Title: The Invasion’s Leader Revealed
Text: Matthew 16:28-17:13
FCF: We often struggle tuning our ears and hearts to the right voice for mentorship
Prop: Because Jesus is the only one that is worthy, we must listen to Him.
[Slide 1] Turn in your bible to Matthew 16. Keen observers from last time in Matthew may have noticed that we didn’t quite finish chapter 16. We left one verse undiscussed. I left it for this week, because its contents are rather difficult to interpret and its interpretation affects the rest of the text this morning.
Going all the way back to the disciples in the boat, worrying about finding bread to eat rather than the bigger things that were happening around them, we continued to Peter’s confession, which prompted Jesus to reveal God’s plan to re-invade His world and His strategy for victory. Which is to set up His assembly in the heart of the Kingdom of darkness and render it powerless. Then we moved on to Jesus teaching His disciples about His impending death and resurrection. Then Peter’s anti-confession prompts Jesus’ discussion of the first step in the Kingdom’s invasion and that is the invasion into the hearts of men, bringing to life what had been dead. After all, before His assembly can stand against the gates of hell, He must first have an assembly J.
So what are we gonna see today? Well as the title indicates, today – we will see the leader of the invasion. But the nature of His revelation and what happens after, tells the story of how this invasion will proceed. It is gonna be cool. Turn with me to chapter 16, we’ll start in verse 28 and I’ll read from the NET but follow along in whatever you have ready.
So I have trimmed this down as much as I can. However, it is still long. I am warning you now that this is true, so that you can prepare. But there is SO much here, and I’d ignore it if I could but unfortunately it is stuff that we often miss. So we can’t afford to continue to miss it. Look with me.
I.) Jesus is the King of Glory, so we must listen to Him. (28-17:8)
a. [Slide 2] 28 – “I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.
i. Since John is the only disciple who has seen Jesus come in His Kingdom, and that was in a vision, this poses a little bit of a dilemma for some of us. If you are any eschatological position that is not preterist then this is going to be challenging. Because a preterist either partial or full, believes that some or all prophesies about the end times, the Kingdom of God, and the Day of the Lord have already been fulfilled. And this is a pretty good verse to prove their point.
ii. Jesus is saying that some of the disciples would not die until they saw Jesus coming in the Kingdom. So however we spin that, it seems like it would be fulfilling a prophesy of the end times right?
iii. And there are many interpretations based on what exactly His coming in the kingdom is.
iv. But what if we have been interpreting this prophesy wrong? What if Jesus isn’t talking about His Kingdom but something else. And you might be thinking, but Chris, Matthew says right there, that they will see Jesus come in His Kingdom. Emphasizing His Kingdom’s coming, but what if the emphasis is actually on Jesus’s coming
v. But what if Kingdom doesn’t mean Kingdom. What I mean is that that word in Greek means royalty, regal, realm or kingdom. So what if Jesus isn’t talking about His Kingdom’s coming but His coming in His royalty. In His regal-ness. In His realm. In His glory.
vi. So what? Well if Jesus isn’t talking about His Kingdom coming but His coming in His glory…
vii. Look at verse 1 of chapter 17…
b. [Slide 3] 1 – Six days later
i. Now we know that Matthew is no stickler for chronological order. Rarely does He tell us exactly when an event occurs or how much time has elapsed. So why does he take pains to tell us exactly when this next event occurred. Perhaps – this is intended to unify Jesus’ prediction with its fulfillment. Perhaps what happens next is Jesus coming in His glory.
ii. So what happened six days later?
c. Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John the brother of James and led them privately up a high mountain. 2 - And he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light
i. Six days later, Jesus took 3 disciples, His inner circle comprised of Peter the spokesman, James the Greater, first apostle to be martyred by King Herod Agrippa I in 44AD, and John the one whom Christ Loved – and the one who we almost always see believing first.
ii. These three Jesus takes up Mount Hermon, right there in Caesarea Philippi, to attend something pretty amazing.
iii. This is what we call the Transfiguration. But what exactly is the transfiguration? What does it mean that Christ was transfigured? Literally his figure was transformed. Perhaps to get some insight we should be comparing this to Moses’ similar experience on Mount Sinai with God.
iv. [Slide 4] Ex 24:13-18 – The Glory of the Lord resided on the mountain. It was bright like fire.
v. Ex 33:18-23 – Moses wants to see God’s glory – God says He will let Him see His goodness. He shields him until it is safe and then allows him to see His back. The trail He leaves behind.
