Thesis:The "fulfillment" of the prophecy that some would "see" the Kingdom of God was one of degree, not essence.
Introduction:We have been considering Luke 9:28-36 as Luke's record of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus in 9:27 that "some" would not taste of death until they "saw" the Kingdom of God. We have seen that Luke's record touches upon profound truths relating to that Kingdom. One of those profound truths is that not even the King of that Kingdom operates "independently". In our study last week of "mountain prayer", we saw that Jesus did not independently select those men whom He was going to transform into apostles; instead, He spent an entire night in conversation with His Father. At issue was, is, and shall, for a long time, be this reality: the "mountain" represents the Kingdom of God as His rule and the extension of His Love and Truth into all the created universe. As such, the fact that the Father and the Son were in extended conversation about which of the men on this earth would be the divine tools for that extension is a highly enlightening truth. At its most basic level, it means that God is, at essence, a God of relational inclusion. Therefore, as Jesus went about doing the will of this "essentially relational God", He approached the doing as the outcome of the on-going conversation He had with the Father.
As we return to the text this morning, it is my goal to emphasize God's "infinity of relational inclusion" as a truth that means that God has offered us "opportunity" in His Kingdom plans.
I. Luke Continued His Focus Upon Prayer.
A. The essential concept of "prayer" is the reality of relational inclusion.
1. Prayer often seems to man to be a one-sided conversation.
a. This appearance develops from the "norm" of prayer in which men speak and are met with verbal silence: God does not "talk back".
b. That this is the "norm" is attested by all who pray: even those who claim remarkable experiences in prayer seldom claim that the experiences are those of God speaking aloud.
c. The net result is at least two-fold.
1) Men do not expect God to speak to them in an audible voice.
2) Men seek for ways to make "prayer" meaningful.
a) Some speak and write of the occasional "still small Voice"; a concept that most generally means that some kind of clear communication occurs within the boundaries of their consciousness -- somewhat like a "voice inside my head".
b) Others speak and write of things that happened afterward as a vindication of their belief that God has heard them -- a kind of "this is what I wanted when I prayed so when I got it, it was God".
d. The point is this: prayer often seems to man to not be a real relational inclusion insofar as "relational inclusion" means a two-way conversation.
2. If, as people of "faith", we can "get over" the barrier of tying "relational inclusion" to audible, verbal, activity, we can actually begin to enter into the reality of "Life" as participation with God in His agenda of extending His Love and Truth beyond its present borders in creation.
a. Prayer was never intended by God to be limited to audible conversation.
b. When we look into the issues of "prayer" in the Bible we see many things that are not a matter of "audible conversation".
1) For example, look at Philippians 4:6-7: the promise is not of verbal response; the promise is of "soul comfort".
2) Look also at Luke 18:1 and 22:40, 46: the promise is not of verbal response; the promise is of the emboldening of the "spirit".
c. The bottom line of "prayer" is, in reality, the consequent condition of the soul and spirit.
3. The issue of "relational inclusion" is not verbal interaction in any known relationship.
a. No relationship develops simply because people "speak" to each other.
b. All relationships live or die by whether those in them have "comfortable souls" and "emboldened spirits" because relationships thrive in the presence of Love and Truth, not sound.
B. The focus of our text upon prayer is not upon 9:35 (in that verse God spoke to some who were not "praying"), but upon what happened as it was transpiring.
1. This is the heart of "relational inclusion": what happens while one is praying.
2. Anyone can "talk" to a "god" and think they are praying evenwhennothinghappens if their concept of "prayer" is something less than "relational inclusion".
II. Luke Moved Into the Needed Response.
A. The "problem" that "needed" a response from God was that the disciples' conviction that Jesus is the Christ of God was too superficial and volatile.
1. Peter responded to Jesus' question regarding His identity with the right words, but words do not necessarily spring from the roots of the heart.
2. This superficial volatility was exposed by Luke in 24:32.
3. The superficiality was also exposed by Luke's record of the disciples' flagrant violations of the Love and Truth of Jesus at almost every turn.
B. The "solution" for the "problem" was a visual demonstration of the basic reality.
1. Romans 1:20 says that men are "without excuse" on the basis of a most superficial grasp of Truth that simply cannot be legitimately rejected.
2. Luke's entire record up to this point is a far more profound "revelation" of Truth than the creation.
a. Jesus could not have asked what the disciples thought of Him if there was no basis for coming to grips with His identity in His words and actions.
b. Peter could not have jumped to the conclusion that Jesus is the Christ of God if there was nothing upon which to base it.
3. Luke's present record is a "deepening".
a. Jesus is not presented as being transformed in face and garments into something He was not.
b. Jesus is being presented as being "unveiled" so that the hindrances of the fallen world could no longer hide what He is.
c. The point is not a change of perspective, but a deepening of one already held.
1) All truths are like an onion that has an infinite number of layers.
2) Every layer of any given truth has a direct impact upon the one moving from layer to layer.
3) The complexity of living means that one's "experiences" are going to be "proven" by what one thinks is true, and the outer layers are often insufficient to effectively meet the events.
4) Thus, God is at work to energize our peeling of the onion so that we can move into a greater experience of Him as Who He is settles more and more deeply into what we actually believe.