Friday, October 5, 2012

Jesus Revealed

Jesus had just revealed to his disciples his most important secret—that he was the coming king that had been promised, but that he would be killed before the end.  At this point the disciples might doubt that he really is the king.  But he gave them convincing proofs that he really was the king, the coming Messiah.   Jesus had said to the disciples and the crowd, “There are some of you standing here that will not die before you see the kingdom coming with power.”  This excited people, because they thought he meant that the end would come before the end of their lifetimes.  But Jesus meant something different than what they thought.

            Six days after Jesus declared to the disciples his plan to conquer by death, he told his three closest disciples—Simon Peter, James and John—to follow him while the rest stay behind.  The three followed him up a steep hill, where there was no one else.  The three looked around, and they saw Moses and Elijah there, waiting for Jesus.  They looked at Jesus and saw that his whole appearance had changed—he was shining and his clothes were brilliant, whiter than anyone could clean it.  They realized that they weren’t seeing Jesus on earth, but Jesus as he really is in heaven.

            The three were so stunned that they couldn’t speak.  Jesus was speaking to Moses and Elijah about the coming events to happen in Jerusalem.  Simon then felt that someone ought to say something, so he stammered out, “Uh… it’s great that we’re here.”  Feeling that his words weren’t adequate to the situation, Simon added, “Well, I suppose we should get ready for the night.  Um… how about if we set up three tents—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah?” 

Suddenly, the Father’s voice came out of heaven and spoke to Simon, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him!”  In an instant, Moses and Elijah was gone and Jesus was alone with them and he looked like his usual self.  Jesus then told them that they should tell no one about this experience until he had risen from the dead.

As they were walking toward the rest of the twelve, they noticed that there was some commotion around them.  As Jesus drew near, some people ran up to him, saying, “Master, we are glad you’re here.  A man brought his son to the disciples to be healed and they couldn’t do it.”  The disciples were having a discussion with some scribes about the matter.  Jesus came up to them and asked, “What’s going on?”  They said that there was a boy with a demonic spirit, but they couldn’t cast it out.

Jesus went to the father and said, “What’s wrong with him?”  The man replied, “My son has been attacked by an evil spirit for years.  He is mute and will have seizures.  But the seizures aren’t just arbitrary.  They would throw him into fire, or into water to drown him.  If it is possible, please heal him.”  Jesus said, “If it is possible?  Everything is possible to one who believes.”  The man replied, “I do believe, but please help me in my unbelief.”

Jesus would have talked to him more, but a large crowd was coming, so Jesus acted quickly in order to keep the matter private.  He commanded the demon to be gone, and the boy began having a seizure.  Suddenly, he stopped and he lay still, as if dead.  Everyone stared at the boy, waiting to see if anything would happen.  Then, slowly, the boy got up normally, and he was fine.

The disciples later came to Jesus and asked, “Why couldn’t we heal him?”  Jesus said, “Well, that demon was especially difficult.  It could only come out by prayer.  But, like I said, anything is possible to the one who is faithful to God.  If you have only as much faith as a mustard seed, you can say to a mountain, ‘Be thrown into the sea’ and it would happen.  So pray and have faith and whatever you ask for will be granted to you.

“And one more thing, if you want your prayers to be heard, forgive.  You have all sinned before the Father, and you want him to forgive you.  But if you don’t forgive others from your heart, then the Father will not hear you.  Once there was a slave who owed his king a huge debt—over a hundred thousand dollars.  The slave asked the king for mercy, and the king forgave him the debt.  But that same slave had another slave who owed him twenty bucks and he insisted that his fellow slave pay him.  His fellow slave asked for mercy and more time to pay.  The first slave refused and put him in prison.  When the king heard about this, he withdrew his mercy on his slave and said, ‘If you were to show gratitude to me for my mercy, you should have forgiven your fellow slave.’ The king had the first slave thrown in jail until he paid his whole debt.  Even so, if you do not forgive those around you, the Father will not forgive you.”