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With Jesus on the Mountains

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 30, 2021 8:00 am

With Jesus on the Mountains

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 30, 2021 8:00 am

We live in a culture that prioritizes productivity and achievement, but sometimes God calls us to simply be still and listen. On this broadcast of The Bible Study Hour, Dr. Boice will encourage us to take time out of our busy days - full of furious activity and information-overload - to simply meet with Jesus. We’ll learn from Peter’s example that sometimes the best thing to do, is to do nothing at all.


We live in a culture that prioritizes productivity and achievement, but sometimes God calls us to simply be still and listen on this broadcast of the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will encourage us to take time out of our busy days full of furious activity and information overload to simply meet with Jesus will learn from Peter's example that sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing at all welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. We've heard the quote great power comes with great responsibility and a similar concept applies specifically to the Christian life. Let's listen in as Dr. Boyce explains why there can be no glory without a cross. A lot of important things happen on mountaintops in the Bible.

So much so that the pie like God continue to operate that way. Today I become a mountain climber since I guess in which he does because we speak of mountaintop experiences or reality are important in their own way and we certainly are going to come to one of them that I think of Mount Sinai, for example, where God appeared. First of all to Moses the burning bush gave him a great name for God. I am I am. Then he appeared again on Sinai later after Moses had brought the people up out of Egypt where the law was given was such an overpowering occasion that the people were at the base of the mountain trembled and even Moses said, I am trembling thing about Carmel. That's where Elijah had his great victory over the prophets of bail God sent down fire to consume the sacrifice of evenly alder dry up all the water that had been poured around.

Later, when Elijah fled into the wilderness, God appeared to him as well. It Mount Sinai. I suppose we could even think of the temptation of our Lord. He went into the wilderness for one of those temptations were told the devil took him up to a very high mountain where we showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said I give you all of these and you'll just fall down and worship me. Jesus replied by quoting from Deuteronomy. You shall worship the Lord your God and him only. We come to another mountain here in our study of Matthew and it's called the Mount of Transfiguration because that's where Jesus was transfigured before three of his disciples was the location of what was undoubtedly a mountaintop experience released remap one of them was Peter.

Peter wrote about it later in his second letter and he tells how impressive it was yours Peter's testimony. We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his Majesty received honor and glory from God the father. When the boys came to him from the majestic glory saying this is my son, whom I love with him I am well pleased.

We ourselves heard this voice that came to him from heaven when we were with them on the sacred mountain alert times in our lives. Most of us wish we could have a mountaintop experience like that of these disciples is a lot about this that we don't know, of course, if we are not told those things it really doesn't matter, but we have questions about them. Anyway, one of the things we don't know is where it actually took place as a traditional signage for the Transfiguration Mount Tabor lies south of Galilee about 1900 feet high, but the problem with that is that Jesus doesn't seem to of been there when this incident took place were told he actually went to the far north. He was in the area of Caesarea Philippi. And besides that archaeologists tell us that Mount Tabor had a fortress on during the lifetime of Jesus Christ.

And it seems an unlikely place for Jesus to withdraw privately with the disciples.

Other people think well must be Mount Herman. That's the highest mountain of all seven about 9000 feet high, was certainly in the area of Caesarea Philippi with the difficulties there is that it was actually a Gentile territory but is it lay beyond. The northernmost boundary of the land is a well I should necessarily matter now but we are told by Mark that when the three disciples and Jesus came down the mountain. They immediately ran into a collection of the teachers of the law and I would be an unlikely place for the teachers will audibly they wouldn't of gathered in Gentile territory.

One other possibility may be the best one is mountain Byron is about 4000 feet high in Palestine properly lies about halfway between Caesarea Philippi and Capernaum, which is where Jesus was had it so it seems to fit the bill. But the most we can say is, it is likely we really don't know what we do know what were told or told us that Jesus went up into the mountain to pray and that while he was praying he was changed. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light blue gadget Peter James and John were sleeping when this happened.

They later were sleeping in the garden of disseminating a similar situation. Jesus praying like, but when they woke up they saw the Transfiguration and recognize Jesus in his heavenly glory. Something else I saw they saw Moses and Elijah there with them and they were talking together that word transfigured is the same word that occurs in second Corinthians chapter verse 18 to talk about our inner transformation into the image of Jesus Christ seem to be what's involved here.

