A great crowd (Lk 9:37-9:37)

“On the next day,

When they had come down

From the mountain,

A great crowd

Met Jesus.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ τῇ ἑξῆς ἡμέρᾳ κατελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους συνήντησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς

 

Luke said that on the next day (Ἐγένετο δὲ τῇ ἑξῆς ἡμέρᾳ), after the transfiguration, when they had come down from the mountain (κατελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους), a great crowd met Jesus (συνήντησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς).  Mark, chapter 9:14-15, and Matthew, chapter 17:14 are somewhat similar.  Jesus came to his disciples and saw a great crowd around them.  Mark said that some Scribes were arguing or discussing with them, but there was no indication what they were discussing or arguing about.  As Jesus left his small group of disciples, a large crowd came towards him.  Mark said that suddenly a large crowd saw Jesus, so that they were amazed or overcome with awe, since he was like a celebrity.  They all ran forward to greet him.  Have you ever been in a crowd when a celebrity appeared?

This is my son (Lk 9:35-9:35)

“A voice came

From the cloud,

Saying.

‘This is my Son!

My Chosen one!

Listen to him!’”

 

καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης λέγουσα Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἐκλελεγμένος, αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε.

 

Luke said that a voice came from the cloud (καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης) that said (λέγουσα) that this is my Son (Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου), my Chosen one (ὁ ἐκλελεγμένος).  Listen to him (αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε)!  This voice from the cloud can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:5, Mark, chapter 9:7, and here in Luke, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Mark said that there was a voice from the cloud that said Jesus was his Son, the beloved one.  There was nothing about being pleased or chosen here.  However, there is the further admonition to listen to him.  The wording of the voice from the cloud sounds almost exactly like the voice from heaven in Mark, chapter 1:11, after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  Instead of from heaven there, the voice comes from a cloud here.  This voice did not address Jesus personally.  However, the idea of a heavenly voice or a voice from a cloud had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets and Moses.  The Baptism of Jesus, like the transfiguration here, has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian Christology.  In Matthew, this voice from the cloud said that Jesus was his most beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased.  However, there was the further admonition to listen to him as in LukeMatthew, like Mark, has a clear connection between the Baptism of Jesus and his transfiguration.  Both times, the Father as the voice from heaven, or in the clouds, pronounced that Jesus was his beloved Son in whom he was well pleased.  Are you pleased with Jesus?

Peter and the others see the glory (Lk 9:32-9:32)

“Now Peter

And his companions

Were weighed down

With sleep.

But since they

Had stayed awake,

They saw his glory

And the two men

Who stood with him.”

 

ὁ δὲ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ ἦσαν βεβαρημένοι ὕπνῳ· διαγρηγορήσαντες δὲ εἶδαν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς δύο ἄνδρας τοὺς συνεστῶτας αὐτῷ.

 

Luke uniquely said that Peter (ὁ δὲ Πέτρος) and his 2 companions (καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ) were weighed down with sleep (ἦσαν βεβαρημένοι ὕπνῳ).  However, since they had stayed fully awake (διαγρηγορήσαντες), they saw the glory of Jesus (δὲ εἶδαν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ) and the 2 men (καὶ τοὺς δύο ἄνδρας) who stood with him (τοὺς συνεστῶτας αὐτῷ).  This is another unique statement by Luke about Peter during the transfiguration, since the other synoptics did not mention this.  Peter with his 2 companions were almost asleep, like they did later in the Garden of Gethsemane.  However, Peter, James, and John stayed awake long enough to catch a glimpse of the glory of the transfigured Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, as they watched them talk together.  There was no indication what language was being spoken, but the assumption might be that it was Hebrew or Aramaic.  Have you ever fallen asleep so that you missed an important event?

The famine at the time of Elijah (Lk 4:25-4:26)

“In truth!

I say to you!

There were many widows

In Israel

At the time of Elijah.

The heavens

Were shut closed for

Three years and six months.

There came

A great famine

Over all the land.

Yet Elijah was sent

To none of them,

Except to a widow

At Zarephath,

In Sidon.”

 

ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ, ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ, ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν

καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν.

