The Gospel of Luke - Part 39: Jesus the Son of God (continued)— Luke 9:28-36
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

Who is Jesus, Really?

Remember that in Luke Chapter 9, answering these questions is the theme that ties everything together.

Over the last two weeks, we looked at:
A.   He Is The One Sent by God

Today and next week we will look at:
B.   He Is The Son of God

The following weeks we will look at
C.   He Is The Son of Man
D.   He Is Our Sovereign Lord.

In Luke 9:28-45, the Scriptures highlight two important titles belonging to Jesus: the Son of God and then the Son of Man. Both of these titles are very important in understanding who Jesus is and both are used repeatedly in the Gospels.

B.   He Is The Son Of God:

Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not realizing what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen. —Luke 9:28-36
Notice that again, as several times before, Jesus was praying.
Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. —Luke 9:28
Peter, John, and James form an "inner circle" within the Twelve. For certain events, Jesus selects just these three (sometimes including Andrew). We aren't told why. When Jesus went up to the Garden of Gethsemane, in Matthew 26:37 we are told:
And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. —Matthew 26:37
After Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives looking at the Temple and told the disciples that “Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” We are told in Mark:
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately. —Mark 13:3
Back in Chapter 8 of Luke, when Jesus went to the house of Jairus and brought his twelve-year-old daughter back from death, Luke told us:
When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother. —Luke 8:51
And now we see the inner circle again:
Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. —Luke 9:28
Maybe Jesus selected them because of the key roles they would play in the church after He ascended: Or maybe these three just sought to be closer to Jesus. Someone has said, "You are as close to the Lord as you choose to be, not want to be." Most Christians wish they were closer to the Lord than they are, but they don't do anything about it!  What can you do this week to be closer to the Lord? A common misconception is that God treats everyone the same. This is not true. God loves everyone the same but He treats us individually according to our makeup and His plan for our lives. Responsible parents follow this pattern with their children: though they love each one equally, their treatment and expectations of each child will vary according to their personality and abilities.

In this chapter, Luke 9, there are three verses mentioning prayer: (18, 28, 29).  What do we learn about Jesus and prayer from these references in Chapter 9?

  1. We get a glimpse of how important prayer was to Jesus. We see Jesus taking time to pray and making time to pray, in spite of all the demands on His time and the expectations of other people.
  2. We see Jesus praying with His disciples. Jesus taught that there is a special power when believers pray together.
Remember Matthew 18:19-20:
Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. —Matthew 18:19-20
But Jesus not only taught that we should pray together with other believers.   He modeled this for us by praying with the disciples.

The disciples definitely learned this lesson about praying together. Just look at the first two chapters of Acts:

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. —Acts 1:14

They were continually devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. —Acts 2:42
As we’ve mentioned before, prayer is a very important theme in Luke’s Gospel. There are more references to prayer in Luke than any of the other Gospels — 24 verses in 12 chapters out of the 24 in Luke. To contrast, Matthew has 15 uses of the word “pray” (and variations), Mark has 12 and John has just five.

A praying man as well as reformer of the church, Martin Luther expressed God's expectation of prayer this way:

"As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray."  (Martin Luther)
Why do you think most of us aren’t as committed to prayer as Jesus was/is? Are you as committed to praying as Jesus was? What can you do to increase your commitment to prayer?  Maybe a simple application of praying with other believers is to pray in our homes — friends or parents and children praying together.

Jesus was Proven to be the Son of God:

The whole purpose of everything that happens in this passage is to demonstrate one truth — that Jesus is the Son of God.

This title for Jesus is important — used over 30 times in the Gospels and about 65 times in the entire New Testament. Describing Jesus as the “Son of God” emphasizes His deity. Sometimes you’ll hear people say, “Jesus never claimed to be God; He said He was the Son of God.” But that is exactly what the title “Son of God” is intended to communicate — that Jesus is fully and completely divine.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that:

“Son of God” — The term used to express the deity of Jesus of Nazareth as the one, unique Son of God — The term Son of God reveals Jesus’ divine sonship and is closely associated with His royal position as Messiah. ... Primarily, the title "Son of God" affirms Jesus’ deity evidenced by His person and His work. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)
The first references in the New Testament to Jesus as the Son of God are from an unexpected source: Satan after the baptism of Jesus and while He was in the desert being tempted. First with hunger.
And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” —Matthew 4:3
When that did not work, Satan tempted His ego.
...and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’ ” —Matthew 4:6
The devil never questioned that Jesus really was the Son of God, he only challenged Jesus to prove it, to demonstrate it in ways outside His Father’s will and plan.