Jesus wasn't changed from with in the be something else.

All we really have here isn't external visible manifestation of his glory. Probably the best parallel to that would be something. Dr. Reichert was talking about some weeks ago at the start of his study on the attributes of God when he talked about the glory of God. Mention of the context of that study Moses being on the mountain and God's presence on Sinai receiving the law and that when he came down his face glowed with this transfer glory something like that.

Only, of course, is a big difference. Moses face was shining because he was reflecting the glory of God and in the case of Jesus Christ.

He was manifesting his own glory.

It was his glory that was being made visible to the disciples.

This also shows up in the way in which that text handles the appearance of Moses and Elijah told why it was Moses and Elijah rather than somebody else but I got so hard to guess at that Moses was the great lawgiver. Elijah was the first of the great prophets. We probably have a representation here of the law and the prophets. The two great divisions of the Old Testament than what this is suggesting is that what these two figures represented and stood before is now fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus taught this himself. Of course he said in the sermon on the Mount don't think that I've come to abolish the law or the prophets.

I've not come to abolish them but to fulfill them again. He said the law and the prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time. The good news of the kingdom of God is being preached everyone is forcing his way into being the law, the prophets were abrogated by Jesus because the very next verses it's easier for heaven and earth disappear, and that the least stroke of the law should be dropped out, but it does mean that Jesus is the culmination of this revelation. So everything the law stood for everything. The prophet stood for, is now to be found in its fullness in Jesus now comes out also. And what happens next.

Peter's Laron peters, a man of action.

We know enough about Peter by now know that is not the man to keep silent when something important is going on. So Peter felt he had to say something and so he blurted out a suggestion Lord is good for us to be here a Rallying Dr., Aaron if you wish. I'll put up for three shoulders here lose one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah, and I was exactly the wrong thing to say.

The point about happening is that Jesus was the unique son of God, the King of glory and Moses and Elijah were there to honor him.

Peter is doing is kind of putting Jesus on the same level as Moses and Elijah, and it may well be because the Jews revered Moses and certainly were anticipating Elijah Peter even thought it was somewhat of an honor Jesus to have the opportunity to converse with these two great men are told that it was while he was yet speaking of a bright cloud overshadowed them, and God spoke to rebuke Peter, remember earlier.

The Jesus attribute that when he was foolish enough to suggest Jesus should do something to avoid the cross Jesus it behind me Satan is as not coming from God as his earlier confession of faith in Christ was here is God himself who rebukes Peter like the voice from the cloud says is this this is my son, whom I love with him I am well please listen to him was worth thinking about all of us were thinking about the cloud. First of all, I don't think any Jew familiar with the Old Testament reading this would fail to recognize in a moment that this was the Shekinah cloud of God's glory is a phenomenon that occurs throughout the Old Testament as a matter fact is mentioned 58 times in the Bible, which is far more than the other place names like Bethlehem or Nazareth or Mount Sinai or people like Cain and Abel, or for that matter even Mary and Joseph are narrator or Satan. It's really very important phenomena. The first time at the Exodus, when it became a barrier to protect the people from the pursuing Egyptians were told that it was darkness toward the Egyptians, but it was light toward the people of Israel. Lennox accompanied them in their desert marching so it spread out over the camp provided shade for them and the daytime when the sun was beating down on the dry climate of the desert night was dark and would also become cold became a pillar of fire when the tabernacle was dedicated cloud descended upon the tabernacle was a symbol of the presence of God with this people there in the midst later when Solomon dedicated the temple Shekinah reappeared again and it may even be this is what appeared at the time of the ascension of Jesus Christ were told that he was taken up into heaven of a bright cloud received him out of their sight. It would be a way of indicating to the disciples that he was received back into the glory.

