Jesus was "praying" in conjunction with His baptism and "the heaven was opened...". Out of heaven came a visual of the Holy Spirit (like a dove, descending upon Him) and an audio from the Father ("Thou art my beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased").
- 3) There are, on occasion, references to specific "content" in respect to this "general" notion of "prayer", such as Luke 11:1 and following and Luke 18:11, but the word tends, even there, to actually focus upon the "activity", not the specific content.
- 4) Luke 20:47 indicates that "prayer" is supposed to be actual conversation directed to God and that those who "pretend" are going to be subject to a heavy, negative, reaction from God. Even when the words are actually addressed to God, but carry such a contradiction of truth that God cannot accept them, there is no real "prayer" (Luke 18:11 says the lies were "prayer with himself", the conversation was not "with God").
- 5) Luke 22:40 and 22:46 both say that Jesus believed that "prayer" could keep a person from being led astray and the failure to "pray" would allow a person to also "fail" in the tests that come.
- 6) The bottom line: "prayer" is coming into God's presence with the only "agenda" being to be strengthened by Him to be what He wants the pray-er to be and coming according to "truth".
- B. The setting for Jesus' "prayer" is deliberate: He took Peter, John, and James up a mountain.
- 1) The issues relating to "mountains" in Luke's record are interesting and significant. Perhaps the most significant are the two which tie prayer and "the mountain" together: Luke 6:12 and our current text (9:28). In the former, after "prayer" He chose The Twelve, and in the latter, during "prayer" three of The Twelve became witnesses of His glory [Note Peter's declaration in this regard in 2 Peter 1:16-17] which event He called "seeing the Kingdom of God" (9:27) as a primary validation of His identity (9:18-20) so that men could abandon themselves to Him as disciples without reservation or hesitation.
- 2) The very first reference is 3:5, which is a quotation from Isaiah 40:4. In the context, the issue of a "mountain" is the issue of "personal sovereignty" and "repentance" requires that "every" mountain be brought low. In other words, "repentance" has not been accomplished as long as the question, "Whose method is going to be followed?", has not been answered correctly. If there is too much resistance to the "truth" that human beings are incapable of effecting their own salvation (including the nuances of just how much "human response to God" plays in this "effecting"), repentance has not come [Note Philippians 2:13]. That Isaiah used the word "mountain" to clarify the meaning of "the rule of God" underscores what is at stake: it is God's will that is to be sought, not ours. In our current religious scene, more times than not, "prayer" is cast in the mold of "how to get God to do what we want".