Thesis:Luke's record of the fact that the sleepy disciples were made deeply aware of Jesus' identity and task is a declaration of the potency of God's intention to bring fallen humanity into His Life.
Introduction: In our last study of Luke 9:28-36 we saw that Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus to discuss the coming "Exodus" which Jesus was going to "fulfill" at Jerusalem. We saw from Revelation 11:8 that Jerusalem was considered by God to be the moral and spiritual equivalent of "Egypt" at this time in history, thus making a second "Exodus" necessary if true freedom was to be experienced. We saw from Galatians 4:25 that "the Jerusalem that now is is in bondage with her children" and that correlates with God's view of Jerusalem as Egypt. We saw that Jesus was both the "Passover Lamb" of this new Exodus and the Manifest Shekinah that provides both the protection and the guidance necessary for true freedom. Romans 8:21 declares that true freedom is a fundamental objective of the Kingdom of God and freedom is always threatened from without and within. This means that there have to be three elements to freedom: first, there has to be a real and legitimate deliverance from bondage (this requires the Passover Lamb); second, there has to be protection from outside forces that would destroy the deliverance (this requires a Protector); and third, there has to be protection from internal forces that would also destroy the deliverance (this requires a Guide).
All of this is put forward by Luke's record of a visible transformation of Jesus from the Second Adam into the Manifest Shekinah in conversation with Moses and Elijah about His coming fulfillment of the "Exodus" type of meaning.
This morning we are going to get a glimpse of just what the Kingdom of God is up against and how it goes about to provide the freedom of the children of God.
I. Working Backwards in 9:32 We Have to Deal With the "Two Males" Thesis.
A. In our earlier study of Luke's focus upon the two "men" -- Moses and Elijah -- who were suddenly visible, we saw that his thesis is that the Kingdom of God is dealing with the "problem" of a very "tight" system of real accountability and significant consequences.
1. That almost everyone dismisses the reality of the "system" does nothing to eliminate its reality.
a. This reality is rooted in the Justice of God and cannot be dismissed.
b. Even when people are suddenly and sharply confronted by the "system", the impact of the confrontation is generally weakened over time by a combination of "slop in the gears" (the presence of Grace) and the consequent deception of the "argument" that such a "system" does not really exist.
1) The "slop in the gears" is a temporaryacquiescence to God's reluctance to make men suffer the consequences of their refusal to accept His "system".
2) The "deception" derives its appearance of validity from this Grace: it argues that the catastrophe that argues for such a system is the exception rather than the rule.
b. The biblical argument is two-fold.
1) The "Grace" is designed to give men enough time and motivation to turn to God.
2) The "System" is only being held in abeyance; it has not been set aside (there is an enormous glory to come in terms of both Grace and Law).
a) Grace declares that the present is incomparable to the glory to come.
b) Law declares that the present consequences are incomparable to the Judgment to come.
c. The reality stands, but, at present, it is a matter of faith in revelation rather than faith in temporal appearances.
2. That Moses and Elijah were the "two men" who appeared establishes the reality of the "system".
B. By a second (repetitious) mention of "two men" Luke is making his argument that the major difficulty for the Kingdom of God is the reality of "men" who are subject to the "system".
1. The rebellion of "men" is the problem that the Kingdom faces.
2. The provision of a "man" is the Kingdom's solution: the Second Adam Who takes away the sins of the world.
II. Working Backwards in 9:32 We Have to Deal With the "Glory" Thesis.
A. The transformation of Jesus has to confront a problematic reality: 2 Corinthians 11:14.
1. Since it is possible that any given "visible proof" is a delusion, one must answer the question: How do we know which is real and which is deception?
2. This is not "new".
a. In the Old Testament, Moses made reference to this problem in two major texts.
1) Deuteronomy 18:21-22 gives a "test" for truth.
2) Deuteronomy 13:1-3 addresses the situation in which the "test" has been applied and the prophet "passes", but is a false prophet anyway.
a) The issue here is "fundamental" theology in view of the "history" of the people of God.
b) The key issue here is that the people have "a history with Yahweh".
i. "Glorious" revelation is not, of itself, indisputable; but, "glorious" revelation after many historical demonstrations of gracious help is (Numbers 14:22).
ii. 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. In the New Testament both Paul and John make reference to the coming deceiver.
1) In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Paul declares that the coming deception will be extremely potent because the deceived rejected a long history of Truth in favor of personal pleasure.
2) In Revelation 13:13 John records the essence of the strong delusion.
B. The transformation of Jesus comes in the context of "Exodus" truth-in-history.
1. This presentation is entirely consistent with "the history".
2. This presentation is an example of the Manifest Shekinah providing protection against those who would subvert the freedom of the people of God.
III. Working Backwards in 9:32 We Have to Deal With the "Weighted by Sleep" Thesis.
A. The problem here is both internal and profound.
1. The "sleepiness" is "forced" upon Peter and those with him.
a. The verb is a "perfect passive" -- meaning the disciples were "victims".
b. The "weight" is presented in the New Testament as a way to attempt to keep something from being accomplished by making the one making the attempt too "weak" because of other concerns (2 Corinthians 1:8 -- one of only six texts in the New Testament to use the word).
2. The "sleepiness" is indicative of a complete lack of awareness of what God is really about.
a. The word is only used in five texts in the New Testament and two of them are directly connected to "death" (John 11:13 and Acts 20:9).
b. The meaning is most clearly revealed by Matthew 1:24 because in this case, the "sleep" was a reference to a total incomprehension of the will of God and had to be overcome by direct intervention and reversal.
B. The solution here requires some provision against the "inner" pressure to "go to sleep".
1. Jesus' "prayer" and "conversation" with Moses and Elijah are presented as the factors that raised Peter and his fellows from their "sleep".
2. This makes Jesus the "third fulfillment" of the "Exodus": the Manifest Shekinah Who keeps His people from going astray by keeping them in their freedom.