Jesus reveals through Transfiguration (Journey 34)

In this special edition of the Journey with Christ series, the Transfiguration is presented, which was an unusual event and one of the most important events as Jesus revealed His Deity to a few Disciples. We are reading in Mark 9:2-8; Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:28-36, as Jesus journeyed from Caesarea Philippi to a “high mountain” (probably Mount Hermon)

A week after His rebuke to Peter, Jesus went up a “high mountain” to pray, and there He was transfigured (metamorphosed). Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Him about His death. Peter and the others fight sleep as the hours drag on, when suddenly a bright cloud comes down over them and out of it, God’s voice commanding obedience to His Son. Jesus dispelled their fear by touching them as they lay on their faces on the ground. When they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone and Jesus was alone. Peter wants to build three tabernacles.

Here’s the story: Jesus transfigures Himself to His Disciples on a high mountain, which was not far from Caesarea Philippi. It was the revelation of Christ’s Glory, and was witnessed by three chosen Disciples, to which, they saw a glimpse of the Kingdom of God.

In coming into the world in the Incarnation, Jesus put His Divine Glory aside; however, it now reappeared through His body. It was an indication of the glory He would receive after finishing the Work He came to do.

Through the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, who talked with Jesus about His coming death, and confirming what Jesus recently told the Disciples. The Messiah would have to die before entering Glory. This confused the Disciples; however, the Father’s voice told them that it was an expression of His Satisfaction of Jesus’ entire Ministry.

God declared this Kingly Messiah as the One who would lay down His Life as the Suffering Servant.

He is God’s Prophet, to whom they needed to listen to and acknowledge. Once Jesus returned to normal, He again told the Disciples that they should not tell of what has been revealed.

This is our Beloved Savior, the One in whom the Glory resides as King and Messiah! We must honor Him all our days, trust Him, and allow His Will for our lives all our days!

Historical Data

There are no facts of the exact location of this place, as the Bible mentions “High Mountain”, to which we see possibilities of Mount Tabor or Mount Hermon, since they had traveled to Caesarea Philippi. Mount Hermon has a connection to Moses and Elijah, who are associated with the concept of Transjordan (see Mark 9:4). This was a thoroughly Gentile area, which might lay claim to possible connections of Salvation coming to the Gentiles.

The return of Elijah was a strong connection to the Coming Day of the Lord in the prophecy noted in Malachi 4:5-6. Of course, in the Bible, we see multiple instances of high mountains and prophetic revelation being linked closely (Exodus 19:10-20:21; Deuteronomy 34:1-4; 1 Kings 18:20-40; 2 Peter 1:16-19 are all examples).

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Journey 33)

Jesus is continuing His Ministry, as He talks with Peter about who He is… We are reading in Mark 8:27-30; Matthew 16:13-20; Luke 9:18-21. Jesus is journeying from Bethsaida to Caesarea Philippi.

Jesus and the Disciples were traveling, where Jesus asked them who do men say He is. They said that people think He is John the Baptist, Elias (Elijah), or one of the other Prophets. Jesus then asked them who they think He is. Peter answered quickly “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus told the group, after being delighted at their answer, that they would be the foundation of the building of His Church, to which, no power would be able to conquer it.

Through preaching the Gospel, they would open the Kingdom to all who wanted to enter in. They would even carry the authority of Jesus with them so that things done on Earth in His Name would be confirmed in Heaven. However, this was still in the future. They needed to continue to help Him currently in the Ministry until the appointed time came.

What does Jesus teach us here? We must declare His Name to people, and truly back up our belief upon Him. Just as the Disciples admitted (notably Peter) that He is Christ, the Son of the Living God, they were commissioned to be the foundation of the Church where they could preach about the Lord, heal, deliver, etc. We are expected upon similar principles to express our belief in the Lord, preach about Him, etc.

Jesus foretells His Death and Resurrection

We are now reading in Mark 8:31-37; Matthew 16:21-26; Luke 9:22-25, where Jesus is about to foretell His Death and Resurrection.

Jesus explains to His Disciples that in order to fulfill His Ministry as the Messiah, He had to suffer, die, and rise again. Peter objected to Him saying it shall not be, to which, Jesus rebuked him for incorrect thinking. Peter did not understand and was not thinking according to the purposes of God, which Jesus was to do.

The suggestion that Jesus should not attend to the cross was just a temptation from satan that influenced the mind of Peter, which is why Jesus responded “Get thee behind me, satan…” It was an attempt to persuade Him to gain His Kingdom a different way other than death, to which, was not possible based upon His Plan. If He had not come to die, and be Resurrected, He would have failed in the very thing He came to do.

