Jul8WedJuly 8, 2020
Good morning saints,
Praise the Lord! It was good to see most of you yesterday in our Zoom meeting. This isolation is hopefully creating in us a longing to be with each other, face to face. I can't help but think of those who are persecuted for their faith, separated from loved ones and isolated in confinement. Let us keep praying for one another, especially our brothers and sisters suffering for Christ's sake.
This week's reading (Luke 9:20-36) is very challenging. There are some powerful things Jesus says to His disciples. I wonder what he would say to us if He was living life with us in person. Would He say, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life". Would He say, "God wants to bless you and fulfill all your desires, and give you what you want". I don't believe so! I do believe Jesus would say exactly what He told His own disciples: "who do you say I am" (v.20); "My mission was to go to the cross, if you want to be my disciple, you have to pick up your cross and follow me" (v.22-23). In other words, Jesus is asking His disciples to give up their lives to truly find life (24-25), and to take a stand for Jesus and what He says (v.26). Have you ever wondered what that really means? To give up your life for Jesus? Think of the imagery: as they see another person carrying their cross, led by two Roman soldiers who would crucify the individual on that very same cross. A picture of complete surrender and abandonment, being led rather than leading your own life...nothing of this world is he bringing with him; the destination is death. But the reward is life!
I find it very interesting that recorded immediately after this teaching is the transfiguration of Jesus. Are the two connected? The passage says, Jesus's appearance changed while He was praying (vs. 29)...He was in the presence of God! The disciples were asleep! (vs. 32). Peter's response to seeing the glory of Jesus, Elijah and Moses, was nonsense (v.33). The primary purpose of the story is to reveal the divinity of Jesus, but is there more? Peter only saw a brief picture at the end, and he had no clue what was going on, cause he had fallen asleep. If he had entered into prayer with Jesus, he would have been part of the whole experience. Could this whole passage be implying that to see the glory of God, one has to be willing to surrender and carry the cross - (die) to the world, and be totally committed to Jesus?
Friends, I can attest to the fact that the more we abandon the world, and the more we pursue intimacy with the Father through Jesus, the more we will experience His glory. This time of isolation has allowed me to spend more time with Him in prayer and communion. God is showing me more and more about Jesus and who He is. I believe this era where many things have been removed, is a time for us to devote more time to intimacy with God. He wants to take us deeper, and show us more.
I encourage you to read the first chapter of 2 Peter, where he mentions what he saw the day he saw Jesus transfigured. (2Peter 1). Listen to this:
NLT 2 Peter 1:3 As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! 4 And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.
The Message 2Peter 2:3-4 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.