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:
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 Father's Reaction to Peter's Nonsense.
A. As Peter was mouthing his words of "heart-felt" meaning (unguarded, spur of the moment, blurting comes straight from the heart's reality and Peter "said" [lego, the verb that is used when content is the focus] them), a cloud formed. This was an almost instantaneous "reaction" by the Father to the words of Peter.
B. The cloud "overshadowed" them. This word is used in Acts 5:15 to signal the passing of a shadow over someone. This means that the light of the sun was being blocked. It is used by the author of Acts in Luke 1:35 to explain how Mary was to become pregnant "without knowing a man".
1. This brings up the issue of the divine use of "clouds" in the biblical record. There are at least twenty-two references in the New Testament to clouds and eighty in the Old Testament.
2. In the record of Exodus, a "cloud" is the primary visual form to signify the presence of God. Of particular interest to us in our Lukan text is Exodus 19:9 where we are told: "And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever." The pertinent factors here are three: cloud, audible voice, belief forever. According to Peter, this "settled" the issue of Jesus' identity as a "matter of faith" for him (2 Peter 1:17).
C. The cloud then enveloped them and they were terrified.
1. Their terror signaled their awareness of the significance of the "cloud"; this was no "fog" settling over them.
2. Their terror also signaled how far from participation with God they were. Love is unafraid; terror is the manifest testimony of lovelessness.
3. God's use of their terror was deliberate: the "point" was to create a "memory" that was so deeply entrenched that nothing could "handle" it so as to remove the impact it made.
4. Two realities stand out.
a. They came out of the cloud none the worse for wear: their "terror" was so significantly unfounded that they would have been embarrassed in almost any other setting.
b. They experienced "the majestic glory of God" (2 Peter 1:17) in a way that they were transformed thereafter (not exhaustively, but substantially).
D. The Father spoke from the cloud.
1. He is identified as "a voice from the cloud".
2. His "speech" was "lego" talk (just like Peter's above): content focused.
3. He identified Jesus as "My Son Whom I have chosen."
a. There is a textual problem. The Authorized Version has "beloved" while the ASV has "chosen". The reading containing "beloved" is probably an alteration occasioned by 2 Peter 1:17.
b. The fact is that 2 Peter 1:17 simply indicates that Luke did not record everything that the Father said, but focused upon the "selected Son" to make a "point". That Luke used the same terminology in Luke 6:13 and Acts 1:2 and 24 to refer to those whom Jesus had "selected" to be His apostles indicates that he wished for Theophilus to understand that Jesus was the Father's "apostle". The importance of this shows up shortly: Luke9:48 and 10:16.
4. He commands the disciples to "hear" this Son. With this command there is a dovetail with 10:16 where "hearing" is contrasted with "rejecting".