As I told you in the last Gem, there is much to notice in this short pericope. But the first things we will look at are in Luke’s first sentence.
“Some eight days” as compared with “Six days later” which is the reading in both Matthew and Mark. Some see this as the gospels being unreliable when it comes to facts. I don’t see it that way at all. I am not sure how you explained it or harmonized the differences, because none of you have told me. [We are coming to close to the time when the website will be live and interactive. So you will be able to make comment on particular Gems and interact with others about them. Then on some occasions I will add my bit as well.]
I think there are two possibilities for accounting for the differences between 6 days and 8 days. In the one solution we ought to consider Luke has rounded off the time, about a week, around eight days. In fact that is exactly what he says. “Some eight days later”. The word [hosei] has the sense of rounding or approximately. Luke is not even trying to be specific. He is giving an approximation: about a week, around eight days. 6 days are about a week. Eight days are about a week. Plus or minus one, (+/- 1). So don’t make too much of the difference.
The other possibility lies in the fact that Luke has missed out a chunk of material and plucked the sayings only, that he has deliberately omitted some action, around which the sayings were given. Thus he may well be measuring the time from an incident a couple of days before the time frame of Matthew and Mark. But either way, it is not a big deal for us to worry about.
Of far more importance is Luke’s reference to “After these sayings”. Notice the difference between the way Matthew and Mark handle the sequencing and how Luke does it. For Matthew and Mark their sequence is merely a chronological sequencing of events. Luke on the other hand has specifically missed material out and gone straight to the sayings which he particularly wants to draw attention to. Following the sayings, Luke writes “About eight days after these sayings . . . ” For Luke, what is important are the sayings. The sayings are crucial and salient to what he wants to point out about the sequencing of what was said and the following Transfiguration experience. The sayings are contiguous with the action on the Mount of Transfiguration. For Luke it is all important. Remember Luke’s focus on “Who is this Jesus?” Twice he arranged the material to emphasize this question. Now he follows it with the Transfiguration story and tell us specifically this happened 8 days after these comments were made. This is unusual. Most often we go from event to event. Oh yes at the events things are said. But mainly what is in focus is the happening. In this case the miracles. But for Luke, the miracles are not in focus. In fact he has left out some miracles. He sees the miracles to be minor when compared with what was SAID. Wow this is BIG, and highly significant.
The prophecy and glory of the Son of Man related to his sufferings and coming crucifixion: these ideas are deliberately contrasted with the glory of the Son of Man revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration. Notice the glory theme that develops following this. You are wondering who this One is. Well notice the connections that are made in the following sequence. Connect the following glory theme correctly in the way the Jews would and you will be in no doubt as to Who you are a dealing with. MUCH is being said with the arrangement of the material. Follow it through to its conclusion.
One other thing to comment on from this first verse are the three disciples who went with Jesus. These three are the chosen three. Whenever there is a selection from the band of disciples for a smaller number (or inner circle) to follow Jesus it is these three who are chosen. Interesting isn’t it that these three are the ones from the 12 who go on to write a book of the New Testament each. (plus Matthew of course who wasn’t in the three). So there is the seventy, the twelve and the three: all in training to one degree or another. But notice in this case that the order of Peter, James and John is switched around. Normally it is 1. Peter 2. James and 3. John. Whenever the brothers are mentioned, the sons of Zebedee, the sons of thunder, it is James first, then John. But in this case and in the following verses the order changes.
When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with Him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother.Luke 8:51
About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray.Luke 9:28
When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), and Judas (son of James).Acts 1:13
In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews.Galatians 2:9
I don’t know why the order in Acts, I don’t know why Paul lists the strange order in Galatians, splitting James and John with Peter in the middle. I am not focused on Acts or Galatians at the moment. I am focused on Luke. I suspect I know why John gets first mention here, but I could be wrong. You will have to check it with Luke later when you see him. I wonder whether John is mentioned first because Glory is a major theme in the gospel of John. I think perhaps Luke has listed him first here because he is focused on the theme of glory and so switched the order. But ask him when you see him just to check.
And all the above is just from three small little insignificant comments from Luke. Imagine what is to come.
See you back here on the mountain next Gem. I think we will stay the night in booths so we don’t have to leave and come back. What do you think? You may wonder what I am talking about. It’s a clue to something in this passage coming up. But it will be in a few Gems time because there is lots more to comment on before then. This is another passage of that will take us a number of Gems to get through. Keep practicing your own skills of chasing the clues and finding the details; doing your own detective work.
Courage comes as we live with Jesus. Linger long and often in his presence. Meditate on his grace. Ponder his love. Memorize his words.Max Lucado
You can’t inspire people if you yourself, are going to be uninspiring!Rick Godwin
You are not JUST a sinner. You are a sinner who has been given the gift of Christ’s righteousness!Louie Giglio
If you’re in Christ, you are a saint. The working out of salvation is to live out of who He has already made us to be.Louie Giglio
Of all the judgements we pass in life, none is as important as the one we pass on ourselves!Rick Godwin