I’ve been rereading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic book, Discipleship, over the past month or so. As I was reading this past week, a paragraph from his reflections on Matthew 10:26-39 stood out to me. Here it is:
Human beings should not be feared. They cannot do much to the disciples of Jesus. Their power stops with the disciples’ physical death. The disciples are to overcome fear of death with fear of God. Disciples are in danger, not from human judgment, but from God’s judgment, not from the decay of their bodies, but from the eternal decay of their bodies and souls. Anyone who is still afraid of people is not afraid of God. Anyone who fears God is no longer afraid of people. Daily reminders of this statement are valuable for preachers of the gospel.
the sun, moon, and stars,
spoken into space,
still sing the ancient melody,
of God’s great grace and power.
the rising sun and midnight gloaming
echo the divine power,
arching the back and breathing the breath
into every living thing.
that same power and grace
takes time and space upon itself,
inhabits human flesh and bone,
arches its back and breathes breath
like every living thing.
Messiah, alive and kicking,
baby King singing infant songs
into the night of Bethlehem-town,
by my King in my world today.
[This is part of a series of prayers for Sunday worship preparation that begins here.]
We have information without knowledge, and the knowledge we have does not lead us to wisdom.
Wisdom is fashioned through reflection upon the crucible of living with knowledge, inadequate knowledge, or lack of knowledge.
Yet, the crucible of life is often that against which we medicate ourselves or from which we insulate ourselves.
We arch our backs like a baby in pain or discomfort doing whatever we can to avoid the crucible of life.
We seek the ecstasies of life through the pathways of thrill-seeking and the pleasure-dome, yet the rude reality is that this ecstasy ceases to be ecstatic when we attempt to maintain it perpetually.
What we are truly seeking to attain is satisfaction, joy, and contentment but it is incredibly elusive.
Why is it that the things we pursue so diligently fail to satisfy us when we finally attain them?
Why are so many lottery winners depressed?
Why do famous people often feel so empty?
Why is it that the toy a child so desperately wanted for Christmas sits neglected in a corner of a closet just a few months later?
What are we searching for and how do we find it, maintain it, and live in it?
If we knew what it is would that help us, guide us, or merely torture us?
Would we know how to convert our searching into wisdom or merely languish in something else?
Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Transfigured,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series, “Jesus on the Move.” The text for this week are from Luke 9:28-36.
- When have you experienced real jaw-dropping awe in your life? What happened or where were you?
- We continue the series “Jesus on the Move” this week by looking at Luke 9:28-36. Before you begin this study, ask God to speak to you from His Word, and then read the text aloud.
- This story occurs after many miracles, as well as Peter’s declaration that Jesus is God’s Messiah (9:20) and Jesus’ prediction of His death and resurrection (9:21-27). Like many other pivotal events, this episode arises in the context of prayer. Why do you think that is important?
- Jesus’ physical transformation seems to be a ‘sneak preview’ of the glory of God found in Him. Moses and Elijah stand nearby and talk with Jesus. Read Deuteronomy 18:14-21 and Malachi 4:5-6. What would you say is the significance of Moses and Elijah’s presence here?
- Peter, John and James are startled to attention by this amazing sight. Peter wants to build booths, which may refer to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-44; Deuteronomy 16:13-17). Why do you think Peter says this?
- The appearance of a cloud over this glorious gathering is reminiscent of the glory of God covering His people in a cloud (Exodus 40:34-35; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14). What does the voice from the cloud tell us about who Jesus is; even who Jesus is compared to Moses and Elijah?
- Habakkuk 2:20 says, “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Take some time in stillness and silence to reflect on the glory of the Lord.
- What is one thing that God is speaking to you personally through this study? If you’re on your own, take some time to write it down and share it with someone later. If you are with a small group, share it with one another.
Daily Reading Plan
To encourage us together in our growth with God, we are arranging a weekday reading plan through this entire series with the Gospel of Luke. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.
Follow along with the reading plan below, through the Eastbrook app, or on social media.
Feb. 20 Luke 9:28-36
Feb. 21 Matthew 17:1-13; Matthew 3:1-3
Feb. 22 Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 3:16-17
Feb. 23 Mark 9:2-13
Feb. 24 Acts 2:22-23; Deuteronomy 18:15, 18
This weekend at Eastbrook Church I continued our series, “Jesus on the Move,” with a messaged entitled, “Transfigured” from Luke 9:28-36. This event conveys both the beautiful and dangerous glory of Jesus’ true nature as fully God and fully man. The silence of the disciples at the end of it all echoes our own call to silence before the only awesome God in Jesus Christ. As the prophet Habakkuk writes:
The Lord is in His holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before Him. (Habakkuk 2:20)
You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.
Also, join in with the weekday reading plan for this series here.
The Glorious Unveiling (Luke 9:28-31)
The Glorious Overwhelming (Luke 9:32-33)
Peter’s desire to build shelters
The Glorious Voice (Luke 9:34-35)
The Glorious Silence (Luke 9:36; Habakkuk 2:20)
The awe-filled silence
The untold story