Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The Gospel of Luke.

The revelation of Jesus’ sufferings has implications for all disciples. One who desires to come after a suffering Messiah cannot expect to avoid suffering. Rather than following their own stars, his followers must deny themselves and even take up their own cross. This is not a literal cross. This may be the acceptance of a situation, for example, the necessity of being hospitalized after an accident. ( I have a situation now that I’m trying to accept with the help of Jesus.) Acceptance of the cross is very important; it doesn’t always mean being a hero like Jesus. As Jesus was being led away to be crucified, Simon of Cyrene literally fulfilled this as the cross was laid on him so he could carry it behind Jesus. But carrying the cross is mostly a daily task, involving dying to one’s desires so as to belong to Christ more completely–an emphasis only found in Luke……………………………. Thomas a Kempis, a medieval monk, gives readers a powerful exhortation to heed Jesus’ teaching about the cross: “Why are you afraid to take up the cross, the way that leads you to the kingdom of God? In the cross is salvation; in the cross is life; in the cross is protection; in the cross is heavenly sweetness; in the cross is strength of mind; in the cross is spiritual joy; in the cross is supreme virtue; in the cross there is perfect holiness. There is no salvation for the soul nor hope for eternal life except in the cross, and on the cross he died for you, that you may carry your cross, and that you, too, may die on the cross. If you die with him, you will live with him. If you join him in suffering, you will join him in glory.”……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… This teaching of Jesus is a paradox. First, those who avoid the cross, wishing to save their lives, will lose them. But, paradoxically, those who embrace the cross, thereby losing their lives for the sake of the Messiah, will save them. Jesus later gives examples of what it means to lose one’s life, indicating that those who give up relationships or material things “for the sake of the kingdom of God” will receive back from God an overabundant return.”…………………………………………………………………………………….. Second, it doesn’t matter if those who avoid the cross become wealthy and successful. Since life does not consist of possessions, they will still lose themselves……………………………………………………………………….. Third, some avoid the cross because they are ashamed of a suffering Messiah and his works and words. This is because “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing.” But Jesus warns them that “the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes into his glory.” As the three explanations make clear, the decision to follow Jesus by taking up one’s cross is something of no little importance. One’s salvation depends on it! ………………………………………………………………………………………………. After the radical demands of the foregoing verses, Jesus ends with a consoling promise: some present will see the kingdom of God before they taste death. The kingdom has already come with Jesus, will come more fully with Jesus’ resurrection and after his resurrection and ascension……………………………. The Transfiguration occurs 6 or 8 days after the previous preaching on the cross. It perhaps alludes to the Feast of Tabernacles, where the people lived in tents, recalling their journey in the wilderness. The connection is that Peter was so overcome at the Transfiguration that he suggested making tents for Moses and Elijah. God’s glory filled the tabernacle and a cloud overshadowed the tent of meeting. Now all this is fulfilled in Jesus who appears in glory overshadowed by a cloud-the kingdom of heaven come to earth. Jesus went up mountains frequently when he wanted to pray. Gadenz says there are echoes of Moses going up Sinai–the allusions are numerous. For one, Jesus was accompanied by his three Apostles and Moses was likewise accompanied by Aaron, Nadab and Abihu. Jesus’ face is changed, recalling how Moses’ face was shining because he was talking with God. The alternate theory is that his face was shining due to radiation given off by Anunnaki vehicles. Moses was talking to Enlil who was a harsh taskmaster, a perfect stand-in for Yahweh. The Ark of the Covenant was a radioactive communication device. Anyone who touched it was killed. But that is only a theory. It was all about civilizing mankind. I don’t think Jesus prayed to Yahweh; he prayed to the Universal Father, his true Father. But whatever Yahweh was (an ancient desert god), he certainly wasn’t the Universal Father. And the Universal Father definitely wasn’t Yahweh. Moses and Elijah represent the law and the prophets, indicating that Jesus’ life and mission are the fulfillment of God’s plan in the Scriptures. Luke introduces them, saying, Behold, two men, adding that they appeared in glory. Thus, he connects this event with the resurrection, where “two men in dazzling garments” testify that Jesus has been raised. At the Ascension as well “behold, two men in white garments” testify that the ascended Jesus will come back………………………………………………………………………. Moses and Elijah are conversing with Jesus. Only Luke tells us that the exodus is the topic of their conversation. It refers to the departure or death of Jesus, a new exodus, which he had just predicted. But it also communicates the deeper significance of his death. Like a new Moses, Jesus is bringing about a new exodus. He will start in Jerusalem, where he will die. In his exodus, he will pass from death to resurrection and ascension, with his arrival in heaven. He will thus open the way to heaven for his followers, such as Stephen, the first martyr. By his exodus, Jesus will accomplish God’s plan in the Scriptures.

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