When Power & Authority Meets Prayer & Fasting

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-eight through sixty-two of the ninth chapter of this New Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will encounter another account of what has become known as the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ atop the mountain—perhaps just outside of Caesarea Philippi. I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order to truly understand the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture it is absolutely necessary to understand and recognize that which took place just prior to the transfiguration of Jesus in the company of Peter, James and John. It is truly something interesting and worth thinking about when reading the narratives surrounding the transfiguration of Jesus in the company and presence of Peter, James and John, for not only was Jesus’ appearance altered and transfigured in the company and presence of these three disciples, but it was while Jesus’ appearance was altered and transfigured that He appeared to speak with two Old Testament servants of the living God and two prophets of the most High God. As you read the words which are found within this particular portion of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the incredible and tremendous truth that Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him up into a high mountain without at all explaining unto them what they were about to experience. It is something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture how Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him up into a high mountain, and it would be there atop the mountain where something these three disciples were not expecting would take place. Oh I can’t help but think about and consider how incredibly intriguing and captivating this experience must have been—particularly and especially after their encounter at Caesarea Philippi where Jesus would present unto them a very pointed, powerful and personal question.

            There is not a doubt in my mind that in order to truly understand the words which are found within this portion of Scripture it is absolutely necessary to turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in the previous section of the ninth chapter. If and as you read the ninth chapter which was written by the beloved physician Luke you will find that it begins with Jesus calling the twelve disciples unto Himself that He might ordain and appoint them as apostles and ambassadors of the kingdom. It would be in the context of Jesus ordaining and appointing these twelve disciples as apostles and ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven that He would give them very specific commands and instructions. In all reality—while it was indeed and was in fact true that the disciples were invited to walk with and follow Jesus in a place of fellowship and relationship, it was also true that they were invited to walk together with Him in ministry. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how incredibly powerful this truly is, for I am absolutely and completely convinced that within the context of Jesus’ invitation unto these twelve men to partner together with Him in the work and ministry of the kingdom we find the very heart and center of discipleship. In all reality, we must needs recognize and understand that at the very heart of walking with and following Jesus, as well as partnering together with Him in the work of the ministry of the kingdom there is the underlying truth surrounding discipleship. What’s more, is that not only is there the underlying reality and truth of discipleship, but that discipleship is rooted in both a profession and confession that Jesus is Savior, as well as Lord. I have long believed that there is and there has been what we have known as “The Sinner’s Prayer,” and yet there is something else which must needs be acknowledged within our midst—namely, that which I would call “The Sufferer’s Prayer.”

            I sit here today thinking about and considering Jesus’ invitation given unto these twelve disciples whom He would ordain and appoint as apostles—those who would walk with and follow Him, and those who would partner together in the work of the ministry of the kingdom—and how at the very heart of fellowship and at the very heart of ministry is that of discipleship. The more I think about and the more I consider this tremendous and incredible reality the more I am brought face to face with the fact that at the very heart of discipleship is the confession and profession within our hearts and our mouths that Jesus is truly and is indeed Lord. In fact, I am convinced that we cannot truly talk about discipleship without also talking about what discipleship requires and demands of us. We would like to think about walking with and following Jesus, and we would like to think about our partnering together in the work of the ministry of the kingdom of heaven in the earth and how such an endeavor within our hearts and lives, and how such an endeavor promises and promotes a life of ease and comfort. The truth of the matter is that if and as you study Jesus’ words which were spoken unto the disciples you will find that He never promised them a life of ease, nor a life of comfort. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about and consider it is that Jesus invited the disciples to walk with and follow Him, and yet He wouldn’t immediately reveal unto them what walking with and following Him would mean. In fact, it wouldn’t be until Jesus would bring them into the place of understanding His identity, as well as bringing them into the place where they would be sent forth as His ambassadors and apostles that He would further speak of and reveal what walking with and following Him would truly mean. Even more than this, I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order to understand what true discipleship looks like within the heart and life of one who seeks to be a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand the words Jesus spoke in what is and has been commonly known as “The Sermon on the Mount,” as well as the words which Jesus spoke unto His twelve disciples when He ordained and appointed them as apostles. What’s more, is I am convinced that we must also recognize and understand the words which Jesus spoke unto His disciples when He brought them into the place of understanding His identity—identity in the place of the opinions of others and who they thought and believed Jesus was.

