Luke – Doors Wide Open!
In a classroom of students there will always be talking until the teacher of the group calls them to attention. “Stop talking and listen!” That usually means to be quiet and turn all your attention to the teacher for your next instruction or direction. Do all the students hear the call? Do all stop and listen?
Most of the time, if the teacher has control of the situation and has developed the skill of calling a class to attention, all stop talking. Young teachers sometimes need the help of the Principal who steps into a rowdy class from time to time to back up the instruction with, “Listen to your Teacher!” When the authority speaks, most come to full attention and listen.
Not even Jesus could hold the attention of his students for long. He was constantly telling them things that were hard to understand and showing them what they had never experienced before meeting and following Him as their Master Teacher. Peter had just declared, “You are the Messiah, sent from God.” But even Peter, without thinking, which is the way most students who must get a word in, speaks when he should be listening.
God steps in as the Supreme Authority. Peter, along with the rest of his small class, is told quickly and dramatically by God, the Father, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” In other words, Peter, stop talking. Watch and listen to Jesus. Do what He does for He is part of me. He is my Son! God shows Peter that it’s not about building monuments, as in the past, it is about building your life on His Son. Listen to Him!
Luke 9, New Living Translation
Jesus Predicts His Death
21 Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. 22 “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. 27 I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”
28 About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. 31 They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.
32 Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 34 But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them.
35 Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” 36 When the voice finished, Jesus was there alone. They didn’t tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
THINK ABOUT IT…
As far as the gospel record is concerned, the Transfiguration was the only occasion during Christ’s earthly ministry when He revealed the glory of His person. Luke did not use the word transfigure, but he described the same scene (Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:2). The word means “a change in appearance that comes from within,” and it gives us the English word metamorphosis.
What were the reasons behind this event? For one thing, it was God’s seal of approval to Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:14). It was also the Father’s way of encouraging the Son as He began to make His way to Jerusalem. The Father had spoken at the baptism (Luke 3:22) and would speak again during that final week of the Son’s earthly ministry (John 12:23–28). Beyond the suffering of the cross would be the glory of the throne, a lesson that Peter emphasized in his first epistle (1 Peter 4:12— 5:4).
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
There is also a practical lesson here, for we can have a spiritual “transfiguration” experience each day as we walk with the Lord. Romans 12:1–2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 tell us how.
As we surrender body, mind, and will, the Lord transforms us from within so that we are not conformed to the world. As we behold Him in the Word (the mirror), we are “transfigured” by the Spirit “from glory to glory.” The theological name for this experience is sanctification, the process by which we become more like the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Father’s goal for each of His children (Rom. 8:19; 1 John 3:2). Note that our Lord was once again praying, which suggests that prayer is one of the keys to a transformed life.
SO LISTEN TO HIM!
Peter wanted Jesus to hold on to the glory apart from the suffering, but this is not God’s plan. The Father interrupted Peter by bathing the scene in a cloud of glory (Ex. 13:21–22; 40:35, 38) and speaking out of the cloud. (Peter would one day be interrupted by the Son [Matt. 17:24–27] and by the Spirit [Acts 10:44].)
These arresting words from heaven remind us of Deuteronomy 18:15; Psalm 2:7; and Isaiah 42:1. When the cloud was gone, Elijah and Moses were also gone. As wonderful as these experiences are, they are not the basis for a consistent Christian life. That can come only through the Word of God.
Experiences come and go, but the Word remains. Our recollection of past experiences will fade, but God’s Word never changes. The farther we get from these events, the less impact they make on our lives. That was why the Father said, “Hear him!” and why Peter made this same emphasis on the Word in his report (2 Peter 1:12–21). Our own personal “transfiguration” comes from inner renewal (Rom. 12:1–2), and that comes from the Word (2 Cor. 3:18).
Are we listening?
Are we praying? Then waiting on an answer from God?
Are we watching God at work in our life?
Do we live gratefully because of His Word to us?
Can we stop talking long enough to listen at full attention with understanding? If not, the Holy Spirit will help us.
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
No more words. I’m listening.
In Jesus Name, Amen