Luke 9:27-36

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

February 7, 2001


We’re going to start at the end of a section.  Verse 27 really belongs at the end of what Jesus is saying in verses 23-27, but I ended last week at verse 26 on purpose.  I wanted to show how verse 27 ties in to the next section.

27  But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

of a truthalethos – truly, of a truth, in reality, most certainly

standinghistemi – to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set; to stand

tastegeuomai – to taste, to try the flavour of; to taste; i.e. perceive the flavour of, partake of, enjoy; to feel, make trial of, experience; to take food, eat, to take nourishment, eat

deaththanatos – the death of the body; metaph., the loss of that life which alone is worthy of the name,; the miserable state of the wicked dead in hell; in the widest sense, death comprising all the miseries arising from sin, as well physical death as the loss of a life consecrated to God and blessed in him on earth, to be followed by wretchedness in hell

they seeeido – to see; to perceive with the eyes; to pay attention, observe; to look at, behold; to know; to know of anything; to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive

What does this mean?

Some strange groups have suggested that Jesus was trying to say that the apostle John wouldn’t die, that he would hang around until Jesus died.

I think that Jesus is talking about the events in the next passage.  Peter, James, and John will get a glimpse of the kingdom of God when they see Jesus in His “transfigured” state.  Both Matthew and Mark also record this saying and follow it immediately with the record of Jesus taking Peter, James, and John up to the mountain and being transfigured before them (Mat. 16:28-17:1; Mark 9:1-2).

:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

abouthosei – as it were, (had been), as though, as, like as, like; about, nearly

The other gospels tell us that it was actually six days later.  Luke is not wrong because he is only giving the number as a estimate, not meant to be exact.

mountainoros – a mountain

Probably Mount Hermon.  When Peter declares that Jesus is the “Christ” (9:20), Jesus and the disciples were at Caesarea Philippi (Mat. 16:13). Mount Hermon is the closest, most likeliest mountain nearby, 15 miles to the northeast of Caesarea Philippi.  Hermon is 9232 feet high at its peak.


to prayproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray


We need to pray.

Jesus seemed to demonstrate a need for prayer in His life.  Look at the references of Jesus praying, just in the gospel of Luke:
(Luke 5:16 KJV)  And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
(Luke 6:12 KJV)  And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
(Luke 9:18 KJV)  And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
(Luke 11:1 KJV)  And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
(Luke 18:1 KJV)  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
(Luke 19:45-46 KJV)  And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; {46} Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
(Luke 22:31-32 KJV)  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: {32} But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
(Luke 22:40-46 KJV)  And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. {41} And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, {42} Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. {43} And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. {44} And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. {45} And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, {46} And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

:29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

prayedproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

fashion eidos – the external or outward appearance, form figure, shape; form, kind; from eido – to see.  NAS translates this “appearance”.

This is a form of the same word that Jesus used in verse 27, “till they see the kingdom of God”

countenance prosopon – the face; countenance, look

altered heteros – the other, another, other; another: i.e. one not of the same nature, form, class, kind, different.  He became different.

whiteleukos – light, bright, brilliant; brilliant from whiteness, (dazzling) white

glisteringexastrapto – to send forth lightning, to lighten; to flash out like lightning, to shine, be radiant; of garments

What we are seeing is a little of the veil being pulled back on Jesus and His glory.

When Jesus took on human flesh, He “veiled” glory.

(Phil 2:5-9 KJV)  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: {7} But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: {8} And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. {9} Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

What happened here on the mountain was a slight lifting of this veil.  What Peter, James and John saw was a little glimpse of Jesus as He is right now:

(Rev 1:13-16 KJV)  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. {14} His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; {15} And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. {16} And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

:30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:

talked withsullaleo – to talk with.  The word is used to describe discussions among people.

Moses and Elijah are significant in that they are representatives of all of God’s Word to mankind, the “Law” (Moses) and the “Prophets” (Elijah).  You find the phrase “law and prophets” 11 times in the New Testament, referring to the complete Old Testament canon, all the writings.

Note:  The fact that Moses and Elijah are in a glorified form, and the fact that they are recognizable somehow to Jesus and His disciples shows us that in heaven we won’t all lose our identity into some great “cosmic consciousness”.  We will retain our earthly identity in heaven, but be in a glorified state. 

:31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

appearedoptanomai – to look at, behold; to allow one’s self to be seen, to appear

glory doxa – opinion, judgment, view; splendour, brightness; of the moon, sun, stars; magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace; as apparent in their exterior brightness; a most glorious condition, most exalted state

They seem to be glowing brightly like Jesus.

decease exodos – exit i.e. departure; the close of one’s career, one’s final fate; departure from life, decease

should mello – to be about; to be on the point of doing or suffering something; to intend, have in mind, think to

accomplishpleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full; to render full, i.e. to complete; to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking); to fulfil, i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment

“Who were seen in glory, speaking of His departure which He was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.”

Here is Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, standing around talking about how Jesus would die on the cross.  How He had to do it.


The gospel

When Jesus died on a cross, it was not some great terrible tragedy.  It was not some horrible mistake.  Jesus was fulfilling His purpose in life.
The fact that Jesus was talking to Moses and Elijah was significant in a way of saying that ALL of Scripture was testifying that the Son of God would come and die in Jerusalem.
Why did He die?
He died to offer Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins.  It is our sin that keeps us from having a relationship with God, and the only thing that can remove this barrier between us and God is if someone pays the price for the sin.  The price is death.
Jesus would die in our place.  He had to die.  He came to die.