Just after telling His Disciples of the coming suffering and death, Jesus told them they had better be prepared to be treated similarly. The Disciples are those who have given their lives to Christ and therefore they shall be obedient to their Master even unto persecution or death.

They have no longer rule over their own lives, but will have to deny themselves of personal desires and gain to please Jesus. In sacrificing the life that puts their own wills first, they will find true, satisfying life in Christ. For those that live for selfish gain for things wanted in the present (vanity), they will just lose the only life of lasting value, which is Eternal Life.

What can we learn from Jesus here? We must not expect great and high things of the world, or give ourselves to gain or wealth. We should instead suffer ourselves of such things, and rather seek after spiritual things that are more attributable to Eternal Life. If we continue to keep ourselves from selfish gain; sacrificing our own will, we will be able to tap into His Will for our lives and do things that bring Eternal Life’s rewards.

The coming of the son of man in His Kingdom

We turn now to Mark 8:38-9:1; Matthew 16:27-28; Luke 9:25-27, where Jesus is about to make an eschatological declaration after foretelling His Death and Resurrection. This leads to a Prophecy: Some there present will not die until they see the Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom; see the Kingdom of God come with power.

Jesus promised His Disciples that those who accompanied Him in His Ministry would see the Triumph of the Lord’s Glorious Kingdom. Many standing there would not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God, even if just a glimpse. With that, the Lord’s promise would be fulfilled for a few much sooner than expected.

What can we learn here? We can all look forward to His Coming Kingdom, for it is promised that He will soon come in all His Glory to bring the Harvest. It is coming, and we must continually prepare for it whilst preparing others as well for it.

Jesus deals with hostile Pharisees and Sadducees (Journey 32)

As you may expect, Jesus dealt with hostile people. Of course, if you are going to do anything great in the world, you will have lovers and you will have enemies. You cannot win them all. Jesus knew He could not win very many hearts for the Kingdom of God; however, what He did was important and vital for the rotation of our world. He did what no man could ever do, and that is why we celebrate His Resurrection. What a joyous time!

We are reading in Mark 8:10-13; Matthew 15:39-16:4, as Jesus journeys from Decapolis across the Sea of Galilee to Magdala. Jesus may have stopped over at Dalmanutha as well. The Town of Dalmanutha and The City of Magdala were two separate places, which were very close in vicinity to each other. Magdala is near the shore of the Sea of Galilee at the most westerly point, which is just north of Tiberias. In the southern part is Capernaum.

After feeding the 4,000 men, Jesus sails to Magdala (Matthew says) or Dalmanutha (Mark says), where the Pharisees and Sadducees ask Him to show them a sign from Heaven. Jesus upbraided them for their spiritual darkness in the light of their supposed skill in foretelling the weather. Only the “sign of Jonah” will be given them.

Here’s the story:

Jesus and His Disciples departed to Dalmanutha, and when they arrived, the Pharisees immediately “invaded” Him with question, seeking signs from Heaven, tempting Him, etc. Jesus refused yet again to prove unto them a sign from Heaven, because they don’t believe His Miracles are enough to prove His Divinity.

NOTICE: Jesus has shown His Miracles to prove His Divinity already enough; therefore, for the Pharisees and Sadducees to ask Him for more signs was not going to work, because the only one left that He could use to prove is His Resurrection.

The sign they seek after should not be foretelling the weather, but rather just be the sign of Jonah, for Jonah came back to life three days after apparent death inside the fish; however, Jesus would come back to life after three days of actual death. By this sign, the Father would prove that Jesus is His Son. He then left them and departed.

What can we glean here? We need not be so busy seeking after signs of the Majesty of Jesus Christ, for we have enough evidence to support the existence of God, The Son, and the Holy Ghost. Therefore, we need not offend the signs of God’s Will by seeking for signs of our own wills. We must always be akin to His Will!

Jesus heals a blind man

We continue His Journey in Mark 8:13-26; Matthew 16:5-12, where Jesus quickly travels from Magdala (or Dalmanutha) back across The Sea of Galilee to Bethsaida. We see that leaven is mentioned here: Sin is compared to leaven, in that it affects all that it touches.

Here’s the story:

The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herod were all evil influences that spread through Israel as leaven spread through a lump of dough. Jesus warned His Disciples to beware of them and their leavening effect. The interpretation of this is likely that they were not to be influenced by false teaching and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, or even the ungodly ways of people like Herod.

The Apostles missed the meaning of what Jesus was saying, for they thought He just wanted some bread (unleavened maybe?), and were worried that they did not have any left. This showed that they had twice seen Jesus feed a huge crowd of people, but still lacked faith to believe He could provide for them specifically. They also lacked spiritual understanding, for they did not see the meaning of the illustration Jesus explained until after He explained it to them.

