Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 5 Study # 5
February 28, 2010
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:
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. The Focus of Moses and Elijah.
- A. Their appearance was "glorious".
- 1. This cannot be anything less than Luke's declaration that it would have been impossible for anyone, in shoes like unto those of Peter, John, and James, "beholding" this phenomenon to mis-judge it.
- 2. The question that is always lurking somewhere beneath the surface of most other questions is this: can the claimed "revelation" be trusted to be from the One and Only God? It is a question of "faith" and its answer insists upon the "response of faith". There is only one legitimate "response of faith" to that which is "true": the immediate and active commitment of all of "life" to the truthfulness of the "true" revelation. There is only one legitimate "response of faith" to that which is deemed "false": the immediate and active rejection of any element of that which is deemed "false" so that it has no part in "life". A little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Corinthians 5:6).
- a. Clearly, the "problem" with "the immediate and active..." is that "immediate" means "after enough time has elapsed to allow for the necessary investigative process to come to a firm conclusion". It was not until Luke 9 that Jesus actually sought the disciples' "conclusion" about His identity. All of the prior time was given to putting the "evidence" out and taking folks through the "faith-building" process (which included the commission of Luke 9:1-6 and its execution).
- b. But, just as clearly, there is often an inordinate amount of "foot-dragging" (Mark 8:17) that goes on because of a deficiency of "Love" and the undercurrent of "recognition" that "if this is true, I will have to..." that is often below the conscious level of mental activity. The souls and spirits of men have an uncanny ability to "sense" the "if/then" reality of truth and consequences with an amazing, intuitive rapidity without "conscious" awareness much like the eyelid's instantaneous blink when the eye is threatened. And the issue is the same: "protection". Police and military training assumes this and bases all of its rote training on the premise that if a person has been "sufficiently trained" he/she will instantaneously "do" what needs to be done without conscious thought. Additionally, martial arts training assumes that it is not a "simple" matter to get a person to "instantaneously act properly". Thus, the "training" goes on and on for years and years.
- 3. Luke's claim that it was Moses and Elijah being made visible "in glory" means that the Jesus Whose face and garments first shown "in glory" is, without any dispute, "the Christ of God" (Peter's "confession" in Luke 9:20).
- a. Now, it does need to be acknowledged that Paul taught that Satan occasionally "transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14 -- the verb is middle, not passive) so that he can lead people astray and that this concept does some damage to the thesis that "glorious" revelation necessarily means "truth is being revealed".
- b. However, Jesus was not "transformed" before Peter, John, and James as an "initial" experience for them. Satan's ability to pass himself off as an angel of light requires a certain level of ignorance on the part of those who are to be impressed by his "light" (1 Timothy 2:14). Even in the instruction of Moses regarding the trustworthiness of "revelation" purported to be from God there is Deuteronomy 13:1-3. In this text, the "test of a prophet" (Deuteronomy 18:21-22) has actually been applied and the "prophet" passed the test, but what he attempts to do is to subvert the loyalty of those with a history with Yahweh. The key issue here is the phrase "with a history with Yahweh". "Glorious" revelation is not, of itself, indisputable; but, "glorious" revelation after many historical demonstrations of gracious help is (Numbers 14:22). Jesus had executed a host of "good deeds" (Acts 10:38) in the presence of Peter, John, and James so that they had an extensive "history" with Him before He took them up the mountain and was "transformed" into a "shining" person.
- B. Their speech was "doctrinal".
- 1. In 9:30 Luke said that two men were "speaking together with Him" and he used the word for speech that focuses upon the sounds being made and not the content of what is being said.
- 2. It was the sound of their speech that aroused the sleepy trio (9:32).
- 3. But, when Luke addresses the content of the conversation, he switches to the verb for speech that focuses upon what is being said. We know that at least one of the trio was sufficiently awake at this point to hear clearly because Luke has an investigated content to share with Theophilus (1:1-4). The only way he could have this is by the testimony of those who were there.
- 4. This switch is significant because of that "what" that is the content of the conversation. They were discussing Jesus' coming "exit" which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.
- a. This "exit" is translated by the Authorized Version as "decease" because that was the particular way in which Jesus was going to "exit".
- b. The word I have translated "exit" is actually the Greek word for "Exodus", a word so powerful in the Jewish mind that it immediately conjures up the record of the nation's departure from Egypt along with all of the highlights of that event (the "Passover", the death of the first-borns, the instantaneous enrichment, the flight and subsequent pursuit, the crossing of the sea and the subsequent death of Pharaoh and his army, etc.). Peter, John, and James heard this. Jerusalem had been turned into Egypt (Revelation 11:8) and the Passover Lamb was going to be slain so that deliverance could come.