            I firmly believe that if we are to truly understand discipleship and what it truly means to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize that which He has called and invited us into. It was indeed true that Jesus invited these men to come after, walk with and follow Him, however, it wouldn’t immediately be revealed unto them what walking with and following Him would actually demand and require of them. What’s more, is that as you read the four gospel narratives you will find the account of many disciples turning back and walking no more with Jesus and His turning unto the twelve and asking them if they would also turn back and walk no longer with Him. The words which Simon Peter spoke unto Jesus on this particular occasion is truly and utterly captivating and astonishing, for it calls and invites us into a powerful realization and declaration within our own hearts and lives. Furthermore, there is an account found within the Scripture when Simon called Peter would speak unto Jesus and call to mind and call to attention everything they had left, forsaken and abandoned to follow Jesus, and how Jesus responded to the words of this disciple by emphatically declaring unto Him that which would be received as a direct result of forsaking and giving up everything. I am convinced that if we are to truly understand discipleship—and not only discipleship, but also that which took place when Jesus took Peter, James and John up into the mountain where He would be transfigured before them—it is absolutely necessary that we understand the tremendous truth surrounding what discipleship truly meant. We know and understand the call and invitation to walk with and follow Jesus, and we understand the invitation to partner together with Jesus in ministry, however, it is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to what being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ would require, demand and ask of us within this life. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the fifth, tenth and sixteenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew:

            “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:3-12).

            “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which  love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:38-48).

            “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of the wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:16-33).

            “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:34-39).

            “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; Some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keyes of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20).

            “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: This shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:21-28).

            It is with the words found in these portions and passages of Scripture we are brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ call and invitation to discipleship, and how discipleship does in fact mean persecution, suffering, revilement, affliction, trouble, and trials. We dare not and must not think about and consider discipleship before and in the presence of Jesus Christ as being absent persecution, suffering and affliction, for such a thought and idea is entirely and altogether false and misleading. Those who make the decision to walk with and follow Jesus as Christ must needs recognize and acknowledge the fact that doing so can and will require them to surrender their lives completely and fully before and unto Jesus as Lord and Christ. Those who wish to be disciples and followers of Jesus Christ must recognize and acknowledge the tremendous reality that such a commitment and such a resolve within their hearts, within their spirits and within their souls does indeed and does in fact mean that they are opening themselves up to persecution, to suffering, to being cursed, to being reviled, to being mistreated, to being despised, to being rejected, and even to be hated. If there is one thing we must needs acknowledge and understand it’s that we as the people of God have indeed and have in fact been called into a place where we willingly and deliberately surrender our lives before and unto the living and eternal Christ without holding anything back. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that we have been called to live and walk in a world where Jesus never promised us that we would be received, welcomed, embraced, and loved, but in a world where Jesus promised us that we would be hated, and in a world where we would be delivered and given up into the hands of kings and governors for the sake of His name. Jesus—almost immediately after He began preaching and teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven—would speak of being persecuted, of being reviled, and of being cursed and despitefully used, and would call us to pray for those who persecute us, bless those who curse us, and do good unto those who despitefully use us.

