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God’s Word for You

Luke 9:37 The next morning

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, May 14, 2018

37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.

Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus and his disciples had a discussion about Elijah either while they were still on the mountain (Matthew 17:10-13) or while they were on the way down (Mark 9:9-13). Luke omits this and brings us right to the crowd that had gathered at the mountain’s foot, but first Luke tells us that they did not come down the mountain until the next day. Only Luke includes this detail. This might help us to understand the heavy sleep that came upon the disciples a little better, if the transfiguration had taken place late at night when the disciples were exhausted.

The brightness of the transfigured Lord Jesus was partially obscured for those below the mountain by the enveloping cloud of the Glory of the Lord. Perhaps the other nine disciples, aware of the strange flashing brightness coming from the cloud, were the ones who were reminded of flashes of lightning (Luke 9:29). These things being said, we can’t really say whether the transfiguration happened in the day, the evening, or at night, based on the text. But whichever was the case, the Lord and his three disciples did not descend until the next day.

What Jesus was descending into was a confusion of accusation, unbelief, misunderstanding, jealousy, and the threat of death. I’m not talking about the scene of his crucifixion, but merely what was happening at the foot of the mountain. Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us that there was trouble below. A father had brought his demon-possessed son to be healed, and the nine disciples who were there were unable to cast it out. The teachers of the law (scribes) were also there (Mark 9:14), always on the lookout for Jesus to slip up in some small way. One commentator (Hendriksen) described the scene this way: “the glory above and the shame and confusion below. Above is the light; below are the shadows” (Luke, p. 512).

It’s important for every Christian to get away from the cares of life for a while. A vacation from work is revitalizing and necessary. But even more necessary and good for spirit is time spent in the word of God. Go back to Bible study or to a new member class and be refreshed and reminded of what the word of God says. Ask questions. Try to answer questions yourself out loud, to help you become better at putting your faith into words. Trust your childhood education in the Scriptures, and use your time wisely to strengthen that faith, deepen it, and explore new things in the word of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word of God always works, and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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