If you have question for Wayne, or would like to suggest a topic for the group in discussing this chapter, please post it here.
On page 81 in chapter 8 you say we are loved by an awesome Father who was able to work in me beyond my weaknesses. And yet, it was the richness of that love that made me want to do whatever he would ask me to do. Its a love that invites us into transformation at a level I never thought possible. One thing I have learned in my own study and devotional life is that in the story of the transfiguration, the same word in the greek for transfiguration is used also for the word transformed in Romans 12: 1-2 where we are told to no longer follow the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Would you be willing to respond and expound on this some for me. Why in your opinion did Jesus need to be transfigured before going to the cross and can we compare that to the transformation we need to go through in order to understand God’s will for us. What really happened in Jesus’s transfiguration and is this what he wants for each of us as well? Is this what you are talking about on page 81? I welcome other input on this as well if others want to discuss this topic more.
You have mentioned speaking in churches from time to time. Have you seen any small churches that have moved away from the institutional model toward a greater awareness of God’s love for the members individually as the basis for their ministry to one another and to those beyond? Maybe they got fed up with all the rules and policies and committees and decided to listen to the Lord??? Can it happen?
Ron, keep in mind that ancient languages did not have as many words and present day ones so their words had a lot more work to do. I don’t think there is a linguistic comparison here. In the Gospels at the Transfiguration, it was an outward change of form, as an immediate event to allow Jesus and them to have a conversation. (Would love to know what that was!). In Romans it is used as a present passive and seems to indicate a long term process of inner change, rather than outer. I’ve never seen the two uses of that word as having some kind of tie-in. That’s not to say it doesn’t tie in somehow, but I see these two processes as very different.
I think the transformation of Romans 1 and 2 is more like Jesus’ in Luke 2, “He grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” But I could be nuts!
Yes, but it is exceedingly rare. People come to “churches” for a certain style of life and worship. Messing with the status quo is never easy. Some people might love it, but others will not and then people often feel superior to those who don’t want to change and then animosity grows. So the only way it works is if everyone wants to make the transition together. If not, then people will either be forced to fight to keep it the way it was, or leave hurt. But it can happen if the people are able to see the same hope together and risk what it takes to get there. More often that not, however, it only creates a “church split” where one group or the other goes off to start their own thing. And that is always painful.
Point taken. And I’m sure you’re right. Especially regards the split. If it’s already fractured, the possibility of fixing anything is slim to nil. Just seen too many sad situations. Would love to see one work out for the good.
A note: Just finished Panic to Peace from your summer reading list. Excellent. A fractured church believes so many lies. I kept thinking, this is simply a handbook on spiritual warfare.
Ok, so you are saying that in order for Jesus to verbally talk to Elijah and Moses, that he needed to change his bodily form in order to have that conversation. Very interesting. I just assumed that as Jesus, in human form, spent time with God and Elijah and Moses, that he was transfigured as He was close to them and spent time with them kind of like Moses when he spent time with God on the mountain and came off glowing. That’s why I made this comparison thinking that if we spend quality time with God, we will be transformed (transfigured) in our thinking and know His will so closely that we will follow Him and know His will intimately and follow it passionately. I was thinking that yes they were two different processes but that maybe they were similar and Jesus’ time with God was a model for us to follow. In your opinion, do we need a transfiguration experience like Jesus did? It seems to me that this happened, right before he went to the cross and I was thinking that Jesus told his disciples that they too would need to take up their cross and follow Him. Do we need this kind of experience to prepare us for the work He is calling us to?
No, Ron, I’m not saying he needed to change his form to be with them, it’s just the way it worked out. I agree with your point that being with God is what transforms us and our thinking. We all need that transformation for sure and leaning into him as we go about the work he’s given us in the world is critical or we’ll resort to our own strength. The example I’d use for that is the Gethsemane experience. The disciples couldn’t find the passion to pray and ended up abandoning him later in the night, while Jesus found his courage inside the Father. I see the transfiguration as different. It seems to touch the eternal and I’m not anticipating that until the corruptible takes on incorruption in the Resurrection of the last day.