            Oh I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within these passages of Scripture and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that when Jesus invited the disciples into a place of partnership together in the ministry of the kingdom He spoke of the cross—and not only the cross, but also of their need to deny themselves, to take up their cross, and to follow Him. What’s more, is that when Jesus brought the disciples into a place where they would understand His identity, and when He would bring them into a place where He would speak of His suffering and death, He would once more speak of the need for self-denial, for taking up the cross, and following Him. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading these passages of Scripture how when Jesus invited the disciples into a place of partnership and ministry He would also emphatically declare unto and prepare them to be hated of all men for His name’s sake. What we must needs realize and understand is that this wouldn’t be the first time Jesus would prepare His disciples to be hated of all men—and even being hated of all nations for the sake of His name—for if you read the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which are found in chapters fourteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, you will find Jesus again preparing the disciples to be hated of all men and to be hated of all nations for His name’s sake. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is that as surely as Jesus prepared His disciples and followers to be hated, and as surely as He prepared them to be persecuted, He also called on them to love their enemies, to pray for those who persecute them, to bless those who curse them, and do good to those who despitefully use them. Oh pause for a moment and think about the fact that Jesus sent His disciples into a world where they would be hated and persecuted, and He sent them into that world with the command to pray, to bless, to do good, and above all to love. Not only this, but Jesus would send His disciples into the world to love those whom they might think about and even consider as their enemies.

            I am convinced that before we delve into the narrative and account of Jesus being transfigured upon the mountain in the company and presence of Peter, James and John, there is a great and powerful need for us to think about and consider the words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which are found in chapters fourteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. It is within these two portions of Scripture we find Jesus speaking unto His disciples concerning their being hated of all nations and being hated of all men for His name’s sake. PREPARE TO BE HATED, BUT BE WILLING TO LOVE! PREPARE TO BE PERSECUTED, BUT BE WILLING TO PRAY! Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—stop and think about how incredibly powerful it is that Jesus sent His disciples into the world to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, and into a world where they would not only be hated, but where they would indeed suffer and experience persecution. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found here in this portion and passage of Scripture, for it calls and draws our attention to the truly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding our need to understand that we have been called to walk with and follow Jesus as disciples and followers, however, living and walking as a disciple and follower of Jesus can indeed and can in fact mean that we will be hated of all men and all nations for His name’s sake. To truly be a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ—even those who understand that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and those who understand that we have been invited to partner together in the work of the ministry of the kingdom of heaven—can and will require us to fully and completely surrender our lives unto Him as both Christ and Lord. In fact, one cannot truly speak of Jesus as Lord if and unless they are willing to recognize and understand the tremendous and powerful need they have for self-denial, for taking up their cross, and following Him. With this in mind, I now invite you to consider the following words which are found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

            “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:4-14).

            “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers, believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matthew 24:15-28).

            “These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, the ywill keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me” (John 15:17-26).

            With these words and passages in mind, I invite you to turn and direct your attention to the opening verses of the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, as well as the words which are found in the twenty-first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke:

            “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God a service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Neverhtless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:1-11).

            “Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to medidate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:10-19).

            I am convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found within these portions and passages of Scripture, for they help serve as the backdrop and foundation for the transfiguration of Jesus atop the mountain in the company and presence of Peter, James and John. It is within the same chapter we find Jesus ordaining and appointing the twelve disciples as apostles, and it is in the same chapter we find Jesus asking the disciples who men said that He the Son of man was, and in the same chapter where not only does Simon called Peter profess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, but also where Jesus emphatically declares unto them that if any man would come after them they must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him that we find Jesus taking these three disciples up into an high mountain without giving them any clue or idea what was going to take place once they got to the top of the mountain. What’s more, is when you consider the fact that there atop this mountain Jesus would be transfigured before them in their sight in the company and presence of two men who would experience their own encounter with the living and eternal God. IT’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that the disciples would indeed and would in fact witness and behold Jesus transfigured before them, and His appearance would in fact be altered, however, it was more than just that. IT would have been one thing had Jesus simply been transfigured before them in their sight with His appearance being altered and transformed, however, there would be more than would take place upon the mountain than simply Jesus being transfigured before them in their presence. There atop the mountain Jesus would appear speaking together with Moses and Elijah—Moses who represented the Law, and Elijah who represented the prophets. What’s more, is that it would be on this mountain where the voice of the Father would manifest itself in the midst of that encounter and experience and would emphatically declare that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. Not only this, but the voice of the Father would also instruct those present to hear and listen to Him and the words which He would teach and speak.

