Encountering the Real Jesus
Luke 9: 27–36
The passage that has been assigned to me to preach is a remarkable portion in the gospel of Luke. Here we take a peek at Christ’s glory. It follows three sections that were preached to you in the last couple of weeks—in Peter’s confession of who Jesus is, Luke tells us of his identity. In Jesus foretelling his death and resurrection, Luke is informing us of Jesus’ mission. And in following the path of discipleship, we learn that glory is only at the end of the road marked with suffering, and that is Jesus’ path. Here Luke has told us about Christ’s glory. In today’s passage, Luke lays out this dramatic event in just the reverse form—Christ’s glory, Christ’s mission and Christ’s identity. Before we go any further, let’s pray.
Father, would you please open our eyes and help us to see Jesus Christ and make him more beautiful and believable to our sinful hearts? In Jesus’ name. Amen.
What are some of the questions you would ask of someone who has moved to Imphal? Who are you? What do you do? Where are they from? What’s their story? You ask them to identify themselves, what their mission in Imphal is and what their backstory is. Of all the people you could ask this question, Jesus is the most important person you can ask these questions. You may not care too much about my answers to who I am, why I am here and what my backstory is. But, you should care about Jesus’ answers to these questions because his answers to these questions has so much to do with us.
Christ’s Glory (9:28-30)
› What’s his backstory? Lk 9:29: “And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.”
Ps 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Ps 104:2: “covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.”
Gen 1:1: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Gen 1:26: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.””
Who is God? God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
› Transition: What is the God of glory who created the heavens doing on earth?
Christ’s Mission (9:31-33)
› Why is he on earth? Moses and Elijah spoke “about his departure (ἔξοδος), which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (9:31)
The Manner of Their Deaths
Both Moses and Elijah are representative figures of the Old Testament. Moses represents the Law—the first 5 books of the OT—and Elijah represents the Prophets.
Events in the lives of Moses and Elijah are similar:
Both escape a king’s judgment.
Both flee in an eastwardly direction.
Both return to their homeland. Both are willing to endure the vengeance and wrath of the king.
Both go on a journey back to Israel and encounter God.
God miraculously provides food for both figures.
Both had a vision of God, and thus serve as the ideal witnesses to the glory of Christ
The Effects of Their Deaths
Illustration: I know for a fact that when I die, my ministry dies with me. The effectiveness of my ministry depends on my life on earth.
There is a huge dissimilarity between Moses and Elijah when contrasted against Jesus: their extraordinary deaths (2 Kings 2:11: “And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Deut 34:6: “and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.”) ended their ministry accomplishments, but with Jesus, his death will accomplish his ministry purposes.
› Transition: The reason why Jesus’s death will accomplish his ministry purposes and not put an end to it is because who Jesus is.
Christ’s Identity (9:34-36)
› Who is he really? Luke 9:34-35: “As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!””
Both Moses and Elijah had unusual deaths. Moses’ body was not found. And Elijah went to the heavens by a whirlwind.
Jesus is better than Moses, who led the people out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery.
Jesus is better than the prophet Elijah, who saw the glory of God depart from the temple. He is now seeing the glory of God in our flesh, a place much more impure than the temple and yet much more valuable than any physical temple.
Col 1:15-16: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
Heb 1:2-3: “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
John 1:3: “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Heb 7:3: “He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.”
Remember the Charles Wesley hymn of Christ that we sing at Christmas, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.
› So, what is God the Son doing on earth?
Events in the lives of Moses and Elijah are similar. But Jesus, because of who he is, his ministry endures forever.
Both escape a king’s judgment. Jesus faced the wrath of the eternal God that burns against all ungodliness and wickedness of our hearts and died our death by taking our punishment for sin.
Both return to their homeland. Jesus left his Father’s glorious presence to rescue sinners so that we might be brought into his Father’s presence.
God miraculously provides food for both figures. Jesus, in the wilderness, chose to depend on God to provide when he was starving rather than yield into Satan’s temptation to provide for himself out of distrust for God so that all those who have yielded to Satan’s temptations and are his sons of disobedience might experience the power of Christ who fought and won Satan.
Both go on a journey back to Israel and encounter God. In Jesus Christ, God himself has come down to encounter our hearts of sin and this world of death to restore it in the new creation through his death and resurrection
1. Pray to experience the glory of Christ: 2 Peter 1:16-17: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,””
2 Peter 1:19: “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,”
According to Peter, it is a far better thing for the Christian to experience the glory of Christ through the ordinary spiritual work of repentance from sin and turning to Christ than to see a vision of the glory of Christ. The former takes us into a relationship with Jesus while the latter does not in itself give us the experience of a relationship with Jesus. So, let us turn to him.
2. “Listen to Him”: Read, study and hear the Bible preached with a keen ear to listening to Christ himself.
Father, I pray that the most glorious star in all the world, Jesus Christ, will rise in the hearts of all of us here and through us to all in this city as we learn to savour your love for us in him as revealed in the gospel. In Jesus’ name. Amen.