his exodus

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WHAT WERE THEY TALKING ABOUT?

Luke 9:28-31

Luk 9:28 Then about eight days after these sayings, Jesus took with him Peter, John, and James, and went up the mountain to pray.
Luk 9:29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became very bright, a dazzling white.
Luk 9:30 Then two men, Moses and Elijah, began talking with him.
Luk 9:31 They appeared in glory and spoke about his exodus that he was about to fulfill at Jerusalem.

his exodus

The subject of Jesus’ discussion during his transfiguration vision is significant. They are talking about the cross that Jesus would bear, the death he would die, but they are calling it an exodus. Christ’s death was the fulfillment of the prophetic image of the Passover lamb, slaughtered in order to rescue Israel from Egypt. The lamb’s death rescued the people from Pharaoh’s bondage, and made their exodus to the promised land possible. Christ’s death and resurrection made a new exodus possible, one that included believing Israel and believing Gentiles as well. It was this new exodus that Moses predicted in the Law, and Elijah and the other prophets predicted as well.

LORD, thank you for the promise of a new exodus.

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victorious victim

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DON’T BE ASHAMED

Luke 9:22-27

Luk 9:22 by saying, “The Son of Man has to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Luk 9:23 Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luk 9:24 Because whoever wants to save his soul will lose it, but whoever loses his soul for my sake will save it.
Luk 9:25 Because what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but destroys or loses himself in the process?
Luk 9:26 Because whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Luk 9:27 But I tell you for a fact, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God.”

victorious victim

The words that Jesus refers to are his words predicting his crucifixion and death in Jerusalem. The disciples were glad to identify him as the messiah, but they were not too keen to accept his prediction that the Jewish leaders were going to reject and murder him. So, which is true? Was Jesus a victim, or victorious? True followers know that he is both. In fact, he was ultimately victorious because he chose to be the victim, the sacrifice for us.

In the same way, he calls us to share his ultimate victory, but also challenges us to live lives of self-sacrifice.

LORD, give us the courage to glorify you, by taking up our daily crosses.

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true followers follow

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WE HAVE DAILY CROSSES TO BEAR

Luke 9:23-25

Luk 9:23 Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luk 9:24 Because whoever wants to save his soul will lose it, but whoever loses his soul for my sake will save it.
Luk 9:25 Because what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but destroys or loses himself in the process?

true followers follow

Jesus’ followers had just admitted the awesome messianic secret: that Jesus was the Christ, sent from God. But, instead of cheering them on, Jesus silenced them sternly. The fact of who Jesus really was did not change the fact that a cross was waiting for him in Jerusalem.

Jesus used this opportunity to reinforce for his disciples what it really means to be a Christian. They, too, had a secret identity as delivered sons of God. But, they too, had daily crosses to bear, for his sake. So, Jesus warned them not to get so caught up in the blessings of their new identity that they stop living the life of self-sacrifice.

We need to understand that although the ultimate victory has been won, our personal battles are not over yet. Folowers must follow, even when the leader goes to Golgotha.

LORD, give us the perseverance to continue taking up our crosses until you return with our crowns.

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circular reasoning

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HOW LIBERAL LOGIC LOOPS

Luke 9:20-22

Luk 9:20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ from God.”
Luk 9:21 But he forcefully commanded them not to tell this to anyone,
Luk 9:22 by saying, “The Son of Man has to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

circular reasoning

How can Bible scholars read passages like this, and still conclude that Jesus did not know that he was going to die on the cross? It involves a bit of circular reasoning. First, you have to conclude that Jesus was a Jewish mystic, and that the cross was not his plan. Next, you have to take all the passages in the Gospels (like this one) and count them not as historical narrative, but as products of the early church community’s belief about Jesus written as if they were history. Then, you can confidently proclaim that the Jesus of history did not know that he had “to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

LORD, give us the wisdom to put our faith in the word you revealed to us, not our own faulty logic.

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did Jesus know?

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THE MESSIANIC DEBATE

Luke 9:18-20

Luk 9:18 Once when Jesus was praying by himself, and his disciples were close, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
Luk 9:19 They answered, “John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others that one of the prophets of ages past has risen.”
Luk 9:20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ from God.”

did Jesus know?

Last year I read a book in which scholars debated the meaning of Jesus. One of the chief matters up for debate was whether Jesus knew that he was the Messiah during his life and ministry before the cross. I think it is clear from the Gospels that he did.

Consider this event, recorded by Luke. Here, Jesus is praying, and his disciples were close enough that they could hear him. He pauses his prayers to ask the disciples who they think he is. Peter is brash enough to proclaim that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) from God. At that point, Jesus did not want that fact publicised, because he had a date with a cross. But Jesus did not correct Peter. His messianic vocation was apparent to those who saw and heard Jesus pray. He was praying to his Father in the sky.

LORD, thank you for who you are, and for the privilege which is ours of testifying to that fact.