The deity of Christ is frequently questioned and challenged, especially by cults. We need to be clear on this claim by Jesus and on the fact that the Scriptures clearly teach that Jesus is God. I have a handout to show the evidence for the deity of Christ.

1.   It is proven by the Transfiguration.

Peter, James and John had the very unusual privilege of seeing Jesus in His glory. Maybe His appearance was something like what He will be like when we see Him in heaven. Like Luke, both Matthew and Mark also record this event. In their accounts, we’re told that Jesus was “transfigured” before them.

And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. —Luke 9:29

And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. —Matthew 17:2

Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them. —Mark 9:2
Jesus makes a statement before each account of the Transfiguration, recorded in three of the Gospels:
“But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” —Luke 9:27

“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” —Matthew 16:28

And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” —Mark 9:1
This statement raises some questions, because all of the Disciples died before His second coming. It appears that this statement was a prediction of the transfiguration. Likely Jesus is speaking here of His own transfiguration, which some of the disciples would witness about a week after the above statement.

 

John MacArthur in his Matthew Commentary says:

“Here [the Transfiguration] is the greatest confirmation of His deity yet in the life of Jesus. Here, more than on any other occasion, Jesus revealed Himself as He truly is, the Son of God.”
Luke tells us:
...the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. —Luke 9:29
The accounts in Matthew and Mark add a little to this description:
And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. —Matthew 17:2

...and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. —Mark 9:3
Notice the similarities between this description of Jesus to the description of the angels at the tomb of Jesus and the description of Jesus in Revelation:
And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. —Matthew 28:3

His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. —Revelation 1:15

In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. —Revelation 1:16
One day we will all get to see what these disciples saw — Jesus revealed in all His glory!

2.  Jesus is also proven to be the Son of God by Moses and Elijah.

The second “proof” that Jesus is the Son of God was the appearance of Moses and Elijah with Jesus. You might ask why these two appeared. One explanation is that Moses represents the Law. The first five books of the Old Testament were referred to by Jesus as “the Law of Moses.” Elijah represents the Prophets and as such represents all the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.

And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah... —Luke 9:30
We aren't told how the Apostles knew who these two men were; maybe Jesus identified them. The significance of their appearance would be clear to any Jew familiar with the Old Testament. Their appearance with Jesus affirms that He is the Messiah, the fulfillment of all that is written about Him "in the Law and the Prophets". Jesus ties Himself to the law and the prophets as well as does John.
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. —Matthew 5:17

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” —Luke 24:44

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” —John 1:45
Luke tells us that in during the transfiguration:
And they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. —Luke 9:30-31
A repeated theme in this chapter is Jesus’ impending death. This may have been a time of strengthening and encouragement for Jesus.

Then Peter is Peter, engaging his mouth without his brain, suggested they built three tabernacles, one each for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.

And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus ... not realizing what he was saying. —Luke 9:33
Maybe there’s a lesson here for those of us who are inclined to express opinions even when we don’t know what we’re talking about! Let’s be sure to learn from Peter’s mistake here and ask God for the wisdom to know when to keep quiet.
While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them. —Luke 9:34
The Bible Knowledge Commentary states:  "A cloud was often a symbol of God's divine presence. (As in Exodus)”

3.   God the Father spoke audibly from Heaven, confirming that Jesus truly is the Son of God.

There are three times recorded in the Gospel when God the Father speaks audibly to affirm the Son:

  1. At Jesus' baptism
    And the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” —Luke 3:22
  2. Here at His transfiguration
    Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” —Luke 9:35
    (The accounts in both Matthew and Mark say, “My beloved Son...”)
  3. And Shortly before His death
    “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” —John 12:28
God the Father affirms that Jesus is who He claims to be — the Messiah. But God's statement also helps us see that Jesus is the Son of God. This title affirms Jesus' deity — that He was and is fully God.

When God the Father spoke from heaven, what is the one command He gave to us? "Listen to Him." We need to be continually "listening" to Jesus. Unfortunately, like Peter, we are often busy talking when we ought to be listening. We speak to God when we pray. We "listen" to the Lord as He speaks to us primarily through His Word.

Do you have time set aside each day to "listen" to the Lord?

__________

Next week — we will continue this study of the proof that Jesus is the Son of God.