The Transfiguration

February 1, 2011

Sufjan Stevens serenaded me as I was doing the dishes this evening.  His take on the Transfiguration in the synonymously named song got me to thinking.  Some years ago I got to making parallels between the transfiguration and the book of Exodus.  Moses attends both events.  Both take place on a mountain.  A departure/exodus is imminently related to both.  And both mountains become shrouded in cloud.  Tonight though, two more things struck me.

Near the end of the scene God shows up and has his say, “This is my Son, my Chosen One.  Listen to him!” (Luke 9:35)  Two things came out of this for me tonight:

  1. Another notable time someone was told to listen to someone was in Deuteronomy 18:15 when Moses had this to say: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers–from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him.”  And of course, God confirms this by saying, “I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command.  I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name.” (Dt 18:18-19).
  2. Secondly, it struck me that, when Moses ascends the mountain he returns with the words of God written on stone tablet.  When Jesus ascends the mountain he returns utterly confirmed as the one through whom God would express his words.

What do you guys think of this?


Journeys to the Darkest Places on Earth

January 7, 2009
Even though its just going to be a quick note today, as time is limited, I couldn’t help sharing something I saw in Luke-Acts as I was preparing for a recent message over here.  
First of all, thank you Paul Jones for the sweet N.T. Wright article on Acts, which first tipped me off to the Jesus-Paul parallel in Luke’s two volumes.  The basic idea Wright introduces is that Jesus and Paul’s journey’s, which dominate the latter part of both works, are related and parallel each other.  
While I only have time to add some references, here at least are some of the similarities I’m seeing (as I listen to Sufjan Stevens thanks to Cam).  
Both Jesus and Paul, resolved to go (Lk 9:51; Ac 19:21), sent messengers ahead (Lk 9:52; Ac. 19:22), were rejected (Lk 9:53-56; Ac. 19:23-41) warned of plots on their lives (Lk. 13:31; Ac. 20:3), warned of coming difficulties (Lk 9:57-62; Ac. 20:22), taught and encouraged people (Lk 9-22 throughout; Ac. 20:7, etc.), were plotted against by the Jews, healed people through the laying on of hands (Lk 13:13; Ac. 28:8), were provided for with supplies (Jesus w/Donkey, Paul with a ship, etc.), faced trails before the Sanhedrin and Gentile courts, were to be killed by soldiers, were covered in darkness. 
Finally arriving in Rome, Paul meets up with the local Jews and recounts the suspiciously Christlike situation he finds himself in.  Compare Paul’s words to those of Pilate.
Paul: Acts 28:17-18
“After three days Paul called the local Jewish leaders together.  When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, from Jerusalem I was handed over as a prisoner to the Romans.  When they had heard my case, they wanted to release me, because there was no basis for a death sentence against me.”
Pilate: Lk 23:13
“Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people.  When examined him before youI did not find this man guilty of anything you accused him of doing…”
Strangely similar.  Now, enter the “last day” of Luke and Acts both.  Even though we know the time between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to be 40 days (Ac. 1:3), Luke seems interested in not giving us any definite temporal markers that would indicate the events of Luke 24 took place over a time period longer than one day. 
Why would he do that?  Here is my thought: Luke is drawing together the two ends of his two volume work through the parallel journeys of Jesus and Paul, which both end in a single day (Lk. 24 and Ac. 28).  Here are the similarities I see between the two days: 
Both take place from morning to evening, are filled with testimony about Jesus, have people leaving in disagreement, allude to the Fall and its power to keep people from encountering Jesus, have the Scriptures opened to show how Jesus fulfills prophecy and declare that Gospel is going out to the Gentiles, finally ending with an exalted view of the King whose Kingdom cannot be stopped as it marches out to reach the ends of the earth!