HIS MAJESTY IS NO MYTH!
1. There is something about the majesty of Jesus that is essential to the endurance and the enthusiasm of his people.
a. Luke 9:28-36
b. 2 Peter 1:16-21
2. We who believe in the majesty of Jesus are not following a made-up story, so its meaning in our lives must be more than merely make-believe.
1. No Myth. The evidence is that the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ made known in the New Testament is real.
a. Multiple witnesses. More than one personality participated in the same event.
i. Peter changes from “I” in verse 15 to “we” in verse 16, then uses the emphatic “we ourselves” in verse 18.
ii. Jesus took Peter, John and James with him when he went up on the mountain to pray.
iii. They were all witnesses to his glory on this awesome occasion (cf. Jn. 1:14), as the three of them also were when he raised Jairus’ daughter and when he prayed in Gethsemane.
b. Objective circumstances. What is said to have happened is set in a time and place.
i. Luke says is was “about eight days after these sayings” (9:28).
ii. They “went up on the mountain.” Matthew and Mark say Jesus “led them up a high mountain.” Mt. Tabor and Mt. Hermon are possibilities.
iii. Peter says, “We were with him on the holy mountain” (v. 18). It was holy because of the use God made of it in giving glory and honor to his Son.
c. Visible action. These men witnessed his majesty with their own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father.
i. As he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white (Lk. 9:29). Matthew and Mark both say he “was transfigured,” meaning that a transformation into a glorious body occurred.
ii. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared with him and glory and were talking with him (Lk. 9:30, 31).
iii. The disciples, fully awake, saw his glory and the two men who stood with him (Lk. 9:32).
d. Real experience. The witnesses were actors in this event: they experienced physical conditions, felt vivid emotions, thought and spoke.
i. Peter said something, not because he knew what to say but because he figured that such an astonishing thing demanded a response.
ii. While he was still talking, a cloud came and overshadowed them (Lk. 9:34). Matthew says it was a bright cloud (Matt. 17:5).
iii. They were already terrified at the majesty they had seen (Mk. 9:6), and as they entered the cloud they were afraid (Lk. 9:34).
e. Audible sound. A voice borne from heaven was distinct and understandable.
i. Luke says “a voice came out of the cloud” (9:35).
ii. Peter says it was “the voice borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (v. 17), and “we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven” (v. 18).
iii. Notice the emphasis: Heaven made a definite declaration which the three witnesses were able to hear distinctly and understand clearly. The nature of the evidence convinces us that this is no made-up story, no myth or legend that clever men developed over time.
2. His Majesty. The message of the prophetic word is made more sure by the memory of this scene.
a. The majesty of Jesus displayed in this episode confirms the real mission of the Messiah according to the scriptures.
i. This took place a few days after Jesus had begun to correct the expectations of his friends: it was a must that he endure rejection, suffering, being killed, and rising again (Lk. 9:22).
ii. Moses and Elijah appeared with him in glory talking “of his departure, which he was about to accomplish” (Lk. 9:31). “Departure” is from “exodus.”
iii. The voice of the Majestic Glory confirmed that this course was his will: “This is my beloved (chosen, Luke in ESV) Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
(1) The saying combined two important lines of thought from Scripture.
(2) The son who would be made king (Ps. 2:7).
(3) The servant who would suffer (Isa. 42:1; cf. Lk. 9:35, ESV).
b. The honor and glory Jesus received from the Father proclaims His approval of Jesus even over the Law and the Prophets.
i. One of the men who appeared with Jesus in glory, Moses, was the man through whom God gave the Law to Israel, and the other, Elijah, was regarded as standing at the head of the line of her prophets.
ii. Peter suggested that three tents would be appropriate, but God vividly declared that his Son was not merely one spokesman among three peers.
iii. “Listen to him!” the voice of the Majestic Glory commanded.
(1) The Law and the Prophets were fulfilled by Jesus. (Matt. 5:17; Eph. 2:14-15)
(2) His New Testament takes the place of the Old. (Heb. 9:15-18)
(3) Hebrews 1:1,2 – “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
c. Those who were with Jesus when he received honor and glory from God are indications that there is hope for people like us.
i. The presence of Moses and Elijah testified to the fact that, though the span of their lives upon the earth had been lived centuries earlier, they still existed as persons and they were still conscious beings.
ii. Each of the people in this scene on the holy mountain were also people “of like passions with us” (cf. James 5:17).
(1) Moses missed out on entering into the promised land because of the time when he had failed to believe in God and uphold him as holy (Num. 20:8, 11, 12), but here he is. Obviously, he was not eternally condemned.
(2) Elijah once ran in fear until he sat down under a broom tree and asked God that he might die (1 Kings 19:3, 4), but he is here. Obviously, God had not rejected him because of that low point.
(3) Peter, John and James had before, and would again, have their weaknesses, but they were still “with him on the holy mountain.”
d. Seeing the majesty of Jesus as it appears in these sacred scenes reminds us that suffering and glory are inseparably linked.
i. Thinking it can be otherwise is Satan’s way of thinking (Mk. 8:33); in God’s way of doing things the cross comes before the crown.
ii. Luke 24:26 – “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
iii. 1 Peter 1:10-11; 4:12-16
e. Our knowledge of the majesty of Jesus which shined forth that day assures us that we will do well to pay attention to what the prophetic word as we move forward.
i. Its guidance is like a lamp shining in a dark place (2 Pet. 1:20), letting us see where we’re going and how to get there.
ii. It will serve us well “until the day dawns and the morning star rises” in our hearts.
iii. The majesty of Jesus is our guarantee that we can safely “listen to him,” and that we must not ignore the word of him who will be our judge.
1. His majesty is no myth, and these scenes are not merely theories to be discussed!
a. Peter believed they should establish Christians in the truth and stir us up making our calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:10, 12-13).
b. Jesus believed they should lead us to think that denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following him is worth it – in fact, that it is the only thing that will profit us in the long run (Lk. 9:23, 25).
2. We indicate what we believe about the majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ by our response to the gospel which made known his power and coming in the first place (cf. Acts 2:38).