Jesus said somewhere that as His disciples, we would do the same things as Him and even greater things. On page 80, you made the comment that Jesus asking us to love our enemies and those who have wronged us is like Him asking the disciples to feed the five thousand with a little boy’s lunch. Only He can give us that kind of love. I think that Jesus was fully human and that He needed transfiguration (love for the world and all people and their sins, and love for His enemies) and He showed us that He needed God’s Love and Presence to accomplish that. I personally believe we are in the last days and that we need this kind of courage and power to love the way Jesus did on the cross. He did that for us not only to forgive us but to transform us to love like Him. He did this as an example to follow I believe. Didn’t the disciples Peter and John in Acts 3 demonstrate this kind of love and power for the lame beggar who was healed? It seems to me that those disciples who were close to Jesus did do the same things and greater things and I believe that Jesus has that kind of love for others and for us too. I don’t think this was just for the apostles during that time. Jesus said that we have not because we ask not. I understand the disciples couldn’t find the passion at Gethsemane, but they did find it in Acts 3 and at Pentecost. Are those days over, and we are just waiting for Heaven or the Resurrection of the last day or should we be open to God using us to love and forgive and minister to others now? Just thoughts and questions I have. I think Jesus needed the transfiguration to keep Him from giving in to the temptation of resorting to His own wisdom and strength instead of depending on God to go to the cross for us and the world the way He did. I think there is no way we can love and forgive our enemies like the challenge on page 80 in your book without the same kind of change in us and our hearts.
Also on page 83 you made the comment that it may seem like a diversion from the theme of finding church to talk about this kind of love. I agree with you that it is not. I think this is the narrow way Jesus was talking about and He said few find it. But in my opinion, everything about His Church and transformation and transfiguration depends on total faith and confidence in His Love for us and for the world. I think God wants to love us in this kind of way and then in return, we can find true community and compassion for others and share that love with others too. I like this chapter and I think, in my opinion, this is not a diversion but the climax of what this whole book is talking about.
Wayne, on page 78 when they quoted the “Great Command” - “It’s to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself”, you mentioned that they were quoting from Deuteronomy. Yet I haven’t seen anywhere in Deuteronomy where is says that exactly, especially “to love you neighbor as yourself.” Unless I missed it somewhere or my concordance is limited somehow. I know it sounds like I’m nit-picking, but I seem to be a bit of a stickler about scripture. This is now my third reading of this book, and I am loving it.
The great command to love God with our whole being is in Deuteronomy. The command to love our neighbor as ourselves is in Leviticus.
Bob, thank you very much. I did know that “to love God…” is in Deuteronomy 6:5 and “to love you neighbor…” is in Leviticus 19:18. Sorry, but I seem to be a bit sticky when what I read doesn’t line up with scripture. However, after I finished reading the rest of that chapter (for the third time) I got the drift of what Wayne meant in the long run. Thanks again Bob.
I’m sorry I didn’t get in on all of this. Just didn’t have the strength or time post-surgery. I should have been clearer that the second part was in Leviticus. It’s amazing how Jesus pulled those two together, but think the larger point is whether love begins in us toward God, or begins in him toward us. Jesus showed us it can only begin in him and I’m so grateful for that. Spent most of my life trying “to love” God with all my heart by human effort and failed miserably. And I have enjoyed for the past 20+ years loving him as the natural and spontaneous response to the reality of his love for me. It has changed me.
I think the most unforgettable line in your book He Loves Me, what I have taken away from it perhaps more than anything else in it, is your statement that everything in our lives hinges on our answer to one question - do we know how much we are loved? Perhaps we will be thinking on that one for all eternity.
I agree with you Wayne. Like I said, I’m still a “work in progress” still learning to have Him show me how to love Him and that I can’t do this of my own effort.