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what you have

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THE RESOURCE THEY FORGOT ABOUT

Luke 9:12-17

Luk 9:12 Then the day began to draw to a close, so the twelve came and said to Jesus, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and food, because we are in an isolated place.”
Luk 9:13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They responded, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish– unless we go and buy food for all these people.”
Luk 9:14 (You see, about five thousand men were there.) Then he said to his disciples, “Get them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.”
Luk 9:15 So they did as Jesus told them, and the people all sat down.
Luk 9:16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to the sky, he gave thanks and broke them. He gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
Luk 9:17 They all ate and were satisfied, and what was left over was picked up– twelve baskets full of scraps.

what you have

The disciples actually suggested two solutions to their logistics problem. They suggested that Jesus dismiss the crowd before mealtime, so that they could go into the surrounding villages to get food and lodging. Then they suggested (not their first choice) that the disciples themselves could go and purchase food for the crowd.

But Jesus had a plan C. He took what they had, and miraculously used it to feed everyone. He had the disciples take part in the miracle, so that they would remember the lesson.

The resource that the disciples did not take into consideration when evaluating their situation — was Jesus himself.

LORD, thank you for your divine presence, making up for all our insufficiency.

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the ruined retreat

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PLAN FOR REST, BUT BE FLEXIBLE

Luke 9:10-11

Luk 9:10 When the missionaries returned, they told Jesus everything they had accomplished. Then he took them with him and they had a private retreat at a town called Bethsaida.
Luk 9:11 But when the crowds found out, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who needed healing.

the ruined retreat

The Bethsaida retreat was a chance for the twelve to rest, reflect and report on their recent ministry activity. But the crowds found them, and so it became something else. That happens often in ministry. Many times, what you plan has to give way to what occurs. Rather than let it ruin you, you need to be flexible. The older I get, the more time I take off for rest and recreation. Sometimes my plans don’t work out, but usually they do. It’s not a matter of putting ministry first. No, your ministry is not the most important thing. Your relationship with God is the most important thing. Your health matters to him, so it should matter to you. In fact, the more you structure rest and renewal into your schedule, the better it will be when the urgent requires your attention, as it did for Jesus and the twelve in Bethsaida.

LORD, give us the wisdom to plan, and the strength to be flexible.

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none of the above

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FIND THE REAL JESUS

Luke 9:7-9

Luk 9:7 Then Herod the tetrarch heard about everything that was happening, and he was completely confused, because some people were saying that John had been raised from the dead,
Luk 9:8 while others were saying that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of ages past had risen.
Luk 9:9 Herod said, “I had John beheaded, so who is this about whom I hear such things?” As a result, Herod wanted to find out about Jesus.

none of the above

It is appropriate to point out that of all the speculations about who Jesus was that were floating around at the time, none of them listed in this text was right. We are living in a time like that, too. Lots of people have opinions about Jesus, but most of those opinions are way off base.

Don’t make up your mind about Jesus based on someone else’s word. Find him yourself, in the Bible. Seek for him among his true followers. Ask him to reveal himself to you. Jesus will honour that request.

LORD, reveal yourself to those who are seeking the real you.

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rights and rejection

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PEOPLE ARE FREE TO REJECT THE GOSPEL

Luke 9:1-6

Luk 9:1 After Jesus had called the twelve together, he gave them the ability and right to decide over all demons and to cure diseases,
Luk 9:2 and he sent them out so they could proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Luk 9:3 He told them, “Take nothing for your journey– no staff, no bag, no bread, no money; do not even take an extra tunic.
Luk 9:4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave the area.
Luk 9:5 Wherever they do not welcome you, as you leave that town, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
Luk 9:6 Then they left and travelled throughout the villages, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

rights and rejection

When Jesus sent the twelve on their missions expedition, he not only endowed them with the right to make a difference in people’s lives, he also warned them that some would also have the right to reject them and their message. In kingdom proclamation, the rights go both ways. Anyone daring to proclaim the kingdom of God must realise that people will be free to ignore them, no matter how much power is displayed in their presentation of the gospel. God will draw his own to himself, but those who want to live without him are “free” to do so.

LORD, give us confidence in your gospel, but perseverance to proclaim it even when it is rejected by some.

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love wrapped in power

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WHY DID JESUS ORDER THE PARENTS NOT TO TELL OF THIS MIRACLE?

Luke 8:54-56

Luk 8:54 But Jesus gently took her by the hand and said, “Child, get up.”
Luk 8:55 Just then her breath returned, and she got up. Then he told them to give her something to eat.
Luk 8:56 Her parents were stunned, but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

love wrapped in power

If the only reason for the miracles was to point to the reality of who Jesus really was, why did he raise the dead like this? Surely he would have attracted more attention by barreling into this funeral and ripping the child from her casket. But that is not what happened. He went out of his way to perform this amazing miraculous deed in a gentle, respectful fashion. Why? Well, Jesus is about much more than proving he has power over death. He is love wrapped in power. So, he approaches this scene of grief and he demonstrates not only his power over death, but also his gentleness and concern for the child and her parents. He asks these stunned parents to get their living little girl something to eat. He orders them not to disrupt their lives even further by making it their future objective to tell everyone about this incident. He came to restore peace to their broken lives, not embroil them in conflict with those who oppose him.

Thank you, LORD, for your gentle forgiveness and restoration.

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