Soon, another blind man came unto Jesus for healing, but did lack faith. Jesus saw this, and after healing, He asked the man if he could see. Since the man lacked faith, complete healing did not occur. However, Jesus did not leave him unhealed, but rather, completed the healing giving the man normal eyesight and strengthening his faith in the end.

What can we learn from this?

We must not forget the works of God or distrust Him, because this will cause us to reap consequences onto ourselves. We have the benefit of God working for us and helping us, therefore, we must choose to continue to believe and have faith in what He is doing, and try to seek out the meaning of things that He instructs to us. Instead of taking everything so literal, why not try to seek out the deeper meaning behind the things that He points out?

Jesus You are the Bread of Life (Journey 29-31)

We are covering three Journeys today, well two-and-a-half, as the first half of Journey 29 was in our recent blog. Anyway, we are going to experience that Jesus truly is the Bread of Life.

Bread of Life Sermon

We are reading in John 6:22-71, where Jesus is journeying from a mountain near Bethsaida-Julius, and then to the plains of Gennesaret and on to Capernaum.

Those that intended to make Him King needed to know some things, because they thought He was someone who knew magical powers or could do sorcery and other forms of magic. He urged them, however, not to think just of physical or temporary blessings, but to seek the spiritual and Eternal Life that He offered, because people cannot earn this life through good works, but only by faith. He does not need to make food fall from Heaven as Moses did to prove His Power, but He Himself is the True Bread from Heaven—the Bread of Life.

This bread from Heaven is not a common food, but rather, it is a spiritual provision available to those who are drawn by the Father to the Son and give themselves to Him in faith! As Jesus does the Father’s Will, He brings believers into life of God’s Kingdom (Eternal Life). They have such Eternal Life now, that they will enjoy the blessing in its fullness following the victorious resurrection at the end of the age!

Some of the audience objected to Him saying that He has no right to make such claims, because He was not God and had not come from Heaven—rather He was from a Galilean family. Jesus repeated what He said previously to impress upon them that the Salvation He brought descended straight from Heaven and was the work of the invisible God. The only way Salvation came was through Jesus, His Son, making a sacrifice for sin, to which, people can obtain Eternal Life.

The true bread that Jesus had come to give to people was His Flesh and Blood offered in sacrifice, and unless people ate of His Flesh and drank of His Blood, they cannot have Eternal Life now or in the future. Many people still found His Teaching on this hard to understand, and therefore, He told them that if they had difficulty in believing His Words on this, they would be amazed when He Resurrects and Ascends to Heaven. Their difficulty was because they were thinking of physical flesh and blood instead of spiritual truths that were involved. They failed to understand how Eternal Life could result from His death.

Many people were just more interested in Earthly benefits than spiritual life, and were disappointed in Jesus’ Teaching; therefore, they turned back from following Him. The Apostles, however, except Judas Iscariot, mentioned that they deeply trusted in the Lord and knew that the words He spake were truly life giving.

What can we learn from this? Christ is to the soul what bread is to the body, to which, He nourishes and supports spiritual life. His Body and His Blood purchase our redemption through sacrifice; therefore, we must acknowledge that He is the Bread of Life, the food for our souls!

Pharisees notice Unwashed Hands

The Pharisees attend to their business as usual in policing behavior of Jews… We are reading in Mark 7:1-23; Matthew 15:1-20; John 7:1.

The Jews commonly practiced the ceremonial washing of hands, to which they believed that those who encountered unclean people or things had to have water poured over their hands to cleanse themselves. This was not a command of the Law of Moses, but it was a tradition of the Pharisees. Jesus argued that this tradition was causing a misunderstanding of the Law for people, and it also stopped them from doing more important things that the Law required them to do.

Jesus then gives an example of this that the Law of Moses taught people to respect and care for their aged parents, but the Jews added the tradition that enabled them to ignore their parents—to which, they could make a vow that when they died, their money and goods could go to the Temple. Promising such things to God, they said they were not free to give them to anyone else, such as needy parents for example. However, they themselves continued to enjoy possessions all their lives, which, in their tradition, contradicted the plain teaching of the Law.

The Jews would not even eat certain foods, believing that some made them unclean. Jesus said that just as eating with unwashed hands did not make a person unclean, neither did eating prohibited foods. The people that were actually unclean to God were those that taught such things.

What makes a person unclean is the evil that proceeds out of the mouth, not the food that goes into it, because the source of all evil is a wicked heart. The Pharisees’ traditions of cleansing prevented them from seeing these facts, even though it was the goal that the Law of Moses’ cleansing rituals had pointed to.