            What makes this particular narrative as it was written and recorded in the New Testament gospel written by Luke so incredibly interesting when you take the time to think about it is when you consider how he adds something which the other gospel authors and writers don’t. It was and is indeed true the apostle Matthew and John Mark wrote of Jesus’ being transfigured atop the mountain in the company and presence of Peter, James and John, however, what the beloved physician Luke writes and records in addition to this is how Moses and Elijah appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. Stop and consider the fact that just prior to this—in fact, eight days earlier than this particular occasion—Jesus would first begin teaching and speaking unto His disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem, and there at Jerusalem would suffer many things at the hands of the religious community before being killed and rising on the third day. Here we are on this particular day where Jesus took Peter, James and John atop the mountain with Him, and we not only find Him being transfigured before them with His appearance being altered, but we also find Jesus appearing together with Moses and Elijah who in glory spoke unto Him of His decease, of His death, and of His crucifixion which He would accomplish at Jerusalem. It is actually something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture, for what we find here is a truly awesome and powerful picture of Jesus speaking with both the Law and the prophets concerning His suffering and death which He would accomplish and experience in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Eight days prior to this Jesus would speak and begin teaching the disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem and there at Jerusalem suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people, and how He would ultimately be killed and crucified. Now here we find Him speaking together with the Law and the prophets—and not only speaking with the Law and the prophets, but speaking unto the Law and the prophets concerning the suffering and death which He would experience there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. It was true that the Law and the prophets had spoken of the Messiah and Christ, and now here we find both the Law and the prophet speaking together with Jesus the Christ concerning His suffering and decease which would be accomplished in the midst of Jerusalem.

            It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words which are found in this portion and passage of Scripture, for here we find more than simply Jesus speaking unto the disciples concerning His suffering and death, but we find Jesus speaking together with Moses and Elijah concerning His suffering and death. What’s more, is that directly linked and connected to Jesus’ conversation with the Law and the prophets is an incredibly powerful picture of Jesus being clothed with a measure of the glory which He had with the Father before He took upon Him the form of human flesh. Not only this, but within this portion of Scripture we also find the voice of the Father being manifested unto and among them—and not only speaking and manifesting unto them, but also declaring and proclaiming that Jesus was indeed His beloved Son, and instructing them to hear and listen to Him. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Peter, James and John would be there present together with Jesus and would not only witness His appearance being altered and transfigured, but they would also see Him speaking together with Moses and Elijah. It would be there atop the mountain these three disciples would see Jesus transfigured before them, and would experience His appearance altered with the glory which He had with the Father from before the foundation of the world and before creation. There atop the mountain the disciples Peter, James and John would experience and encounter a truly wonderful and powerful manifestation of the glory of the Lord—and not only the glory of the Lord, but the voice of the Father, and a conversation about the suffering and death which Jesus would indeed and would in fact experience in the city of Jerusalem. It would be there in the context of Jesus’ being transfigured, and speaking together with Moses and Elijah concerning His decease in the city of Jerusalem the voice of the Father would invite and instruct those present to hear and listen to Him. What’s more is that this experience and encounter would further confirm the identity of Jesus as the Son of the living God, for the Father Himself would speak and declare Him to be His beloved Son. Additionally, this experience would further confirm Jesus’ mission and assignment in the city of Jerusalem, for Moses and Elijah would speak together with Him concerning His suffering and death which would be experienced and manifested in the midst of the city.

            Eight days earlier we find Jesus asking the disciples who men said that He the Son of man was, and eight days earlier we find Simon called Peter emphatically declaring and proclaiming that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Eight days earlier we find Jesus beginning to teach the disciples how He must needs journey unto the city of Jerusalem, and there at Jerusalem He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel before being killed and crucified. Now here we are eight days later, and not only do we find the voice of the Father declaring and proclaiming Jesus as His beloved Son, but we also find the eternal Father instructing them to hear and listen to Him. OH what makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about and consider it is when you read Jesus’ words spoken unto Simon called Peter and how He declared unto Simon that flesh and blood had not revealed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, but rather His Father which was in heaven. It would be the Father who was in heaven who would reveal unto Simon called Peter that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God, and now what we find is the voice of the Father speaking and declaring that Jesus was the beloved Son. Stop and think about what it would have been like on this particular occasion to find and experience the voice of the Father speaking—much like He had spoken at the waters of the Jordan River—and here atop the mountain declaring unto those who were present that this was His beloved Son. It was at the waters of the Jordan River the heavens were opened, the Spirit would descend upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove, and the voice of the Father would declare Jesus as His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased, and now here we are prior to Jesus’ journey unto the city of Jerusalem where He would experience suffering and ultimately death, and we find the voice of the Father declaring that Jesus was His beloved Son.

