DEVOTIONAL

Jesus is the Chosen One

Luke 9:28-36 (Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99)   I am amazed each and every time I encounter a well-known biblical text and see something I had not seen before – not in a life-time of textual engagement. The same is true of the making of connections (joining of the dots) which help the text come alive. Here are a few examples in Luke’s account of the Transfiguration:
 
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray (Luke 9:28). The Transfiguration comes a week or so after Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah (9:20); and following Jesus’ declaration that “there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God: (9:27).  So, Peter is on something of a spiritual “high” at this point. No wonder he gets the wrong end of the stick in this encounter in which he sees not the kingdom but Jesus’ glory! (v. 31)

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Mt. Eremos

Just over a week ago, I stood on top of a hill in Israel called Mt. Eremos, on the Korazim Plateau in Galilee. This is the mount upon which, according to an 1600-year-old tradition, Jesus delivered his great sermon (Matthew 5-7). It sits on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Gennesaret.  So, it’s in the heart of Gospel country! In Luke’s Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount becomes the Sermon on the Plain. And that’s not the only difference: with Luke, we are not only to love those who curse and abuse us, we are to bless them; and we are to be merciful (rather than perfect) just like the Father.
 
Why the difference? Well, remember the text from a few weeks ago – the one in which Jesus visits the synagogue in Nazareth, reads from the prophet Isaiah, and declares the prophecy fulfilled in him (Luke 4:31-37)? (I visited the remains of that synagogue, too!) I pointed out then, that Jesus was not the kind of Messiah that folks expected; nor was he the kind of prophet they were accustomed to. Now we see the great difference! For Luke, Jesus wasn’t the kind of prophet who foretells the future; rather, he was the kind who enacted the future. So, rather than preaching down to folks, he enters into the midst of them. Rather than pointing to a Father who is perfect, he points to one that is merciful. Rather than pointing towards (or demanding) righteousness, Jesus shows what grace in righteousness looks like

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God Pause

from Luther Seminary