vi. Ex 34:29-35 – The Glory of the Lord made Moses’ face shine brightly.
vii. [Slide 5] And here, Jesus’ face shines brightly, and His clothes too.
viii. What happened at this mountain of Sinai? What is happening at this mountain of Hermon?
ix. Well let’s keep reading and see what else there is.
d. [Slide 6] 3 – Then Moses and Elijah also appeared before them, talking with Him.
i. Bodily or in Spirit we do not know
ii. But why Moses and Elijah? Why not David, Abraham, Abel or Enoch?
iii. Some say this represents the Law and prophets. Some say that they were both prophets and Jesus is prophesying and fulfilling prophesy in this section. In any case – these are two pretty big names talking with Jesus. 2 highly respected folks from Israel’s History
iv. What were they talking about? Well Luke actually tells us.
v. They were discussing Christ’s coming death – Luke 9:31
e. [Slide 7] 4 – So Peter said to Jesus, “Lord it is good for us to be here.
i. Peter is ecstatic.
ii. He can’t quite believe that He has the chance to bear witness to this event.
iii. But wait a second – if we are still unsure what is happening here as New covenant believers – how is it that Peter – who was just called Satan – understands the importance of this event?
iv. Can I suggest to you that Peter assumed that this was what Jesus prophesied about. Peter thought Jesus was coming in His Kingdom.
v. How do we know that?
vi. Look at what Peter says next…
f. If you want, I will make three shelters – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah
i. Our first question is why? Why is Peter talking about making 3 tents here?
ii. [Slide 8] As Gentiles this is hard for us but there is a festival in the Jewish culture called the festival of booths. Let me give you the short description of it.
1. It is the 7th and last festival on the Jewish calendar.
2. 7th month 15th day – on the lunar calendar so in September or October sometime. This was probably close to when these events occur in Matthew, maybe a bit before.
3. Dwell in huts for 7 days – symbolic of dwelling with God and they with Him in the wilderness wandering.
4. The celebration was a joyous occasion at harvest, where they also took branches of trees, palm branches, and they rejoiced that God was their King who brought them out of Egypt
5. And Zechariah 14 indicates to us that this festival WILL BE CELEBRATED IN THE KINGDOM – In Zechariah it is celebrated because God again delivered them from the nations, but this time it is Armageddon and He sits on the throne as their Lord and God and ruler supreme. In other words, Peter thought the Kingdom was here. And that God was about to wipe out all armies that opposed Israel.
6. So Peter was trying to build them each a shelter to celebrate the festival. So all 6 of them could stay in their huts for 7 days and celebrate God’s Lordship and provision for their lives.
g. [Slide 9] 5 – While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my one dear Son, in whom I take great delight. Listen to Him!”
i. God the Father disagrees with Peter’s proposal. And you may be saying – uh Chris I don’t really see that. Well, let’s look at what God said.
1. This is my one dear Son – or as most other translations put it, my beloved son. The word beloved indicates loved above all others or all else. Which is why the NET correctly translates this to emphasize the ONLY nature of the Sonship of Christ to God the Father. While there are many sons of God, there is the only one that is beloved.
2. In whom I take great delight – God’s pleasure, God’s approval, God’s acceptance. This also emphasizes the onlyness of God the Father’s words. Jesus alone stands before God with nothing to fear. The standard God has set is perfection and it is met in Christ.
3. Listen to Him! - The idea here is to listen and to obey. To hear and heed. To respond to what He teaches.
4. In all this, God the Father clues Peter in, that in that day, when the festival of booths will actually be celebrated in the Kingdom, Jesus will not have a tent. He will be the One the people are celebrating. The tent is for the worshippers not the one being worshipped.
ii. Our question remains then, what exactly is happening at the transfiguration?
1. [Slide 10-11 – follow as I read it] It may help us to see what Peter said about this… He talks about it in II Peter 1:16-18. What does He say?
a. He was an eyewitness of His majesty or His grandeur
b. Jesus was given honor and glory by God the Father
c. Jesus was given approval and love by God the Father.
d. Peter does not even hint at the coming of a kingdom. But rather the giving of Majesty, honor, glory and grandeur to Jesus from God the Father.
e. Jesus’ prophesy in 16:28 was not talking about the coming of His Kingdom, but His appearing in glory – 6 days later. In other words it is not a prophesy of the end times at all.
f. So what does it mean that He appeared in glory? What is happening? Answer the stinking question Chris.