:32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

were heavy bareo – to burden, weigh down, depress.  Perfect tense, meaning that they had been heavy with sleep and the effects were still lingering.

with sleep hupnos (“hypnosis”) – sleep


Sleeping Pills
An exhausted looking man dragged himself in to the Doctor’s office.  “Doctor, there are dogs all over my neighborhood.  They bark all day and all night, and I can’t get a wink of sleep.”  “I have good news for you,” the doctor answered, rummaging through a drawer full of sample medications.  “ Here are some new sleeping pills that work like a dream.  A few of these and your trouble will be over.” “Great,” the man answered, “I’ll try  anything.  Let’s give it a shot.” A few weeks later the man returned, looking  worse than ever.  “Doc, your plan is no good.  I’m more tired than before!”  “I don’t understand how that could be, said the doctor, shaking his head.  “Those are the strongest pills on the market!”  “That may be true,” answered the man wearily, “but I’m up all night chasing those dogs and when I finally catch one, it’s almost impossible  getting him to swallow the pill!!!” 

were awakediagregoreo – to watch through; to remain awake; to be fully awake.  When they realized what was happening, they totally woke up.

they saw eido – to see.  This is the same word that Jesus used (He could have used a couple of other words for “see”) in verse 27, that some would “see” the kingdom of God.

glorydoxa – opinion, judgment, view; splendour, brightness; of the moon, sun, stars; magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace; as apparent in their exterior brightness; a most glorious condition, most exalted state


Are we missing out?

I wonder how often I’m the sleepy one, missing out on things because I’m spiritually asleep instead of spiritually awake.  At least Peter and his buddies woke up.
I pray that our eyes stay open to the things of the Lord.  I pray that we would have a better idea of what was happening around us spiritually.
(2 Ki 6:15-17 KJV)  And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? {16} And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. {17} And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

I think it would be a good thing to pray for our eyes to be opened to what God is wanting to do around and through us.

:33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.

Masterepistates – any sort of superintendent or overseer

goodkalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable

let us makepoieo – to make; to do

tabernaclesskene – tent, tabernacle, (made of green boughs, or skins or other materials)

not knowingeido – to see; to perceive with the eyes; to know of anything; to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive

(Luke 9:33 NASB)  And it came about, as these were parting from Him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah"-- not realizing what he was saying.

Mark records,

(Mark 9:6 NASB)  For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified.
Sometimes it would be better to be silent than to talk about something you don’t know anything about.


You can’t stay on the mountain.

In a way, you can’t blame Peter for wanting to stay there.  This was a glorious time.  Nothing like it ever happened in the history of mankind.  Nothing ever would.
Who wouldn’t want to stay on the mountain?
But was this Jesus’ purpose on earth, to set up a tent and have people come and worship Him there?
No.  Jesus came to die.  He had just talked with Moses and Elijah about this.
Jesus had work to do.  He had a purpose to fulfill.  And it wasn’t on the mountain.
Sometimes we have some incredible experiences of God’s presence, whether it’s at a retreat or at church.  Sometimes we don’t want to go home.  But we have a purpose to fulfill.  There are people to reach, people to minister to.  There are people waiting for you at the bottom of the mountain.

:34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.

cloudnephele – a cloud

overshadowed episkiazo – to throw a shadow upon, to envelop in a shadow, to overshadow; From a vaporous cloud that casts a shadow the word is transferred to a shining cloud surrounding and enveloping persons with brightness. Used of the Holy Spirit exerting creative energy upon the womb of the virgin Mary and impregnating it (a use of the word which seems to have been drawn from the familiar OT idea of a cloud as symbolising the immediate presence and power of God)

In the Old Testament, when God’s presence filled the Tabernacle or the Temple, He filled it with a cloud.

they fearedphobeo – to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away); to fear, be afraid; to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm; of those startled by strange sights or occurrences

they enteredeiserchomai – to go out or come in: to enter

:35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

a voicephone – a sound, a tone; a voice; of the sound of uttered words; speech

belovedagapetos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love

hearakouo – to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf; to hear; to attend to, consider what is or has been said; to understand, perceive the sense of what is said; to comprehend, to understand

They heard God’s voice, audibly!!!


Pay attention to Jesus.

Just in case Peter and his buddies missed the point, God the Father is making clear here who is the one to pay attention to.  I imagine it could have been possible for the guys to have been thinking that Jesus must have been a pretty great guy to be able to hang around with the likes of Moses and Elijah.  But that’s thinking backwards.  The greatest one on the mountain was Jesus, not Moses and Elijah.
(Heb 1:1-3 KJV)  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; {3} Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Pay attention to Jesus.  He’s what the Bible is all about.  He’s the one the whole Bible is pointing to.

:36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

kept it closesigao – to keep silence, hold one’s peace; to be kept in silence, be concealed

toldapaggello – to bring tidings (from a person or a thing), bring word, report; to proclaim, to make known openly, declare

they had seenhorao – to see with the eyes; to see with the mind, to perceive, know; to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience; to see, to look to