April 8, 2018
Main Theme: Ultimately, this passage reveals the identity of Jesus. He is the Christ. He is the Son of God. He is the Lord. After showing this from the passage, this sermon explores three key implications of this truth that this is Who Jesus Is.
The Key Question: Who Is Jesus?
- Luke is drawing our attention to the question, “Who is Jesus?” Herod asks the question (verse 9). Jesus asks who the people say He is (verse 18). Jesus asks the disciples who they say He is (verse 20).
- This episode occurs eight days after Peter’s confession of Jesus being the “Christ of God.”
- It also occurred eight days since Jesus had shared with His disciples of His death and the suffering that accompanies any disciple of Christ.
Jesus Prays (verse 28)
- Jesus demonstrates His humility by a pattern of regular prayer.
- He demonstrates His love for, and need for, His Father.
“Face altered and clothing dazzling white” (verse 29)
- As Jesus was praying, He was physically transformed into a radiant reflection of the glorified God.
- The transfiguration is a just a glimpse of the glory of Christ, of God the Father pulling back the curtain just a little bit, to whet our appetite for the glory to come.
Jesus With Moses and Elijah (verse 30)
- Moses represents the Law. He brought the Law to Israel
- Elijah represents the prophets of old.
- Elijah’s presence refutes what the people were thinking about Jesus, that He was Elijah raised from the dead (verse 8).
- Jesus was the fulfillment of both the Law and the Prophets; He is far superior to them both. They were forerunners; Jesus is the fulfillment.
- Where Elijah spoke for God, Jesus speaks as God Himself. Where Moses brought the Law, Jesus brings a new order, a new way of relating to God. He is inaugurating the Kingdom of God. He is bringing about a new way to relate to God, through His own sacrifice.
- What were they talking about? They were speaking of Jesus departure. Luke focuses once again on Jesus’ death. The gospel writers focus a lot of their time and space on Jesus’ death.
- Moses and Elijah were engaged in conversation about Jesus death likely because they knew that by His death He would accomplish our liberation from sin. His death broke the bondage of slavery and set in motion the work of redemption. By Christ’s death He pardons your sins, He brings every believer out from under the just judgment of God.
- Christ willfully laid down His life, No one took it from Him. He chose to willfully die in obedience to the Father (John 10:18).
The Sleeping Disciples Wake Up (verse 32)
- It seems whenever Jesus prays, the disciples can’t help but fall asleep. The disciples, like us are creatures made of dust. God shows mercy on them and us.
- When the disciples finally woke up, they “saw His glory.” Luke is drawing our attention to the glory of Jesus Christ.
Peter’s Request (verse 33)
- Peter sees Moses and Elijah departing and makes his appeal to Jesus – “This is great! Let’s put up 3 shelters!”
- Peter’s desire to continue the fellowship was good, but that wasn’t the intention here. Jesus still had much to accomplish.
The Overshadowing Cloud (verse 34)
- In the OT, what does a cloud represent? The presence of God with Israel.
- It was from the cloud on Mt. Sinai that God spoke to Moses, and here again, in the cloud, God is speaking.
- In the wilderness, the Israelites saw the cloud as a sign of the presence of the Lord.
- He spoke from it (Exodus 19:9)
- He guided with it (Exodus 13:21)
- He revealed His glory through it (Exodus 16:10)
- When God spoke He often spoke out of the cloud. It’s a symbol of the presence of God and this presence overshadows all on the mountain.
- The awe of God overtakes them in the cloud and Peter, James and John were afraid.
- Anyone who is in the presence of God will tremble in awe of Him!
“This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to Him!” (verse 35)
- Jesus’ identity had just been revealed to Peter by God Himself. God spoke to give confirmation to Jesus’ identity.’ Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God—indeed God Himself.
- This is like God saying to Peter, “When you said that Jesus in the Christ of God – I’m saying ‘Amen’ to that!” Jesus bears the heavenly endorsement. This recalls Jesus’ baptism three years earlier
They Kept Silent (verse 36)
- This suggests that the transfiguration was an event to reflect on, a sacred, even private event, not one “in those days” for public consumption.
- This was for the benefit of Peter, James and John, that they may have assurance and deep conviction which they would certainly need in the days ahead.
