Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: Getting Perspective
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
In Chapters 8 and 9 Luke describes a series of miracles demonstrating Jesus’ power and authority over every obstacle we face in ministry – healing the sick, delivering the oppressed, stopping storms, and providing resources for ministry. At the end of these encounters, Peter’s conclusion is that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed One. Now we come to his transfiguration emphasizing again his coming suffering and get a glimpse, a preview of his glory.
1. I must Pray through the Lens of the Kingdom
Jesus took three disciples; Peter, John, and James; and went to the mountain to pray. He was withdrawing from the normal pace of life, getting away so he could be undistracted and unhindered with the busyness of life and ministry. Prayer was central to His life and ministry. Jesus’ life was dependent upon prayer. We see that repeatedly and regularly he withdrew from a busy schedule to pray. He was diligent and disciplined with his prayer life. Two patterns in prayer we see in his life: he regularly got up early to pray and he regularly went to desolate places to pray. Prayer is a source of life and strength to followers of Christ. No prayer; no life.
The early church followed Jesus’ pattern; in the book of Acts Luke demonstrates prayer as central to the early church. One of the points concerning prayer that Luke brings out in both Luke and Acts is that God responds in powerful ways to the prayers of his people whose prayer lives are centered on the kingdom. If we will pray God will work; if we don’t we will work. Who do you want to do the work? The examples of prayer in the New Testament are centered around the kingdom. That is why Jesus starts the Lord’s Prayer with God’s name and God’s kingdom. Too often our prayer lives are self centered. Think with me about your prayer life this week. Was it centered around the kingdom or your own comfort or personal needs? How many of us prayed for God to pour out his Spirit in Homer? Or prayed for the salvation of someone who does not know the Lord? How about your ministry here or the larger ministry of CCC? Have you ever wondered why your prayer life is short circuited? Why do we want God to move in our lives? So that we have a better life or so we become more effective for the kingdom.
2. I must See Life through the Lens of the Kingdom
Peter was excited about the appearance of Jesus, Moses and Elijah in glory and wanted to set them up in booths or tents. The booths he refers to were those set up during the feast of Tabernacles which commemorated the wilderness wandering and anticipated the expectation of an earthly kingdom. Peter wanted to keep Jesus from Jerusalem because of the possibility of danger and he was anticipating an earthly kingdom. That is why Luke said he did not know what he was saying. The kingdom does not come in the fullness of glory this side of the return of Christ when he comes in the fullness of glory. All that we experience this side are foretastes and glimpses of the full manifestation of the kingdom. Remember the kingdom is already and not yet. The powers of the age to come have entered this present age and are still subject and in conflict with this present age.
So Moses, Elijah and Jesus appear in glory, the veil was lifted momentarily and the three disciples got a glimpse into the age to come. Mark tells us that Peter’s first response was fear. One of the things I appreciated about Randy Demain was his concern with the church’s trivializing of God and angels. He talked to a group of us about the trivializing of God and angels among the church. Whenever an angel appears in the Bible the person involves was afraid and awestruck. Randy said that we are far too familiar with a God that we are unfamiliar with.
What I appreciate about Peter is that even though he was impulsive and imperfect he was used incredible by God. He did not sit on the sidelines in safety but acted and received correction along the way. You can only steer a vehicle if it is moving. Sometimes we are so safe that we get nothing done. The older we get the less risks we take. That is why we need to continually raise up young leaders who are risk takers for the kingdom. But we also need to cultivate a culture of risk taking. We do not have to be so planned and precise to try something that so we do not make mistakes. I want us to become risk takers and then celebrate risk takers. Our culture loves to expose mistakes and failures of people and run them thought the mud with it. So we become so afraid of making mistakes and failing or we so over plan that we do not need God to work on our behalf. I.e. perimeter exp; sighting in a gun.