Summary: to definitively answer the question of Luke 9, “who is Jesus”, with God’s own answer; to encourage Jesus as He begins the journey to Jerusalem where He will die; and finally to demonstrate what can happen when we take time out of life to pray and listen
Who Does God Say That Jesus Is? Series: Breaking Boundaries
Most often, all it really takes to hear God speak to us is that we give Him the opportunity. Last Friday, Good Friday, we set up a devotional journey around the church called “Stations of the Cross”. It was a youth version, which I found shared online, and Ellen our secretary did most of the leg work for me, and a number of our teens and adults did the walk and heard God speak in powerful ways. At each of the stations we were invited to reflect on Scriptures about Jesus’ journey to the cross and empty tomb, and at several people were invited to write prayers. These are poignant and insightful and real and vulnerable and moving.
I had a number of people express gratitude for the opportunity, which was kind and encouraging. But really, it wasn’t nearly as much about the actual event as it was about simply carving out space for God to speak. I’ve seen this time and time again in my years of ministry – the “vehicle” is always less important than simply making the time to listen for God. When we do, amazing and life-changing and transforming things happen… like we will see in this morning’s study in Luke. And it might surprise you to see that the very best role model we have as far as carving out time and space for God to speak is Jesus Himself.
But before getting to Luke 9:28-26 (quickview) , I need to back up and refresh our memories. We’ve been following Jesus through the Gospel of Luke since Christmas, and noticing how Jesus broke every boundary that existed between people and God – He did so deliberately, powerfully, and passionately. And He did so with the intention that we, His followers, should also work to break down every boundary that exists between people in our culture and the eternal God of the Universe.
As we studied Luke 9 (quickview) , we have seen that the central question has been “who is Jesus?”. The question was present earlier in Luke, but chapter 9 brings it to the forefront. When we last left Jesus and His disciples, they were having this exact conversation: Jesus asks, “who do you say that I am?”, and Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!” (Lk 9:20). You might recall that from there Jesus went quickly to re-defining what it meant to be “Messiah”, in terms of suffering, which we saw vividly last weekend as we journeyed to the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Lk 9:23). This is pretty sobering, both then and now. And whenever we are called to something really difficult, such as being a follower of Jesus that must “turn from selfish ways, take up a cross daily, and follow”, it sure helps to have a big picture, a motivation, a vision of why we would do this and what the end result would be. I think that is part of why what happens next, happens next…
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.