Paul van Dongen (Dutch, 1958–), "Crown of Thorns (4)," 2004. Etching, 25 × 37 cm. Edition of 15.

Today: Psalms 40:9-17; Luke 9:28-56; Numbers 35 & 36

Psalm 40

“I have proclaimed good news of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lip, LORD, you know.” Psalms 40:9

I used to keep quiet about my Christian faith. For so long our culture has told Christians to be silent, that we are offensive. We have been told our views are sexist, misogynistic, patriarchal. We are told that we should be polite and not offend other people with our belief in Jesus.

These things our culture says about Jesus are not true. I reject the lies. I will not down down to this perpetually offended cancel culture. I am not afraid of them and I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that people will be offended by Jesus. Peter called Jesus “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” (1 Pet. 2:8) So why should be be surprised at this?

Do not be ashamed of Jesus, Christian friends. You are not stupid or backwards for believing in Jesus. The further you grow in your relationship with Him, the more confident you will be that He is indeed real and true. Jesus is the TRUTH. And on this day two thousand years ago, He was dead and lying in a tomb.

But TOMORROW HE RISES!!!

Luke 9 – The Transfiguration

In Luke 9, we are told again about Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. This time Luke actually tells us what Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were talking about (oh joy!)!! They “were speaking of His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” (v.31) They were talking about Jesus’ coming death.

The disciples at that time still didn’t understand that Jesus was going to die. They wouldn’t have understood what the two great prophets and the Son of God were talking about.

But Jesus knew.

I think two different things were happening in this event — probably many more than two actually, but these are the two that have jumped out to me…

The transfiguration was a sign of Jesus’ divinity to His closest disciples. First they got to see Jesus in His true glorified form, “white and gleaming.” (v.29) Can you imagine how delighted Jesus must have been for His three closest disciples to see Him as He really was, without the crude human shell? Peter, James, and John must have been astonished.

Then, just in case the disciples might still have had any doubts about Jesus’ deity, God’s voice booms out of a cloud, saying, “‘This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” (v.35) I love when a sentence in my Bible ends with an exclamation point. That means it is very important!

God was preparing these men for ministry. These three men were given the most crucial task of writing sections of the New Testament and spreading the message of Christ to all future generations. They needed to clearly comprehend Christ’s identity.

I also think the transfiguration was a gift from God to His Son. Both of them knew what horrific trial Jesus would soon endure. Elijah and Moses were Jesus’ intimate friends. Jesus was surrounded by followers who still didn’t understand who He really was. But Moses and Elijah knew. They knew why He was there in that human skin, and that is what they were talking about. I believe they were there to comfort and encourage Jesus. How sweet it must have felt to Jesus to visit with His dear friends.

And then just like that the mountaintop experience was over. They descended down from the mountain and were again surrounded by all of the clueless crowds. They immediately confront Jesus to complain that His disciples had been unable to cast a demon out of a boy. Jesus’ exasperation is obvious when He exclaims, “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I put up with you?” (v.41)

Jesus tried once again to explain to His disciples that He was going to be arrested. He seemed to be aggravated with their inability to understand as well. “As for you, let these words sink into your ears,” He says (I kinda’ hear Him saying “thick skulls” instead of “ears” here LOL), “for the Son of Man is going to be handed over to men.”(v.44)

NOPE, they still didn’t get it… “But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not comprehend it…”(v.45)

The next several verses read like a disciples comedy of errors. Their cluelessness reached new lows and Jesus had to repeatedly rebuke them.

The disciples started arguing with each other about which one of them is the greatest. Seriously?? I picture Jesus smacking his forehead in exasperation at these doofuses!

They then tell someone else to stop casting out demons (something they had just been unable to do themselves) and next ask Jesus if He wants them to “command fire to come down” to consume the Samaritan village who had not allowed them to enter.

Those guys were on a power trip! Had they been listening to ANYTHING Jesus said?? Boy oh boy did those disciples have a lot to learn!