Thesis:The absolute uniqueness of Jesus is a truth that most people can not handle.
Introduction: This morning we come to the final declarations of this paragraph. We have spent two months considering Luke's record of the visible revelation of the Kingdom of God to Peter, John, and James and have had many Kingdom realities presented to us. The major focus of this presentation is the fact that Moses and Elijah spoke with Him about an "exodus" that Jesus was about to "fulfill" in a Jerusalem that had been perverted by bondage from Jerusalem into Egypt (Revelation 11:8). Perhaps the most crucial of those realities is the fact that Jesus, as the King of that Kingdom, is simultaneously three identities: He is the Passover Lamb of the New Exodus (9:22); He is the Protecting Column of Fire of the New Exodus (9:29); and He is the Guiding Pillar of Cloud of the New Exodus (9:34-35). The need for a "new" exodus is obvious because of the condition of the nation that experienced the first exodus: the nation was not significantly delivered from her bondage.
As we come to these final declarations, one thing stands out: Peter, John, and James told no one what they had seen for many days. The question is this: Why did they not tell?
I. The Easy Part to the Answer.
A. Luke omitted a pertinent "fact" that both Matthew (17:9) and Mark (9:9) revealed: Jesus told them not to tell.
1. There are two omissions.
a. Jesus told them not to tell.
b. Jesus released them from His restriction after His resurrection.
2. Thus the silence of Peter, John, and James was rooted in a restraint placed upon them by Jesus that was only temporary.
B. When we discover this omission, we have the "easy" part of the answer to our question.
II. The More Difficult Part of the Answer.
A. This part has to do with several "layers" of the involved issues.
1. The first "layer" has to do with why Jesus temporarily restrained them.
2. The second "layer" has to do with why Luke did not tell Theophilus of this temporary restraint.
3. The third "layer" has to do with what Luke intended Theophilus to understand from what he did tell him.
B. With three "layers" of questions, we have three "layers" of facts to address them.
1. The first layer.
a. Luke told Theophilus of other occasions when Jesus restricted people from telling about their experiences.
1) In 5:14 Jesus told the cleansed leper to "tell no man" except the Mosaic priests "for a testimony unto them".
a) This was a deliberate declaration that a greater than Moses was on the scene.
b) This was a presentation of the fact of the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18 to the leadership of the nation.
2) In 8:56 Jesus told the parents of the girl whom He raised from the dead to "tell no man" what He had done.
a) The father of this girl was a leading official of the synagogue; a fact that would make his refusal to tell more difficult.
b) The act was one that was keyed to Jesus' focus upon the impact of "faith" and was done in the face of scoffing unbelief.
3) In 9:21 Jesus told The Twelve to "tell no man" that He was the Christ of the God.
a) This was the only logical, or legitimate, conclusion to which people could come because of His works and words.
b) The people, however, were refusing to be thoughtful.
b. In every other case of restraint, the situation was one in which the people were not capable of dealing with the fact(s) that was/were being withheld from them.
2. The second layer.
a. That Luke did not tell Theophilus that this particular restraint was imposed by Jesus would automatically cause him to wonder why Peter, John, and James were silent.
1) He might have guessed from 9:21 that they would not have "spread it around" to a general group.
2) He would have had more trouble with the other members of The Twelve not being told.
b. However, it is clear from Peter's outburst on the mountain during the revelation that none of The Twelve were really capable of dealing with the Kingdom facts as they actually are.
1) This would at least imply that, just like the leper, the parents, and The Twelve, Peter, John, and James were restrained in the telling because of the difficulties others were having with the facts.
2) Theophilus was, himself, being "kept in the dark" to a limited degree in that he was not told of Jesus' part in the restraint, nor was he told that such restraint was to be lifted after the resurrection.
a) Theophilus did not know that he was being kept in the dark.
b) But he did know that "something" was going on that would require him to "think about it".
c. Apparently Luke understood Jesus' rationale for the other cases of restraint and determined to "push" Theophilus a bit to see if he could get him to throw off the reason for "restraint" in divine revelation.
3. The third layer.
a. Luke told Theophilus enough to press the real issue.
b. The real issue is in the words.
1) The text is not really about "when the voice had spoken" (the Authorized Version translators say "when the voice was past").
a) These translations all put Jesus' "being found alone" after the voice.
b) The text, however, reads "when the voice came into being" Jesus was found alone.
2) The issue of the text is that "The Voice" wanted to make absolutely sure of one fact: Jesus, and no other, was the Chosen Son of God Who was to be "alone" as the object of the faith of The Three.
a) Here we see the rationale for the restraint: few, if any, are really ready to make Jesus, alone, their object of faith.
b) The compelling issue of Jesus "alone" is enormously restrictive.
i. This chapter opens with Jesus sending forth The Twelve with no permission to take any provisions with them: this requires "faith in Jesus alone".
ii. The point of the chapter is that "disciples" are supposed to know and believe in Jesus as their "sole" provision -- as Passover Lamb (no forgiveness through any other method or person) -- as Protecting Pillar of Fire (no protection from any other method or person) -- as Guiding Pillar of Cloud (no direction or wisdom from any other method or person).
iii. This is not an argument for radical independence from participationwith others, but it is an argument for radical independence fromothers as substitutes for Jesus.
c) The compelling issue of Jesus "alone" is, however, enormously "Life-giving".
i. When we can obtain what we want by using others and manipulating the situation, we have no power or Life.
ii. When we put ourselves at risk with Jesus alone, we either have Him provide or not, and we "Live" or not.