2. [Slide 12] Do you remember when we talked about how God, in His mercy, distanced Himself from this world after the fall? That if He would have remained, His Holiness would have killed everyone and damned them?
3. Friends, can I submit to you that what is happening here at the transfiguration, is God drawing near again. Tearing a hole in the fabric of the Kingdom of Darkness long enough to show Jesus as He truly is. The King of Glory.
4. What is the transfiguration, it is a leak. It is a hole. It is a rip. A tear. It is a crack in the foundation of the Kingdom of darkness as God draws near to reclaim what is HIS.
5. And low and behold at the center of that crack… is His Son. The Law, the Prophets and The New Covenant.
iii. But something interesting happens next.
h. [Slide 13] 6 – When the disciples heard this, they were overwhelmed with fear and threw themselves down with their faces to the ground.
i. Fear and meeting God go hand in hand in scripture..
ii. We are commanded to fear God in in reverence.
iii. But throughout scripture, when man encounters God in His purest forms – over and over again, the one who sees God, falls down, terrified and usually has some sort of statement regarding their sinfulness. Their fear is for their own judgment.
iv. Is it wrong to fear God in this way? I don’t think it is a question of wrong or right… I think it is simply a fact of what happens. That is why Jesus tells us to approach the throne of grace boldly.
v. What I find interesting then… Is Jesus’ response to the disciples.
i. [Slide 14] 7 – But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up.” He said. “Do not be afraid.”
i. He issues two commands.
ii. Get off your faces and stop fearing.
iii. Jesus has revealed that the disciples had been given grace to understand. And these three fear for their lives at the Holiness of God.
iv. Jesus says… stop! There is nothing for you to fear.
v. GET UP.
j. [Slide 15] 8 – When they looked up, all they saw was Jesus alone.
i. And lo and behold This tear, this leak, this crack in the foundation of the kingdom of darkness, is closed again.
ii. So… is God invading or isn’t He?
iii. Friends – this was the prelude to victory. Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus about His death. Jesus in just a few more words is going to predict AGAIN, His resurrection.
iv. All of heaven is abuzz with anticipation, breath held, as the God of the universe risks everything… to save… us. What happens when you kill God in human form? What happens when all the wrath of God is poured out on Himself?
v. I’m not sure the angels knew – and friends I would be lying if I said I knew.
vi. All I know – is that here, on this mountain – God peels back the veil between His Kingdom and the Kingdom of this world and the shroud of humanity Christ wore was displaced by His Glory and Majesty.
vii. All Hail the King of Glory! Listen to Him!
[Slide 16 (blank)] I say all that. But still… the disciples, if you can believe it… they don’t get it. And we can’t blame them. The Kingdom of God is a mystery, even to some today. Jesus is the King of glory… but there is more. More reason for us to listen to Him.
II.) Jesus is the prophet of God, so we must listen to Him. (9-13)
a. [Slide 17] 9 - As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Do not tell anyone about the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”
i. God the Father just told them… Listen to Him.
ii. So Jesus teaches, almost immediately.
iii. Do not tell anyone about what you saw until I am raised from the dead. Why?
iv. This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about this, and it won’t be the last but let me tackle it from a different angle that maybe is a bit more… edgy.
&nbnbsp; v. Jesus is essentially telling His disciples, it is better for you to keep quiet than to talk about me in such a way that gives people the wrong impression of who I am. If you go around and communicate what you saw to people, they are going to think that I am here to accomplish something that is not my mission to accomplish yet.
vi. But when people see that I have been raised from the dead, they’ll need to know that I am the beloved Son of God in whom He is well-pleased. And that they should Listen to me. Because that is when… God will truly begin His invasion - that is when the clock starts on my second coming.
vii. That is probably what He meant…
viii. But what do the disciples hear when He says all this?
b. [Slide 18] 10 – The disciples asked Him, “Why then do the experts in the law say that Elijah must come first?”
i. Ok so you are the son of man – the messiah.
ii. And we know that people gotta see Elijah before the Kingdom comes?
iii. So we saw him, right here. And you keep saying that your kingdom is coming. And it is here.
iv. But… you don’t want us to tell anyone about seeing you in glory or seeing Moses and Elijah with you?
v. And you don’t want us to start celebrating the feast of booths?
vi. So which is it? Is the Kingdom coming or not? Are you the Messiah or not?
c. [Slide 19] 11 – He answered, “Elijah does indeed come first and will restore all things.