Three Key Implications
I. Jesus is Lord, and He alone has delivered us from slavery to freedom!
- The word “departure” (verse 31) is the Greek word “exodus.”
- The Exodus of God’s people was led by Moses, as God brought His people out of slavery and bondage in Egypt.
- Some commentators call Jesus the Second or Greater Moses.
- God used Moses to call Israel out of bondage to their oppressors and God used Jesus to call people out of bondage and slavery to sin.
- God used Moses to set free one specific group of people whereas God used Jesus to set people free from every tribe and language.
II. Jesus is Lord, and is therefore worthy of our utmost devotion, worship, sacrifice, adoration.
- Jesus is God therefore He alone is worthy of our attention, affection and praise.
- We revere what and whom we think is most worthy of our attention. We become like what we value and love.
“The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its affection.” — Henry Scougal
- Christ is preeminently worthy of our love.
- Yet there is a problem – we are so easily distracted.
“We have too much to live with and too little to live for. Everything is permitted and nothing is important.” — Os Guinness
- The transfiguration served the disciples with a point, this is God. Pay attention to Him! Be shaped by Him! Worship Him! Heed Him! Why? Because we’ve found Him to be glorious!
“To behold majesty is a phenomenon that begins to chip and sculpt the contours of our identity…we crave acceptance, and we are always becoming like what we admire. So in whose identity will I find my home? We are composites of the people we want to conform to…” — Tony Reinke
“To love and worship Christ is to become like Him, powerfully conforming to His beautiful image, the true image of God. Jesus Christ is the full image of what you and I were created to express…In Him, I have been made spiritually alive and given eternal hope and lasting joy, and in Him I find the anticipation of a moment when I will see Him face to face and experience the full and perfect recovery of everything I was created to be as God’s image bearer.” — Tony Reinke
- I want to increasingly bear the image of Christ. Not my idea of how Christ looks, His idea. Through reading and loving His Word we allow worship of and devotion to Christ to chip away and sculpt the contours of our identity.
“We hum the music we listen to. We speak with the accent of our vicinity. We pick up the courtesies of our parents. And we naturally tend to imitate the people we admire most. So it is with God. If we fix our attention on Him and hold His glory in our view, we will be changed from one degree of glory to another into His likeness… In this spiritual transaction seeing is not only believing; seeing is becoming.” — John Piper
III. Jesus is Lord, so Listen to Him!
- The disciples often misunderstood Jesus’ intentions – they needed to stay close to Christ and obey His words.
- If that’s true of the disciples, who were with Jesus, so too we must listen to Christ and obey His words.
- God wants to affirm who Jesus is to those who follow Him. He is God!
- He is the One who accomplished the Great Exodus – breaking the bonds of our slavery to death and judgment. Our hope is sure. The Promised Land is coming and its filled with the glory of Christ.
- He is worthy of our emulation, admiration, worship. May we find our identity in Him. He is our supreme satisfaction!
- And may we listen to Him. May we be shaped by His words, obey His commands. Not to earn merit before God, but because He is God.
Questions for Discussion / Application:
- Re-read the text, Luke 9:28-36. What are your initial observations and insights you have from reading this text?
- What ways are Jesus and Moses similar? In what ways are they different? How does the Exodus that took place under Moses point to our salvation, given to us by and through Christ?
- This passage reveals that Jesus is God! One implication is that it is right and good and necessary for us to pay attention to Jesus, to behold Jesus to worship Jesus. What keeps us, at times from these things? What are the biggest distractions you personally face to “paying attention to Jesus?”
- In what ways can smartphone use distract and detract from paying attention to Jesus? How can we help our teens/children to use their smartphones wisely?
- Tony Reinke said “To love and worship Christ is to become like Him…” What does that mean? How practically does this truth get worked out in the life of the believer?
- Peter, James and John needed to be reminded by God on that mountain to listen to/obey Jesus. What role does obedience have in the Christian life? In what ways do you want to grow in listening to/obeying Jesus?
- Twelve Ways Your Phone Is Changing You, by Tony Reinke Note: This is the book Jeremy recommended highly in his sermon (FREE in PDF format).
- What You Admire Is What You Are Becoming, John Piper Note: A wonderful sermon clip from John Piper explaining how we “become what we admire most.”