 

There are no similar stories in Mark and Matthew.  Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this story about Elijah as found in 1 Kings, chapter 17:1-16.  John the Baptist had been compared to Elijah, a major almost romantic 9th century BCE prophet, whose name appears more than 100 times in the biblical literature.  Elijah also appeared with Moses in the transfiguration of Jesus mentioned later in this work.  Elijah’s influence on the evangelical authors was very important, just like here.  There were a series of stories about Elijah when King Ahab (874-853 BCE) was king of Israel.  Elijah, commanded by Yahweh, went to a northern town near Sidon, probably a Phoenician town.  He provided a widow and her family with a never-ending jar and jug that provided meal and oil for her and her household until the drought came to an end.  Luke pointed out with a solemn pronouncement (ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) that there were many widows (πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν) at the time of Elijah (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου), in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ).  The heavens were closed or shut down (ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς) for 3 ½ years (ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ).  Thus, there was a great drought across the whole land (ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν).  However, Yahweh sent Elijah to none of the Israelite widows (καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας).  Instead Elijah was sent to a widow at Zarephath, in Sidon (εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν).

The three apostles go with Jesus (Mk 14:33-14:33)

“Jesus took with him

Peter,

James,

And John.

He began

To be distressed

And agitated.”

 

καὶ παραλαμβάνει τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ τὸν Ἰωάνην μετ’ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἤρξατο ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν,

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:37, where James and John were simply called the sons of Zebedee.  In Luke, chapter 22, and in John, chapter 18, there was no mention of these 3 favorite apostles being separated from the others.  Mark indicated that Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John (καὶ παραλαμβάνει τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ τὸν Ἰωάνην μετ’ αὐτοῦ).  These were the same 3 apostles who were with Jesus at the transfiguration.  Jesus then began to be grieved, pained, sorrowful, troubled, awestruck, distressed, and agitated (καὶ ἤρξατο ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν).  This story showed the vulnerability of Jesus in his suffering.

They want to sit on the right and left of Jesus (Mk 10:37-10:37)

“They said

To Jesus.

‘Grant us

To sit,

One at your right hand

And one at your left hand,

In your glory.’”

 

οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ Δὸς ἡμῖν ἵνα εἷς σου ἐκ δεξιῶν καὶ εἷς ἐξ ἀριστερῶν καθίσωμεν ἐν τῇ δόξῃ σου.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:21, but here the brothers, rather than their mother spoke with Jesus.  Mark said that the 2 brothers responded to Jesus (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ).  They wanted him to let them sit at his right hand (Δὸς ἡμῖν ἵνα εἷς σου ἐκ δεξιῶν) and at his left hand (καὶ εἷς ἐξ ἀριστερῶν καθίσωμεν) when Jesus came in all his glory (ἐν τῇ δόξῃ σου).  After all, they had been with Peter at the transfiguration and were among the four original disciples.  Thus, they were already very special.  Perhaps, they thought of this as an earthly kingdom.  Ironically enough at the crucifixion of Jesus, it would be two thieves on the right and left side of Jesus.

This is my beloved Son (Mk 9:7-9:7)

“Then a cloud

Overshadowed them.

There came

A voice

From the cloud.

‘This is my beloved Son!

Listen to him!’”

 

καὶ ἐγένετο νεφέλη ἐπισκιάζουσα αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐγένετο φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ.

 

This voice from the cloud can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:5, Luke, chapter 9:34-35, and here in Mark, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  The wording of the voice from the cloud sounds almost exactly like the voice from heaven in chapter 1:11, after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  Instead of from heaven there, the voice comes from a cloud here.  This voice did not address Jesus personally.  However, the idea of a heavenly voice or a voice from a cloud had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets and Moses.  The Baptism of Jesus, like the transfiguration here, has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian Christology.  Mark said that a cloud overshadowed them (καὶ ἐγένετο νεφέλη ἐπισκιάζουσα αὐτοῖς).  Then there was a voice from the cloud (καὶ ἐγένετο φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης) that said Jesus was his Son, the beloved one (Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός).  There was nothing about being pleased by him here.  However, there is the further admonition to listen to him (ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ).  Mark has a clear connection between the Baptism of Jesus and his transfiguration.  Both times, the Father as the voice from heaven or the cloud pronounced that Jesus was his beloved Son.