            I find it absolutely remarkable and astounding when reading the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture, for immediately after Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John, immediately after Jesus would appear speaking with Moses and Elijah about His suffering and decease, and immediately after the voice of the Father would proclaim and profess Jesus as His beloved Son and instruct them to hear Him, we find Jesus and these three disciples coming down from the mountain and being met by much people. The beloved physician Luke writes and records how on the next day when Peter, James and John came down from the mountain with Jesus, much people met Him. Among those much people who met Jesus we find a man of the company crying out before and unto Jesus concerning his son, and how his son was oppressed and possessed by an unclean spirit which not only tore him apart and bruised him, but would also cast him into the fire and into the flood. This man would emerge from the midst of the crowd desperate for deliverance from his son, and had already experienced Jesus’ other nine disciples being unable to cast out and deliver this man’s only son from this unclean and evil spirit. As Jesus came down from the mountain He would once more be met by a multitude of people—much like He had been throughout His entire public ministry—and among that great multitude of people there would be one who would come unto Him on behalf of His one and only son who was greatly tormented and oppressed by an unclean spirit. Not only did this man come unto Jesus on behalf of his one and only son, but he also came unto Jesus after having brought his son unto Jesus’ disciples and their being unable to do anything for him. Stop and consider for a moment that this man was coming unto Jesus—not only because his son was oppressed, tormented and oppressed by an unclean spirit, but also because the disciples of Jesus could indeed and could in fact do absolutely nothing for him. There at the base of the mountain a father would come unto Jesus—not only desperate for his one and only son and his deliverance, but also desperate since Jesus’ disciples could not offer nor provide deliverance.

            AND I BESOUGHT THY DISCIPLES TO CAST HIM OUT; AND THEY COULD NOT! AND I BROUGHT HIM TO THY DISCIPLES, AND THEY COULD NOT CURE HIM! Stop and consider just how incredible the words and language are within this passage of Scripture, for while Peter, James and John were atop the mountain together with Jesus as He was transfigured before them the remaining nine disciples were at the base of the mountain and were experiencing the need of a father who was desperate for his one and only son. Here there would be three disciples on the mountain with Jesus as He was transfigured before them, and at the base of the mountain we find a father who was incredibly desperate on account of his one and only son who was tormented and oppressed by an unclean spirit. Here on this particular day we find three disciples experiencing a vision of the glory of Jesus, and we find nine disciples being confronted with a desperate need of a father on behalf of his son. Not only were the remaining disciples confronted with the desperate need of this father on behalf of his son, but they were also unable to offer any solution and any cure for this man’s son. This man thought he could bring the disciples his son and that they would be able to cure him and offer deliverance and healing, and yet what he ended up finding instead was the disciples of Jesus being unable to offer any deliverance for his son. Perhaps this man had come unto the disciples of Jesus looking for Jesus and not finding Him, and began entreating them that they cast out unclean spirits. Perhaps the disciples had experienced casting out unclean spirits and devils earlier when Jesus sent them out, and they thought they would be able to cast out the unclean spirit from this man’s son.