What we can learn from this: Our wicked thoughts, affections, words, actions, deeds, etc. are what defile us, and only these. We must have the spiritual understanding of the Law of God that sin is evil and will cause a man to seek for the Grace of God to help deal with such evils.

Healing the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter

We are reading here in Mark 7:24-30; Matthew 15:21-28, where Jesus is in rough travel from Capernaum North over rough up lands near view of snowy summits of Lebanon, through wooded valleys to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Two days journey about 30-40 miles. Jesus moves north to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

Jesus and His Disciples needed to rest for a while and went to Tyre and Sidon. A woman of that area asked Jesus to drive a demon out of her daughter, to which, He tested the sincerity of her faith before helping her. He did not answer her, so the woman pressed Him further. He then told the woman that His Work was with Israel, not surrounding nations; however, her pleas continued.

He then notes that the people of Israel were the favored ones (children) to His Ministry, and it was not right to neglect them to feed the dogs (probably speaking of Gentiles)—who were not fit to eat with the children at the table. She answers and says she would be willing to eat the crumbs on the floor that the dogs eat if He would be willing; therefore, impressed with her faith, He granted her request immediately.

Jesus is helping us learn: Faith is important to have when coming to Christ for help. This woman came to Christ, and at least had enough faith that could sample the crumbs upon the floor from the table where the children ate the bread (symbolically), to which, was enough for Christ to honor and heal her daughter. He regards our faith and is willing to hear us further when we believe that He can help us, and that we trust in His methods to do so.

Jesus Fed 4,000 more

Jesus proves He is the Bread of Life… Not by words this time, but by action of provision. We are reading in Mark 7:31-8:9; Matthew 15:29-38.

Jesus returned to the region around the Sea of Galilee, and then continued to Decapolis, where there were many Gentiles. This was a time of ministry to many Gentiles. One of the people healed was a deaf and dumb (mute) man. Because of his deafness, Jesus used actions rather than words to ensure he had faith and understood what He wanted to do.

Jesus put His fingers in the man’s ears, spat, and touching His tongue, looked up to Heaven and said, “Be opened.” The immediate healing caused tremendous excitement. Matthew links this astonishment to all the many other healings of the maimed, the lame, and the blind.

Jesus also had compassion when He saw the multitude of hungry people around, to whom He decided to feed. Previously, the crowd fed was mostly Jewish. This crowd is mostly Gentiles. The Disciples doubted whether Jesus would help all of them; however, Jesus did feed them as miraculously as He fed the Jews.

He fed 4,000 men, as well as women and children. He fed them with seven loaves and a few small fish. Seven baskets of fragments were gathered after the crowd had eaten.

How can this help us? The bountiful riches of Christ are always ready, even though the Disciples doubted He would help people, He did anyway. Christ showed that it doesn’t matter who someone is, if they are hungry, they should come to Him for He will provide for them (physically and/or spiritually).

Jesus Walks on Water (Journey 29)

Jesus takes an extensive tour in this journey. He first travels from a mountain near Bethsaida to Bethsaida near Capernaum, before heading over to Capernaum – and his tour may have likely went on further from here. We are reading in Mark 6:47-52; Matthew 14:24-33; John 6:16-21.

The Disciples were sent on a boat while Jesus escaped the multitude, to which, the Disciples on the boat again encountered a storm. The boat was off course and hard to row; however, Jesus came to His Disciples by walking on the water.

They were quite fearful and unsure what to say. Peter replies and says if it is really Him, then have him come to Him. Jesus told him to come, and when he did, he walked on the water to go to Jesus, but when the wind blew, Peter was fearful and sank crying to the Lord for help.

Jesus saved Peter, and wondered why their faith again failed them in a state of crisis. They saw His Power in feeding the 5,000; therefore, why did they not know His Power was still available to them.

What can we learn from this?

When Jesus goes to lead us, we need to listen. In Peter’s case here, the natural man gave in and did not listen to the spiritual man on the inside. We must have contact with the spiritual man to understand spiritual things. We must fully trust the Lord, for He makes the difference!

Gennesaret Welcomed Jesus

We are reading here in Mark 6:53-56; Matthew 14:34-36, as Jesus is welcomed into Gennesaret. They come to land South of Capernaum at the plain of Gennesaret. The sick are brought from everywhere and by simply touching His clothes, they are healed. He travels about in this part of the country, ending up at Capernaum.

What can we learn: No matter how far off course we may be blown, we will always be in a place where the Lord can work to help us and help others. We must depend upon the Lord, because He is our source of strength.