Sunday, February 14, 2016

Christ’s Death, 1of5

~ Consider Events Just Before His Death ~

The Setting  ~  The transfiguration of Jesus—it was a short while before our Savior’s death at Calvary when Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John.

The Account  ~  “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.  Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’  While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  Hear Him!’  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.  But Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’  When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.  Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.’  And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.  But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.’  Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.  (Matthew 17:1-13). 

Some Observations  ~  (1) This passage includes miracles—including the appearance of Moses and Elijah, the transformation of Jesus, and the direct communication from God the Father to these disciples.  (2) In the beginning of this passage the disciples were still clueless regarding who this Jesus that they were following really was.  (3) It was a teachable moment for the three—now they understood to a much fuller degree the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. 

Some Lessons  ~  (1) Clearly the death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world was part of the divine plan—it was not an accident.  In a similar way, nothing happens to his children on earth today which is not a part of the divine plan.  (2) Moses and Elijah were sent to Jesus to encourage Him as He resolutely set His face toward the Cross.  God the Father also spoke directly—this was not only for others to hear but Fatherly encouragement for His Son.  Likewise, today God often send encouragers into our lives just when we need it, and sometimes He speaks directly to us.  (3) We should be glad and take maximum advantage of opportunities to help or encourage other believers as they travel along their path. 

the key question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). This is the most important question you will ever answer. If you do not answer it, or answer it incorrectly, you have made the biggest mistake anyone can make!

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

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