            If there is one thing that I can’t but think about when reading the words found in this chapter is at the very beginning of the chapter we find Jesus ordaining and appoint the twelve disciples as apostles and ambassadors of the kingdom. What’s more, is that directly linked and connected to their being appointed as ambassadors and apostles of the kingdom was Jesus giving them power and authority over unclean spirits to cast them out. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for at the very beginning of the chapter we find Jesus giving power and authority unto the disciples to do the very thing they were given an opportunity to do at a very minimum of eight days, and they were entirely and altogether unable to deliver this child of and from the unclean spirit which tormented and oppressed him. Stop for a moment and think about the fact that here we have the disciples being presented with an opportunity to exercise the power and authority Jesus gave them, and yet they were unable to deliver this child from the torment, the possession and oppression of this unclean spirit. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear whether or not this man had come unto the disciples looking for Jesus believing Jesus could cast out the unclean spirit from within his son, however, what we can in fact deduce from the scripture is that this man brought his son unto the disciples of Jesus, and they were unable to deliver this child from the torment, the oppression and possession of this unclean spirit. I can’t help but wonder if the disciples had remembered how Jesus had given them power and authority to do such a thing as this, and they believed they would be able to cast out this unclean spirit from the life and spirit of this young child. Oh I can’t help but wonder if each of the nine disciples who weren’t present with Jesus atop the mountain with Peter, James and John tried casting out this unclean spirit, and all nine of them found themselves being unable to deliver this child from the torment of this unclean spirit. Oh pause for a moment and think about what this could have potentially looked like as each of the nine disciples might have attempted to cast out the unclean spirit from this child. Imagine the first disciple—perhaps Matthew, or perhaps Thomas, or perhaps Judas, or perhaps one of the other disciples—attempting to cast out this unclean spirit, and discovering that they were unable to do so. Imagine being one of the disciples who realized you were unable to cast out the unclean spirit from this child, and being one of the other disciples who perhaps thought and believed that you were going to be the one who was able to deliver this child from the oppression and torment of this unclean spirit.

            I can’t help but think about and consider the words which are found in this portion of Scripture and discover these disciples who were presented with an opportunity to exercise the power and authority Jesus had given them—particularly and especially over unclean spirits. We know from an earlier verse in this chapter that the apostles returned after being sent out from Jesus and told Him all they had done. I can’t help but wonder if the disciples and apostles were indeed able to cast out devils, for we find within this gospel narrative the seventy returning unto Jesus after being sent out by Him and declaring that even the devils and unclean spirits were subject to them in His name. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the twelve apostles went out as Jesus had commanded them and did in fact heal the sick, cleanse lepers, raise the dead and perhaps even cast out unclean spirits, and yet when it came to this particular occasion and occurrence they discovered something they weren’t able to do. It’s quite remarkable to read in the earlier verses of this chapter how the apostles told Jesus all they had done, and yet what we find here is a desperate father telling Jesus what His disciples could not do. Oh think about and consider the tremendous dichotomy and disparity that exists between telling Jesus everything you have done and then a desperate individual coming unto Jesus and telling Him what you could not and were unable to do. Imagine what it would have been like for the disciples to hear this father declare unto Jesus how he had brought his son unto them and that they could not cure him of the unclean spirit which tormented and oppressed him.

            I sit here right now thinking about the tremendous truth that is found within this portion of Scripture and how earlier on after Jesus had sent the disciples out with power and authority over unclean spirits, and how they even returned unto Him speaking of everything they had done and accomplished, and how at the very minimum of eight days later we find a desperate father bringing his tormented and oppressed son hoping that he might be cured and delivered of this unclean spirit, and yet Jesus wasn’t with the disciples. I still cannot help but think about and consider if the disciples thought and perceived they might be able to cast out this unclean spirit from within the child because of what they had previously done. Imagine how shocked and surprised they were that they could not deliver this child from the unclean spirit—even and especially after they might very well have previously cast out unclean spirits from others. This is something which warrants our consideration, for I can’t help but think about the fact that they perhaps thought they could cast out this unclean spirit based on the power and authority Jesus gave them—and perhaps not only based on the power and authority Jesus gave them, but also based on what they had already done. Is it possible that the disciples thought and believed they could cure this child of the unclean spirit based on what they had done, and even based on the power and authority Jesus had given them, and yet they were unable to do so. We know from the account which the apostle Matthew writes and records how the disciples came to Jesus after He had cast out the unclean spirit and asked Him how and why they could not and why they were unable to cast out the spirit. Jesus’ response is actually quite remarkable and astounding when you take the time to think about and consider it, for Jesus would declare unto them that this kind comes not out but by prayer and fasting. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that we must needs pay attention to the words which are presented here in this passage of Scripture, for it seems to suggest that power and authority isn’t always and might not always be enough. What’s more, is that we have a great need to recognize and understand that even that which we have done in the past—perhaps even in the name of Jesus the Christ—might not be enough for our being able to do something in the present.

