Reviewing the Transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-9.

Rather than re-type all those verses, I’ll just assume that you’ve already read them–or that you soon will :)  Today I want to go back and recap, tying up any loose ends I may have left.

You can also read about the Transfiguration in Mark and Luke. All three accounts that we have differ from each other in some way; that is easily explained by the fact that three different men, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote the story from their own perspectives.

In Luke, for instance, we read that as Jesus prayed, the look of His face became different; His clothing turned white and effulgent (radiant, shining brightly). In Matthew’s account, we learn something which is reported only there; namely, that His face shone as the sun. The way to get the full picture is to read the three accounts side by side.

We should look at Peter’s own testimony of this great event;  II Peter 1:16-20. “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts; Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. “

Peter had certainly done some growing and maturing between the time Jesus walked the earth and his own death on a cross.  His eloquence in this passage is moving to me:  excellent glory, day star rising in our hearts, cunningly devised fables. It was a whole new vocabulary for the burly, impetuous fisherman we know in the gospels.

We learn from Peter’s words that the Transfiguration, interpreted not by man but by the Holy Spirit, is the pattern of the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The entire Old Testament prophetic word speaks of this great event, and the Transfiguration is a confirmation of those prophecies and their fulfillment.  This interpretation is in complete agreement with the final  verse of Chapter 16. Jesus had said, “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.”

Just a few days after that statement, He took Peter, James and John with Him to witness what that would look like. 

The number six,  used in Matthew, is man’s number. the number showing the days of work–after six days–after work and the man’s day is run out, the day of the Lord will come. Truly every word in the Bible is important.

More on this topic tomorrow. There is still much to learn.

Jesus Only

Matthew 17:7-9. “And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.”

I believe that Jesus was tender and compassionate when He came to the three disciples, touched them, told them to get up, told they they had nothing to fear.  He understood their confusion. He knew they still didn’t really comprehend what lay before Him, and before them as well.

What I really love about this passage is that when they lifted their eyes, they saw no one, save Jesus only. I could write for a long time just on those two words. Jesus only. How often do we lift our eyes and see nothing but problems, nothing but misery, nothing but self. How we need to open our eye to see Jesus only, and to focus on Him; to allow Him to fill our vision so that everything else becomes unimportant.

As they walked down the mountainside, Jesus warned them to keep what they had seen to themselves until after He was risen from death.  I can only imagine the sideways glances they must have given each other, not understanding the fullness of what they had just seen; not understanding why Jesus kept referring to Jerusalem and His coming trials there, and of His resurrection and return to the Father.

They weren’t slow-witted. They just didn’t have the whole picture. We do have the whole picture, and yet how many of us were slow in coming to Christ, or in understanding all that He has for us and requires of us?

 

Second Anniversary!

   Today marks the second annivesary for this blog.  I posted my first article on April 19, 2012.  I really had no idea what I was getting into, or how much it would become a daily part of my life.  I’m grateful to Word Press for creating this opportunity for all of us wannabe writers. I’m also very thankful for the many new friends I’ve found in the blogosphere.

Most of all, I’m thankful to the Lord I love and serve, Who has blessed my efforts beyond anything I’d hoped for.

And now, on to my third year!

Friday Counseling Issues: What is a Sociopath?

This is Ted Bundy.  He doesn’t look like such a bad guy, does he?

However, he was  a truly bad guy.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say (Wiki isn’t always right, but this time they’ve got it.  I remember very clearly reading this same stuff in the news back then:

Theodore Robert “Ted” Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killerrapistkidnapper, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. After more than a decade of denials, he confessed shortly before his execution to 30 homicides committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978; the true total remains unknown, and could be much higher. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Bundy)

He is known as a sociopath or a psychopath.  They’re really pretty much the same thing.  To me, the most chilling characteristic of a sociopath is that there is absolutely no conscience.  This person has no regret, no remorse, no sense of guilt or wrong done to another. He believes that what he wants is what he must have, no matter what the cost to anyone else.  He will do whatever is necessary to get what he wants.  If that involves taking someone else’s life, well, that person shouldn’t have gotten in the way.  Or deserved to die.

