Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 9:28-50

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Chapter 9:28-50

Divine Highs and Human Lows

  • Jesus takes Peter, John, and James and ascends a mountain to pray.
  • While Jesus prays, his face becomes different, and his clothes are white and sparking lightning bolts. Yikes.
  • In case that wasn't cool enough, Moses and Elijah appear and talk to him. They also are awash with "glory" (9:31), and all three discuss Jesus's upcoming "departure" that will occur in Jerusalem.
  • Meanwhile, Peter and the others grow sleepy. Seriously, guys? With this show?
  • After Moses and Elijah leave, Peter suggests to Jesus that they construct three "dwellings" (9:33 NRSV) or "tabernacles" (KJV) to commemorate this incredible religious event. But Peter doesn't know what he's talking about.
  • While Peter's babbling on about the tabernacles, a cloud blows in that casts its shadow over them.
  • They start to wet their pants with fear.
  • A voice echoes forth from the cloud: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" (9:35). Note: whenever you hear a voice echoing from the sky, you probably want to listen.
  • The voice is talking about Jesus because, by that time, Jesus is alone.
  • The disciples with him are silent and don't tell anyone what's happened.
  • When they come down from the mountain the next day, a huge crowd is there to meet them.
  • A man requests Jesus's assistance with his son, who screams, convulses, and foams at the mouth. Yeah, he's possessed.
  • He already asked the assistance of the other disciples. Supposedly, they should be able to do this (remember, Jesus gave them the power), but they're not succeeding in this case.
  • Jesus is fed up with this faithless and twisted generation. How long does he have to put up with this?
  • But he tells the father to bring his son over to him.
  • While Jesus prays, the demon rips the boy who's convulsing. But Jesus issues the spirit its marching orders, cures the boy, and restores him to his father.
  • Wow.
  • But wait, Jesus says. He's going to be betrayed. (Gasp! Oh wait, we already knew that.)
  • The disciples don't get it, but it's not really their fault. After all, "its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it" (9:45)—whatever that means.
  • They're afraid to ask Jesus to explain.
  • The disciples start to argue about which of them is the greatest. And here Jesus is speaking of his betrayal. Take a sip of that irony.
  • But Jesus knows what they're thinking. Simeon was right when he predicted in 2:35 that "the inner thoughts of many will be revealed."
  • Time for a little demonstration.
  • Jesus places a child by his side. Welcoming a child who has no status is the equivalent of welcoming Jesus, which in turn is the equivalent of welcoming God, who sent Jesus.
  • Got it?
  • That means the least is the greatest.
  • The disciple John reports to Jesus that they caught someone daring to exorcize demons in the name of Jesus, but they stopped him because he's not a follower.
  • Jesus responds that John's logic is all wrong: "for whoever is not against you is for you" (9:50). 
  • Deep.

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