Bible Reading for: January 27
Jesus was born, lived, and died under the shadow of the cross.
The shadow of the cross hung over the manger in which Jesus lay at His birth. It continued to hang over him through His life and His ministry. As we read today that shadow gets bigger. Jesus has been preparing His disciples for His eventual departure from the first moment He called them. Today He specifically tells them He will die and be resurrected, but first He is transfigured before the very eyes of Peter, James, and John. Interestingly enough, the conversation He had with Moses and Elijah during the transfiguration concerned His coming crucifixion. We read of that in Luke’s version of the transfiguration.
Luke 9:30-31 ESV
“And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”
What was to be accomplished? The crucifixion was to be accomplished. His death and resurrection was to be accomplished. The salvation of all who would accept His sacrifice was to be accomplished. Moses represented the Law, and Elijah represented the prophets. Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and prophecy. When Jesus hung on that cross and breathed His last He said “It is finished” and it was indeed finished. The Law and the Prophets culminated in His sacrifice; His resurrection assured.
Later, as Jesus walked down the mountain with His three disciples, He told them point blank:
Matthew 17:9 ESV
“And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”
Remember that the phrase “Son of Man” is a euphemism for the Messiah, and that Peter earlier stated that he was aware that Jesus was the Messiah, the “Son of Man”. This means that when Jesus says to tell no one the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead He is telling them He will die and be resurrected. Jesus did a lot of this. He told them often what was coming but they just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. They never even realized what He meant until He stood among them after His death and resurrection.
He told them a second time in today’s reading:
Matthew 17:22-23 ESV
“As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.”
So, Jesus got even more explicit, and they were upset for a time, but still they could not comprehend His fate. Jesus did a lot of great things while He lived, but His purpose was not to heal or to perform miracles or even to teach. His purpose was to die. The preparation of His disciples was intended for their purpose. Their purpose was to spread the Gospel. That is your purpose today as well. Jesus did His part and died on the cross for you, for me, and for anyone willing to turn over authority over their lives to Him. Are you doing the part assigned to you?
Victorem Vivere! (Live Victorious!)
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!