A lack of conscience makes way for a long list of sociopathic behaviors.  Right up at the top would be lying.  Constant, deliberate, manipulative lying; not slips of the tongue, not an effort to avoid detection (although that certainly plays a part) but more of a cold, calculated and purposeful achievement of reaching a goal.   Mr. Bundy was a master of deception, luring his victims in with charm, personality, and flat-out lies.

So what is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath?  It seems to be a matter of degree.  Sociopaths can live in normal society without doing physical damage to others.  They may be considered antisocial, but many people with sociopathic tendencies are actually quite charming.  They can be glib, engaging; wonderful story-tellers, good with kids, and humorous.  Just don’t stand in their way or call them to account for bad behavior.  You’ll see the dark side.

A psycopath is usually more of a risk seeker, impulsive, and fearless, as well as not being able to socialize normally. Sociopaths go to great lengths to look “normal” and even their families don’t always know who they are.  Psycopaths take it to the next level, becoming more and more difficult to live with as time passes.

                                

 

Remember Scot Peterson?  Handsome guy, financially successful, married to a beautiful young woman, They were happily expecting their first baby when Scot killed her, dumped her body in the ocean, and claimed she had disappeared.  Well, I guess she had.  He was finally “outed” by his mistress when he slipped up and said something that made her suspicious and afraid.

What I remember about this case is that after his conviction, his mother stood on the courthouse steps and said, “That whole jury needs to be drug-tested!  My son in innocent!”

It is not unusual at all for sociopathic men to have been the adored golden boys of their mothers, who believed they could do no wrong and always came flying to their recue if they got into trouble.

Sociopathic behavior, of course, is not limited to men.  Women can be even scarier, in my opinion.

There’s lots of information on this topic if you want to search.  Just be careful and discerning when you read, because almost everyone has a little different perspective on these folks.  Some think they were born bad, others that they were the products of their upbringing.  The old “nature vs. nurture” controversy.

More on this topic next week.

Sore Afraid

Matthew 17:6. “And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were sore afraid.”

There was no denying the voice of God!  They didn’t see Him;  they only heard Him, and the were “sore afraid.”

Wouldn’t you feel the same?  We certainly should!  ‘

I’ve often wondered just what that voice must have sounded like.  Was it vast and all-encompassing?  Did it sound as if it were echoed from the surrounding hills?   Was it a roar that knocked the disciples to their faces, or was it simply the most incredibly beautiful voice that anyone had ever heard?

To be prostrate on the ground was not an unusual thing when man and God came face to face. You can see the same reaction in Job 42:5-6; Isa. 6; Dan. 8:18; 10: 5-11; Acts 9:4, Rev. 1:17. To meet God will leave us with no other option than to fall on our faces before Him.

I heard a radio report today that a well-known mayor in a major U.S. city has been reported to say that he’s “earned his place in heaven” for the work he’s done as a mayor.  What nonsense, what arrogance!  He must imagine that he can stand face to face with God and come out of it without a quiver.  Is he ever in for a shock!

Next week, we’re going back over this entire passage to find out its meaning and significance.  There is much to mine from these verses.

Hear Ye Him!

Matthew 17:5. “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my belove Son, in Whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him.”

While Peter was absorbed with thinking about building a tabernacle for Jesus so He would stay away from Jerusalem, the Father in heaven shook His head and thought, “Peter is going to be one of the greatest men of God who ever lived; right now, though he’s just not getting it.  I’d better give him something to think about!”

Remeber, Peter has just told Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!” And then he rebuked Jesus and tried to persuade Him not to go to Jerusalem.  Now, he’s saying, “You are God, but I want You to stay here!  I’ll even build You a tabernacle where we can worship You!”

Let’s not be too hard on Peter, though.  I am of the opinion that we, who have the fullness of the Word of God, truly don’t know Who He is right now today.  If we did, we’d be different than we are.