Reading For Monday Luke 9:1-36
Even though the twelve apostles were first disciples, the terms do not mean the same thing. A disciple means a learner, a follower of a rabbi, but an apostle is one that has been authorized with specific authority to represent the one who sends that person on a mission. Jesus called his twelve together, and he gave them power and authority over demons and to cure diseases. Jesus gives them power and authority. He endowed them with the same power that he used to heal people and to perform miraculous feats. Only those who are chosen, selected, and empowered by Christ himself are considered apostles. Jesus told them to travel without much but a sense of urgency. If the people were hostile to the gospel, the apostles were to shake off the dust of that city from their feet as a symbol and move on. Herod, the tetrarch, heard about all that was going on and he was disconcerted because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. Herod wanted to look into this and tried to see Jesus. Herod the Tetrarch is beginning to get upset, and it would lead to grim consequences for Jesus and the disciples.
The feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle recorded by all four gospel writers. The disciples suggest to Jesus that he send the multitude away so that they will have time enough to go to the towns and get the necessary provisions. Jesus told his disciples to give them something to eat. This suggestion seemed absurd. Where could the disciples possibly get provisions to feed five thousand people? The nearby towns were small, and would not be prepared to feed a multitude. Jesus continues and asks his disciples to have the people sit down in groups of fifty. Jesus took the loaves and fish on hand and gave thanks while breaking them which was customary before eating a meal. Everyone ate their fill and there were twelve baskets of scraps left over. After the meal, there was still more food left than Jesus had to start with. Jesus demonstrates the power of God with plenty of eyewitnesses.
Jesus asks his disciples an essential question, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They answered based on the various things that they had heard: John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets from long ago. There was no agreement as to who Jesus was, but they knew that he was someone significant. Then Jesus turns the question personally to his disciples and Peter declares that Jesus is the Christ of God. Jesus then said something very strange and commanded them not to tell anyone explaining that he would suffer, be killed, and then rise on the third day.
Jesus, having announced the necessity of his suffering and death, now tells his followers that if they desire to follow, they must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow. Following Jesus is a death to self and finding your life in his. It is life with eternity in mind and not material gain at the cost of the soul. Then, Jesus makes it very clear that if we are ashamed of him before the world, then he will be ashamed of us in the presence of God the Father. Those words should be etched into our minds. It is better to deal with the scorn, rejection and shame of the whole world, than to have Jesus ashamed of me.
To get a full idea of what occurred on the Mount of Transfiguration we need to refer to each of the writers of the synoptic gospels. Both Luke and Matthew record that the face of Jesus shone very brightly. Matthew compares the face of Jesus to the brightness of the sun; Luke says the appearance of his face changed. What the disciples saw in the face of Jesus was the same kind of light that blinded Paul on the road to Damascus. The light that shone through Jesus was not external, it was part of his glory, for he is truly God. Luke also comments on the topic of conversation between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. They discussed his departure. Peter wanted to stay and suggested they make three tents to dwell in without really knowing what he was saying. Suddenly, a cloud overshadowed them and the Father spoke declaring Jesus to be his son and instructing them to listen. When these terrified disciples looked up, only Jesus was there and didn't tell anyone what had happened.
Things To Consider:
- Why is apostolic authority so important?
- Why do you think people wondered if Jesus was Elijah?
- Why would Jesus instruct the disciples to feed the five thousand?
- Why is our personal understanding of Jesus essential for faith?
- How does one lose their life to find it?
- How significant was the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration?
- How are the cloud and Jesus glory connected?