i. [Slide 20] Malachi 4:4-6 –In the NET the passage we just read is probably different than the version you have. Your version probably makes it sound like Elijah’s job is to restore family relationships that have been broken.
ii. In fact many commentators and study bibles say that is exactly what Elijah was to do.
iii. This interpretation poses some problems. Starting with Jesus’ interpretation of Elijah’s role. Because restoring families is not quite the same as restoring all things.
iv. I planned to delve into this but time is not on our side – so suffice it to say, instead of translating it turning the hearts of the fathers to the sons it should be with the sons. Meaning together turning back to God. Like the NET translates it.
d. [Slide 21] 12 – And I tell you that Elijah has already come. Yet they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted.
i. Then Jesus drops this bombshell. Elijah has already been here.
ii. Not only that, but they, like a cat with his mouse, toyed with him in whatever way seemed best until they finally killed him.
e. In the same way the Son of Man will suffer at their hands.
i. AND – are you still listening guys. Wake up. AND
ii. They are going to do the same thing to me.
iii. Hello? Did you hear me?
iv. Oh I see lightbulbs. They heard me this time right?
f. [Slide 22] 13 – Then the disciples understood that He was speaking to them about John the Baptist.
i. Understood is a big word here. Unfortunately they understood, maybe the least important part in all this. They understood that John the Baptist was the person who came in the Spirit and Power of Elijah.
ii. Unfortunately this doesn’t harmonize their questions. They still don’t know whether the kingdom is coming or not. They don’t know why they should keep quiet about what happened.
iii. AND – as the cherry on top of all this… THEY COMPLETELY MISS JESUS’ PREDICTION OF HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION… AGAIN!
g. [Slide 23 (blank)] John the Baptist fulfills all of this and fits Jesus’ interpretation of the prophesy and even Jesus’ declaration that the prophesy is fulfilled.
h. Jesus is the prophet of prophets. Standing with two other great prophets Elijah, the forerunner of the Kingdom, and Moses, who in Deuteronomy 18 prophesied that a prophet like him would come from Israel and the words of God would be in His mouth, and that God would personally hold responsible any who did not listen to Him.
i. Jesus is THE prophet of God, so we must listen to Him.
I hope that the application for today is relatively easy to spot. It comes from the very words of God the Father, as He told the disciples, Listen to Him. This has really been God’s message to mankind from the beginning. Listen, take heed, obey, trust – ME!
It is interesting then, that we are roughly in the middle of the book of Matthew. And no matter whether you see 5 or 7 discourses in the book of Matthew, we are roughly half way through all the teachings of Christ that Matthew will give us. It is here, after 3 discourses, that Matthew has this grand application for us. Listen to Him. Listen to Jesus.
We often go back and review when we are studying a book. Most of the time it is to paint a contextual picture, helping us to arrive at correct interpretations. Today though, it is the application that will drive us to review.
What has Jesus said so far? Have you taken heed? Have you listened? Have you obeyed? Have you trusted and depended on what He said?
[Slide 24] Discourse #1: Sermon on the Mount – 5-7
· 5:3-5:12 – Gives us the Defining Attributes of Kingdom Citizens – How they are deeply aware of their spiritual bankruptcy and desire greatly to be made new and right with God – to follow His ways, even to the point of gruesome death. Do these Defining Attributes of Kingdom Citizens define you?
· 5:13-16 – Gives us the Earthly purpose of Kingdom Citizens –To be God’s ambassadors on earth displaying good works so others might give glory to God. Do you consider the Earthly Purpose of Kingdom Citizens to be your purpose for being on earth?
· 5:17-5:48 – Gives us the Spiritual Law of Kingdom Citizens - which expands beyond the law of Moses and even the laws that the Pharisees created. It dives deep to the intentions and motives of the heart. It demands holiness. Is the Spiritual Law of Kingdom Citizens your common lifestyle?
· 6:1-18 – Gives us the Primary Audience of Kingdom Citizens, not men but God alone. To perform in secret that none would know but the audience for which the faith is exercised. - Do you perform to please Him alone?
· [Slide 25] 6:19-34 – Gives us the Primary Pursuit of Kingdom Citizens - It is the Kingdom and Righteousness of God. That all things on heaven and earth, in your heart and the hearts of all those around you might be the way God desires them to be. Do you hunger and thirst for this?