While this is what happened says that the disciples were very afraid when this bright cloud enveloped them, and while they might've been was the voice were even more terrified of lapped voice saying this is my son, whom I love with him I am well pleased that part out what is exactly what was said at the baptism we saw when we were studying the act that it picks up on two important passages of the Old Testament. This is my son reference to the second Saul identifying the son of God is the son of glory one to whom all power is being given a man with whom I am well pleased. That is a pick up from the 42nd chapter of Isaiah where the suffering servant as described some of the simple sentences was my son in whom I am well pleased minds on the one hand, the glory of Jesus is his identity as the son of God, and the fact that he came to suffer and die for our salvation. All that is there and that part. What is new here is the because after having identified Jesus as the unique son of God and the Savior. The passage goes on to say, listen to him. What seems to be an echo of an Old Testament passage as well.

Deuteronomy 1815 is the passage there.

Moses is speaking to the people when he says the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. I was an early messianic prophecy is why when somebody unusual appeared on the scene.

People would go to him and ask him whether he was Elijah or perhaps not profit.

This is the passage they were referring to were told here of course is that now. This messianic figure has been raised on a piece of purities Jesus watched Peter as well as all the others are to do. Be quiet. Suppose we should say shut up and listen to what Jesus has to say. We suggest that there's hardly anything that could be more relevant people in our day were bombarded with sound. We love to talk with think that what we had to say is what's important. Most of the time our ramblings.

So make any more sense.

And Peter, who said let's just make three shoulders very early in the what he will say we have to do is learn to be quiet and listen to Jesus. We have a saying sometimes hear people say, don't just stand there do something.

I have a theologian friend very bright man who just turns around and says don't just do something, stand there remains as it's more important to stand on the teachings of the word of God than they be engaged in Christian service is right. I suppose thinking of what's going on here with Peter. We want to say something like this don't just say something which is what Peter was doing but listen to Jesus and Stan, I know we need to speak time to speak were supposed to be witnesses to what we have discovered of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be to listen we don't do that. Ministers are to speak or teach the word of God is what they're cheaply called to do so much speaking that we need.

It's the hearing what we have to do is hear Jesus Charles Haddon Spurgeon said it is better to hear the son of God, than to see signs or build tabernacles.

So the question is do you hear Jesus you obey him when you hear him are you so caught up on the theories of mere men, or even an otherwise worthwhile Christian activity that you miss that alone which is truly useful. Well the next morning they started down the mountain and as they did Jesus had some instruction for them.

He told them now tell anybody what you have seen and heard in the left of the resurrection perfectly easy to understand why he said that he didn't want any false messianic expectations arising that would detract him from working in the disciples would do that because they didn't understand that he had to go to the cross and what software really meant at this point I told him to keep quiet about it so there quiet for a little while but there thinking and there is a problem that occurs to them as they're making their way down the mountain as if they had seen Elijah with Jesus and they have been told was the common teaching of the day that Elijah had to appear before the Messiah should be revealed. Israel got that on the basis of Malachi 4 verses five and six last verses of our arrangements of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible and those verses say see I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes, will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children in the hearts of the children to their fathers or else I will come and strike the land with the curse of the teachers of the law that that said well Elijah has to come before the Messiah.

So the question would be this. How can Jesus be the Messiah, but they understood and debated, certainly, but Revelation on the mountain was all about. If Elijah had not come. How could they put all of that together other two ways we can understand that problem. The first is the obvious one is what most people think and certainly as part of the story I visited was a chronological problem. It's because of the word first. Elijah has to come first while good we reconcile the fact that he hasn't come with the fact that Jesus already, the Messiah is about to go about his work one problem.

The other is a theological problem. DA Carson thinks that it might really be this Malachi 46 talk that Elijah was going to bring about a restoration of the people before the Messiah comes on the work would be repentance what we would call Reformation revival hearts of the people would be right. And if that's the case, how could it be that in a time like that the Messiah would come and be crucified, suffer be mistreated of the hearts and lives of the people were right contacts that might well be what was in their minds. And of course that is what Jesus began to speak to Jesus said look, describes her right when they say that Elijah has to come first, but Elijah is already common in recognizably blonde to him. Everything they wished, in exactly the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer up there Hansons means first. Yes, Elijah does have to come the prophecy needs to be taken that way describes were right, but John the Baptist was the one who would come to fulfill that role scribes were wrong in failing to see John fill the role of Elijah, but they were wrong and this also. They were wrong in their interpretation of the restoration. They understood that Elijah was going to come and establish a perfect messianic age Messiah than to calm but even the text in my guy doesn't say that associates come with that mission goes on to say, and if they don't repent. I'm going to return and strike the earth with a curse words is quite clear at the end of the Old Testament that that preparatory ministry might not be effective. People would repent that would be good.

