Friday, May 14, 2010

Touching Base! Part 87

Three Words for Three Guys!
(This article can also we found on our website at under the tab called “Blog”)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God’s Word needs to be discussed in community.

Have you ever heard the saying, “If all you have in your toolkit is a hammer, then you will tend to treat everything like a nail”? As kids growing up, or now as parents, we know that each kid needs a slightly different parenting style. You may have grown up in a home where you saw very clearly how your parents treated you differently than your siblings, not because of favouritism (hope not) but because of temperament differences. For those of us who are parents, we know that different kids require different approaches. Take a moment and discuss how you handled your kids differently because of temperament, and personality. If you are not a parent, think about your parents, and how they treated you differently than your sibling(s).

Our text under examination is Luke 9:28-36. I think one of the issues in this text is that Jesus has three “kids”, Peter, John and James who need to be pulled aside for a private huddle. They need to see some things, and hear some things, that will feed into the unique spiritual journey that God has them on. I think when Jesus is praying in this narrative, He is praying specifically for the three amigos.

As a group, read through the text and answer the question - Based on what the Father says to the three, what do you think Jesus is praying? Why do you think these three needed to hear this message? Let me give you some clues....
Peter - Most frequently mentioned of the 12 - Displayed vital leadership in the early history of the early church.
James - First martyr among the apostles and the only one whose martyrdom is mentioned in the NT. Acts 12 - James loses his head - but the church is praying for Peter and he escapes prison.
John - Mentioned as the first disciple to recognize the significance of the empty tomb. Brother of James- became Bishop of Ephesus

Note that one of the motivations to listen to Jesus is based on the majesty of Jesus that is demonstrated in this text. One writer has said of this text...
“This glorious transformation of the appearance of Christ is the most significant event between his birth and passion. In each of the synoptic Gospels, it stands as a magnificent Christological statement.”

Peter, recalling his vision of Christ, says “we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” 2 Peter 1:16

The majesty (greatness, splendour) of Christ is to be one of the healthy motivations for Christ-followers to listen to Him. The big idea on Sunday was Jesus is amazing, listen to Him. Take some time to discuss how the majesty of Jesus is demonstrated in this text and how it is connected to being better listeners.
1. The majesty (greatness) of Jesus is demonstrated in the connectedness and effectiveness of His prayer life. v. 28,29
Luke emphasizes the importance and power of Christ’s prayer life.

Jesus prays at His baptism and then Father appears, speaks (Luke 3:21-22)
Jesus private prayer precedes His Galilean ministry (Luke 4:43)
Jesus in prayer followed by the choosing the 12 disciples (Luke 6:12)
Jesus in prayer and then the great confession (Luke 9:18)
Jesus in prayer is the platform for Jesus and the transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29)

If you had been one of the disciples walking with Jesus and saw the connection between prayer and action in Christ’s life, what might you have concluded? How does this demonstrate His majesty?

Earlier I had said that I think Jesus is praying, amongst other issues, that these three would listen. Who are you praying for these days, who needs to listen to Christ?

2. The majesty of Jesus is seen in His physical appearance. V29,32
Note that the disciples describe Christ’s physical appearance as glorious. The word means splendour, magnificence, majesty. On Sunday I said that “the physical state of Jesus is demonstrating the uniqueness of Jesus and the majesty of Jesus. They are getting a peek, seeing the nature of Jesus through a window.”
Do you agree with the above statement? What else might this transformation illustrate?
John puts some of what they are seeing (majesty) into words. Read Rev 1:7-8. Paul gives us insight in Col. 2:9. What other texts illustrate in words what the disciples are seeing?

How might this encourage the three to listen? Who in your life needs a fresh glimpse of Christ, a truly biblical vision of Jesus to draw them into obedience?

3. The majesty of Jesus is seen in who He hangs out with.
Verses 30 and 31 paint a powerful picture. If you were a first century Jew “reading this picture” you would see very clearly what Luke is saying. Moses and Elijah were Jewish superheroes. To put Jesus in this picture with these two icons was saying something very special about Jesus. But notice how the text shows the supremacy of Jesus in comparison to Moses and Elijah. Moses and Elijah are described as men, it is the glory of Jesus the disciples see, not Moses and Elijah. Also note that the Father tells the three to listen to, not Moses or Elijah, but Jesus. He is the Chosen One. Also note what Moses, Elijah and Jesus are talking about. Jesus is heading to Jerusalem because He is the spotless Lamb of God that will take away the sin of the world. Moses and Elijah don’t qualify. They need a Saviour just as much as you and me.

Got any guesses why Peter offers to build three shelters? This question will test if you listened to the teaching on Sunday. Regardless of what we conclude, the text makes it clear that what Peter was doing was wrong. The Father clarifies what kind of response is correct. Listen to Him!
Shelters might be your idea but “Listen to Him” is the Fathers command.

Discuss as a group what “shelters” can be symbolic of in our walk with God. For example, “shelters” can represent the agenda that hinders us from listening to the promptings of Jesus. “Shelters” can represent issues of bondage that prevent us from walking in obedience. “Shelters” can represent what we want not what God wants.

Finally, note v27. I believe we see the fulfillment of that statement in the transfiguration. The centerpiece of the Kingdom (like on a table) on earth is Jesus. If you want to understand what the Kingdom of God is all about, what it looks like, how we are to live, values we are to embrace, truth that is to guide our lives… look no further than Jesus.

How might seeing Jesus free people and empower them to truly listen?

Jesus is amazing, listen to Him!


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