(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
15 JESUS’ FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT OF HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
“From that time on….” – this appears to introduce a new direction in Jesus’ teaching of His disciples, His emphasis would now be centred on the real meaning of Messiah’s first advent. The Jews were expecting Messiah to come and immediately set up His kingdom and deliver them from the oppression of their current captors, the Romans; for this was the interpretation from the prophetic predictions of the O.T., the prophets were unable to see that Messiah would first have to suffer death and resurrection, the resulting church age as the gospel would be preached to the gentiles, and the inclusion of both Jew and Gentile in the future kingdom of Messiah. This, no doubt was the reason for Peter’s reaction to Jesus’ statement as recorded by Matthew and Mark, since they all had the hope that Jesus was there to set up His kingdom – “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him” – how could Messiah be put to death? “Never, Lord!….This shall never happen to you!” says Peter. Turning to Peter, Jesus says “Get behind me Satan….You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” , or as Matthew records “You are a stumbling block to me” – Peter’s attempt to deter Jesus was apparently similar to Satan’s temptation of Jesus and apparently led to Jesus referring to Peter as Satan. Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – following Jesus as Messiah was not only to be healed from sickness and diseases, or to be fed when hungry, but to understand that identification with Messiah would mean entering in and sharing with His sufferings so that the message of the gospel would be preached to all people – Jew and Gentile – to accomplish the setting up of the kingdom: it was not the satisfaction of the physical needs, it was the satisfaction of the spiritual needs that was important – “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” – to enter the kingdom the most important issue has to be dealt with, which is the salvation of mankind, and this could only be accomplished by the death and resurrection of Messiah .
16 THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM TO THAT GENERATION
“And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
As Jesus continues to teach His disciples about His coming suffering and death, He says to them that if anyone is embarrassed of Him and His words in “this adulterous generation” , a reference to their generation but also to future generations, then He will be embarrassed of such persons when he returns in His glory with His holy angels. It is effortless for us to be so concerned with “fitting”into and pleasing our own “adulterous and sinful” generation, than it is to be a true follower of Christ, and if we are guilty of this we will have no part in God’s kingdom, since we as His disciples must deny ourselves and carry the cross of rejection and humiliation, anticipating the future reward of sharing in Christ’s glory .
Jesus then makes a statement that has been greatly misconstrued, “some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” Jesus was not indicating that the Kingdom would come while they were alive; He was introducing the next event in His teaching where they would experience a vision of what it will be like at His coming to set up the Kingdom. In the transition they would experience the coming of the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the rapid spread of the gospel as is recorded in the Acts Of The Apostles .
17 THE TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS
“After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.”
Transfigure:to change in outward form or appearance: to change so as to glorify or exalt [Webster’s Dictionary]
Both Mark and Matthew record that this occurred six days after Peter’s confession of Christ, while Luke records that it was eight days; possibly including all the days of Jesus’ previous teaching session. Jesus took the three disciples with Him up onto “a high mountain”; scripture, however, does not specify which mountain, (there are three mountains of significance in the Galilee region – Mt. Moreh, Mt. Tabor, and Mt. Hermon), Mt. Hermon is the traditional site and has the highest peak. Here Jesus was “transfigured before them” Matthew recording that “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light”, while Luke records “the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning”. All three writers also state that two men – “Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour” and the topic of their conversation was “about his departure”, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem”.
The most important thing about this incident was that “they saw his glory”, thus it was a revelation of the glory of the Son of God that He had laid aside when He took upon Himself the appearance and form of a man , the glory that was then hidden from the view of mankind as he walked the streets and paths of Galilee, Jerusalem, and the surrounding countrysides; the glory that would be fully restored to Him and be revealed to all mankind at His second coming to the earth; that glory was also revealed to John on the Island of Patmos . It was also a confirmation to the disciples of Jesus’ announcement of His coming death and resurrection as Moses and Elijah had discussed this during the transfiguration.
Jesus was now about to complete that which had been begun by Moses – the promise of salvation – and Elijah – the restorer : it should be noted here that Moses’ successor was Joshua; Elijah’s successor was Elisha “God as saviour” another form of the name Joshua; and Jesus’ Hebrew name was Joshua – Joshua meaning “Jehovah saves”; and a further confirmation of all that had taken place was the fact that God shrouded them in a cloud and said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to Him” giving them the confirmation that all they had seen and heard up to that point, and for the days to come, was approved by God.