            I can’t help but read and consider the words which are found in this portion of Scripture and encounter and come face to face with the awesome and tremendous truth that we must recognize and understand that there are times within our lives when us being given power and authority by Jesus is and might not be enough. We would like to think that Jesus giving us power and authority would indeed and would in fact be enough, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. WE would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand that there are times within our lives when although we might have been granted power and authority there is something else that is needed—namely, prayer and fasting. WHEN PRAYER AND FASTING MEETS POWER AND AUTHORITY! Oh if there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider when reading the words found in this portion of Scripture it’s the direct link and the direct connection between prayer and fasting and power and authority. Moreover, I can’t help but think about the fact that there might be men and women who right now are simply and solely relying on power and authority to accomplish and fulfill that which they have been called to do, or even to accomplish that which they have been asked to do by others, and yet that power and authority isn’t enough. I would dare say that there are times within our lives when power and authority simply isn’t enough to carry out that which the living and eternal Christ has called us to, and that we have been called to engage ourselves in prayer and fasting. There is not a doubt in my mind that there must needs be this union and marriage between power and authority and prayer and fasting, for more often than not it is the prayer and fasting that enhances the power and authority we have received from the Lord.

            The disciples asked Jesus why and how they were unable to cast out the unclean spirit from this child, and Jesus’ response to them was that this kind comes not out but by prayer and fasting. OH how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that there are times within our lives when what we have done in the past in and for the name of Jesus, and what we have accomplished for Jesus is not enough for what we are being asked to do in the present. We would like to think that we can accomplish something in the here and now based on what we might very well have done in the past, and yet we are brought to the place where we understand the importance of prayer and fasting. If there is one thing I must needs acknowledge within this portion and passage of Scripture it’s that prayer and fasting is what gives weight and meaning to the power and authority bestowed upon us by the person of Jesus. It was indeed true that Jesus gave them power and authority over unclean spirits, and it was true that they perhaps had cast out unclean spirits from that time on, however, on this particular occasion they would experience and encounter something that would and could not be accomplished without and apart from prayer and fasting. Oh if there is something we must needs acknowledge and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture and within our lives it’s that power and authority must needs be met with and by prayer and fasting. There are many of us who are attempting to do that which we have been called to do by the living and eternal God, and we are attempting to do it—even in the power and authority that has been given unto us by Jesus—and yet we are finding ourselves facing a situation where we aren’t able to do that which we were given power and authority to do. Oh what do you do when you have been granted and given power and authority to do something, and yet you are presented with a situation where you were unable to what you had been granted power and authority for? The disciples were given power and authority to do precisely what this father was asking of them, and yet they could not. Moreover, the underlying reason they were unable to do what the father was asking them was because this kind comes not out but by prayer and fasting. What a truly tremendous and astonishing thought it is to think about the fact that the reason the disciples weren’t able to do what the father asked them was not because they weren’t given power and authority, and perhaps even because they weren’t anointed by the Spirit of Christ to engage in such actions.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I can’t help but think about and be convinced that there are times within our lives when power and authority simply isn’t enough. There are times within our hearts and lives when we might very well be asked and called upon to do something and we are unable to do so, and yet the underlying reason we are unable to do it is not because of a lack of or the absence of power and authority, but rather because of the lack of prayer and fasting. If there is one thing this particular passage brings us face to face with, and which this passage confronts us with it is the tremendous importance of prayer and fasting. Oh I would dare say there are men and women among us who might very well be relying on power and authority they were given and received at one point in time, and they are continuing to try and move and operate on that power and authority absent prayer and fasting. There are men and women among us who are trusting solely and entirely on power and authority, and yet they do not understand and recognize the tremendous importance of prayer and fasting. What’s more, is that there is an inherent danger within our hearts and lives when we think and believe we can rely on power and authority without and apart from prayer and fasting. Oh there are countless ministers among us within this generation who are trusting and relying on the power and authority they have received and have been given in the past, and they have completely and utterly missed the importance of prayer and fasting. There are ministers who are choosing to rely solely on power and authority and have absolutely no room, nor any place within their hearts and lives for prayer and fasting.

