Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wants to Know -- Did you do your faith-work?

Okay. I just finished reading and going through Luke’s version, and I’m amazed at the difference of his version from the other two. Are you? I want to encourage you in this. This week is about reading, observing the who, what, when and where in the scripture, taking notes, and comparing. Next week will be about reading, but reading to observe something else. It won’t all be this labor intensive, but it is all meant to stretch you and me. If you have a concern or question, please write a comment. If you don’t want it posted, please say so, and I won’t post it. There is no dumb question. And I will tell you, I don’t know all the answers! I may have the same question you do, but that is part of the journey. Come with me. Let’s do this together.

Let’s start at the top. Shall we? (Important to remember – If you have a question about the term or translation or word usage, read another translation to see if you understand it better. I start with NIV because I understand it better, but then I check against Holcomb Christian Standard Bible. That is my choice. Find what works for you.)

1. Matthew and Mark said specifically “after 6” days. Luke’s version says “about 8 days.” I find it interesting that Luke is using an estimation considering Luke was a physician. I would have thought he would be more specific and detailed.

2. When I read the previous story about what happened the six/eight days before, I see that Luke leaves out Peter’s rebuke and Jesus’ response about, “Get behind me, Satan.” I also find that what happened previously was Jesus was predicting His own death. Then Jesus told his disciples that if any of them were to follow Jesus, they would have to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow him. It talks also about rewarding each person “according to what he has done.” So Jesus knows what is coming, and He’s trying to prepare his disciples.

3. Jesus, Peter, James and John are in all three books. They go to a high mountain alone.

4. Luke is only book that said they went to pray.

5. The Transfiguration –

Matthew said Jesus was transfigured before them.

Mark said Jesus was transfigured before them.

Luke said Jesus was changed and Moses and Elijah showed up and was talking to Jesus when “Peter and his companions” woke up. (This reminds me of Gethsemane.)

Matthew said face was like the sun.

Mark said clothes “became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them”

Matthew said clothes became white as light.

Luke said clothes “bright as a flash of lightning”

Matthew and Mark both say that after the transfiguration Moses and Elijah were present.

Luke also said that Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus about his departure. This isn’t mentioned in the other books.

Matthew and Mark both said Peter started talking about building three tabernacles when a cloud enveloped them. Luke’s is similar except it adds that Moses and Elijah were leaving.

Peter spoke while terrified and not knowing what to say.

While Peter spoke, God interrupted him. ( I wonder what the actual voice of God sounds like – James Earl Jones?)

In NIV, Luke uses a slightly different word choice that had me perplexed. They were, “Son I have chosen.” I went to the Holman Christian Standard Bible, and it says, “Chosen One.”

God tells Peter, James and John to listen. Luke refers to “Peter and his companions.”

After God speaks, Moses and Elijah are gone.

I liked Matthew’s version “Jesus came and touched them” – How personal, physical and intimate!

As they are coming down the mountain, Jesus tells them not to tell anyone until after the Son of May has risen. This is found in Matthew and Mark. Luke just said the disciples kept it to themselves, and this is where the chapter ends for Luke.

Matthew and Mark document another conversation about Elijah, and only in Matthew does it explain that the disciples knew Jesus was referring to John the Baptist.

There is a lot of meat in this one story in the Bible. You may wonder about the slight differences, but consider this. When there is an automobile accident there are many witnesses. There are witnesses inside the vehicle that was struck, witnesses inside the striking vehicle, and different witnesses standing around the site. The witness in the vehicle that is struck may not see what is behind them. The witness standing on the street may turn only once he hears the crash, so location and timing affects what is witnessed. Next, consider the person driving the striking car has been involved in other accidents, he has experience and sometimes experience gives us a different perspective.

All three of these books are the inspired Word of God. We agreed before starting that the Word of God contains no errors. There will be things we don’t understand until God chooses to remove the scales from our eyes and reveal it to us, but in the meantime we have to trust God. These three stories support one another. Each adds a different element or detail. I love the personal connection Matthew has in his. I like Mark’s word choice for describing the brightness of the transfiguration. I love the details that Luke adds about the conversation Jesus was having with Elijah and Moses.

Something else that I love is how God praises His Son in public.

Do I still have questions? Sure I do. Like how did they know it was Moses and Elijah? Did Jesus ever put a time limit on other instructions? But do these questions prevent me from growing deeper in my faith? NO!

Do you want to go deeper? Search this: WHY IS THE TRANSFIGURATION SO IMPORTANT? (That’s bonus faith-work.)

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