· 7:1-12 – Gives us the Holy Community of Kingdom Citizens - where without being judges and jurys to our fellow believers, we hold one another accountable and keep each other unspotted from sin. Do you participate in this Holy Community of Kingdom Citizens, striking a balance between Love and accountability?
· 7:13-23 – Gives us the Difficult Defection to be Kingdom Citizens - That simply calling Him Lord and performing deeds in His name is not enough to be His disciple. That you would walk the narrow path, and be a law keeper. Is this your story? Has defecting to God’s Kingdom been a difficult but rewarding experience for you – has it demanded all of you and more?
[Slide 26] Discourse #2: Pre-mission Pep Talk - 10
· Jesus tells his disciples to preach to those who will listen and not to preach to those who will not. Do you share your faith this way?
· He warns them that many will not listen, and they will be persecuted for preaching the message of the Kingdom – but to rely on Him and He will make sure they know what to say. Are you prepared for persecution? If you are you will rely on Him to know what to say in the midst of it.
· [Slide 27] Ultimately Jesus reveals that His message is war inducing because it forces men to see that they are wicked. Do you understand that the gospel brings war upon men because it forces men to see that they are wicked? Are you prepared for that? Are you preaching the gospel in this way?
· But then Jesus finishes this talk with reference to the few that will offer to take them in and listen. These few, who offer even as little as a cup of cold water to the disciples, reveal themselves to be genuine believers. And are you one of these true believers that love the brethren?
[Slide 28] Discourse #3: Kingdom Parables - 13
· The Parable of the Soils, how only plants that bear fruit live, and how only those who have changed lives are truly redeemed. Is your life different since you were saved? Are you more like Christ than you were 5 years ago?
· The fact that God hides the truth in mercy from those who would not repent or believe. Do you see the gospel as a dangerous and sharp sword? To be used wisely when people are ready to hear it? Or do you blast them with everything all at once and hope for the best?
· The parable of the weeds, God’s judgment is coming on those who are not His crop. Do you celebrate this as a future surety, that God will one day retake what was His? Do you see the people around you and do you have compassion on them to pray that God would lead them to repentance and that you might be a tool used of God to lead them there?
· [Slide 29] The parable of the mustard seed and yeast, the slow but devastating impact of the Kingdom of God on this world. Do you see this first happening in your heart, the slow devastating effect of grace on your life? Do you see it in your family? Your church? If not, something may be wrong.
· The parable of the treasure, pearls, and fish – the value of the Kingdom is beyond anything we have, and the good fish are of value to the Kingdom. Do you see God’s Kingdom as the only thing worth living for? Are you distracted by the cares of this world? Do you understand that our value is intrinsically woven to bringing the most amount of glory to our King?
· The parable of the scribe – The Kingdom acts with the Old Covenant, it does not destroy it. Like some popular preachers and teachers today, have you decided to unhitch the Old Testament from the wagon of your Christianity? Is the law of God, the prophets, the story of Israel useless? Are you free in the Spirit so you don’t need the law? Or have you come to realize with me that the law of Christ is more freeing AND more restricting than the law of Moses? That the law of Christ frees us from damnation for sin, but expands the goal of our lives from a list of rules, to holiness from the inside out? That law, the prophets, the psalms, the proverbs – are indispensable to us to know who God is, and who we are, and why we so desperately need Him.
[Slide 30 (blank)(end)] You might be saying wow Chris – thanks for blasting me with like 800 not so easy questions to answer.
Is it any wonder that Paul describes it as a race to be endured, a marathon not a sprint? That he tells the Philippian Church to work out their salvation in fear and trembling?
I’m not pretending like I have all these answers settled. But the application is clear. This is what Jesus has taught. Are you listening?
But Paul continues in Philippians 2 after talking about working out your salvation in fear and much caution. He then tells them why they should be in awe and great reverence, why they should fear and tremble…
Because it is God who brings out of us both desire and effort – Passion and Power.
If we are faithful to listen and learn, heed, trust, depend and obey – we will watch in awe and wonder as God provides to us a passion to serve Him and Power to serve Him.
Paul continues – So don’t do all this and complain and grumble the whole time. You need to be blameless and pure even though the culture around you is wicked, then you will shine as lights by holding to God’s word so that when Christ returns you can boast in His passion and power to produce a labor that was worth it. Even if it demands everything – we will rejoice in the end.
This is the King of Glory. This is THE prophet of God. This is God’s only loved Son. He is the only one that is pleasing to God. Listen to and Follow after Him.