            Perhaps the question which must needs be asked of you who are reading these words is whether or not you are one who is choosing to rely on power and authority to accomplish and fulfill that which you have been called to do, and you have absolutely no room, nor any space, nor any context for prayer and fasting. Are you such an individual who has chosen to continue to move and operate based on power and authority, and yet you are finding yourself unable to do that which you are being asked to do by others? Stop and consider what it was like for these disciples to be given power and authority from Jesus to do this very thing, and to perhaps even do this very thing already, and yet finding themselves in a place where they could not do what they were given power and authority to do. What’s more, is imagine what it was like for the disciples to learn and discover that the reason they could not do what they were asked to do was not because they had not received power and authority, but because to do what they were asked to do required prayer and fasting. Imagine what it was like for the disciples to think about and consider how they had been given power and authority to do this very thing, and yet they encountered and came face to face with the fact that they were unable to do so because of the absence of prayer and fasting within their hearts and lives. Even though the disciples might very well have done something like this in the past, and even though they might have even spoken unto Jesus concerning that which they were given power and authority to do, they found themselves in a place and position where they were unable to rely on what they had previously done. What a tremendous lesson this must have been for the disciples to not only recognize how important prayer and fasting was, but also to recognize and understand that they could not rely upon what they had previously done. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—if there is one thing we must needs acknowledge and understand within our hearts and lives it’s that power and authority isn’t always enough to accomplish that which we have been called to do—and not only that which we have been called to do, but also that which we are being and that which we have been asked to do. We must needs understand that there are times in our lives when the power and authority we have been given must needs be met with prayer and fasting. There are times within our lives when power and authority must be activated with and by prayer and fasting.

I conclude this writing with the emphatic declaration that power and authority isn’t always that which is needed within our hearts and lives. There are times within our lives in the midst of what we have been called to do when power and authority isn’t enough, for what is needed is prayer and fasting. Oh if you are one who finds yourself experiencing something you cannot accomplish, or something you cannot overcome, or something you cannot defeat, or something you simply cannot take care of within your life, I would strongly urge you to consider the need for prayer and fasting. I am convinced there are things within our hearts and lives which cannot be overcome, which cannot be destroyed, which cannot be defeated, which cannot be torn down, which cannot be triumphed over without and apart from prayer and fasting. I firmly believe that there are times within our lives when power and authority—even power and authority which might very well have been given unto us by the LORD—isn’t enough to accomplish what we are trying to do, and even what we are being asked to do. I am convinced that there are certain things within our hearts and lives which simply cannot be overcome, which cannot be defeated, which cannot be triumphed over, which cannot be broken down, and which cannot be overcome simply based on power and authority, but must also be met with prayer and fasting. I firmly believe with everything that is within my heart and spirit that there are certain things we are attempting to do—perhaps based on power and authority we have been given at one point in time, or perhaps in our own strength, or perhaps even based on what we have done in the past—and yet the truth and underlying reality is that we simply cannot accomplish, carry out and fulfil that without and apart from prayer and fasting. Oh that we would be a people who would recognize and understand the tremendous importance of prayer and fasting, and that if we find ourselves coming up against or encountering something we simply cannot overcome, carry out, defeat, or anything else we are attempting to do—let us commit and devote ourselves to prayer and fasting. Oh that we would be a people who would recognize and understand just how incredible and just how necessary prayer and fasting truly is within our hearts and lives, and how prayer and fasting is more often than not the catalyst and foundation—even for power and authority which has been given unto and bestowed upon us within our hearts and lives.

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