Share: Facebook Facebook Facebook

Week:06, Season:1, 2016 Posted on Saturday by PCT

Obey the Word of the Lord

Scripture:Luke 9:28-36

28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

Today is the last day of Epiphany, also known as Transfiguration Sunday. During the period of Epiphany, we have been awarded an opportunity to think of Jesus Christ’s identity and the glory he has shown. In today’s scripture, it is recorded that Jesus Christ took three of his closest disciples, Peter, James and John to a ‘Mountain’. Whenever a ‘Mountain’ is mentioned in the Bible, it is often the occasion where God announces his commands and orders. For example, on Mount Sinai, God commanded Moses to lead the suffering slaves in Egypt to freedom and gave Israelites the Ten Commandments.

Jesus Christ Changes His Appearance on the Mountain

While Jesus Christ and his disciples climbed the mountain, God truly demonstrated his special inspirations and guidance. In front of them, Jesus Christ’s appearance had transfigured. His clothes became pure white and bright. Suddenly, these three disciples witnessed the conversation between Jesus Christ, Moses and Elijah. Moses was widely considered the closest person to God and the representative of the Old Testament’s laws for Israel people. Elijah was the most important representative prophet in Israel. The conversation between Jesus Christ and Moses and Elijah symbolised that Jesus Christ was going to continue these pioneers’ unfulfilled mission.

Although these three disciples were not the smartest followers among the twelves, and they were sometimes even selfish and rash in their decisions, however, God gave them the privilege to witness the changes of Jesus Christ’s appearance. They witnessed Jesus Christ’s clothes becoming bright white and the discourse between Jesus Christ and two of Israel’s great people. Thus, they understood that the Lord Jesus they followed is full of God’s glory.

Peter then told Jesus Christ, “Master, it is a blessing to be here. Let us put up three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah (33)”. Peter seemed to try to speak more, in order to celebrate this special moment. But what he had said just demonstrated what in his mind — to stay in this glorious moment forever.

Yet in the scripture we have read earlier (Luke 9: 21-27), Jesus Christ clearly foretold his death. He said he must endure incredible suffering, being abandoned by the Elders, Chief Priest and Scribes, and killed, and restored to life after three days. What Peter had suggested apparently ignored what Jesus Christ had just said. Peter’s attitude showed his wish to avoid the upcoming challenge and suffering and only wanted to welcome these glorious moments happily.

This Is My Son. You Must Follow Him

At this moment, a cloud appeared in the sky and a voice said “this is my son. You must follow him”. When John the Baptist baptised Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, we read similar message as above. When Jesus Christ emerged on the surface of the water, the sky was opened and Holy Spirit appeared as a dove over him. Then a voice in the sky said “you are my beloved son. I love you” (Luke 3: 22).

If we compare these two similar passages in detail, we can tell a slight difference between them. The previous passage (you are my beloved son. I love you) is a direct message from God to Jesus Christ, showing God’s love to him.

Yet today’s passage (this is my son. You must follow him) is addressed to these three disciples. God revealed Jesus Christ’s real identity and reminded them to obey what Jesus Christ had taught them.

Today’s scripture emphasises how important it is to listen to Jesus Christ’s Words. If we read today’s scripture carefully, we can see that these disciples only used their eyes to see things. They had seen Jesus Christ’s transfigured and the change on his clothes; they had heard the conversation between Jesus Christ, Moses and Elijah, and they saw there was a cloud approaching them from heaven. When the voice in the sky spoke, they only saw Jesus Christ beside them, without listening to the voice. This shows that these disciples only saw things on the surface, but had not listened to Jesus Christ carefully. That is, although they seemed to see everything, they didn’t understand the depth of what they had seen, because they didn’t allow the word of Jesus speaking to their hearts.

Today’s scripture not only recognises Jesus Christ’s identity and glory, but also reminds his disciples the importance of listening to Jesus Christ. Yet in Luke 9, we read that the disciples were not listening; therefore, they could not understand Jesus Christ’s first prophecy of his death. When Jesus Christ foretold his inevitable death again, these disciples were still arguing who is the greatest person among them. They surly were still not listening to Jesus Christ.

Listen to Him. Follow His Road

All of Jesus Christ’s disciples must understand that Jesus is not only the glorious Son of God, but also a suffering, betrayed person. Other disciples may be like Peter, who hoped to avoid suffering and challenge and welcomed only glory and power. Luke also emphasised, many times, that in order to win the final victory, the suffering test on Christians is inevitable.

Epiphany is the day when the Church prepares for the start of lent, and the Passion Week. On the one hand, we witness Jesus Christ’s transfiguration and his glory. On the other hand, we witness the foreseen suffering Jesus Christ is going to encounter. Today’s scripture connects the suffering and glory in Jesus Christ’s life. His suffering is not the end. His resurrection symbolises the final victory. However, the victory doesn’t suggest we have a right to avoid the pain we must often endure.

When we, the modern disciples decide to listen to Jesus Christ’s Words, it means we are willing to obey and follow Jesus Christ’s road. This is not only a glorious road, but also a road full of suffering. Have you decided to accept Jesus Christ’s invitation to begin this journey?

For discussion:

1. How should churches cultivate our ability to listen to God’s Words, rather than seeing things on the surface?
2. Do you agree with the concept of ‘to see is to believe’? How has this concept influenced your faith in God?
3. In the Gospel of Luke, what scriptures describe Jesus Christ as not only a ‘glorious person’ but also a ‘suffering, abandoned son’?

Please pray for:

1. that God can remind us of being Jesus Christ’s modern disciples who are willing to follow his steps and sacrifice ourselves.
2. those who have encountered doubts and difficulties in their journey of believing in God. Pray the Holy Spirit helps to answer their self-doubts and helps them cultivate patience and persistence.


Glorious and faithful God, we pray for you to reveal your glorious appearance to those who are faithfully following you. We thank you for your mercy, love and blessing. Thank you for guiding us by your Words. When we are weak, you provide us with strength. When we are in despair, you give us hope. When we are lost, you guide us to the right direction. We pray that you will lead us to become Jesus Christ’s followers and follow him loyally and faithfully. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Something you can do:

1. Discuss how to inspire church brothers and sisters to read, listen to and obey God’s Words effectively with your pastor at church.
2. Share your difficulty in the journey of faith with the senior members who participate in Church gatherings regularly.