They don't and all he could expect his judgment. Now Jesus is making very clear that Elijah's comment was John the Baptist role Elijah's, and they had rejected testimony of John the Baptist. All they could really expect from God now was a terrible final judgment is very serious passage. Moreover, since the people had mistreated until John the Baptist.

Why should Jesus expected his treatment would be any different bike by calling their attention to this pattern. Jesus was reinforcing what he's been teaching now, namely that he had come to be crucified, it was necessary for them to suffer and die. That's the second most important thing he was teaching first who he is and then secondly, what you come to do. Furthermore pattern that he was going to set by his suffering is the pattern for his disciples to Peter, James and John had been with him on the mountain. They had been given a glimpse of his glory same sort of thing that we are given when we read the last chapters of the book of Revelation we can look forward to what we can be encouraged by it, but that is then this is now and what is needed now is at the followers of Jesus Christ take up their cross daily and follow him before glory must always be across Luke says that on the mountain. Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus about his departure. That means his death was about to bring the fulfillment of Jerusalem were obviously discussing its meaning and when it would take place when the boy said listen to him. One thing probably involved was that they needed to listen to what Jesus had to say about his death and its meaning they had the listen so to wait because that involve the very heart of the gospel were saying listen to him refers what Jesus himself was speaking in that day, but we would ask today how are we to do that.

After all, Jesus was there with them was in a Jesus is inherent in the same way with us. We actually listen to Jesus today is a great mystery that question quite easy to answer at the way we listen to Jesus today by reading and studying the Bible where he is already spoken, they will say about so commonplace and so dull that so close I sound like a mountaintop experience to me. I want is the bright light. I want to be enveloped by the cloud. I want to hear the rolling thunder of the voice of God. Well, someday, someday, that's what you're thinking what you have to hear his arrest of peters testimony. See he was the only one of those three disciples were there on the mountain and left a written record of his reactions and at the beginning I quoted a little bit of it. He claimed that he was an eyewitness of Christ's majesty that he heard the voice which came to Jesus from the majestic glory heard God say this is my son, whom I love with him. I'm well pleased. But you know what Peter said next. Immediately after that in the next verse he writes this and we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you'll do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. What that means is that Peter thought that his testimony and experience on the mountain was an important one is bearing witness to it, but he's adding something more certain that nothing that is more certain is the word of God is the Scripture where God speaks saying that the Bible is more certain, even from a voice from heaven, which in this case they understood without a doubt to be God's anointed truth. It's more important for Christians in our day than that one because we live in an age when people appeal to their experiences as a measure of almost anything, somebody just says well that's my experience that supposed to refute all argument without any recognition that our experiences can be misleading or utterly wrong. We justify all kinds of un-biblical and moral behavior by our experiences label. I feel good about it or God told me it's all right, or I feel at peace with what I'm doing. Listen. Yours, Peter. Prominence apostle of the Lord to Manu had a special visual experience of the glory of Jesus Christ and heard audibly in his ears, the very voice of God testimony. Moreover, corroborated by the other disciples were with him, James and John Peter. Nevertheless confesses the Bible is more certain, even maps. What we need to do is pay attention to the Bible. In other words, we must evaluate our experiences by the Bible rather than it being the other way around. So I asked you do it or you still longing for experiences that are being reserved for that future day when we will be with the Lord in heaven, and I will come to be encouraged by that one day we will have the glory, but for now our duty is to read learn market inwardly digest the words of God been given.

We do it we do it faithfully in the God who gave words speak to us as well. Lead us to faith, to strengthen us in obedience. Bless us until we die, or until juices comes again. Spray our father. We do thank you for these truths. Thank you for your word this great treasure that we been given confess our failure to value it as we ought read it as we should profit from. Much as we need to do. Father even as we confess our sin.

We ask you to give us grace to move beyond it become actually men and women of this book so faithful servants that one. It was indeed the Savior with the Lord of glory to his name. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON, and one scene, two line 9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and diligent thank you again for your continued support and for listening to Bible study

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