October 9 – Luke 9:28-36

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Luke 9:28-36 – The Transfiguration

Luke tells us that eight days after Peter proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah, he went with him to a mountain to pray. Peter, John and James are part of the small group Jesus gathers for this experience. Just as we’ve seen since Moses’ experience, when a mountain is involved, it means that there will be an opportunity for time with God.

While Jesus prayed, his entire being transformed. He didn't change, but his appearance did. He is different from everyone else who is there with him. His true identity is revealed. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appear. They represent the Law and the Prophets. These two things find their fulfillment in the Messiah. They discuss with Jesus the impending departure, the final fulfillment of salvation history. Everything has been pointing to the moment of his crucifixion and resurrection. Israel’s history will be transformed.

Peter, John and James had slept through Jesus’ time of prayer and came awake to the glorious scene.  In Peter’s confusion, he offers to build tents – to erect a shelter. The Festival of Booths (tents) celebrated the years that Israel wandered in the desert. The tent … tabernacle was where God resided when he traveled with them. Peter recognized God’s presence on earth and to symbolize that, he might have thought that a tent would be appropriate. What he missed was that Jesus held the divine presence and glory. Everything was different and the Israelites were still attempting to understand the change it brought to their lives.

In Luke 9:34-35, we find three references (there’s that number again) to the ‘cloud.’  This is the presence of God as found in the wilderness. He traveled in the cloud. When the temple was dedicated, the Shekinah presence of God filled the temple (1 Kings 8:10). We see Jesus returning on the cloud in the Revelation. When the clouds appear, God is there.

From Deuteronomy 8:15, we read, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is to him you shall listen.” Jesus is linked to Moses. Moses offered the Law. Jesus brings salvation.

The same words God spoke to Jesus – “You are my Son,” he now says to the disciples – “This is my Son.” They believed Jesus was the Messiah, now they know.