An interesting side note before we get too far past it: God had “cloaking capability” millennia before Gene Roddenberry imagined the Starship Enterprise:
“Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, ‘I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?’ And he tried to see him.” (verses 7-9)
The most powerful ruler in the region “tried” (or “desired, KJV) to see Jesus, meaning he couldn’t? If the governor of your state wanted to see any well-known person who lived in your state, how difficult would it be? Yet Herod didn’t get to see Jesus until Jesus was on trial before him.
The enemies of God’s people will not have knowledge they want unless God allows it, and He will only allow it for His purposes. That’s why Judas was allowed to tell the Sanhedrin where to find Jesus when the time was right for the crucifixion. It’s why Jesus warned His disciples in chapter 21 of Luke, “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me.”
With Herod’s perplexity out of the way, we’ve covered most of the verses up to verse 25: the only profit-and-loss statement that will matter on the Judgment Day:
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
Be on your guard, brothers and sisters.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2nd Timothy 1:8)
And then, in Luke 9:27, “out of the blue”, came this promise:
“But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” This promise was fulfilled about eight days later on the “Mount of Transfiguration”, when Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain to pray:
“And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure* which he was about to accomplish** at Jerusalem.”
The disciples had been asleep, and they awoke to a true Twilight Zone moment. No wonder Peter started babbling about making three tabernacles and staying on the mountain. God shut that down immediately: “While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son: hear him.’ ”
That’s something we need to engrave on our hearts: listen to Jesus and no one else. King Jesus is The Authority. Anyone who speaks contrary to the words of Jesus is leading us in a wrong direction.
It must have been terribly disappointing to discover, when the cloud dissipated, that they were alone with Jesus, Who apparently had returned to His normal human appearance. To be right there, looking into the supernatural, and then have to return to “reality” – what a wrenching grief!
But they never forgot what they saw. Peter wrote about this moment years later:
“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice 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 from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” (2nd Peter 1:12-18)
And that is where we who believe are headed: into the supernatural. Not, in fact, the Twilight Zone, where the supernatural could be cruel or disappointing or wicked. But to the Kingdom of God, which is full of joy and health forever. 🙂 🙂 🙂
“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)
*The English word “accomplish” is the Greek word “exodon”, meaning “exit”. God had an “exit strategy”. 🙂 The crucifixion was not a slip-up. It was planned all along. The devil “played into God’s hand”.
**accomplish: important word, filled with meaning. See John 10:17-18: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”