Reading: Luke 9:28 to Luke 9:37
Truly, there are some that are here….which shall not taste of death….till they have seen the kingdom of God …..come with power”
In your lifetime, you will see the kingdom of God come with power!
Peter, James and John heard these words 6 days ago. Now they are with Jesus climbing a very high mountain. It is such a long journey and they are very tired. So, they sit down, close their eyes and soon they are in a very heavy sleep.
Something disturbs their sleep. They hear voices, people talking. They open their eyes, and see something that has never been seen before, something so powerful that it is difficult to describe – they see Jesus. His face is brighter than the sun, his clothes are white, whiter than snow, whiter than any thing that is white. White as light, so white that they glow. Jesus is talking to Moses and Elijah. These two great men of old are alive. So astonishing is the sight that they sit there breathless, not speaking a word. They are very afraid of the power and the glory that is before them. So afraid that they cannot move.
Then Moses and Elijah start to leave. Peter is still very much in a daze by the sight but just starts to speak without realizing what he is saying. He says “Master it is good for us to be here.” A few words, but words that describe what Peter is feeling deep down inside. The word for good is from the Greek “kal-os”, which properly means “beautiful”. Master it is beautiful for us to be here. This is the most beautiful thing that Peter has ever seen. The feeling of seeing the power and glory of the kingdom (God’s royal majesty) was everything that he has lived for. He has waited for this moment all his life. This is the reason why he gave up everything to follow Jesus. This is the greatest moment of his life – but now he realized that it is ending – and he does not want it to end. He offers to set up tents to sleep in – hoping that they would stay and that this moment will last forever.
But his mortal eyes and ears are not prepared for what he will now see and hear. Suddenly a very bright cloud covers the entire place and then he hears it. A sound so different from any other sound on earth. A sound so unique. He hears the Father himself speaking. But, when man comes face to face with the voice of the Most High, men are brought to their knees – and Peter falls down trembling at the voice, hiding his face in the earth. And while he shakes in fear, he hears the words: This is my beloved son in whom I am well please – hear him. Peter is very afraid, so great is the power, so great is the glory.
Then he feels someone touch him and say “Arise, be not afraid.” It is Jesus and he is now alone. The light is gone. Elijah and Moses are gone. The cloud is gone.
But things were not back to normal. For sometime now, something has been bothering the disciples. They have not given it to much thought, and even have ignored it. Perhaps they were afraid to ask before, because they were afraid of the answer. But something just did not fit. All their lives they had been taught and they had learned about the coming Messiah. The elders, the leaders, the teachers all taught with one voice that before Messiah, Elijah would come. The Jews believed that Elijah had never died, and they were always looking for his return. At the Passover supper, they would set a place for him. They believed that he came and took a sip of wine from the glass. The children often would search outside for sight of him, and then they would watch the glass closely to see if they could see a sip disappear. These people believed strongly that Elijah would descend from heaven in his chariot and prepare the grounds for the advent of Messiah and then, and only then, the Messiah would appear. All of Israel was watching and waiting for Elijah to appear first. Even when Jesus was being crucified, someone cried out “Let us see if Elijah is coming to bring Him down from the cross” (Mark 15:36 ).
The disciples grew up in this world. They probably remember watching the cup, waiting to see if it moved. They, like all the Jews watched and looked for Elijah to come.
Therefore, it is no wonder that after this very powerful sight of seeing Jesus glorified, that it is now recorded that the very first thing they asked him is about Elijah. “Why do the scribes teach that Elijah must come first”? A while ago, Jesus had already told them if ye will receive it, John is that Elijah who was to come, but they just did not hear him. Now he tells them again. “The scribes are right, Elijah must come first. But, I tell you that Elijah has already come, but they didn’t recognize him.” This time, it sinks in, this time it is recorded that they understood that John the Baptist was that Elijah.
The lesson for us is not that these disciples had questions, but that they never let those questions come between them and following Christ. Prior to this event, they were asked by Jesus – who do you say I am? Peter replied without any hesitation: Thou art the Christ the son of the living God. Their faith in Jesus was much stronger than any questions that they may have had about him. This is why these three were chosen to see this glimpse of the Kingdom of God , because they believed!
Then Peter wrote of this event, he makes a point that the disciples “had not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” The popular teaching about Elijah coming was a well-constructed scripturally based…fable. We live in a time when there are many well-constructed, scripturally based fables all around us. The lesson is to never let any of these fables come between us and following Jesus. Many people in that day did not follow Christ because of those fables. Many people today do not follow Christ because of fables. Let us not be one of them, for truly, only those who believe and follow Christ will see the Kingdom of God .
Now, this event on the mountain has another meaning. It is a type of the second coming of Christ.
It begins with a teaching about a coming Kingdom. Gods plan for the earth. The journey is long and hard for those traveling to this place. But after the sixth day, that is after 6000 years of waiting – that day comes. The saints are heavy in sleep (symbolic of sleeping in the grave), but they will awake to see the glorified son of God – the one that the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) spoke about. His face will shine like the sun, and his clothes will be whiter than snow. The place where the saints behold him will be a temporary place. Tents will be set up. This supports the view that many believers have gained from scripture that this future event will take place during the feast of tabernacles. But the disciples will find themselves suddenly surrounded by a bright cloud. The father testified of the cloud that this is my beloved son. I believe he speaks not just of Christ alone, but of the whole body, that is all that are Christ’s. The bright cloud are they that are wise shining as the brightness of the firmament. The bright cloud are they that turned many to righteousness shining as the stars forever and ever. As it is written, then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
If not today, one day – each of us will appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Let there be no misunderstanding of the Christ we will appear before. It will be a Christ who has been in the presence of the Father for 2000 years. If Moses after only 40 days on the mountain shinned like the sun, imagine the glory that we will behold as the son of God appears to us. The fear and trembling that Paul felt when he saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun will be small in comparison to beholding the son of God surrounded by heavenly beings. Then it will be, at that moment in time that we will be overcome with awe and sing – O master it is good to be….here!